Sunday July 31, 2011 2 comments
Lots of people in my Google+ circles are posing this question to their friends: Will you abandon Facebook for Google+?
Short answer: no.
Long answer: In my social networking, I spend time in Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, sometimes make it over to Quora, EmpireAvenue and now, in the BETA rollout of Google+. (Yes, I DO have a "Real Life" but is there really a difference anymore? I feel more organically in tune with the world while online rather than sitting in front of my TV). I will not be abandoning Facebook. But I will be spending less time there and more time in Google+. Why? Because Google+ is an evolved mash-up of Facebook and Twitter - almost the best of both worlds, even though all three "worlds" are different, just like you and I are different.
In the race to win our hearts and minds and pocketbooks, Facebook is a social network trying to be all things to all people. Google is all things to all people, trying to be a social network. In this race, Google is winning, thanks to Google+ and some other things that Google rolled out recently (I'll talk about those later on in this post).
Don't abandon Facebook but do spend more time in Google and in Google+
Don't abandon Facebook but do spend more time on implementing the latest changes Google has launched in the past several months (if you haven't already). In this blog post, I will talk about the top three things you should work on if you want to be found in Google, if you want to improve your Online Reputation and if you want to stay ahead of your competition online. But first I have something to confide in you... (Skip ahead now to read about those top three things or if you have a little more time now, please read about why I decided to write this post.)
Google had me worried for a while this past year because it didn't seem to be doing much to combat Facebook's continued growth and permeation (infiltration?) into the lives of 750 million+ people on the planet.
I was beginning to think that Facebook could actually become the place where people searched for information, as well as hung out with each other. (Silly me, right?) You know, given the fact that Bing is Facebook's search engine, showing public search results for your query after showing you private search results within Facebook's walls. And because Facebook, as well as Twitter, show up more and more in places where we consume products, services, at the mall, on television commercials, news broadcasts, radio shows. We are besieged with the words "Find us on Facebook!" every day, practically every hour of the day, depending on your location (in front of your TV or driving and listening to the radio, etc.). As an information junkie, I tend to search in other places, other than Google, such as the search box in Facebook but I rarely use it. In fact, judging by a mini-crowdsourcing session I did on my Facebook friends, they all responded they always use Google to search for products and services. A couple of them mentioned they use the search box to look for fan pages of businesses if people use Facebook's search tool the way they use Google.
Answers from a few of my Facebook friends:
"I just got on Google+ and I guess I'm missing the point of the whole thing. So far, I prefer Facebook. Unless you can enlighten me :o)"
"Is there even a comparison? Google."
"google is the go to...."
"I use google for that..."
"Google for searches."
"When something comes up while I'm in FB, I use the FB search. I learned that by searching for someone who wasn't on FB, but the search showed several locations for that person."
"hate to admit this, but I didn't even know I could do searches within FB. Have always used Google."
"I search for individuals and sometime businesses I want to LIKE on Facebook. When looking for a product or service I go to Google."
"Yes... But Google more..."
My friends agreed with my hunch but the analytical side of me just HAD to confirm it. (No brainer, no doubt, you're saying right now.)
So my doubts about Google were just plain silly. I should have known better. After all, Google and I have matured together on the Internet ever since Google was born in 2000. I've studied it, kept up with its algorithmns, absorbed its powers so I could wield its magic on my clients' websites and get them successfully found high up thousands of times.
Now, after reading about Google's other projects, in addition to Google+, Google has revived my confidence in its product and I don't know whether to celebrate its genius or be scared of its power. But since "Do no evil" is Google's mission, I guess I'll set aside the fear and celebrate. Here's why: Facebook and LinkedIn and Twitter, Quora, YouTube, other social networks, plus your blog are part of your Online Reputation but Google IS your Online Reputation because when people Google your name, that is what they find: all the search results that are connected to you - not JUST your website or blog - but everything. I've been preaching this to my clients for two years now and it's about time I said it in my own blog:
Facebook is part of your Online Reputation: Google is your Online Reputation
If you think I'm wrong about Google and Google+ and if you think that you'll continue to spend more time hanging out in Facebook building relationships with potential clients and staying in touch with friends and family (which you should do -- don't get me wrong: just don't spend as much time - invest more time in Google+), remember this important point: when people want information quickly, they Google it. They don't "Facebook it." Yes, you could take time to ask your Facebook friends and fans (and Twitter followers) your question and you could potentially get some really insightful information (like I did!) or you might hear crickets chirping -- depending on how many friends and fans you have who care to stop and answer your question. This is why Google will always be better and bigger than Facebook: it's the search results that matter in business and in life. In Google, those search results are smarter and smarter as time marches on.
If you want to grow a good Online Reputation and be the company that your customers find when they go searching for your products and services, then you have to spend more time in Google than in Facebook - not only on SEO but everything.
Spend more time in Google, Lori? Not only on SEO? What do you mean?!
Spoon boy: Do not try and bend the spoon. That's impossible. Instead... only try to realize the truth.
Neo: What truth?
Spoon boy: There is no spoon.
Neo: There is no spoon?
Spoon boy: Then you'll see, that it is not the spoon that bends, it is only yourself.
-From the film, The Matrix
Two years ago, after spending eight years studying Google, I realized that search engine optimization (SEO) was always about "bending the spoon." It was about applying good tactics and strategy to a website so that its chances of showing up in the top five natural search results would be great. And I actually bent that spoon thousands and thousands of times. But then I realized there is no spoon, not anymore. Not since Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, blogging, Quora, etc. have appeared and ingrained themselves into our lives so fully.
It is not the SEO that matters, it is only yourself
Here's what I'm urging you to do if you want to stay ahead of your competition and/or impress your potential customers:
- Understand that you should not concentrate ONLY on optimizing your website and/or blog to be found in the top search results in Google (don't just bend the spoon)...in addition to that, concentrate on continually improving and managing your Online Reputation ("...it is not the spoon that bends, it is only yourself.")
Top 3 reasons to spend more time in Google instead of Facebook:
- Obviously, one of my top three reasons is Google+. It's an evolution of all the social networks so far. It's the missing link. (Pun intended!). To quickly learn how it works and why you should join: visit Google+. In the future, you can count on me to write a lot about Google+ and create some screencasts (video tutorials) explaining how to do things in G+ and why you should do certain things.
- Authenticity is something Google will continue to work on when it returns search results to your queries. Authorship code is critical! This was announced by Google on June 7, 2011 but not many people know about it yet. Add in your author "rel" tag and link it to your Google+ profile.
- The Google Plus One button is more important than any other sharing button to date. (By the way, I like to call them "push" buttons because people can "push" your content to their social networks). It will eventually overtake Facebook's Like button and Twitter's Re-tweet button in popularity simply because it's the smartest thing you can do to market yourself: get your readers to Plus One your content. As Google makes its search results smarter and more authentic than ever before (see above: Authorship code), it becomes imperative for you to spend more time in Google so you can keep up with it (or you can read my blog!)Add the Google Plus One button to your blog posts and website pages along with the re-tweet button and Facebook Like button (and don't forget Digg and StumbleUpon). The Plus One button is THE button to have. Why? If you've read my entire post today, you'll know the answer....but here it is again: Facebook (and all the other social networks, your blog, YouTube, news releases, etc.) is part of your Online Reputation: Google IS your Online Reputation. When people search for a solution to their problem; and when they search for products and services; they go to Google. By adding the Google Plus One button to all of your content, so readers can Plus One it, you're building your Online Reputation into a solid, impenetrable fortress, assuming all your content is positive and enhances your reputation, of course.
Don't let the technology intimidate you. If you feel like you can't implement the authorship code and Google Plus One code on your own, simply enlist the help of your Website producer or Webmaster.
Additional reasons exist for spending more time in Google and Google+ than anywhere else when you go online, if marketing yourself matters. What are your additional reasons? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below. And thanks for reading my blog!