What Most People Don't Seem to Get About Google+

Originally published on Linkedin, 2015 By Kevin Carney
What Most People Don't Seem to Get About Google+
The rumors that Google+ is a ghost town are not really true. As of March 2015, Facebook has 1.4 billion users, LinkedIn has 347 million, and Google+ has 300 million, and Twitter has 288 million.
So not quite a ghost town.
But that has nothing to do one way or another with what makes Google+ interesting and useful.
The answer to that question has three parts.
Part 1: Social media updates are seen by very few followers
This is true of EVERY social media platform. A lot has been measured and written for Facebook and Twitter, but this occurs on all of them for one simple reason. If everyone saw everything posted by all the people they follow, it would simply be too much.
So every social media site throttles how much of what you post is seen, so as not to overwhelm your followers.
Part 2: Google+ is Organized Around “Circles”
Circles are like groups. You organize your contacts into circles and in Google+ someone follows you when they put you in one of their circles.

Part 3: The Integration of Google+ and Search

This is where the “magic” happens (except it’s not really magic).
This is best explained with an example.
Let’s pretend you sell a specialty coffee. Among other ways of getting your message out, you regularly generate Google+ updates about coffee and your updates invite people to check out your site (perhaps they promote a specific blog post).
At the time you sent out the Google+ update, very few of your Google+ followers see it (as described above).
However, it happened, it’s on the Internet, and it got indexed by Google in literally a few seconds.
Sometime later, someone who follows you does a Google search about specialty coffee.
When your Google+ update matches their search query, your Google+ update ranks very high in their search results. Typically in position 3 or 4.
And if any of your followers did a +1 on your update, this is extended beyond your followers to include their followers as well.
Even though the person in question may or may not have seen your Google+ update at the time you did it, when they perform a search for which it matches, it shows up in the search results.
This is what most people seem to not get about Google+. Your updates are seen by your followers when they’re most meaningful to them, which is when they’re searching for something.
Additionally, they show up with a rich snippet that includes the picture from your Google+ profile, to draw attention to that fact that this update is from a person, rather than “just” a website.
The screenshot below illustrates this idea.
Three days ago I published a Google+ update that contains the phrase “Testing. Testing. This is just a test. Please ignore this post”.
Now when I search for the word “testing”, that Google+ update shows up in position 3.
What Most People Don't Seem to Get About Google+