Time to say Goodbye Google+
20 March 2019
Social networks are continually updating their platform software. So it’s important to keep in contact with your profiles regularly, so you can adjust as necessary. By now you should be aware that Google+ is closing, and what you are going to do with your online identity. Google will be advising you that your personal Google+ account will close down on 2 April 2019.
Google+ ‘s closure shouldn’t technically affect your local SEO. Six years ago Google had integrated so many of it’s platforms into Google+, that there may have been fallout with the closure. However, the relevance of G+ on local SEO in recent years has been fairly minimal.
Why is Google+ closing?
Closing the door on Google+ wasn’t due solely to stagnating use. Google’s official word is … “due to low usage and challenges involved in maintaining a successful product that meets consumers’ expectations”. It also involved the recently revealed hidden data leak that potentially affected up to 500,000 accounts, allowing third-party applications to access information marked as private. Apparently it was the exact same API weakness that allowed Cambridge Analytica to misuse Facebook data.
Google said it had found “no evidence that any profile data was misused”.
Google was closing down Google+ in August 2019, however, in November 2018 Google discovered another bug that gave apps access to non-public information, so the shutdown was brought forward to April 2019.
Will Google+ be missed?
Google+ was a vital part of many business’s SEO plan. New content posted on Google+ is almost immediately crawled by Google, which helps their SEO efforts. Google+ was another avenue to put your brand front and centre in search results.
Personally, I will miss Google+ Communities (groups created around a specific interest or industry by either an individual or a business), and .Google+ Collections (content around topics and interests). Apart from being more aesthetically pleasing than Facebook Groups, Collections & Communities was so much easier to understand & operate.
Google+ also had great media quality. Which explains why it was a favourite with photographers, and any other visual field.
So what is being deleted?
Any Google+ pages, photos and videos stored in your Google+ album archive, will be deleted. Your Google+ account, used only for the social network side, will be deleted.
Your main Google account, which is linked to Gmail, YouTube and Maps, will not be affected. Photos and videos stored in Google Photos will not be affected.
You can download all your data from Google+,before your profile/page is deleted.
Is there life after Google+?
While the doors on Google+ are closing, Google’s My Business (GMB) Posts is just getting started. GMB is not a social network but it does provide a great opportunity to publish content you might have been posting to Google+, as part of your GMB profile.
With a 1,500 character limit per GMB Post, you can use a variety of announcements and content types here. Posting through GMB lets you publish your events, products, and services directly to Google Search and Maps.
If you aren't a local business (one that serves customers at a particular location or within a designated service area), consider looking into Posts on Google for verified entities. Learn more about Posts on Google.
Social media never replaces having a website
Google+ closing is a good reminder on how everything online is transient and temporary. Which is why businesses shouldn’t use social media for their sole web presence, and should have a website, in case it goes down or closes. You have total control of your website, and you should be using social networks to push your website out.