Following the recent Google+ hack fiasco, Google has announced that they’re going to be shutting down their social media platform slowly over the next 10 months. GooglePlus, long thought to be a ranking signal for the SERP, never really caught people’s imagination, and although there are 100 million users, it probably won’t be widely mourned. But it does raise an interesting question; Will Google replace it?
Out With the Old
One new feature that may help to fill GooglePlus’s empty seat at the social media table is a new “Follow” feature on Google Maps. Google Maps is one of Google’s most popular tools with almost 70% of smartphone users using it to navigate regularly. This addition to this widely used tool will have a wider reach than any change to GooglePlus would have had, with Google reporting having a billion Google Maps users.
The new Follow feature doesn’t need much explanation. You will now be given the option to “follow” a business on the maps interface. This, coupled with the fact that you can now post regular status updates on your Google My Business page, in effect creates its own new social media platform inside the Google Maps application.
Time will tell how the notifications will look, and if this might spawn an extra application, but adding these features to an already very popular application might give it an edge that GooglePlus never had.
For businesses, this means that it’s time to take your Google My Business page seriously. Posting updates to your GMB page should become as important as using your Facebook page, or Twitter. Time will tell if the Follow option is successful or not, but if you are one of the early adopters that regularly update your GMB content then you might be able to get ahead of the competition. Also, just as GooglePlus “wasn’t a ranking factor” what if the number of followers you have on Google My Business also “doesn’t” become a ranking factor? That’s food for thought.