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A Look at Google+: The Social Site Small Businesses Can't Afford to Ignore

By CO Staff @canadaone |

What is Google Plus and why should your business care about yet another social network?

If you spend time with search and social media experts, you will soon realize that Google's social network, Google Plus or Google+, is gaining a lot of traction for a simple reason: Google is the most significant player in search and the search giant is looking to make Google+ a key part of how it returns and ranks search results.

Through the recent Donate & Learn Workshop run by Green Lotus in Toronto, CanadaOne caught up with John Shehata, who has significant experience in the realms of search and social media. John is the executive director for search and social at ABC News, ABC Family and In this interview we asked him about the importance of Google+ to small businesses.

The Importance of Google+: An Interview with John Shehata - Transcript

Many business owners and site owners come to me and say, "John, it's too much to handle". Search changes all the time. There's about half dozen updates within any given week.

Social is emerging and changing and now has its own complicated formulas. And now we don't even have enough time to do or run our own businesses.

I would say just focus on content. Content really is the key. If you don't have content, you don't have anything to share. And if you don't have content, you don't have anything people are searching for on Google or Bing or Yahoo to find your product. So start with that. It's a supply and demand thing. People want to know how to do stuff themselves or hire someone to do it for them. Are you looking for resources? Are you looking for guides? Are you looking for how-tos? So start there. Don't complicate yourself with a lot of strategies and tactics. Just spill content. Overtime, start enhancing that content. "Can I tweak the headline a little bit?" "Can I tweak the article a little bit?" "This is a great article, maybe I'll add a one minute video to it".

You will find that content is your best ally out there. It doesn't matter what device we are using. Yesterday we were searching on desktop, today we are searching on mobile. And who knows, maybe tomorrow we will have holograms all over the place! It's always content.

Gaining Audience with Google+

It's always hard in the beginning to be added into a circle or to be a part of a community. I would say its Google+ where you write and share interesting posts. There is a tab on the left called "Explore" where Google displays the most sharable things on Google+ – start with those. Share those. Probably if it worked with other people, it will work with you. You will get more engagement. With the engagement, you will be added to other circles. Another thing is, think of your website. Add the Google circle button below the articles. If you have a good click through rate on your newsletters, promote yourself on the newsletter and other social platforms. In the beginning it's hard. Maybe create an ad campaign. Try different things and see which one has a CTR and ROI and stick with it. But absolutely share stuff that is already sharable and it works with other individuals.

Why Google+ is Important

Google+ is becoming an essential part of the Google package. I would say that Google+ is the spinal cord of all the Google products. Shopping is connected to Google+, maps or places are already a part of Google+. There is no longer Google places. Your search, your social search. When you are logged in, other things coming from Google+ coming into your search results. Even their AdWords and YouTube is integrated with Google+. Google is determined to make Google+ a very essential part of everything that they do. If you're not in Google+, you should consider it. While it's the not the most active platform right now, but in a year or two, it will be very important. Not only for social, but for SEO. It is becoming a part of the ranking algorithm. They will look at circles and endorsements and all these kinds of things go into their ranking as it's becoming a part of their ranking formula.

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