Featuring marketing tips, tech news, digital wonders, some personal things and everything in between . . .

The Death of Google+ (And What It Means for Your Business)

Wednesday February 27, 2019

Reading Time: 6 minutes

After its second data breach, Google+ is shutting down for good. The recent leak prompted Google execs to fast track the failed social network’s sunsetting.

The breach impacted 52.5 million users and made non-public data available to developers. While Google claims that no third party accessed this and no app devs misused it (or were even aware of the leak), this spelled the end for G+. The company accelerated the shutdown from August 2019 to April 2019.

Why did Google+ fail?

There’s no shortage of outside opinion articles detailing G+’s issues, but a recent tweetstorm contains insider information. A former Google designer, Morgan Knutson, posted more than 200 tweets about the internal trials faced by the struggling social media platform.

Knutson points to several issues in Google’s system. Teams across the company didn’t coordinate on the service’s creation, resulting in miscommunication and mismatched features. The platform didn’t integrate smoothly with the rest of G-Suite, creating issues with user experience. Office politics complicated things even further and prevented progress from being made.

Perhaps most significantly, Google+ was a platform created out of fear. As social media giant Facebook began to pick up speed (and advertising dollars), Google slapped together its own social network to compete. “[We] built the knowledge graph, and Facebook swooped in and built the social graph. If we don’t own the social graph then we can’t claim to have indexed ALL the world’s data,” wrote Knutson, allegedly quoting an executive. This mindset resulted in a product built not from a unique idea, but out of a desire to copy and outrank the competition.

After its launch, the service was plagued with issues, including famously low usage and engagement. The company disclosed in a blog post that 90 percent of G+ user sessions lasted less than five seconds.

The second data breach served as the perfect excuse to bump up the timeline of the service’s demise. After 7 years, the personal version of the platform will be discontinued.

What does that mean for me?

On April 2nd, your Google+ account and any associated pages you created will be shut down. Google plans to then delete content from those consumer accounts.

If you use Google+’s sign-in button to access sites, these buttons will also stop working in the coming weeks. Some of them will be replaced with a standard Google sign-in button, while others will require you to connect another platform to log in.

What do I do now that Google+ is dead?

First, know that the end of Google’s social network won’t affect your local SEO or your ranking online. All you need to do is a bit of spring cleaning. Remove outdated G+ sharing buttons, icons, and links from your website’s blog posts and footer, and make sure it doesn’t appear on any new marketing collateral or eblasts.

Go ahead and delete your profile if you don’t want to wait for Google’s sweep to eliminate it. If you’re worried about losing any old content, you can download data from your profile here.

Enterprise accounts will still remain active, but we recommend that you spend your time growing social followings on Instagram, Facebook, and Google My Business instead.

Rest in peace, Google+.

If you’d like to build a custom social strategy, give us a call at 949.701.4714. You can also submit a request online, 24/7. Our digital experts will reach out promptly to answer your questions!

Reading Time: 8 minutes
mobile first web development
Google Now Crawls Mobile BEFORE the Desktop Version

What You Need to Know About Mobile-First Indexing

You might remember that in our last blog, we discussed the importance of ‘thinking mobile’ while establishing your 2019 SEO and marketing plans. Since Google’s 2018 rollout of mobile-first search engine indexing, Webconsuls clients have had many questions about how this new process impacts their rankings—and how they can best adapt their search strategy to the mobile-first indexing system.

One of the most important things to remember is that mobile-first indexing is about gathering – not ranking – content. Google will now crawl your company’s mobile site to establish search-engine rankings before it crawls your desktop site. This means that if you have a desktop-only website, your search engine rankings will suffer. It also means that to remain competitive online, you must give proper attention to your mobile/responsive site. (That’s where our digital achievers come in!)

The What & Why of Mobile-First Indexing

Since 2015, mobile search has surpassed desktop searches—and mobile usage continues to accelerate. In a March 2018 Google blog, the search-engine giant explained the reasoning behind its recent shift to mobile-first indexing:

“To recap, our crawling, indexing and ranking systems have typically used the desktop version of a page’s content, which may cause issues for mobile searchers when that version is vastly different from the mobile version. Mobile-first indexing means that we’ll use the mobile version of the page for indexing and ranking, to better help our – primarily mobile – users find what they are looking for.”

In lay terms, Google’s mobile-first indexing means that:

  1. Desktop-only sites will not perform as well on Google rankings as responsive or hybrid sites, since they lose mobile users (which are growing exponentially).
  2. Desktop pages will still be crawled, but not at the same frequency as mobile pages crawled by Google’s smartphone agent.
  3. When it caches pages, Google now saves the mobile version of your site instead of the desktop version.
  4. Responsive and mobile-friendly sites help content to load faster, which improves Google rankings (since slow-loading content is penalized).
  5. Content is still critical when it comes to your mobile site. Don’t deprive mobile users of content or strip your mobile site down to basics. Just remember to format content for usability on smaller screens.

Next Steps: How to Meet Google’s Mobile-First Indexing Standards

  1. Remember that mobile users are now the rule, rather than the exception. Stop thinking of your desktop site as the main event. Your mobile site is now primary, so it should never be an afterthought.
  2. Keep in mind mobile users behave differently than desktop users. For example, mobile users tend to consumer more visual media like images and video. Ask your digital marketing consultant how you can harness the power of visual media (and other elements) to better serve your mobile audience.
  3. Click here to use Google’s “Mobile-Friendly Test” for your website. If the results say that your mobile presence needs work, Webconsuls digital achievers can help you update your site and integrate mobile-friendly tactics into your overall marketing plan.
  4. Work with an SEO and web development professional to ensure that your mobile site delivers an optimal user experience. Do pages load quickly? Are images and dynamic features are optimized for fast loading? Is your site easy to navigate on a small device?
  5. Ask web developers about using the open-source AMP framework, which helps websites render faster on tablets, phones and phablet devices. To learn more about AMP, call Webconsuls at 949.701.4714 or visit the AMP Project online.
  6. Make the most of your Google Search Console. If you have not yet set this up, ask a Webconsuls team member about using Search Console tools to measure your mobile site performance, fix search issues and enhance your rankings.

Think Mobile With Webconsuls

If you have been dragging your feet on developing a responsive or mobile-friendly web design, there’s no time to waste. As Google moves forward with its mobile-first indexing approach and mobile users continue to insist on an enhanced UX, there’s no room for websites that translate poorly to mobile use.

When you partner with our elite team of Nashville digital marketing experts, we offer integrated digital solutions that move your brand—and your search rankings—forward. Putting our mobile development experience to work for you, we tailor services to meet your budget and marketing objectives while teaching you the “why” behind it all. Get started now by calling a Webconsuls’ managing partner at 949.701.4714. For your convenience, you can also submit your confidential inquiry online, 24/7. Our digital achievers will be in touch promptly to answer your questions!