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July 24, 2011

Can Google+ Stop Facebook From Becoming the Top Site on the Web?

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All the talk recently has been about Google+ and can it beat Facebook at the social networking game? But a more interesting question to consider is the heated Google vs Facebook competition. If you just examine the Alexa numbers alone, you will see that Facebook is beating Google hands-down in some very important traffic stats.

Actually, in both May and June, Facebook knocked Google out of the number one position a couple of times. You can see this if you compare the stats for Google and Facebook in Alexa. But where Facebook must have Google really concerned is in the number of “Pageviews” and “Time Spent on Site.” Facebook easily wins the day.

Google had to do something to compete with Facebook, otherwise Google would have to give up its position as the top site on the web. Perception is everything on the web and Google would lose both revenues and reputation, if it has to settle for second place.

Will Google+ Become Popular?

Google+ might catch on or it might not. Anyone remember Google Buzz, Google Wave, or even iGoogle – those haven’t exactly been knockouts with 3/4 of a billion users? Could Google+ go the same route?

Right now, Google+ is getting some good press and everyone seems to be clamoring for an invite. Google says it’s testing out the system with a few users at first – which is very hard to swallow. Given all the resources Google has at its disposal, they should be able to roll-out any system, with 10s or even 100s of millions, signing up.

Could this limited availability be a marketing ploy on Google’s part and somewhat fabricated? By limiting supply, even on a free product, you create a built-up demand for that product. Old marketing trick that still works wonders for any campaign.

Regardless, Google+ has some features worth considering if you like these social networking cesspools. I particularly like the “Circles” feature, where you can limit contact to a certain group of people – such as keeping your close friends and family totally separated from your work or business colleagues. This has been one of my major problems with Facebook. I don’t want to mix the people I meet and work with online to have access to my family contacts and friends. In other words, you want to keep the people you “truly” know away from online acquaintances and contacts. Just common sense at play here, especially in regards to safety and security.

Besides these “Circles,” Google+ is divided up into four other features:

Instant Upload – You can instantly upload your videos and photos to your account (in the cloud) and then decide which group or circle of friends you want to share them with.

Hangouts – Group video chat where you can talk to up to 10 friends at once. The person talking the loudest will be featured in the spotlight, with the others displayed below. Teenagers will probably like this feature the most, but it could also become popular for business conferencing.

Sparks – Tell it what you like or want and this program will bring interested related stuff to your attention. Used to spark discussions and sharing the stuff that floats your boat with friends and colleagues. This is basically a search engine disguised as socialized chit-chat. Wonder if Google knows anything about search engines?

Huddle – Group text chat where everyone can talk at the same time. Makes it easier to get everyone on the same page and again may become popular with the younger set. This feature can be used directly from your phone, if you’re using an Android 2.0+ or an iPhone 4.0+ phone.

I believe the whole “Trust” issue could be a major factor in the success of Google+. I believe Google has built up a lot of trust with web surfers and this could bring onboard a lot of users.

But even with some good press and some good reviews, especially when it comes to the “Circle” feature of grouping friends, it doesn’t mean hundreds of millions will be leaving Facebook for Google+. Geeks and techies will no doubt jump ship faster than your regular “moms and pops” on Facebook.

Once you have all your networks built up in Facebook, most people are not going to jump ship just because another program comes along, even if it’s from Google. Then again, we always have to remember, the Internet is very “fluid” and changes quickly.

MySpace was once more popular than Facebook!

But many web users will always think of Google as a Search Engine and leave it at that; they will keep their social connections separate. However, Google+ only has to cut into Facebook’s numbers to knock Facebook back down a couple of pegs and/or to stop Facebook from getting to a billion users, which will have its own bragging rights.

Of course, I look at all this stuff from an SEO viewpoint. Google+ will give Google another powerful way to rank web content. It will be another large pool of data Google can draw upon to discover what content, sites, videos, articles… users are sharing and recommending. I don’t believe Google gives a hoot about the social aspect. They probably don’t give a hoot about you or your aunt Sue, but they do care about what you and your Aunt Sue are doing online, what sites are important to you and what content you’re viewing.

I believe a major SEO shift is happening in the background…

Instead of just backlinks, Google is now looking more closely at your whole site and content, ranking it accordingly. Google MAY also be getting ready to switch more of their ranking signals towards their OWN data coming from 160+ million Google Chrome users, the new Google +1 Button and the even newer Google+ social networking platform we are talking about here. Plus, Google also has all that data from YouTube, Google Analytics, AdSense and AdWords… and, of course, all that vast data from its own search engine and how people use it.

However, getting back to our original question, can Google+ be a “Facebook Killer” as many people are suggesting?

It’s way too soon to be making those kind of calls, but despite its rather awkward name, Google+ will eat away at Facebook’s numbers and members. Perhaps, it just has to slow down the Facebook bandwagon enough so that Google can hold onto the top spot on the web. If I were Facebook, this new entry would cause me some concern and I would be adding new features like video chat and keeping a close eye on what Google is doing with Google Plus.

At first glance, I thought the choice of Google+ was a rather awkward name, but if you combine it with the Google +1 button it makes much more sense – especially when you look at this not as a social network, but more as a ranking system designed by Google to help it provide higher quality rankings in their index. Nothing wrong with that and everyone benefits. Besides, killing two birds with one stone is not a crime.


The author is a full time online affiliate marketer who operates numerous niche sites, as well as two sites on Internet Marketing:Marketing Tools and Free Marketing Tools. Titus Hoskins Copyright. This article may be freely distributed if this resource box stays attached.

11 Responses to “Can Google+ Stop Facebook From Becoming the Top Site on the Web?

    avatar Ahmed says:

    I think the article is spot on, all the social features such as group and video chat can easily be introduced by Facebook. However where Google will struggle for Users they will capitalise in the Marketing section. I will be the first to jump on the Google+ bandwagon solely to rank well for my website.
    As of the new Panda system, the old SEO techniques are not working so I also feel this will be one of the main strategies to rank well.

    avatar Tony says:

    I have no doubt, and I am willing to jump into Google+ ASAP. I hate FaceBook continuous invitations and updates from contacts, like spam.

    I will remove Facebook from my site to replace it with G+, but I will keep Twitter, which I find more usuful than FB for business.

    Personally, I think G+ has the potential to definitely do really well with certain types of users, however there will definitely be a large proportion that are entrenched Facebook addicts. It would take a ‘critical mass’ of friends / family making the switch to make G+ an individual’s primary social network. Time will tell though…

    Search engine optimization was created as a by-product resulting from the development, utilization and popularity of search engines. Without search engines, there is no SEO industry in its current form and format.

    avatar Todd Donald says:

    I joined Google + I think, (went through the steps and created an account). I don’t get it though… I really don’t know what to do next or how to use it. Also, lately I have received a dozen or more emails with subject of “so & so _____ saw added you on Google+”. Looks like spam or phishing to me… I don’t know any of the people that are on these apparent invites from Google.

    Summarizing, I can’t imagine Google + being anything their existing users sign up for to see what it is, but then probably never use it like Google Buzz.

    avatar Sharon says:

    I do not understand why people use the term: “killing two birds with one stone”
    Just saying.

    avatar NYC Birthday says:

    You hit upon something in this article that I was actually pondering last night, and that is whether the “test” stages requiring invites from your friends is nothing more than a clever marketing ploy. In truth,I suspect that you are absolutely right that Google can indeed handle the numbers, and that the age old marketing ploy of “limited supply” still works wonders.

    Also, very nice work sharing what exactly Google+ is, as that is a common question that I hear asked all the time. Nice article.

    avatar John says:

    I view Google+ as just another way for G to track people and bogard their way into your private life.

    avatar Bernie says:

    Thanks for a very objective and fact based review of Google+ I tend to agree with everything you say. Too early to tell. FB will not sit idle. Google may have just sent them a blueprint for what they need to change!

    Nice article, thanx.Im wondering how google +1 effect serp.

    avatar SEO Bedford says:

    GooglePlus still has a long way to go to start bothering Facebook in the social media game, it sure has great potential but due to the failures of previous Google social attempts I’ll wait and see where this is going.

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