The big news this week is that Google+ users are up 58% from earlier this year.
The number Google is promoting publicly is 300 million active Google+ users.
There is still question as to what constitutes an “active” user on Google+. People have been questioning whether active users mean people that are using Google+ like Facebook or if an active user is just somebody that was encouraged by Google to signup for a Google+ account because they use another Google service like YouTube or Gmail.
For the record, Google says that there are 590 million people that have interacted socially with any of Google’s services that are also Google+ members.
No matter how you look at it Google is getting a lot of people to signup for Google+.
Many people have thought that Google was chasing Facebook and Twitter with Google+. Now people realize that Google is using Google+ to feel out who is creating all the content online.
Google Authorship Markup and Rich Snippets
I’m not even really sure what is called, but Google Authorship Markup or Rich Snippets is a little carrot Google has given content creators. In exchange for letting Google know who you are, Google will show your photo and a few other pieces of information in the search results next to your content.
If you follow the search results you know that people seem drawn to results with images more than results that are just text.
So if you create content and sign up for Google+ you get a little bump in traffic from organic search.
This is not really something Facebook focuses on, but Google has been able to grow the use of Google+ while figuring out who’s in charge of content online.
Google Continues To Focus On Ads
The biggest item from Google’s recently statements, in my opinion, is the fact that they continue to focus on ads.
This is not surprising. Google has been focused on ads for a long time. It’s their biggest source of revenue and their ad revenue growth continues to skyrocket.
Here is what was said about Google+’s growth:
“The goal of Google+ is to make all Google services better, including ads.” – Bradley Horowitz, vice president of product management at Google+
By better, I’m guessing Horowitz means something that will encourage more use from people, which lead to more ad impressions.
For a few years in the mid and late ’00s, it was possible for businesses to rank well in Google’s search results. Business homepages would rank well and other pages could rank well too.
It meant a lot of free traffic for businesses, but now Google is focused on improving their ad revenue. It’s in their best interest and it’s not even a secret. Everything they do is focused on ad revenue.
What this means for businesses is that organic search traffic might always be around in some form, but Google is going to keep pushing ads into the results.
If Google could I’m sure they would have 100% paid ads in the search results.
The company is putting more of their own properties in the results. It started with YouTube snippets in the main results and now will probably include content from Google+.
All will help Google serve even more ads.
For content creators, this means that it’s important to focus on a variety of sources of traffic.
Image: Google AdWords