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    Google+: Elbowing Its Way into a Critical Business Network


      Google+.  It’s the social network that no one wants to use but is forced to. And some web users are saying enough is enough.
      When Google recently changed the YouTube comment section to require people to use a Google+ account, open revolt ensued. Nearly 200K people signed a petition that asks Google to revert their commenting system back.
      Of course, Google is not a government organization and as a publicly traded company, what obligation they have to petitioners, if any, is probably nil. However, this trend of forcing Google+ on people is part of an overall storyline in 2013 where America’s love affair with the “do no evil” company is starting to sour.
      Google argues heavily against it, but some in the online marketing community see a clear correlation between Google+ participation and search engine results. Data put together by the firm SearchMetrics suggests that of all social media communities, Google+ is the most important one if you’re interested in seeing your content rise in your SEO results.
      In addition, if you have a business that can be searched locally, Google+ is a necessary part of your life. It’s a little confusing how the search engine behemoth has their local listings set up. Even I can’t keep it straight without referring back to our guide on Google for Local Businesses, but Google+ is a factor.
      Want to comment on YouTube videos? You need to join Google+. Want higher search engine results? Data suggests that you should join Google+. Want to show up in local search results on Google? You gotta join Google+.
      But are people signing up for Google+ of their own volition? Data suggests Facebook has approximately ten times the active users on Google+. And the average user spends a lot more time on Facebook as well, at 6 hours versus 7 minutes on Google+.
      It’s never any fun to be forced to cry uncle. But if you want to play the game in Internet marketing, you need to be on Google+. And not just for the YouTube comments.

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