In October 2018, Google announced the end of Google+, the company’s social networking platform that debuted in 2011. Ben Smith, Google Fellow, and Vice-President of Engineering made the announcement following the revelation that a privacy bug had exposed users’ information, while also acknowledging that Google+ “has not achieved broad user or developer adoption.” Google announced the intention to give users a 10-month period to wind down their usage of Google+, with plans to completely close the platform in August 2019.
While Google+ was never as popular as other social networking platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, it played an important role for Google in search engine results. It wasn’t only individuals who used Google+—businesses were able to create pages on Google+ where customers could find helpful information, read the company’s latest social media posts, and leave reviews.
So what does it mean for your website and your reviews, now that Google+ is shutting down? First, if you have a link or icon for your business or personal Google+ page on your website, be sure to remove it before the platform officially closes in August 2019. For now, all other features of your Google account will remain functional.
Second, you can begin utilizing Google My Business. This free Google service allows you to create a Business Profile, where you can share posts and updates that will appear on the right-hand side of the Google results page when a local user searches for your business. Google My Business also integrates with Google Maps, so if you change your contact information, hours, or other important information on your Business Profile, this information will automatically update on Google Maps, as well as in Google Search results. Patient reviews on Google will post to your Business Profile, where you can reply to the patient if you so choose. Google My Business also features a Q&A section that allows you to answer questions from patients.
For nearly all intents and purposes, your Google My Business Profile can serve the same purposes that Google+ did—you can share posts and images, update your business’s information, and interact with patients online. Google has made this service available on computers, tablets, and phones, so it can be simple to manage your Business Profile.
As for your Google reviews that were originally collected on Google+, don’t worry. They aren’t going anywhere. All Google reviews will still be available after Google+ closes down. And if you have any other information or posts on Google+ that you want to save, Google will provide a way for you to archive them before August 2019. You can start now with Google Takeout, which enables you to choose portions of your Google account data to download.
Here at AudiologyPlus, we understand that big changes in social networking and Google services, like the Google+ shutdown, can be difficult to navigate. With over 20 years of experience in marketing and digital platforms, we’re here to help. Please contact us today to learn more about how we can help you prepare your website and online presence for the end of Google+.