I believe that Google+ is a great platform. I love the circles to manage contacts and contents, the chat and the hangouts are just amazing and even the games can beat Facebook’s. I think it actually is an overall better platform than Facebook, which makes sense since they could learn from Facebook’s mistakes and add some of the Google magic to the whole thing. But I’m also way more active in Facebook than in Google+ because is what my friends and family use, and social media is nothing but being in touch with people. And it seems like Google can’t get over this fact.
The company has taken some steps to push Google+. Most people are not in G+ because they don’t feel they need it. Well, Google came up with a solution for that: not long ago you could use any e-mail account to create accounts in Google and use GDocs, Analytics or Reader, but now you need a Gmail account. Even if they don’t just make it compulsory to have a G+ profile to use all the other Google amazing services that are market leaders (wouldn’t be surprising that they actually do this in the near future), having the Gmail account is only on click away from opening your Google+ profile. Of course this doesn’t mean you are going to use it, but now that you ahve it you might start using it and pulling your friends there.
But the big issue comes when Google announces that they are going to use Google+ data to rank pages through Google Search Plus Your World. The more Facebook likes or Twitter mentions your page gets the better position in terms of organic SEO, but for someone logged in Google+ those results will be under the pages that got +1 by people in their circles. Generally speaking this makes the search more social, but it leaves out the data from the major social media so it¡s going to be social but not accurate. Let’s say you have 300 friends in Facebook, you follow 500 people on Twitter and you have 50 people in your G+ circles. Well, after all the likes and mentions from 800 people, what Google is going to show you first are the links shared by just 50 people.
And this is huge for SEO and SMO. If Google manages to make most users open a G+ profile and be logged in when searching, the the +1 becomes the most important factor for ranking in the web search. Strategies based on web content, keywords, page structure and link building might have to swift to just get more clicks on the +1 button. Finding and engaging the people with most friends in Google+ (so what they +1 is shown to more people), or just creating fake profiles to get more +1s might be all you need to rank first in Google. Which leads to another issue: if links, contents and contacts in Google+ are going to count so much for SEO, there is going to be lots of SPAM in there.
I understand Google’s interest in promoting Google+, but I belive Google Search should remain transparent and accurate. It still is the flagship service from the company, so search should be sacred for Google. Using it as a weapon in the social media wars is just going to do a ess everywhere.