ComScore, which measures traffic on the web, has recently released rankings that put Google+ at the bottom of time spent on social networks. The stories that Google+ is dead, however, are worth ignoring for a few important reasons.
The raw numbers
According to recently released ComScore rankings, the amount of time spent on social networks varies greatly. These rankings are only for desktop computers; they do not include mobile usage, tablet computers or any other handheld-style device. These rankings say that users spend 405 minutes per month on Facebook, 89 minutes per month on Pinterest and Tumblr, 21 minutes on Twitter, 17 on Linkedin, 8 on MySpace and just 3 on Google+.
The problems with G+
The problems with Google+ are relatively obvious – users simply are not spending as much time on the network because they are in other places. Google positioned G+ as a competitor to Facebook and has not differentiated itself well in the marketplace. While 90 million users have registered for Google+, the company has not released information on the number of active users on a weekly or monthly basis. Game platform Zynga’s chief operating officer John Schappert has said: “So far, Google+ is a nice platform, but it’s been slow on the uptick with users right now.”
Why Google+ could remain relevant
Despite numbers that are not impressive, Google+ will likely remain relevant online for two major reasons: depth of conversation and SEO. One of the factors of Google+ that users have consistently pointed out that they love is the depth and breadth of conversations on the social network. The users that are on Google+ are the early adopters, technology geeks and business leaders that are engaging in conversations. Google+ is also becoming a hangout for artists and designers, where visual elements get a bigger billing than on other social networks.
Besides the conversations and connections that exist on Google+, there is a simple search engine optimization reason Google+ will maintain at least some level of relevancy. Google has already heavily integrated Google+ information, sharing and images into Google search engine results pages. These SERPs are the lifeblood of Google’s identity and products and the photos and results are integrated heavily. Unless Google chooses to de-integrate SERPs and Google+, the social network will remain incredibly important to search engine optimization.