Goodbye, Google+?

By Alexa Bass | Digital Marketing Strategist

No fooling around – on April 2, your Google+ account and pages will be shut down and Google will begin deleting content from all Google+ accounts. As far as we’re aware, Google has not commented on whether they purposely scheduled this for the day after April Fool’s Day, but we’re convinced someone over there was thinking ahead.

What is ‘Google+’?

Google+ is best described as Google’s attempt at creating their own social media platform, like Facebook or Linkedin. It developed a relatively small but passionate user base, some of whom are even lamenting the shutdown in song, and virtually every digital marketing professional added Google+ to their list of foundational areas to cover, anticipating that they’d drive more adoption over time.

Then suddenly last fall in an announcement by Ben Smith, President of Engineering at Google, the company admitted “significant challenges in creating and maintaining a successful Google+ product that meets consumers’ expectations.” So in short, the platform did not take off as Google had hoped, and after 8 years, the search engine giant has finally decided to pull the plug. Third-party reports have, however, attributed the shutdown to a recent data breach as well. If you’re one of the rare users who shared content on Google+, you can download it here before April 2019.

How Google+ Shutting Down Affects Insurance Agencies

Since Google+ never really took off, you may think that its shutting down has no effect on your local insurance agency. That’s tempting to believe, but it doesn’t really take anything off of your very-full plate. Instead, it creates a need to shift your focus elsewhere.

This is mostly because many of the features from Google+ are now available over on your Google My Business listing, which could increase the impact of that content on your searchability. If you do not have a properly claimed, verified, and optimized Google My Business listing, then you are losing potential customers who aren’t able to validate your agency when they find you online or in their online research.

Wait, what’s Google My Business Again?

Google My Business is a free tool that lets business owners and marketers manage how their local business appears across Google Search and Google Maps, such as the below Google My Business listing for our neighbors at the Greater Columbus Convention Center. Google gathers information from multiple sources for these listings, including you if you’re managing it correctly. A properly optimized Google My Business listing allows users to find accurate information about local businesses, such as the address, phone number, website, products offered, and photos, as well as reviews and photos shared by customers or visitors.

How Google My Business Ranking is Determined

Google’s top local ranking factors are relevance, distance, and prominence, so our goal in optimizing an insurance agency’s Google My Business listing is to help with the prominence aspect. Having an optimized Google My Business listing that generates frequent posts, photos, and reviews will make your listing more prominent than competitors in your area. Take advantage of your free Google My Business listing today to ensure that your agency is getting as much local traffic as possible.

Next Steps

If you are not a client of Smart Harbor, we welcome you to contact us and learn how we can help you with this process and learn how Smart Harbor helps insurance agents grow and retain customers through digital channels.

If you are a current client, be sure to contact support to have your website and Google My Business listing updated now that Google+ is being phased out. Let’s make sure you’re taking advantage of the real estate that Google+ is vacating to optimize your profile and increase the number of Google Reviews for your agency.