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For many, Google+ may still be seen as the punchline to jokes about failed social networks, but the Google product still has a large and loyal following — just not necessarily among the groups you might think.

And, for better or worse, Google is still invested in supporting the network and its users. The company announced Tuesday that it's officially phasing out the site's "classic" design in favor of a redesigned look that emphasizes photos and minimizes the amount of white space. 

The redesign was actually unveiled last year, but up until now the company allowed users to switch back to the old design. That will change on Jan. 24, when all users will be switched to the new look.

Additionally, Google is adding a handful of other new features meant to appeal to longtime Google+ users. The network is tweaking comments so that low-rated ones are hidden from posts by default, adding the ability to zoom in on photos and bringing back its events feature, which allows users to create and share events much as they would on Facebook and other social networks.  

That all sounds well and good (even if the features are relatively basic), but you might be wondering why anyone is still using Google+ to begin with. The truth is that for all its missteps and flaws, Google's social network has remained a popular destination for certain online communities.  

One major group is photographers, who latched onto the network early in its history as a place to share photos and swap tips. The Landscape Photography Community, more than a million members strong, remains one of the most engaged communities on Google+, according to the company. And, over on Street Photographers, 369,163 members share boatloads of photos a day. 

Those may seem obvious, but there are other oddly specific communities that are really active on Google+. Together, The Art of Bread (for bread makers and lovers), Board Games (for board game enthusiasts) and Toy Photographers (primarily close-up shots of Lego men and other tiny toys) make up some of the most engaged communities, according to Google. 

There are also, of course, groups with large followings devoted to more mainstream aspects of popular culture, like Harry Potter fandom, or Pokémon devotees and One Directioners.  

These groups, by the way, are passionate not just about the topics they engage with, but the network itself. (Don't believe me? Just take a look at some of the comments on Google Plus' own profile.) So, while the Google+ jokes will likely keep on coming, don't expect the company's updates, infrequent thought they may be, to stop. 

Author: KARISSA BELL
Source: http://mashable.com/2017/01/18/who-is-using-google-plus-anyway/?utm_cid=mash-prod-nav-sub-st#50rEkH5nfiq8

Categorized in Social

There is no question about it that social media is changing faster than we can ever imagine. If you utilize social media for business, then you would do well to pay attention to 10 unexpected social media statistics, figures and facts and how it will change your perspective of social media.

Rethink Your Social Strategy Based on Social Media Facts and Figures

There are various facts and figures coming from prominent social media giants such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, Google Plus, Twitter, etc that will have your head spinning. Not only that, it will forever change the way you think about these platforms and the impact it will have on your bottom line should you utilize them effectively. Let’s take a look.

1. Twitter, Google Plus and Facebook managed to attract a large number of older users who fall under the 45 to 64 year age bracket. Twitter comes out top as it is growing a lot faster when it comes to users aged between 55 to 64 years old. It goes to show that you should not just focus your content on younger users.

2. Another surprising fact worthy of mentioning is that Facebook has over 700 million active mobile users and counting. Did you know that more than 80 percent of Facebook users are situated outside Canada and the U.S? What is more, up to 75 percent of marketers think they know what consumers want, but only 35 percent of these actually asked their buyers.

3. While Facebook holds the number one spot, Google Plus claimed its spot as the second most popular social network and it keeps growing. The last update showed that Google Plus have over 300 million monthly users. Google Plus managed to get more and more people interested as they are curious how it all works out.

4. It is crazy to think that most smartphone users aged between 18 to 44 spend close to 40 minutes each day connecting to Facebook of which most of their time is being utilized browsing news feeds. This is a wake up call for business owners to ensure their content displays properly on smaller screens. Besides, more than 4 billion people access social media via their mobile devices.

5. LinkedIn as the biggest professional network reached just over 330 million users of which 107 million happen to be from the USA. What is more, LinkedIn caters for 200 countries and is available in 20 languages if not more. The average user spends close to 20 minutes on LinkedIn. The number of pageviews reached in excess of 28 billion. Best of all, every second, two new users join this social media powerhouse. Were you aware that up to 42 percent if not more, of LinkedIn visits originate from mobile devices?

6. It’s been said that men predominantly use Google Plus, while women prefer Pinterest. Statistics have shown that up to 80 percent of Pinterest users are women, which may be the case due to food being the main category discussed. While close to 70 percent register Google Plus users are men. Pinterest is now more than 70 million plus strong and just over 23 percent use it at least once a day.

7. YouTube that is now owned by Google happens to be the second largest search engine as more than one billion visitors frequent this site. They boast over 100 hours of uploaded videos per minute. It is madness to think that more than 6 billion hours of video are being watched on a monthly basis. Business owners might be surprised to find that over 40 percent of YouTube traffic originates from mobile users. Did you know that as much as 1 billion mobile video views are being reported by YouTube?

8. Do not underestimate the power of blogs in terms of its ability to strengthen social media reach as more than 12 million users engage in blogging via prominent social networks. After all, businesses who uses blogs manage to generate 67 percent more leads than their rivals. This is why over 23 percent of marketers are investing in social media and blogging. By doing so business owners who blog at least 15 times a month generate five times as much traffic than those who do not bother to blog at all.

9. Instagram boasts that more than 20 billion photos have been uploaded to date. It sure is interesting to learn that one and a half million Instagram users are based in Thailand. As much as 50 million people signed up in the last 6 months. In addition, Instagram ensures that users receive over one billion like each day. They are now just over 200 million strong and counting. Furthermore, close to 25 percent of Instagram users are teenagers.

10. Twitter is a very popular medium for bridging the gap between social media and mass media. Television broadcasters are using Twitter to attract comments and feedback on their shows. What makes it so powerful is its simplicity, news breaking capability and feeds done in real time. They average at around 288 plus million active users according to Global Web Index. It’s been reported that they have well over 500 million registered users. Interestingly, China has the most users on Twitter. Eighty percent of Twitter users access the social media network from their mobile phones. Moving forward, Twitter is one to be watched as it is grabbing more customers than ever before.
Whether you like it or not, these social media statistics, figures and facts reveal how important it is to rethink your social media business strategies. It is even stated that social media tops porn as it is now the number one pass time for many.

It is a fact that social media is worth its weight in gold. Social media is not just a passing fad or phase as it continues to grow and newer and better platforms crop up all the time. Therefore, putting an effort into your social media strategies will go a long way to put you on top of your game. It is considered the smart way of doing business. This is why many business owners should make it their business to make use of the 10 unexpected social media statistics, figures and facts mentioned to position themselves in front of a lucrative market.

Source : http://www.toptensocialmedia.com/social-media-social-metrics/how-10-unexpected-social-media-statistics-figures-and-facts-will-change-your-outlook-on-social-media/

Has your business listing in Google been suspended? Not sure what happened? Columnist Joy Hawkins discusses the likely causes and how to address them.

I see threads over at the Google My Business forum all the time from panicked business owners or SEOs who have logged into Google My Business to see a big red “Suspended” banner at the top of the page. The Google My Business guidelines have a very long list of things you shouldn’t do, but some offenses are much more serious than others.

Before I get into which rule violations lead to suspensions, it’s important to know the facts around suspensions.

Google won’t tell you why you got suspended

A Google employee will rarely tell you why your account got suspended.

Business owners often want Google to spell out what rule caused their suspension, but Google isn’t about to help rule-breakers get better at doing it and avoid consequences.

There are two different types of suspensions

The first type of suspension is what I refer to as a soft suspension. This is when you log in to Google My Business and see the “suspended” label and no longer have the ability to manage your listing. However, your listing still shows up on Google and Google Maps/Map Maker.

In this case, the listing has really just become unverified. Since you broke Google’s guidelines in some way, they have removed your ability to manage the listing, but the listing’s ranking is rarely impacted. I once worked with a locksmith who ranked first in a major metro area; even after his account got suspended, his ranking didn’t decline.

To fix this type of suspension, all you need to do is create a new Google account, re-verify the listing and stop breaking the rules.

The second type of suspension is what I call a hard suspension. This is very serious and means your entire listing has been removed from Google, including all the reviews and photos. When you pull up the record in Google Map Maker, it will say “removed.”

In this case, your only solution is to get Google to reinstate it; however, the chances of that are slim because this generally only happens when Google has decided the business listing is not eligible to be on Google Maps.

Following are the top nine reasons that Google suspends local listings:

1. Your website field contains a forwarding URL

I dealt with a case last year where I couldn’t figure out why the listing got suspended. Google was able to publicly confirm that it was because the website URL the business was using in Google My Business was actually a vanity URL that forwarded to a different domain.

As per the guidelines, “Do not provide phone numbers or URLs that redirect or ‘refer’ users to landing pages.” This often results in a soft suspension.

2. You are adding extra keywords to your business name field

As per the guidelines:

Adding unnecessary information to your name (e.g., “Google Inc. – Mountain View Corporate Headquarters” instead of “Google”) by including marketing taglines, store codes, special characters, hours or closed/open status, phone numbers, website URLs, service/product information, location/address or directions, or containment information (e.g., “Chase ATM in Duane Reade”) is not permitted.

This often results in a soft suspension, since the business is still eligible to be on Google Maps but just has a different real name.

3. You are a service-area business that didn’t hide your address

According to Google’s guidelines on service-area businesses, you should only show your address if customers show up at your business address. Whenever I’ve seen this, it was a hard suspension, since the listing was not eligible to show up on Google Maps based on the Map Maker guidelines.

It’s extremely vital for a business owner of a service-area business to verify their listing, since Google My Business allows them, but Map Maker does not. This means any non-verified listing that appears on Google Maps for a service-area business can get removed, and the reviews and photos will disappear along with it.

4. You have multiple verified listings for the same business

According to the guidelines: “Do not create more than one page for each location of your business, either in a single account or multiple accounts.”

Google will often suspend both listings (the real one and the duplicate you created) but will un-verify the legit one (soft suspension) and remove the duplicate (hard suspension).

5. Your business type is sensitive or not allowed on Google Plus

This one is new to me, but recently Google suspended (soft suspension) a gun shop and claimed the business type is not allowed on Google Plus. Since every verified listing is automatically on G+, the only option is for them is to have an unverified listing on Google Maps.

According to the Google Plus guidelines, regulated goods are allowed if they set a geographic and age restriction, so the jury is still out on whether Google will reinstate it or not.

6. You created a listing at a virtual office or mailbox

Google states:

If your business rents a temporary, “virtual” office at a different address from your primary business, do not create a page for that location unless it is staffed during your normal business hours.

I often see businesses creating multiple listings at virtual offices because they want to rank in multiple towns and not just the city their office is actually located in. If Google catches them or someone reports it, the listings will get removed (hard suspension).

7. You created a listing for an online business without a physical storefront

The first rule for eligible businesses is that they must make in-person contact with customers. Since online businesses don’t do this, Google specifies that they are supposed to create a G+ brand page instead of a local page, which means they won’t rank in the 3-pack or on Google Maps.

I was once helping out a basket store in Ottawa on the Google My Business forum that creates custom gift baskets that you can order online. When I escalated it to Google to fix something, they unexpectedly removed her listing completely (hard suspension) because she ran an online store.

8. You run a service or class that operates in a building that you don’t own

For example, my church has an AA group that meets there weekly. They would not be eligible for a listing on Google Maps. According to the guidelines, “Ineligible businesses include: an ongoing service, class, or meeting at a location that you don’t own or have the authority to represent.”

9. You didn’t do anything wrong, but the industry you are in is cluttered with spam, so the spam filters are tighter

I commonly see this most often with locksmiths. I have run into several legitimate locksmithswho have had their listings suspended (hard suspensions, usually) because the spam filter accidentally took them down.

In this case, I would always suggest posting on the Google My Business forum so a Top Contributor can escalate the case to Google.

Conclusion

Has your listing been suspended for reasons I didn’t mention? Feel free to reach out to me or post on the forum and share your experience.

Source: http://searchengineland.com/top-9-reasons-google-suspends-local-listings-247394

 

Categorized in Search Engine

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