Late in 2014, Wordstream founder Larry Kim predicted the demise of Google+ in this article published on the Powered by Search blog. Two things he said really stuck with me: “in 2015 Google+ will die a slow death” and “G+ engagement will fade over time”. I must say, my reaction to both statements was, “What do you mean will?”
To the best of my recollection, I’ve never heard anyone say, “G+ is awesome” or “Yeah, we get tons of referrals from G+.” Ever. In article after article, social media marketers have expressed sentiments along the lines of, “We’re on G+ because we think we’re supposed to be, but we don’t really know why and we don’t get much out of it.” Slow death and flagging engagement have been the norm for Google+, so Mr. Kim’s prediction of slow death seemed sort of like… yeah, duh.
Something very interesting appears to be happening with Google+. For a website that I manage, since the first Monday of 2015, referral traffic from G+ has been up markedly. And the increase has been sustained every week so far in 2015.
This graph shows referral traffic to that website from Google+, for the last six months:
I know the numbers are meager – mea culpa and/or google culpa – but the sustained increase in 2015 has been remarkable, given that my posting strategy has been unchanged. In fact, my posting on G+ for the last few months has been less-than-inspired; after a couple years of posting with so little to show for it, I deemed that continued investment was a waste of resources. Posting on G+ became a low priority.
So… have Google+ algorithms been changed, giving content creators a little more reward for their efforts and thereby inviting greater publishing on the platform? Is Google+ dying with it’s boots on, engaging in a last gasp effort to stave off what has seemed like a lingering death? Or maybe this indicates a light at the end of the long dark G+ tunnel?
This is definitely something that I’ll keep my eyes on. And I’ll very likely try publishing more on Google+, to see if it drives up engagement and referrals.
Addendum – 1 Week Later
The following week, referrals from Google+ flatlined, as shown in the graph below. Guess that’s what I get for bringing it up? 😉