Google Plus Shutting Down – What Does It Mean For You?
What is Google Plus?
Google Plus is a social networking platform owned and operated by Google. It was launched on June 28, 2011 as a potential competitor for other socializing platforms such as Facebook. It allows users to network on both personal and business topics. One other factor that makes Google Plus important is it actually plays a role in SEO rankings. This means that having a connected, active Google Plus page shows a business to be more reliable and trustworthy, just like it does with other social media platforms. For this reason, along with the ability to interact with new and returning customers, many business and website owners use Google Plus.
It was just announced on Monday, that Google Plus would be shutting down do to detected security vulnerabilities. This bug was found back in March 2018 and was determined to have been an issue in the code since 2015. This bug gave third party app developers the ability to access private account information, such as email addresses of many individuals as well as the individual’s friends. Combined, it was found that as many as 496,951 users may have had their data compromised from this vulnerability.
Despite this, Google announced that there was no found evidence of data abuse. The news of the shutdown specified the closure of consumer access to Google Plus. However, as of now, a corporate version will continue to run.
Rightfully, many have been concerned about how long Google took to notify of the vulnerabilities. New laws in place lead many to believe that this should have been announced much sooner than it was. For example, Europe adopted new General Data Protection Regulation laws. These laws would require companies to notify regulators of a potential leak of personal information within 72 hours. However, these new laws were enacted in May, while the vulnerability occurred in March which was before the law was in effect.
Learn more about the Google Plus shutdown here.
What To Do Going Forward
A security issue online is always a scary thing to think about. Especially finding out so long after it has already happened. However, Google announced that there were no signs of data abuse. They also stated the issue has been fixed in an update as of March. However, with Google Plus still announced to be shutdown, it does leave many to wonder how this will affect their web presence and SEO reputation.
SEO Ranking Algorithms
First and foremost, this shutdown will likely have an impact on SEO ranking algorithms. Social media plays a role in the search engine optimization ranking of all websites and Google Plus is no exception. Social media accounts linked to a website show that a site is more trustworthy. With Google Plus being shutdown for consumers, while potentially maintaining a corporate version, it is hard to say what will become of this algorithm.
It could be removed completely from SEO calculations or it could still be factored in through the corporate version. This does mean that taking the consumer version out may also remove the ability to interact with customers. It is still too early to tell what impacts this will have on websites, but the best starting point is to make sure your site is search engine optimized as much as possible. Social media is an important factor of SEO, but it’s not the only factors, there are many other areas to focus on and stay ahead of the curve while these changes are determined.
SEO Link Breaks
For many who have Google Plus accounts, they likely display the link on their websites. When the platform is shut down, the links will shut down as well. This will cause broken links on the website and make the site appear nonfunctional and poor-performing. The best way to avoid this impact is to remove the link and delete the account. This will keep a broken link from appearing on your page and depending on how things progress with the corporate version, the link can always be added back later.
Some users may choose to wait on removing the link however since it is still currently included in Google’s algorithm. Especially since the news is so new. For users who wish to leave the links and accounts active for now, you will want to keep an eye on news updates and monitor the link for functionality to avoid a broken link sitting unnoticed on your page.
The best advice to take on this is to stay informed and up to date on any news updates. It is still very early since the shutdown was announced. Follow the updates on how the shutdown progresses, and take the necessary steps to protect your SEO ranking. SEO takes a lot of time and effort. Stay ahead of the curve and don’t let your reputation fall behind in the changes.
Stay current on the Google Plus shutdown news here.