This blog is about Graphic Design, Vector Art, and Cartoon Illustration

October 25, 2018

Privacy versus exposure in social media

Social media sites, like Facebook and Instagram, are supposed to be private. Not private to the point of being a place to share your PIN number, but at least private enough that your stuff really only is supposed to be seen by your friends, or followers. Of course it's not perfect, but sites like Facebook and Instagram at least don't allow Google to index images for a search. That is, the Google "crawlers" aren't allowed to go in there and gather up images so that people can do a Google image search and find photos of your cat that you posted on Facebook or Instagram. Of course it does happen, incidentally, but structurally Facebook and Instagram deny indexing to Google. And that's good for privacy, and bad for exposure.

Exposure is a marketing term. It just means that your business is seen by as many people as possible, and nowadays that especially means to be found in a Google search. So businesses, in their interest to be everywhere, have started going on social media. And they have found that what they post on Facebook and Instagram doesn't help with their Google rating, which is how close to page one your business appears in a Google search. It's really not surprising, because the two most popular social media sites don't allow the Google 'bots to crawl them.

A few years ago a social media site was launched by Google, called Google+, which did index, and which did enhance a search rating for a business. Unfortunately as a social media site, it was a failure. And so the best social media site to enhance how easily your business could be found in a search is being cancelled. Not that it really made all that much difference!

In the past few years I've seen complete acceptance of Google as the one and only search engine. Everyone I talk to tells me to "Google something" to find out more. No one says "Bing something" or "ask a search engine". It's Google for a search. If your business doesn't show up in the first couple of pages of a Google search, you're out of luck. No, it's not a conspiracy man, that's just the way it's worked out in the past few years. Google has won the search engine competition. No one even comes close. If you want new customers to find you, you have to be there when people search Google.

Now don't get me wrong here - I'm talking about expanding your business, not communicating to your existing customers. If you have a good customer base by all means stay in touch with them on Facebook, and Instagram. But don't imagine that those sites will enhance the ability of future customers to find you on a Google search.

I don't do SEO consulting anymore (SEO means Search Engine Optimization) and really the old techniques, along with Google+ are going away. When the internet was new they were often sneaky tricks that businesses used, which I recommended against, and in the past decade or so the idea is to simply be as forthright and transparent as possible, and use Google products. That's why I'm on Blogger. If you found this on a Google search, it's because this is a Google product. If I wrote this elsewhere it wouldn't index as well.

As always, I recommend making your business your priority. Do what you say, deliver as promised, follow up quickly. Make sure that your website (yes, websites are still critical) is absolutely perfect, and keep it updated. Remember that if you want Google to find you, you should use Google products. You can't use Google+ anymore, but you can still blog, like I'm doing on Google blogger. And if you choose to do social media, keep it simple and consistent.

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