If you have used Google to search for a particular hashtag in the UK, you will find that there are additional results in the sidebars on search engine results pages. These surplus results are from the social media platform Google Plus. These enhanced results should encourage UK businesses and people to more actively participate on Google Plus, as more active—i.e. more +1’s, comments and shares—on Google Plus heightens the chance that a hashtag topic will appear on the search engine results page.
A hashtag is the # symbol followed by a topic. This format is a navigational tool commonly found on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook as well as Google Plus. Users can click on hashtags to bring up relevant posts to the topic. It is also a way for contributors to quickly reference comments to a specific topic, which helps the social media platform publish the comment as an attachment to a specific thread.
Released in 2011, Google Plus has quickly skyrocketed in membership to almost 1.15 billion users worldwide and 359 million active users. Much of this activity is related to the importance of the search engine parent which is, by far, the most popular in the world. The unique relationship between Google and its social media sister platform has spurred enormous response from the business community.
In the United Kingdom, there are 12.6 million registered users, with 3.9 million who are active participants on Google Plus. This number should be bolstered in coming months as more companies realize that active engagement on the social media site can elevate brand visibility on the search engine results pages.
The key to utilizing the new feature of hashtag search results is to produce high quality content and publishing it on Google Plus. The more original and engaging the content, the more likely Google Plus users will seek out the page and interact with it in the form of comments, +1’s or shares. Once the post reaches a certain threshold of content value that Google has set, that page has the possibility of appearing on a Google results page when the related hashtag topic is searched.
This new change began to appear in the United Kingdom in 2014, but Google had introduced this feature earlier in U.S. and Canadian markets. In September of 2013, Google rolled out this hashtag search feature to these foreign users. The result was a surge in business and marketing activity by American and Canadian companies. UK companies are expected to follow suit and devote more of their marketing capital to Google Plus activity.
Aside from its SEO synergy, Google Plus also offers a number of unique benefits. Google offers a bundling of a number of its products under its Google Plus site including Gmail, Youtube and the search function. This helps draw users to the site and retains their loyalty. By bundling these services, Google hopes to make serious inroads into the UK online community.