When Google first launched the social networking site Google+ in 2011, it wasn’t exactly welcomed with open arms. Sure, the concept sounded great, but when users set up their profiles, they found Google+ to be a not-so-social experience. With sites like Facebook and Twitter giving users a social experience, Google+ just couldn’t offer the same. Some predicted that the social site would be a thing of the past all too soon, and that Google was just too late to join the circle.

Fast forward just two short years later, and the picture is very different. Google+ may be slower to grow, but according to data released by GlobalWebIndex, Google+ continues to outpace Twitter and is generating new users on a regular basis. In fact, the data reported that Google+ is the world’s second largest social network after Facebook.

Google has managed steady growth and now boasts an impressive 359 million active users, according to data from GlobalWebIndex. These numbers are up 33 percent from June 2012. One of the main reasons for Google+’s continued reach is the way that it seamlessly manages a variety of social services, such as YouTube, maps, search and other features. Basically, if you log into one of these sites, you’ve logged into all of them.

There’s no doubt that being the runner up for the largest social network is something to celebrate, but Google+ is still far behind Facebook, which has 1 billion active accounts, according to Mark Zuckerberg. But, it’s important to give credit where credit is deserved, and Google+ offers an experience that is unique to Facebook. For example, the Google-based site offers features like:

  • Open discussions
  • Google “Hangouts” (video based service)
  • Easier platform for discovering people
  • Ability to meet people who share common interests

Google+ is most popular among the business and marketing niches because:

  • Content is efficiently indexed by Google
  • Content stays around and gains page rank
  • Higher visual profile is created in search results
  • Google authorship is tied to content authority
  • Google+ authorship provides a wide range of social signals

So what does all of this mean for webmasters? Google+ should not be left out of your marketing strategy. Whether you need to create a new profile or start using the one you set up years ago, Google+ is an experience that you want to be a part of.