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‘Google Search, Plus Your World’ – An SEO’s Perspective

Mike Essex

by Mike Essex on 10th January 2012

228 Views | 18 Likes

Video Transcript

Google just made one of the most significant changes to their search results that they’ve ever done, and for once it wasn’t a change in the algorithm. What they’ve done is they’ve finally added social results and personal results in a big way into their search engine. They’ve had these things before, but now it’s official and Google has announced this with Google Search Plus Your World, which was launched today. Now, the plus part that is obviously important because these results are pulled from Google Plus to help add extra data to the search results.

It forms three parts, which I’ll go through now, the first of which is personal results, which will be indicated in the search results with a blue icon of a man. What this does is it pulls results that your friends have liked, things that you’ve seen before, and adds them into the search results, in effect pushing down other content that would have appeared there before organically.

This means the concept of rankings no longer exists essentially. We can look at rankings on a non-logged in, non-personalised search of course and get a good bearing from that, but personal people’s rankings can now be completely altered depending on who they’ve interacted with online and the pages that they viewed in the past.

It’s a really big change, and it means that every website needs to have a sense of community. You need to have people on your website sharing your content with other people. If you haven’t had great content before that people will share, you need it now because otherwise people aren’t going to socially share it and you’ve got less chance of showing up against the people who do.

Profiles in search, this is what Facebook should have added years ago, and this is Google looking at what Facebook is doing wrong and saying, “We can do it better.” So if you start typing a friend’s name into the Google search box now, under this change, your friend’s name will start to come up automatically, and you can see the things that they like and more about them. It’s a great idea, and it’s really something that was missing on Facebook, where you found people in a very laborious way.

People and pages. We’ve seen this already. We’ve seen profile pages for people and various brands starting to appear. Now it’s official. They’re going to appear more and more. So, if your brand isn’t on Google Plus, then you need to go on it right now, and you need to start building up a following of people.

The other interesting thing is that Google’s added SSL to all this data, which is what led to the ‘Not Provided’ issue, where we were seeing less keyword data passed into Analytics. Now it sort of makes sense why they did that, because now we’re looking at people’s personal data at a really high level, protecting the privacy of people’s search results, makes more sense now. Whilst before we looked at it and said, “There’s no way this has to do with privacy.” It does actually look like Google were looking at a bigger picture of privacy, and that this is probably the reason that we had SSL.

So in one go they’ve managed to reduce the amount of keyword data we’re going to see on our website and destroy rankings. So it’s going to be a really interesting time from now on. I don’t think this fundamentally means SEO has changed in any way really. You should already be doing social things, such as spreading good content and telling people to pass it on and trying to make your website interesting. This has just made it more important, if anything. But traditional SEO tactics, such as link building, are still going to be fantastic to get you up the page of results.

If you want to talk more about Google Search, Plus Your World, visit Koozai.com and leave some comments in this blog post, or visit any of these profiles below. Thanks for watching.

Mike Essex

Mike Essex

Mike Essex specialises in digital marketing and everything search. A recent project of Mike’s was featured on BBC News, Radio 5Live and the Times here in the UK, whilst also featuring on USA Today and ABC News in the US. He will be writing throughout the month about digital marketing and much more...

17 Comments

  • Anjlee 10th January 2012

    Google is always looking at the bigger picture; we seem to be following the path towards effective nicheworks and the connected consumer described by Brian Solis. It will be very interesting to watch the growth of G+ over the next few months.

    Reply to this comment

  • Mike Essex

    Mike 10th January 2012

    Thanks Anjlee. I agree it’s a very natural evolution for G+ and will help the platform to grow.

    I also feel we’re heading more towards the Filter Bubble, and as results start to reflect the common needs of our friends we will start to see less new opportunities for unique results. This is a shame as we could miss out on things to instead do the things our friends have done.

    Reply to this comment

  • Pingback: Google Brings Your World to Search Results

  • Lara 10th January 2012

    Excellent work as usual Koozai and Mike. Great bite size videos, just what I look for to keep up with this fast paced industry. Social is behind and the driver of many things online but i would still like to see unbiased, neutral results returning on page 1. Seeing my friends and social groups’ opinions should be made optional rather than norm.

    Reply to this comment

  • Mike Essex

    Mike 10th January 2012

    Thanks Lara, the good news is Google will let you choose whether you want social or unbiased results with the click of a button (shown by the search bar) so from that point of view it looks like you get the best of both worlds.

    Reply to this comment

    • njoxen 11th January 2012

      True, except the starting point should be regular organic search results. I don’t like that we have to choose first to opt out of personal results.

      Also, what’s the big take-away for marketing? Isn’t it the necessity to include G+ in its strategy? Don’t you think this shift makes G+ infinitely more vital to internet marketing and content sharing?

      Looking forward to your response.

      Reply to this comment

  • Mike Essex

    Mike 11th January 2012

    Absolutely, Search+ is a pure powerplay to bring Google+ in to the core results in a way that is unavaoidable (by default). For marketing it’s vital you add +1 buttons to any sharable content or product pages, and set up a brand identify on Google.

    It also means every brand needs some content that people would want to share, otherwise results for generic topics (e.g. car insurance) will be dominated by more fun brands with content people share (e.g. Compare the Market / Meerkat will do very well out of this).

    Reply to this comment

  • Hari 11th January 2012

    Nice insights…you are right the social habits are critical for search results as it offers relevance…the search will be more meaningful and means a lot to the specific user…SEOs must focus on creating relevance on key words and factor in likes, comments, reviews to provide a holistic web browsing experience…
    Your thoughts on over reaction from Twitter and other social sites? Is it due to the fact that they are not included in the search results?

    Reply to this comment

  • Bharati Ahuja 11th January 2012

    I think the blending of social results in search is not only the inevitable evolution of search but the reflection of what took place when civilizations evolved. We can just say that the stone age of search is over and now search even has the ability to reflect what people in your community are talking about and recommending. It is basic human nature to search for a want and then discuss with peers about their opinions and then take a decision. Since ages we have been doing this but now we have to just adapt ourselves to the virtual world for this kind of an action.

    To a certain extent I believe that if Google wants to improve the quality of search results and combat the spam on the web then yes, it is highly essential that the search engine can access data from a resource it has full control on. But, from the search engine perspective only time will tell how well Google succeeds in integrating the social signals from other social media sites from all over the web else with the kind of hold Google has over the search market it is going to be, Google Google all the way…

    But its surely not the end of SEO. In fact all these changes are taking SEO to a more qualitative level.

    http://blog.webpro.in/2012/01/google-adds-google-to-give-us-search.html

    Reply to this comment

  • Paul 12th January 2012

    Good post – I’ve just read your colleague Steve’s take on it as well, also a good article.

    I’m still undecided on it overall, I’ve thought for a while that results would become more dependant on a culmination of both social influences and reviews, having seen lots of reviews appear on different types of results over the last year.

    I think now the next thing will be the integration of G+ and some form of reviews, be it Google’s own review engine or third-party entities.

    I was also surprised to see such a significant step from Google come so sharply, I would have expected them to take a more gradual approach in revealing and introducing this.

    Paul

    Reply to this comment

    • Mike Essex

      Mike 12th January 2012

      Thanks Paul. With so much competition Google probably felt they had to do a big launch in one go so they wouldn’t be beaten to the punch. I’m sure they’ll tweak it over time, and I’m still unsure how it will affect purchasing decisions (e.g. I have client that sells fiber lasers, a product that would be unlikely to be socially shared).

      Google Analytics will give us the answers… oh wait Not Provided data…

      Reply to this comment

  • Paul 12th January 2012

    Haha.

    I agree, I also think that social is a lot easier to game than links to be honest, but I suppose this will change before long. Definitely going to see a lot of changes/developments in the not so distant future!

    Reply to this comment

    • Mike Essex

      Mike 12th January 2012

      Oh yeah, there’s been offers on eBay to buy a ton of +1′s for months (very cheap too). I hope they’re ready to be spammed over and over.

      Reply to this comment

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  • Joydeep 25th July 2012

    Google Plus has definitely changed the way websites appeared on search results. Community branding and engagement is necessary. Google plus ones is definitely the thing to look for, more plus means more votes for your website and better rankings.

    Reply to this comment

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