The single biggest development regarding Google’s latest update is the exclusion of Facebook and Twitter from search results. “Search, plus Your World” integrates your social shares (on Google+), and those in your network, within search results. Google’s goal is not only to improve search by better understanding content, but also people and relationships.
On January 10th, Google rolled out three new features to help define Social Search:
- Personal Results: This will enable Search to bring you personalized, unique results. Photos and posts shared with you will appear in your results page and only you will be able to see them.
- Profiles in Search: You’ll be directed, in auto-complete and results, towards people you are connected to or might be interested in following.
- People and Pages: This will help you find people profiles and Google+ pages related to a specific topic or area of interest. The goal here is building a community around Search.
If you have a hunch that Google’s moves mark a paradigm shift in the way we do business online, you are spot-on. Google+ has a tremendous upside for any businesses that recognize its potential and invest the proper amount of time in learning how to use it. Much of what you’ll hear regarding “Social Search” will have round tones about people and community. But, rest assured, marketing is at its core and the implications for those that can understand how the new platform works and ways to optimize it are huge.
A few tips and observations on Search, plus Your World:
1. More is Better
The adage that came with Facebook Business Pages was, “We’re more interested in quality followers.” That doesn’t exactly apply with Google+. More is better for the fact that each additional contact opens up a network of users that might now see your shared links in their search results.
2. Page One is Shorter
With the addition of “Your Search,” the competition has heightened on Page One. Personal results now take 4-6 of the 10 results on that first page. So if you’re considering whether or not to take this latest up date from Google seriously, I’d recommend that you do.
3. Search is All-The-More Dynamic
“Search, plus Your World” slams social into search. With this, the algorithm defining which results place highest is in constant flux. These results will now include photos from you and your friends, Google+ content from your Circles, and profiles of people on the Google+ network.
4. Get on Google+, ASAP
Start building your circles and seek out influencers. As you’d expect, the search functionality within G+ is quite potent. Fill your circles with people and businesses of like interests. If you are a Twitter user, deploy the same tactics you would use to attract followers.
5. Use SEO Best-Practices in Google+
Your posts now will index at a high rate of efficiency, the link/picture you are sharing and the status update you use to deploy it. Careful use of keywords important to your brand can make the most of this opportunity. Remember though, this is SOCIAL; don’t be a bull in a China cabinet! If you come off “sales-y”, you’ll do your brand more harm than good.
6. Relevance now Based on the Quality of Your Content
Google integrating “+” with Search is yet another movement in the industry that reinforces the supreme power of content: what you post, what is shared in that post, and its relevance to your product/service and your customers. My best advice per strategy is post all content you wish to gain traction using smart keywords, but in a conversational, “social,” tone. When posting pictures, use the caption field to add context and relevance to the image. You’ll want to apply the same level of detail to your “About” section. Those fields link directly to search queries; use them wisely so that your customers can find you.
7. Google+ is Growing
Let’s compare Facebook and Google. With Facebook, you have Facebook.com. It is the single largest platform of its kind, but it is confined to its own space (even with the Social Graph.) With Google, you have YouTube, Gmail, Motorola, Voice, Maps, Blogger, Android, and the list goes on and on. Per a growth potential, that would position any social network for success. Factor in that this is Google, and the odds of G+ reaching critical mass are very high. Google is looking to assemble this magazine of web products into one Google social super-product.