As expected, Google has begun integrating Google+ into search results. Any post marked “Public” while shared in the Google+ space will now be appearing in Social Search. An integration of this kind is sure to increase activity within the already much talked about social platform.
Social Search is Google’s attempt to integrate popular social platforms (Flickr, Twitter and Google Buzz, to name a few) in search results.
When a link is shared, that link is distributed to all that Google+ user defines. When set to “Public,” that link will also be indexed. Once pinged in a search, users within that user’s “Circles” that have also shared that link will appear beneath the result on the Google search page. The idea being that that link might now have more value to the searcher if personal contacts had either +1’d or shared it, giving it a bit more credo than it would have had before.
On the surface, one could surmise that this is Google’s response to Bing’s integration of Facebook and Twitter into their search results. Digging a bit deeper, a pattern from Google has started to emerge. From the user-interface (UI) enhancements across the entire spectrum of Google products, to the launching of the “+1” button that then led to Google+ as a social platform, to the emergence of YouTube’s “Cosmic Panda Experience,” with all of this coming after the “Panda” algorithm update, all things point to a greater strategy.
Google is reinventing search, and itself, in a way that is changing the internet as we know it. Gone are the days of packing metadata and keywords into a site to improve its native SEO value; the onus now is on how much a user “likes” a site.
How does a goliath search engine quantify the likability of a website? On the surface, in these ways:
- Improve the User Interface – Google took the lead on this, cleaning up each product’s aesthetic. They understand the day-to-day web browser expects much more than raw functionality.
- Learn from Collections – The new YouTube design promotes “Playlists,” Google+ is based on “Circles,” the greater Panda algorithm update is based on machine learning… The whole of Google’s playbook is based on its users organizing their online experience, so that an extraordinary algorithm can then “learn” from these groupings and quantify accordingly.
We’ve really only touched the surface of what Google’s roll-out means as a whole. Google+, itself, is sure to go through a few more adaptations before truly launched to the general public. At that point, we’ll then be able to recognize Google’s new position and react accordingly to then optimize our websites, blogs, videos and the like.
As a last note on this subject, I’d like to recognize an article by Ben Parr, of Mashable, explaining that Google+ is now suspending users using pseudonyms on their profiles. The powers that be at Google+ made it clear from its inception that the platform was not designed for business use, but that that would be coming down the line. I still believe it important for business owners to remain patient in setting up Google+ accounts for their businesses.