Google your own name. Go ahead, see what comes up. Are you logged in to Google+? No? Well log in to Google+ and see what results you get now. Your Google Plus profile now ranks at the top. Maybe this isn’t really all that impressive, but you can now see what other people will see when they Google your name. Why the change? Google’s new search engine just rolled out, called "Search, Plus Your World," (SPYW) and it is now including personal results and profiles of people you know and follow in Google+ when you are signed in.
Our own Todd McMurtrey, Amadeus Consulting Marketing Analyst, gave a presentation earlier this week about SPYW and its impact on SEO’s. This is a new technology, and no one can say for sure exactly what its impact on search will be, but I think most of us can agree that there is no reason NOT to have a Google+ strategy as part of your overall social media marketing strategy for your company.
First, let me talk a little bit about what SPYW is. When you go to Google.com and enter a search phrase, you now will see:
• Personal Results: Google+ photos and posts—both your own and those shared specifically with you
• Profiles in Search: In auto complete and results as well
• People and Pages, Find people profiles and Google+ pages related to a specific topic or area of interest
Todd mentions in his presentation that this new technology is making some people mad, some people happy, and most people are ambivalent. But there is a lot of potential for Search Engine Optimization here.
If I am logged in and I do a search, Google SPYW will pull up personal results, plus other (traditional search) results. When I type in software development, obviously, because of my connections in the industry I see a lot of personal results with this search term. I also see things I shared that are related to the search term. You still see PPC ads, as well as organic search results but if I click on the personal results link these types of results are all I will see:
• Biographical Information
• Full Text of Public Posts
• Links to people who have added me to their circles
• Everything I have +1’d, and everything my network has +1’d
• Links people have posted that are not in my network, but Google+ suggests as a connection
Here is the interesting thing – Facebook and Twitter results don’t rank as well. So if you have been spending a lot of time creating indexable content on those social mediums, unfortunately those results won’t show up in search. That is not to say you should stop using those social networks, because you shouldn’t. They are still very relevant in their own right, but do not provide as much value in Google rankings.
Some businesses are pretty happy about this change because the value of their social content on Google+ just increased. It is pretty easy to build networks and you can pick and choose which circle you share each piece of content with or even share it publicly. And if your customers are talking about you on Google+ it will now help you rank better on searches.
Also, link generation just got a little easier. The ability to link to profiles and content in profiles, and use profiles to link to your content helps spread links throughout your network. You also will see author profiles show up in search.
How do you show up as an author in search? Here is my favorite thing about Google SPYW. They have actually told you how to do it. If you hover over the author’s name in the SERP, you will see a box pop up that allows you to add that person to your circles, but there is also a link titled "Learn more about how authors appear in search" that takes you to a help page.
What Does it All Mean?
The future impact of Search Plus Your World is hard to tell. One complaint many people are voicing is the concern over relevant results. Will people try to "game the system?" Unfortunately, yes some companies will. But most of us that are reliable and honest Digital Marketing consulting companies will use SPYW as an opportunity to better educate, entertain, and inform our audience about what it is they are interested in. Amadeus Consulting is pretty excited to have the ability to easily share our social content because we try really hard to write and share good content.
Also, remember that not everyone you are interacting with on the web has a Google+ account. Google+ has more than 60 million users, which is a lot, but consider how many users Facebook has (more than 800 million active users). So you should still keep doing the things you are doing and simply add Google+ to your Social Media Marketing strategy.