Google Rocks SEO With Search Plus Your World
In case you missed it last week, Google announced a major update to how they deliver search results. The update is called Search Plus Your World. Much is being written about Search Plus Your World. Essentially, it makes search results much more personalized by displaying private content you’ve previously shared with your network through Google+.
While Google’s new personalized search raises all kinds of privacy and even anti-trust concerns, I’ll let pundits like Danny Sullivan (and others) cover that aspect of it.
I want to comment on the implications of Search Plus Your World on search engine optimization for marketers. Note, at the time of this writing the announcement is less than a week old. Therefore, there is undoubtedly more to come. But, it’s safe to say that marketers must pay attention to this and other announcements from Google that impact organic search results. So, here are three key take-aways for marketers who rely on organic search engine optimization (SEO) results to drive traffic to their websites.
SEO Rankings Continue to Mean Less
Since the introduction of Google’s social search originally in 2005, which were made more prominent in October 2011, the ranking results for a search vary according to your personalization and previous search behavior. This requires marketers to continually focus on producing relevant content, and promoting it through social media sharing sites. Speaking of social sharing….
Social Search is Here to Stay
Both Google and Bing have released updates that take into account the extent to which content has previously been shared through social media. Facebook has the Like button. Likes data is shared with Microsoft Bing. And Google has the +1 button, which is tracked by Google’s search algorithm. Any user can share web content through Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, Stumbleupon, Tumblr and many other social media properties. When people share content through social media, Google and Bing “score” that content well determining (algorithmically) that the content is worthy of a competitive ranking in a search result. Of the social media properties listed above the youngest of the bunch is Google+. Therefore….
Marketers Must Pay Attention to Google+
Google+ has only been live since late June 2011. The user base is approaching 100 million (at the time of this writing). Whether or not you (and I) like it, Google+ results are prominently displayed in Search Plus Your World, and therefore favored over any other social media site. Neither Facebook nor Twitter content is displayed in Google’s search results other than the home page of a Facebook page and the home page of a Twitter page. But, content inside Facebook pages and Twitter accounts is not displayed. Google’s argument is that Facebook doesn’t share their data with Google. And, Twitter and Google didn’t renew their previous agreement to display Twitter content in search results. We’ll see if these reasons hold any water in anti-trust investigations.
Again, privacy and anti-trust implications aside, this simply comes down to one point. As marketers we want our content shared on Google+. Period.
Another SEO implication for marketers is to track your search results in Bing closely. If your search results in Bing are very different than Google, you’ll need to serve both search engine masters more than ever before.
I have a strong feeling the SEO implications of Search Plus Your World will continue to play out in the court of public opinion and possibly in other legal courts.