Edit: Since writing this article, Google have responded to Twitter’s statement with ‘surprise’. Denying any search bias, Google claim that it was Twitter who ended their relationship last year. This suggests Google are open to using other social networks and sites in the personal search results if those sites agree to open their APIs.
Search Plus Your World
Yesterday Google unveiled ‘Search Plus Your World’, a new way of searching on Google that filters results based on your Google+ profile. Filtering your searches allows you to search for people you know, photos you took and posts your friends shared in an unprecedented merging of Social and Search. The move has been welcomed by many people as they were getting worried by the amount of Google+ content appearing in search results.
Google Ignoring Other Social Networks
However, not everybody is happy with the change. Google emphasise how this new feature is focused on producing search results personal to you, but doesn’t make much of the fact it only integrates with Google+. This has upset Twitter, who believe that their network is the best for breaking news and feel that these changes will make it harder for people to find up to date information in search. Not the first time Google and Twitter have fallen out, Google stopped showing Tweets as News for fresh queries after a previous argument.
This Google update makes content marketing a vital element of SEO and SMO (social media optimisation). A well thought out content marketing strategy – developed after taking our content marketing training course – means that your content will be shared on social media, leading to you appearing in personal search results. Social sharing also has an effect on traditional search while great content attracts great backlinks so with one strategy you are optimising for both personal and global search results.
Twitter say that Google’s changes are ‘bad for people, publishers, news organizations and Twitter users.’ They have a point, but it is not just Twitter users that will feel the pain from this move.
While Search Plus Your World is a fantastic method of searching within personal information, allowing you to find posts and content that was hidden long ago, it only applies to people who have been using Google+ for a long time. As the social network only went public a few months ago, how many people have built up the wealth of information and contact that they have spent years building up on Facebook and Twitter?
Imagine how impressive Search Plus Your World would be if it included results from other social networks? A Twitter feed at the top, the ability to search through Facebook content (where most people store their photos and videos) and through contacts on all social media. However, that would not push people to use Google+.
This whole move smells of a Google+ marketing strategy. While Google+ has undeniably been successful in its short time, it is still seen as a place for ‘geeks’ and is full of ghost profiles. Many of these were set up by Google users who already used Gmail, Google Docs and Google Calendar and so thought they’d give Google+ a go, only to find that none of their friends were using it and so haven’t updated it since the first day. For people like that, Search Plus Your World isn’t very useful as they have no friends and no content to search through.
Here’s how a Personal Results page appears to a user with a large Google+ following and regularly updated profile:
There are results with +1s as well as Google+ posts – there are more further down.
Here is the same query, but logged into my personal Google+ account with less than 10 friends and no updates:
As you can see, there are no personalised results because there is no content to search through and nobody has posted or +1′d anything about Google.
Using Gmail, Google Docs and Google Calendars frequently means that I am usually logged into G+ when at home, so now when I search Google teases me with a function that is largely useless and encourages me to start using Google+ more. Personally, I would rather see content from Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and Tumblr, which I use more on a personal basis.
Anybody who wants to use Search Plus Your World will need Google+ first, anybody who wants to find Search Plus Your World useful will then need to have built up their profile with content and friends. It is a move that should see both Google+ sign ups and Google+ interaction increase dramatically. Twitter’s argument is that this will come at the cost of other social networks. This is certainly true to an extent.
Google+ Even More Important for Internet Marketing
If Google can prove that large volumes of people are using Search Plus Your World then it will become a valuable marketing tool. It’s a new way for people to get their businesses onto Google SERPs. Businesses will now want to spend a lot more time getting fans on Google+ and making sure they have up to date, searchable content – at the cost of time spent on Twitter and Facebook.
Businesses with the most fans and +1s, that regularly post content that received shares and +1s will be appear in more personal search results. While it is believed that Tweets and Facebook likes help push the search ranking of pages and posts, this move from Google provides direct correlation between social sharing and Google results, albeit on a personal, not global, level.
Google is driving out the competition. Tweets no longer appear in SERPs as news – replaced by Google+ posts and Google News. Google+ profiles are now appearing higher than other social profiles in name searches, even when users have spent years building up other profiles and maintain them more regularly than their Google+ page.
Thanks to this new development, will you start to use Google+ more than other social networks? Is this a step towards Google taking over the internet? Let us know with a comment below!
Google Analytics Training, beginners and advanced, also available at our training centre in Brighton, and privately around the world.
- Has Everyone Missed the Point of Search Plus Your World?
- Will Bing’s New Social Sidebar Seduce Searchers?
- Claim Your Content Using Google+
- Bing’s New Social Sidebar – FAQs
- Google+ posts appear in SERPS – what that means for SEO