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The Google “Search, Plus Your World” Update: 6 Must-Read Blog Posts…

by Steve Scott | Join Him On Facebook

Google Search Plus Your World Update - SEO and Google+ AdviceLast week Google made another change to its algorithm.

This is an update they’re calling Search, Plus Your World.

So what is this change? 

How will it affect SEO services?

And how will it affect your Internet business?

Basically Google now includes three factors in an individual’s search results.

These are all taken from a searcher’s Google account and experiences from specific websites:

  1. Personal Results: Photos, posts and preferences from your Google + account and other Internet properties.  This includes what has been shared and things that people in your “Circles” share with you.
  2. Profiles in Search: Search results from people in your Circles, plus anyone you might want to follow – Based on your interests.
  3. People and Pages: What people and Google+ pages are related to a specific topic.  This will make it easier to follow someone because you can immediately add them to your social account.

It’s the intention of the Search, Plus Your World to incorporate personal contacts into search results.  For instance, here’s what I get when I enter the phrase train for a marathon:

Marathon Training ResultsTwo of the top results come from comments and shares in my personal circles.

Does this give me the best results?  Honestly I don’t think so.  If I wanted to ask for advice on training marathon, I’d go to an expert (or search for a website.)  I wouldn’t go on Google + and look at other people’s experience with a marathon.

Anyway, it doesn’t really matter what I think.  What’s  important is to understand how this update impacts your Internet business.  And the best way to do this is to see what the experts have to say.  So I’ve compiled six blog posts on this topic:

#1 – Search Plus Your World by Amit Singhal

On the official Google blog, Amit Singhal provides an overview of the Search, plus Your World update.   This is a great place to start because it shows what Google wants from a website:

Best Lesson:

“Search is pretty amazing at finding that one needle in a haystack of billions of webpages, images, videos, news and much more. But clearly, that isn’t enough. You should also be able to find your own stuff on the web, the people you know and things they’ve shared with you, as well as the people you don’t know but might want to… all from one search box.”

#2 – Sharing a Search Story by Matt Cutts

I always look at what Matt Cutts thinks when there’s a change to a Google algorithm.  That’s because he does a great job of explaining things in a straight-forward manner.

Best Lesson:

“I was reading some of the comments on tech blogs, and I wanted to clarify something: Search plus Your World does surface public content from the open web, not just content from Google+.”

Best Lesson 2:

“I hope that helps to make my point. Search plus Your World builds on the social search that we launched in 2009, and can surface public content from sites across from the web, such as Quora, FriendFeed, LiveJournal, Twitter, and WordPress.”

#3 – How Google’s Social Search Shift Will Impact  Your Brand’s SEO by Erin Everhart

All Internet entrepreneurs should understand how the search engines work – Especially anyone who depends on Google for their web traffic.  I recommend Erin’s post because it raises a lot of questions about the “best practices” after this change:

Best Lesson:

“…Search+ essentially forces brands to use their Google+ pages much like their own website. That means brands should integrate their main keywords into Google+ posts to increase their relevance in important searches. But again, this must be done in a natural, non-spammy manner.”

Best Lesson 2:

“… if guest blogging is a part of your SEO strategy, which it should be, you need to ensure that each site that publishes your content is using the rel="author" tag that leads back to your Google+ profile so you gain more clout and authority from Google.”

#4 – Google’s Results Gets More Personal with Search Plus Your World by Danny Sullivan

Danny does a great job of giving a non-biased look (in my opinion) at the new change to Google.  He explains how it generates its results and what might happen in the future:

Best Lesson:

“Don’t like the idea of personalized search? Disappointingly, Google didn’t go the opt-in route. Instead, you have to deliberately opt-out.

You can opt-out permanently through the Search Settings area on Google. You can also opt-out on a per-search basis using the aforementioned toggle. Click on the globe symbol, and you’ll see unpersonalized results.”

#5 – What the Merging of Google+ and Google Search Means to SEO by Jon Henshaw

Jon provides a great list of actionable ideas.  In this post, he talks about something called Google Profile Authority or GPA.  The goal is to be positively connected to people in a market and make sure you’re sharing only quality content (including your own.)

Best Lesson:

“Bottom line, if you want to be as visible as possible on Google, you will have to immerse yourself into their social ecosystem. What hasn’t changed is creating good content and fostering meaningful online relationships.”

#6 – Google’s Search+ Your World Personalized Hides Local Results by John Doherty

Does your Internet business rely on local search?  If so, then you should check out this explanation of how this update has (and will) impact these search results:

Best Lesson:

“Google has long tried to find ways to surface the best information, but “best” is a relative term. What is best for me in one SERP (steak) is personalization, while in another it is universal (longtail seo). It almost seems like Google is giving up trying to surface content across the board, and instead is letting us choose.

I appreciate that move, Google, and it was obvious you were heading in this direction. But I did not know that it was going to be so drastic. Honestly, I think it hurts the overall search experience. Local results are buried because of personalization as we see, I have to switch back and forth to see universal or personalized.”

Your Thoughts on Search, Plus Your World:

There are a lot of things that can happen from this algorithm change.  Some of it will be good.  Some of it will be bad.  Right now, I have a lot of questions about this update:

  • Does this signal the end of niche sites that don’t provide in-depth, “sharable” content?
  • Will this favor massive authority blogs that are “connected” over small niche websites?
  • How will sites like Facebook and Twitter respond?
  • Will SEO now emphasize “Google + Optimization?”
  • Will we start to see long Google+ articles filled with keywords?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the Search, Plus Your World change.  Answer any of these questions.  Or feel free to voice your opinion…

Take Action. Get Results.



{ 21 comments }

Rob Cubbon

Great synopsis on something I’ve been trying to come to terms with.

One thing’s for sure, we’re going to be making a whole load of Google+ pages pretty soon!

“Does this signal the end of niche sites that don’t provide in-depth, “sharable” content?” Maybe not if the niche has zero or little competition. But, I think Google is hoping those sites go to the wall.

And that’s an important point for internet marketers that have a lot of niche sites, for the bigger more general niches, do they build a Google+ Page for all those sites? Would it be dangerous to show Google you have all those niche interests?

“Will this favor massive authority blogs that are “connected” over small niche websites?” “Will we start to see long Google+ articles filled with keywords?” Yes and Yes. It will favor large successful brands as well, I think.

“How will sites like Facebook and Twitter respond?” No idea, but interesting question. What if Facebook decide to “open up” their “walled garden” to Google. Google will have to include them massively in the results .

Steve Scott

Rob,

It is definetly, “interesting times”. For certain it means massive change in the way people do business, with likely more to come. As an absolute fact, anyone who has not yet started on Google Plus should jump on-board.

Of course hopefully most people have long since gotten that memo.

Thanks for your input man! Intuitive as always!

Sam

Thanks for those snippets of detailed information, Steve.

I think that once traction for G+ picks up, it will negatively affect smaller sites that aren’t as sharable.

It also opens up a whole new optimization avenue and social media work which is difficult for those webmasters that don’t have large teams or support.

What really interests me is how these search results will be interpreted by non-techy folk. Will they continue clicking the ‘traditional’ top result or will they fish into the socially shared material…

Steve Scott

Sam,

For sure, the writing has been on the wall for this for a long time. Google makes its money by making sure that the “big boys” results rise to the top and those results are most likely to have a larger social component.

There is still a lot of this that only time will really tell how it pans out, but it is easy to see that Google is stressing the importance of their social network… which is really something they have said they are going to do for a long time.

Cristina Ansbjerg

Hi Steve,

I don’t like this change at all. As a user for me it’s highly annoying. Also, I believe this is going to benefit bigger sites and blogs, since they already have more people connected to them.
I think it’s going to be tougher for smaller fish to find a way to the top.

Btw, I have just changed my search settings on Google as it says in #4. Let’s see if it helps 😀

Steve Scott

Cristina,
As a user… I agree with you. Like I said I am not a fan of someones Googe + opinion popping up in most occasions. If enough people vote with their wallet and use other methods maybe Google will roll this back.

But I doubt it.

For them it is a big move. They stress the power of their network and subtely bump the big brands that have a lot of social engagement. So I don’t like itt as a user or a marketer. But as a marketer I really need to learn to play their game.

Cristina Ansbjerg

As marketers we will have to adapt ourselves and our businesses. I still see people complaining about the Panda update and it happened many months ago.
A business can’t keep looking backwards. It has to evolve when circumstances evolve (or when Google does).

Nathan

Actually, from a searcher’s point of view, I don’t mind it at all. I actually don’t tend to search on Google much but if I do, and it’s related to marketing, websites, blogging etc, then I have no problem with first looking at the recommendations from people that I know from my circles or just seeing what others have mentioned about that topic.

Today, for instance, I searched for a marketing tool and wanted a review of it. Instead of just ending up with an affiliate site like ProductXReview.com where someone has set it up just to make commissions, I could see that there were some people in my circles that I know and respect that had a review of that same tool. Obviously, I checked out their reviews instead of those generic ones.

I think that the key is to really make sure that we manage our circles well and only circle those people that we really trust. There are some out there that are just using G+ to do nothing but market and promote and it would mean that search results would be useless and spammy from searcher’s perspective if we keep them in our circles.

Really though, if I can see recommendations and mentions from people that I know and trust at the top of the SERPS, I don’t mind at all. I see that I may be alone with this opinion, though! 😀

Steve Scott

Nathan,

YOu defintitely do bring up a good side. With the search you can get somewhat, “vetted” results. So there is that.

YOu are also right that a lot of the quality (or lack thereof) will be 100% dependent on how you treat your circles and what effort you make to really find other people that are doing a lot more than simply marketing.

Yours is the established opinion and the reason Google is doing this. I see a dark side personally….but I do also see your (and Googles) point of view and how it does have some potential for good too.

Amanda

Probably this is one of the most popular topics today, as far as I noticed on different blogs and sites. People express their thoughts and opinions about it, and I have already found many positive, as well as negative ones

julie

great post, personally i think that once traction for G+ picks up, it will negatively affect smaller sites that aren’t as sharable. maybe the key is to really make sure that we manage our circles well and only circle those people that we really trust. hmmm, its a difficult one!

Steve Scott

Managing your circles and gaining a core of Trusted followers will be key to keeping this useful

Levi Nash

I agree to you, if I want a professional help I may want to see a result that those with professional services not personal search result. What would I do with that? I bet Google is making G+ connected with search maybe, to encourage more users to go on create an account. I don’t know but it’s not that good but for marketers, it’s new opportunity to rank on Google’s first page.

Steve Scott

As a marketer, it is surely an opportunity. Anything that could potentially help your info to rise and rank really is. SOme of this is Google putting the pressure on to make their new network go… but some of it is honestly more attempts to personalize results. Only time will tell how well the experiment really works.

Tom Ewer

Hi Steve,

“Does this signal the end of niche sites that don’t provide in-depth, “sharable” content?”

Surely not. Doesn’t this only apply to people who have signed up and logged into Google+? That’s 100 million out of 2 billion internet users…I’m not too worried 😉

“Will this favor massive authority blogs that are “connected” over small niche websites?”

Possibly, to a limited extent.

“How will sites like Facebook and Twitter respond?”

File antitrust lawsuits? 😉

“Will SEO now emphasize “Google + Optimization?””

SEO blogs will probably be all over this, but I don’t think that necessarily represents its importance when it comes to SEO. They just like talking about hot topics.

“Will we start to see long Google+ articles filled with keywords?”

Possibly…interesting thought.

Cheers,

Tom

Ming

Thanks for sharing the 6 blog posts on this topic. I’ve read what amit had to say about this and personally don’t like it.

Just as you pointed out, the search experience is not you prefer…Even Google blend in twitter and FB or whatever social networks, it still does not provide quality experience for my search on Google. I’ve noted the search results varies a lot when I login to my google account comparing. G+ friends recommendation certainly affect the search results.

However, those content are not best content that I would like to see in Google search results. I think there will be more bots / plugin / services for G+ and other necessary social signals coming out to tap along the social SEO.

Christine

I am a bit disappointed with how they are showing personal photos and information from google+ and other social networking sites. I hope they never had to do this, since it is like invading our privacy. But the rest of the changes work fine with me. Just that one.

Dev

I totally agree with what Christine says sharing of information and personal stuff by social networking sites is an invasion of privacy no matter for what reason it is done.

Venus

Integrating social content in web world is surely another promotional scheme that Google is adopting to popularize Google Plus.I agree with the points of Amit Singhal, Matt Cutt etc…But at the end of the day, people use Google to access the best website among million others for that keyword.Personalized results will surely influence the quality content.

Gray

Having this new technology from Google is very promising but it is still very early to noticed its effect in the search engines and social medial. But it is a good thing for them to incorporate their search engine with their social media. Yahoo! is already incorporating their products and displaying this kind of results like images searches wherein they display results from Flickr.

Holly Jahangiri

As someone who is generally more interested in the actual search results than in how to trick search engines into loving my blog, I think search engines, in general, have a struggle to retain relevance to ordinary users. On the one hand, like you, I want the “expert view,” but also find it interesting to see what friends and contacts might have said on the topic or found interesting at some point. I think there’s room for both. What I’m not at all interested in (as a search engine SEARCHER) is paid results or keyword-stuffed results. Waste of my time… so anything Google can do, or tries to do, to make results more relevant to real people and less subject to trickery is a good thing, in my book.

I’d actually just like to see Google make their Boolean search more robust – I can usually find what I want by entering the right search, if they don’t dumb down the WAY I can search. 🙂

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