Google Search+ your world

January 24, 2012

The search algorithm on which Google is built is becoming less relevant. Mobile has brought context to search, and social media has brought friends and recommendations. The old algorithm that delivered authoritative results wasn’t built in a world in which people wanted these newfangled things to influence their queries – and so is becoming redundant. As a result Google is integrating Google+ into Google search so account holders are able to search against both the broader web and their own Google+ social graph.

From Google: ‘Search has always brought you information from across the web. Now, search gets better by including photos, posts, and more from you and your friends. When signed in with Google+, you’ll find personal results and profiles of people you know or follow. You can even expand your world by discovering people related to your search.’ Read more here.

It’s a pretty significant blurring of the line between the web as we know it and the web as you and your Circles of friends know it, but what does it mean for brands?

With ‘Google Search+ your world’ being automatically enabled for Google users who are logged in, brands now have no choice but to maintain their Google+ presence or face being left on the sidelines. This is because users logged into Google or a Google Apps account will see results from Google+ high up in their results, and if a brand isn’t navigating that topic on Google+, someone else gets the attention and clicks.

Therefore, the top search results, traditionally coveted for clicks, are now filled with social mentions. And these social mentions, which may add more trust and authority to a user’s results, they aren’t necessarily more relevant.

Google’s long been under fire for an algorithm that struggles to produce the most relevant results, and with Search+, it seems that they aren’t doing much to head in that direction.  Especially since Facebook and Twitter results aren’t aggregated into public search, it’s put an even bigger emphasis on not only creating a brand page on Google+, but being an active member. 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.

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