Independent thinkers who are not easily influenced will listen to what others have to say and weigh their options. So when Google announced this week the integration of Google+ social posts into google.com query results, I began wondering what happened to the promise of clean search results without a bunch of garbage. And folks, really -- did you not see this coming? Obviously, there's more to the strategy.
Google's announcement that it will integrate social into its search query results has digital agency COOs like Andreas Pouros at Greenlight emphasizing the importance of creating a Google+ brand page. He wants to emphasize that fundamentals won't change, but there's more to the strategy.
Digital platform provider BrightEdge CEO and Founder Jim Yu explains that a Google+ brand page or personal profile and photo will appear in the autosuggest feature of the search query bar, as well as the search query results. While it's important for brands to start using this feature, "brands need to connect the Google+ pages to the overall Web experience," he said.
Through social, the auto-complete feature suggests other topics and mentions that searchers might want to read, or profiles to connect with and follow. Any content on a Google+ page or profile that is publicly indexed can serve up in search results when it's relevant to a query, according to a Google spokesperson.
Those focusing on search engine optimization (SEO) will take the integration a bit deeper than creating a Google+ brand page. Being able to understand and adapt to personalization -- such as behavior, social and geolocal -- remains key for search marketers, according to Reliable SEO President Dave Harry, who continues to emphasize the importance of all three to optimize sites and brand campaigns.
Harry said marketers should view site use stats from Google+, and personalized results in general, as an alternate metric from the data Google stripped from HTTP searches. SEO experts don't get data directly from Google logged-in users, but can infer that the "not provided" data relates to people who access the site while logged in, potentially seeing Google Search+ Your World posts and data. He suggests looking at the percentage of keyword data not provided by Google to determine how much traffic Web sites get -- which comes from data likely personalized by Google Search+ Your World options -- to adapt marketing strategies accordingly.
Will Google Search+ Your World have an effect on SEO? Yes, Harry said, pointing to changes the industry went through to adapt to Google's Panda search algorithm. He also suggests establishing the value of the social Web in a brand's market, and adapting and aligning social programs. "I don't think brands need to do much more than standard operating procedure," he said. "Branding is about getting people talking about you, and the social graph is a natural extension."
Personally, I want to bring up a browser and search engine, enter keywords, hit return and get the best results possible in the shortest amount of time so I don't have to go through the steps of searching on another keyword to find the perfect fit. I view it similar to the promise of targeted search or display ads, where I'm served the perfect ad rather than seeing a bunch of promotions for products of which I have no interest.