Google launched Search Plus Your World (SPYW) this week (as if you didn’t know), and has sent waves of controversy throughout the media – mostly with regards to competition and relevancy. But what do the changes mean for marketers?
Online marketing firm iProspect reached out to WebProNews to offer some commentary, after distributing a POV to its clients with insights into the changes.
Here’s a sample from their POV:
These moves mark a continuation of the trends to include more social content and signals as part of both search results and the algorithms that determine them. By integrating both related Google+ profiles and the ability to follow them directly from SERPs for musicians, this may also mean the integration of Google+ business pages as well – for example, suggesting users follow the adidas brand page as a result of searching for adidas, or Motel 6 as a result of searching for Motels, making optimization, linking, following and keywords usage surrounding these profiles even more important.
Furthermore, the wider use of content from a user’s social sphere theoretically opens the door to other Google-related services and activities becoming part of search results. For example, highlighting YouTube channels that a user (or a user’s contacts) are subscribed to, have liked, rated highly, stores and restaurants reviewed by people in a user’s circles, or content from sites that are part of their friends’ reader list, makes participation and gaining a following in these spheres even more important.
Herndon Hasty, Associate Director, SEO at iProspect tells us, “It’s a firm step towards integrating social content and signals into search results, which is itself an effort to deliver more relevant results to its users and deliver results that’ll keep people coming back.”
“It’s also our most solid look yet at how Google views the value of a social share, and how much it’s banking on the success of Google+,” he adds.
“Brands definitely need to at least be claiming their names in Google+, if not contributing at the same level that they might in other social networks to take advantage of the special preferences that Google+ is getting in results,” says Hasty. “Images shared on Google+ are getting a lot more real estate on the SERPs than they did before, and shared videos are called out in the new SERPs as well, so making sure to share these kinds of assets from Google+ can help put you at an advantage when it comes to continually attracting your followers’ attention.”
“It also means that brands need to be encouraging followers and shares like they do for Facebook and Twitter,” he adds. “Link to your profile from your site and customer communications, include +1 buttons at your site, and in general make an effort to capture fans in the Google+ network.”
“Ultimately, it’ll come down to user adoption of Google+ as to whether or not this really tips the scales on social influence, and it’s going to be very interesting to see what Bing and Facebook do in response,” says Hasty. “We expect to see a lot of tweaking in the coming months as Google weighs how much influence to put on shares, and how often to show shared content balanced against traditional results. It’s certainly another fun start to the year!”