• About Us
  • Services
  • Case Studies
  • Blog
  • Contact Us
  • How Google Search Plus Your World Will Impact SEO

    You’ve probably heard by now that Google announced the roll out of social search yesterday, dubbed ‘Search, Plus Your World’. There has been vast speculation about Google’s motives, with the most credible of which suggesting it’s to do with…

    • Gaining market share in the social network market.
    • To improve the quality of search results through increased trustworthiness and personalisation (research by Nielsen suggests that 42% of people trust search results, but 90% trust recommendations from friends).


    In reality, all of the above will contribute to why Google’s launched social search. However, in this post I don’t want to talk about the politics – I’ll leave that to the tabloids. I want to talk about how this is inevitably going to impact our jobs as SEOs.

    What’s Google’s Game Plan With ‘Search, Plus Your World’?

    To really understand the impact, we need to realise what Google’s game plan with social search is. I’ll point out now that I’m not an expert or an insider in any way, but this is where I think Google might be going with Search, Plus Your World and Google+.

    1. Google is creating a ‘map’ similar to Facebook’s Open Graph that connects people with their content, websites and readers to understand who produces what content, what happens with that content and how people react. This is where the rel=”author” and rel=”publisher” tags play a big part (I wrote a post about this on Social Media Explorer).
    2. Google will then learn contextual information about readers and content producers taken from their Google account activity (e.g. what YouTube videos they watch and searches they make when signed in) and use this data in combination with existing ranking factors and G+ sharing data to better place content in search results.

    If I’m right, then I can see a shift in prominence in the SERPs to content producers with an active audience, but only in niches where communities exist.

    For example, in the social media niche, sites such as Mashable, Social Media Explorer and Social Media Today will receive extra prominence in SERPs because they have an audience containing not only the ‘influencers’ but also the remaining mass of social media enthusiasts who share their content. The social media sites that don’t have an active audience or community will lose prominence.

    In niches where there is no community (think ‘septic tank maintenance’ or ‘zinc coating of ships’) social search won’t change anything, at all. That is unless a company creates an active audience from scratch – for example, how Compare The Market arguably created an active audience in the insurance niche using Aleksandr Orlov.

    As I never wrote a ‘2012 predictions’ post, here are five things I think this shift towards social search will make us think about more as online marketers.

    1. Email marketing will become increasingly important due to the power it has to encourage desired actions, such as social shares. I am currently writing a post on SEOmoz about using email auto-responders to influence social SEO – hopefully it should go live in the coming week (follow me and I’ll tweet it when it does go live!)
    2. SEO strategies will have two sub-strategies: the ‘personalised SEO strategy’ and the ‘non-personalised strategy’ – the latter of which will be almost identical to what you’re doing already, but the former being more about gaining social approval and engagement from your audience.
    3. Low quality link building will become obsolete in niches where communities and active audiences exist. High quality link building will still play a major part in ranking for all sites, low quality link building will still work for uncompetitive niches with no audience.
    4. Companies will need to find ways of gaining the ‘social approval’ of influencers in their niche (if such a thing exists). +1s from your niche’s celebrity will be the social equivalent of the .edu/.gov link.
    5. Google will work on increasing the proportion of people who are signed in. That one’s just obvious :)

    Conclusion

    It’s fair to say that Google+ and social search will inevitably impact SEO this year. To what extent we don’t know, whether Google decides to make the ratio of social:links as a ranking factor 1:1 or 5:1 or 0.1:1 just isn’t possible to say yet, but my advice is prepare for the worst case scenario and you won’t regret it, because it’s something that will only increase in importance over time.

    Of course, this is all my opinion and if you disagree with me I’d love to hear about it and build a fuller understanding of all sides of the story. As usual, share your thoughts in comments below!

    Image Credit: Birgerking, vanmarcianoart.

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    25 Responses to “How Google Search Plus Your World Will Impact SEO”

    1. Fast, Easy Web Design! » Blog Archive » SEO Positive Hires New Business Development Coordinator says:

      [...] How Google Plus Your World Will Impact SEOSEOptimise (blog)I am currently writing a post on SEOmoz about using email auto-responders to influence social SEO – hopefully it should go live in the coming week (follow me and I'll tweet it when it does go live!) SEO strategies will have two sub-strategies: the … [...]

    2. News about SEO issue #1 « Seo Information « FiveDollarJob.com Free SEO Services says:

      [...] start to the New Year by employing a new Business Development Coordinator with a more… How Google Plus Your World Will Impact SEO – SEOptimise (blog) – seoptimise.com 01/11/2012 Globe and MailHow Google Plus Your World Will Impact [...]

    3. Dave says:

      Hi Marcus,

      Great takes on the current Google+ development. But just one question, I’m confused with your point on “Email marketing will become increasingly important”.

      Yes, eMail marketing still is an effective online marketing channel among others but I don’t see how it affects / contributes directly to building an audience or influence certain community. eMail marketing was and still is a cousin to the closer siblings of Social Media & SEO.

      But I maybe wrong in my assumptions here. So looking forward to your post.

    4. Hareesh Soorya says:

      There is only one decision we can reach at the moment. And that is people are more important that websites and organizations. So each person who uses google plus will be part of SEO soon. Thanks for your great article.

    5. Plus it’s now a great way way of figuring out who’s running your client competitors SEO! Just do a competitive query and view personal only results and you’re likely to see some of your industry contacts listed!

      Also, if you’re in the UK and want to see Search+ now, just sign in and use Google.com, here’s what it looks like for me: http://pic.twitter.com/tgKM3WNq

    6. Marcus Taylor says:

      Hi Dave, thanks for the comment.

      My point about email marketing I perhaps didn’t explain very well. In my experience, email marketing tends to have the highest conversion rates for getting people to complete actions. On some of the sites I play around with the single best way to get tweets or likes or +1s to a page is to use a newsletter to offer subscribers something in return for a social vote e.g. a free gift in return for a tweet using a service like paywithatweet.com.

      It’s not the only option and it certainly does’t work for *everyone*, but if social signals become more important, content producers will seek out the tools and opportunities to build them naturally as effectively as possible, which means going beyond simply adding sharing buttons on your webpages and posting from social accounts.

      As I mentioned, that’s just my guess of what I think will happen – could be wrong :)

      Marcus

    7. [...] the merging of Google+ and Google Search means to SEO – Raventools How Google Search Plus Your World Will Impact SEO – SEOptimisie Google And The Monopoly Paradox – TechCrunch Google+ Strategy For Taking [...]

    8. Jacob Stoops says:

      I agree, it most likely will be more beneficial to gain social approval from established accounts and “power-users” than just sheer volume. SEOs will no longer be able to ignore social as a ranking signal and will have to have an aggressive strategy on Google+ and potentially a strategy for personalized search and normal search.

    9. SearchCap: The Day In Search, January 11, 2012 – New Media Creatives says:

      [...] How Google Search Plus Your World Will Impact SEO, SEOptimise [...]

    10. [...] unei investii de 30euro lunare pentru ~1000 de vizitatori lunari. Unii zic ca ar conta pentru noul Google Social Search insa daca nu vinzi ceva printr-un email nu cred ca are rost sa-ti pierzi timpul cu liste, [...]

    11. Pamela says:

      Thank you for this great post, Marcus. I’m still trying to get my head around what the Google changes will mean for SEO (did it just get easier? harder?), and your article answered a lot of my questions.

    12. [...] engaging byproduct from Search Plus Your World is that email selling will turn some-more important, writes Marcus Taylor, conduct of amicable media during SEOptimise.  “Email selling will turn [...]

    13. Chris Wigg says:

      Could something more sinister be at work here? Does the acronym for
      Search Plus Your World (SPYW) begin to uncover an unpalatable truth?

      Google is attempting to force us to market Google Plus for them by
      placing Google Plus search results far higher than they deserve.
      ie Google is deliberately corrupting its own search results for its
      own ends.

      This will have serious implications for bona fide SEO marketers and
      website owners who rely on quality content and information to secure
      their page ranks.

      Google’s aim is to own not only search but also the social side of the Internet
      and are attempting to force out such social sites as Facebook and Twitter by
      skewing their search results.

      Google already peers into every facet of our lives and soon they may take control of them.

    14. How Google Search Plus Your World Will Impact SEO | The Big G & Business says:

      [...] Original article Resource Box This blog post was written by Marcus Taylor, co-author of the book Get Noticed (http://www.wegetnoticed.com) and head of social media at SEOptimise (http://www.seoptimise.com). You can follow Marcus on Twitter (http://www.twitter.com/marcusataylor). Marcus Taylor Articles 8 Find out more about Marcus [...]

    15. [...] How Google Search Plus Your World Will Impact SEO, Marcus Taylor, SEOOptimise [...]

    16. [...] level playing field and the inclusion of Facebook and Twitter data the fact remains that it has an impact on how SEOs work and collaborate with their peers in social media and content marketing as well as [...]

    17. [...] level playing field and the inclusion of Facebook and Twitter data the fact remains that it has an impact on how SEOs work and collaborate with their peers in social media and content marketing as well as [...]

    18. Future of SEO: Change, Convergence, Collaboration | automatedbookmarking.org says:

      [...] level playing field and the inclusion of Facebook and Twitter data the fact remains that it has an impact on how SEOs work and collaborate with their peers in social media and content marketing as well as [...]

    19. [...] level playing field and the inclusion of Facebook and Twitter data the fact remains that it has an impact on how SEOs work and collaborate with their peers in social media and content marketing as well as [...]

    20. The New SEO | How To Market Your Business says:

      [...] level playing field and the inclusion of Facebook and Twitter data the fact remains that it has an impact on how SEOs work and collaborate with their peers in social media and content marketing as [...]

    21. Future of SEO: Change, Convergence, Collaboration | Automatic SEO System says:

      [...] level playing field and the inclusion of Facebook and Twitter data the fact remains that it has an impact on how SEOs work and collaborate with their peers in social media and content marketing as well as [...]

    22. Jon Leon says:

      It’s interesting to read back on this article. I whole-heartedly believe that Google+ Your World is a good idea. But a few months on, there’s little to suggest it has really made much impact on the search results. I think Google authorship is probably driving decent traffic to more high profile websites and individuals but is it making a difference to the average searcher or the general business community?

      I’m still on the fence with this Google approach but I think greater apoption will hopefully prove it to be a success.

    23. [...] plenty of debate about how important Google+ will be, at minimum it seems to have significance for getting your business found on Google search. Then there’s the two year old Pinterest, the photo sharing site that has grown to be the [...]

    24. Kevin says:

      In order to rank well for my hair loss niche, I had to promote via Google Plus. No one tells you how hard this is though! I mean, building an audience and votes can take a while. A fellow nicher recommended trafficangels.org to speed up my Plus+ promotion. Now I have an audience of 500 +1′s! Certainly not complaining :)

    Leave a Reply