Many observers of the SEO industry had expected the further penetration of the Google+ network to happen at some point in 2012. However, for it to happen in the second week of the year came as a bit of a surprise. This is what transpired with the launch of ‘Google Search, plus Your World’ on January 10th.
Search, plus Your World introduces enhancements to your personalised search results (if you’re signed into Google). Now, if you’re signed in you’ll see listings from a number of sources within your private network of connections including:
- Listings from the web
- Listings from the web, influenced by of your personal behaviour
- Listings from the web, influenced by your social connections
- Public Google+ posts, photos or Google Picasa photos (all of which are also listings from the web)
- Private or “Limited” Google+ posts, photos or Google Picasa photos shared with you
These personalised results are indicated with a blue figure to the left of the search listing:
There are a few rather notable absentees from these sources; namely Facebook, Twitter and Flickr and in fact visits from any social network that isn’t related to Google won’t appear, which has sparked more anti-trust controversy. Will they be able to hold off from providing Google with access to at least a portion of their data for much longer?
Whilst these personalisation enhancements are interesting in themselves, it is the further push of Google+ results into the main Google serps (search engine results pages) that has pricked the ears of many in the SEO field.
For example, when searching the name of a person or a company, Google will now suggest their Google+ page as a result within the search toolbar.
Another change is suggested Google+ profile pages. Although these search queries are limited at the moment, there are signs as to where Google is going with its Google+ network. If you search for ‘SEO’ the results return the listings for some well known SEO experts Google+ pages – the key point here is that you don’t need to be signed in to trigger these results:
Will Google push further with these results appearing in more and more queries in the future? We would guess that it was highly likely. Indeed, the advent of Search, plus Your World and the continued penetration of Google+ results into the serps should make businesses and brands seriously consider how they’re going to manage their presence on Google+.
From these indications this is unlikely to be the last aggressive move that we see from Google as it continues to integrate its social network further into its search results.