by Nathan S
When Google first released its social network, Google+, it did so to the response of many people shrugging their shoulders. Other than the obvious—that Google’s +1 button would now factor into searches in some way—the social network seemed to be nothing but a clone of Facebook. It did not seem different enough to encourage the average person to add the network, let alone abandon Facebook for it. However, with Google’s newest updates to its social network, this is about to change.
It’s no secret that Google has been about an integrated search experience for quite some time. Google search was supplemented with Google Image search, and other features such as Google Maps and Google Shopping were quickly integrated into the main results of a basic Google search. Continuing this trend, Google is integrating Google+ information directly into search results for users logged into their Google accounts.
This means that, at the same time as receiving “authoritative” results – the stuff SEO usually helps people get to the top of – Google+ users will also see data from within their G+ circles. The fundamental assumption is that the most relevant information on a given topic for a given Google+ user is information which has been shared within their social network. For instance, if such a user wants to look for a given person, Google automatically assumes that they are looking for someone they already know.
This is a valid assumption, but one which has ramifications for online marketers. We all know Google – the Google+ information will always be at or near the top. That’s how they operate. So what does it mean to rank #1 as an authoritative result anymore? Certainly, this practice is still desirable, but it may be time to consider supplementing it with a strong, public Google+ presence, in order to maximize search engine presence.