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Nonplussed By Google Plus

Google keeps fiddling around with the Internet, and (to no one’s surprise) they’ve done it again. Their latest change – Google Search Plus Your World – could be the most disruptive ever.

To make a long story short (see end of article for some long stories), expect to see some hyper-personalized search results the next time you perform a search, IF you’re logged in to Google. Here’s their official announcement.

You might be shocked to see what shows up in your search results, if you’ve been plus-ing or sharing some things via Google+. Chances are you’ll see things you might have previously believed to be private.

Once you’ve gotten over the initial shock, rest assured that not everyone is seeing what you’re seeing (yet). Thankfully, the “do no evil” search provider has included some new, largely helpful, indicators for determining which of the items on the SERP are being affected by personalization. Those should be easy to spot. They’ve also added a more obvious option to toggle on and off the personalization affect as a whole (look near the top right corner of the page).

Privacy issues aside, this isn’t necessarily a negative thing for online marketers like ourselves – it’s simply a change to the game (get used to it). As long as Google is calling the shots (Bing who?), we have to roll with whatever it does AND look for ways to take advantage of the opportunities it presents.

The worlds of Search (SEO) and Social continue to converge. Social marketing can be done with some measure of success without a thought toward SEO, but it is usually inefficient, and wastes a lot of potential. Search marketing cannot succeed without social (not organic search, anyway).

Social media engagement data is critical. Major players like Facebook and Twitter don’t share their info with Google. This is a fundamental reason why Google needs Google+ to succeed and why I believe they’re committed to seeing it through.

Google+ activity now factors in to the search algorithms (not Facebook and Twitter). Google+ pages and profiles are favored in the search results. That’s really all the justification that’s needed for allotting resources to this opportunity. It falls in to the “cost of doing business” category. You don’t have to like it, but if you want to compete, you have to participate.

Google hasn’t made it easier for social media marketing and SEO agencies to collaborate. They have, however, created the reasons for doing so. Client success is dependent on this collaboration.

Helpful and Interesting Articles

Danny Sullivan on Google Search Plus Your World

Fast Company on Google’s changes

SEOMoz’s Rand Fishkin on Google+

Bill Bean is a big guy in the search marketing world. He parks his large frame at Deep Ripples a search marketing company located on the east side of Indianapolis. Add Bill to your Google+ circle here.

About Bill Bean

Bill is an occasional and large contributor to the Firebelly blog. Most days you can find him chained to his desk at Deep Ripples, a search marketing agency on Indy's east side. Catch him on Twitter and Google+ as well.