As a small business or charity operator the latest happenings in the world of ‘search’ may not feel too important to you, but if you promote yourself through social media networks and search engine results Google’s latest move simply can’t be ignored.
This week Google announced that it is integrating it’s ‘Google+’ social network into the results it displays for searches. They’re calling it ‘Search, plus Your World’.
What does it do?
In short, it further ‘personalises’ individual search results and gives Google+ social network results a huge push up the results page. Google is already steadily integrating ‘signals’ from social networks to interpret how valuable, useful and cutting edge certain pages are to individual people and then shaping their individual search results based on these. This takes it further and now if somebody is logged in to Google+ (and they often remain logged in by default) items on their network related to the search term will be plucked out and integrated in to the first page of search results.
What does that mean for a small business or charity?
Google is basically throwing its weight around on this. It’s saying, intentionally or not, ‘if you want to stay in the Search Engine Optimisation marketing game you’re going to have to join Google+’.
Lets say, for example, that there is a Google user who is looking to buy ‘baby bonnets online’. You happen to have spent a lot of time and effort getting your boutique baby bonnet business to the top of Google’s search results. However this person is friends with somebody on Google+ who recently +1’ed (the Google+ equivalent of ‘like’) a baby bonnet selling company they have just bought a bonnet from. The end result? That Google+ page is likely to be propelled to the top of their search screen despite the fact they may be nowhere near the first page in the search results normally. Bye-bye sale prospect as the user clicks on them instead of you.
What!? But, but… what to do?
Well, to be honest Google are too big to ignore on this. They are arguably abusing their search monopoly to aid their social network but regardless it’s clear: they mean business, and they want your business. The short answer of what to do is simple: you must now seriously consider getting a Google+ account set up for your company or charity if you’ve not already. Personally I’d say it’s a ‘must. And in the future when you think social media marketing you simply can’t ignore Google+.