Gargantuan search king, Google, announced changes yesterday intended to provide people with highly personalized search results and drive folks to the company’s nascent social network Google+.
Google is billing its new social search initiative “Search plus Your World.” You can get a full synopsis at Google’s blog. Here I am highlighting the most significant changes for marketers and why it will push many to create Google+ pages, if they haven’t already.
Google has served up personalized results to people use its search engine for a while now. But those results were largely based on a person’s search and web history.
Google Search plus Your World takes personalization a step further by baking in people and the content shared on Google+ into search results.
So, let’s say I wanted to search for “Antique Typewriters.” With the new results I would get a mix of sites from the Web – typewriter restoration services in my area, for instance – plus content people I follow on Google+ have shared with me, so long as I am signed into my Google account.
In other words, if a friend of mine posted photos of typewriters he’s collected on Google+, I would see that. And note, this would show in my search results – not everyone who searches typewriter.
Here’s what it would look like:
The yellow arrow in the image above indicates those personal results that show up. The red arrow points to even more social content that I can explore exclusively.
That green arrow – it’s important. It’s a simple toggle switch that enables you to turn off and on personalized search. This is something people have been wanting for a while.
This change in results is important for marketers because it means content your share about your space on Google+ with your followers could very well end up in the top of their search results for related topics.
Not enough to convince you to expend time and energy on Google+?
Consider this other new feature. Google will push people searching for particular topics to specific people and pages on Google+.
So a search for a broad search of a topic like music might lead to a box of suggested people to follow like this:
(Yeah, I know…Brittany Spears.) From this box, users can quickly add the suggested brands and people to their Circles.
So if you’re a brand looking to rank for a certain topic, Google believes it would behoove you to be active on Google+.
Another change is that Google will start predicting profiles of Google+ users when you search for individual names, even if you’re not following them today. Google is clearly leveraging a shortcut over other social networks like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
These changes are being rolled out over the next few days. Already some brands and groups, like Twitter, are crying foul. The always entertaining Danny Sullivan outlines the potential competitive and privacy concerns, as well as why this may mark the end of Google’s Santa-like behavior, here.
My prediction: as this war of words wages, marketers will start warming more to their Google+ pages. Many have wondered when Google would flex its search muscle in social. That time appears to have come. It will be interesting to see how other social networks respond.
What impact will this have on your social media marketing? Will you spend more time on Google+? Tell us in the comments below.
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