Yesterday we covered the hot topic of Google’s social search from a very ‘news’ perspective. If you haven’t watched the tour video take a minute and hit play on the video below.
The truth is that Google is rolling this new search functionality piecemeal just in the same way as most of the recent features. So if I try to explore the option from my work account I get no offers and I’d have to cheat to go play with it right now.
However, on my personal account the option comes right up and my personal account has a smaller social circle than my work account so it seems to me that it’s just a work-in-progress at the moment.
A visit to the Google Inside Search site gives us a bit more confirmation:
If you aren’t seeing the features of Search plus Your World, don’t worry, we’re rolling them out over the next few days.
.. so if you’re not getting the option to try it out, it should come along soon!
Here’s a ‘hands on’ example of ‘Search plus Your World’ for a phrase I personally talk about a lot, ‘minecraft':
The first thing that occurs to me is that Danny talks about Minecraft WAY more than anyone else, but the second thing that gets my interest is that there’s nothing in the results that I wouldn’t have read or couldn’t get from poking my head into Google+.
Going back to that video from Google that we linked earlier, I have to admit this looks like a very over-hyped feature where 90% of the interesting parts of the video aren’t things we can do with the new search feature. This almost feels like a Microsoft product that was invented by marketers as something to market with zero user interest?
Well that’s my opinion dealt with, but what about SEO factors of this new feature?
A ton of questions come to mind that need to be answered, here’s a few :
- Who stands to gain from these types of searches?
- What sites will be negatively impacted?
- What should websites be doing to take advantage of this new feature?
The first one’s easy, Google, and particularly, Google+ will gain the most from this new search behaviour. Google has always wanted you to find what you want within their domain/services, and limiting your search to a Google owned property, selling it as a great feature, works so well for Google’s overall goals. If you don’t believe that Google wants to keep you inside their services, as you use Google products challenge yourself to consider ‘What more could Google do to keep me inside their networks?’ and I think you’ll start seeing all the efforts they are making to give you what you want instantly vs. leaving Google to visit an external site.
Social media sites that were getting a lot of commercial traffic/advertising will be the hardest hit by this move. If a client came to me and said “We’re on all the big sites, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Squidoo, etc.. but we haven’t bothered with Google+.” I would be forced to assume they were Australian with such an opposite approach. The same thing would follow with campaign strategies where a company looking at time spent vs. returns would be silly to start a social media campaign anywhere but on Google+ first.
If you have a website that isn’t already following the guidelines for linking between Google+ and your site, you need to start there and then work on building up followers. Ideally you want people talking about your products/services more than your competition so I’d strongly urge someone within your company to engage in Google+ social media efforts on a weekly basis if not more. While it’s pointless to have infinite reach and zero relevance, you also want to be very ‘friendly’ doing whatever it takes to get people to take enough interest in your company pages to follow, +1, add to circles, etc..
In fact the last bit of advice will be a recurring theme for early 2012 where we will be looking at super organic ways to get your product/services out to relevant sections of the internet.
A good example would be a product that is easy to find on-line, but very technical/tricky to work with. Selling the product puts you in the same group as everyone else selling that product, but offering expertise on that product will raise your profile quickly while generating interest/informing potential clients. If you can get links from grateful recipients the effort will pay for itself, and the people you come in contact with are very likely to draw in more clients due to the way that social media is sharing business leads via friend connections.
Typical of Spring, the sooner you plant this ‘social seed’ the sooner it will grow into something that can support your on-line efforts.
Speaking of growing, Chia Bart is getting a little leafy already!
Bart’s beans are sprouting!