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Google Search plus your World announced

Author's avatar By Dave Chaffey 13 Jan, 2012
Essential Essential topic

Currently available on Google.com only

Importance: [rating=5]

Value: [rating=1]

Source: Google Official Blog annoucement

Our commentary on Google's Search Plus Your World (SPYW)

Make no mistake, Google's bold start to 2012, announced this week will have a massive impact on digital marketing in the years ahead if it retains its current form. Although the change has been widely covered, even in the main stream media, you may not have seen it yet since it's not available, in local engines the UK, Europe or elsewhere. We will let you know when it is.

How big a change is this?

If you've seen the Google.com site you'll know it's a big change for the user experience and the way companies gain visibility - so it will have big marketing implications we think. But in our discussions at Smart Insights, we've been arguing about how big the impact will be. It does depend on the type of search (is there a lot of sharing related to the search term); your use of Google+ and Gmail. The biggest impact showing your personal results is when you are logged into Gmail / your Google account as many are.

For digital marketers actively sharing on Google they will find a big difference in brand search for you or your company, but for generic or information services there will be relatively little impact on the search results. Certainly something to watch out for - you can expect visits to your Google+ presence to increase and site to decrease.

Google's belief is that you should not only be able to find content, but personal connections:

"We’re transforming Google into a search engine that understands not only content, but also people and relationships.

You should also be able to find your own stuff on the web, the people you know and things they’ve shared with you, as well as the people you don’t know but might want to... all from one search box".

I would describe it this way:

"We want increase adoption of Google+  so we will promote it prominently as much as possible in the search results.

Do you remember when Google stood for simplicity? Not any more. Beating Facebook is more important"

That's why we have rated Google's SPYW value to users (and marketers) as a lot lower than its impact. But, both groups will have to get used to it, if it stays the same as it is now. I've said "in its present form" above since it seems likely the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will investigate antitrust and privacy concerns surrounding Google’s latest update to its search results - it doesn't include previous Facebook and Twitter references from real-time search which would make it more useful.

Features of Google Search plus your World

Google describes three main features. This is how they look:

  • Personal Results, "enable you to find information just for you, such as Google+ photos and posts—both your own and those shared specifically with you, that only you will be able to see on your results page".This is the default view shown for a generic search on "fashion". Those pages like ASOS have been shared by others in my network. Companies with the largest numbers in their Google circles will get most prominence.

  • Profiles in Search, "enable you to immediately find people you’re close to or might be interested in following".Profiles of people or brands appears in the autocomplete part of the search box for selection and in the results themselves. Personally, I've found these VERY annoying - if your searching for your own company site it can be displaced to the bottom of the SERPs.
  • People and Pages,"help you find people profiles and Google+ pages related to a specific topic or area of interest, and enable you to follow them with just a few clicks. Because behind most every query is a community".These recommendations are on the right as shown in the screengrab below - you can't miss them - they're effectively an ad for Google+ and an ad for brands that have worked to grow their circles and develop their Google+ pages.

    You can see why Google moved down some Adwords on the RHS of the screen to the foot of the page at the end of last year. The example below shows the logged-out view which is the same as excluding personal results (the small blue-heads to the left of the results disappear).

As we noted above, there's no ability to connect Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, OpenID into your Google profile. However you may see recommendations from others on Blogger.com (owned by Google) and WordPress.com.

Twitter have interesting already responded to the announcement and I definitely agree with what they have to say

We’re concerned that as a result of Google’s changes, finding this information will be much harder for everyone. We think that’s bad for people, publishers, news organizations and Twitter users.

Marketing Implications

This update increases, yet again, the importance of creating shareable content. If  you create content that's good enough for people to want to share, it has more chance of appearing in both organic and social results.

So as we so often recommend, start with understanding your customers and provide remarkable and relevant content for them.

If you are a regular author of content online, especially across multiple websites you should definitely consider connecting your blogs and Google + account through the Authorship area, see details here.

Search Engine land have a more in-depth review here. What's your view is the impact as big as they suggest?

Author's avatar

By Dave Chaffey

Digital strategist Dr Dave Chaffey is co-founder and Content Director of online marketing training platform and publisher Smart Insights. 'Dr Dave' is known for his strategic, but practical, data-driven advice. He has trained and consulted with many business of all sizes in most sectors. These include large international B2B and B2C brands including 3M, BP, Barclaycard, Dell, Confused.com, HSBC, Mercedes-Benz, Microsoft, M&G Investment, Rentokil Initial, O2, Royal Canin (Mars Group) plus many smaller businesses. Dave is editor of the templates, guides and courses in our digital marketing resource library used by our Business members to plan, manage and optimize their marketing. Free members can access our free sample templates here. Dave is also keynote speaker, trainer and consultant who is author of 5 bestselling books on digital marketing including Digital Marketing Excellence and Digital Marketing: Strategy, Implementation and Practice. In 2004 he was recognised by the Chartered Institute of Marketing as one of 50 marketing ‘gurus’ worldwide who have helped shape the future of marketing. My personal site, DaveChaffey.com, lists my latest Digital marketing and E-commerce books and support materials including a digital marketing glossary. Please connect on LinkedIn to receive updates or ask me a question.

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