Back in November, bigmouthmedia held our third annual social media summit, dubbed ‘What’s Next…in Social 2011‘. At the heart of this summit was Social Search, and how the introduction of Google+ and the +1 button would finally set the Social Search juggernaut rolling.
Today, Google has taken an even bigger stride to providing personalised, social results by announcing Your World. As predicted, Google+ is at the core of their announcement, with people and pages fusing together. “We’re transforming Google into a search engine that understands not only content, but also people and relationships“, says Amit Singhal of Google.
Let’s take a look at some of the changes that will be rolled out across Google.com in the coming weeks:
- Personal Results – up to now, anyone in any of your Google+ circles who has clicked the +1 button for a page will be highlighted in relevant search results. Google is taking this one step further and introducing relevant Google+ posts (including photos from Google+ and Picasa) into the search results. Optimising captions, comments and album titles has never been more important! It also looks like Google is giving a black and white option for users to choose whether they see personalised results, or unpersonalised results with a new toggle button on the upper right of a search page;
- Google+ Profiles in Search Results – Back in November, Google launched Direct Connect, allowing users to jump from a search query directly to a Google+ page. Profiles in Search appears to be an extension of Direct Connect that allows a profile prediction from autocomplete once you start typing a name;
- People and Pages / Key Influencers - depending on the topic you search for, Google will now serve Google+ Profiles and Pages from people or brands who discuss that topic frequently. So in their image below, a search for [music] brings up Google Profiles for Britney Spears, Alicia Keys and Snoop Dogg (we won’t judge Google’s music selection at this stage).
There are also security and privacy mentions, much of which is tied to Google+ sharing and privacy policies.
What does this mean for Search?
We’ve been talking about Search in a Multi-Signal context for the last 6 months. This has an impact on Social signals and the personalisation of results. We already knew everyone’s results were personalised. Google is now taking that a step further based on information your Google+ circles. If +1′s weren’t part of your SEO strategy before, they should be now.
There is a renewed focus on authorship. Content and articles validated using Google authorship markup are likely to receive better click throughs due to the human element behind the content, and the avatar that appears in the SERPs. Brands, and Social Media managers in particular, should strongly consider using authorship mark up for news and blog content.
Google doesn’t mention PPC in the blog post, but it will be interesting to see how Google serve PPC ads based on Your World results. Google is already shooting themselves in the foot with Direct Connect, as a huge chunk of brand keyword revenue is skipped. With Direct Connect for Profiles, this has an even greater impact.
Let’s not get carried away though. When Google launched Direct Connect for brands, this limited to a handful of brands, such as Macy’s and Pepsi . Your World is launching on Google.com for now, so it will take time to reach the UK, let alone non-English language markets.
Google+ had 62 million users at the last count, but Your World results will only be as successful as the content and images created and uploaded by those 62 million users.
Let us know what you think about the changes! Here’s the video overview of Search, plus Your World;