Taking a Look at Google Plus and Search

google plus While there’s no argument that your website can benefit from an active presence on Google Plus, it’s still crucial to take a look at the different ways in which this is possible:

Inside the Social Realm
There’s no doubt that +1’s help web pages when we take a look at Search Plus Your World. This helps socialize your search results – meaning that your +1’s will show up when your Google plus friends search for something relevant to your recommendation (and vice versa). These +1’s act like a social sign of credibility and relevance since your friends are liking them and in return, endorsing that certain web page/company. This major change in search has businesses even more intently focused on creating content that will engage users and not just search engines.

Impact on Search Algorithm
The more +1’s your site has, the more it signifies relevance, credibility and trustworthiness. To what degree Google considers these social signals is unclear and their impact probably changes all the time, due to different factors. Of course, this also goes for Facebook Likes and Tweets, but some suspect that Google will give preference over their own social networking platform over the others that are out there.

Ongoing Debate
There is no direct answer on whether Google Plus can bring something “new” to your online organic campaigns but it’s the potential that people are focused on. In a way, you can look at Google + in a way that it isn’t doing anything to drastically change the search marketing game, but that it is amplifying the effects of things being spoken about in the SEO community for awhile now.

For example, these social signals are encouraging companies to create content that is more user-friendly and that will evoke more engagement. The addition of social factors to search engine results are also discouraging spammy content, keyword stuffing and other black hat methods that have been frowned upon because really, who is going to click on, read or even +1 a badly written, self-serving article?

Is Google Plus Right for Your Business?
This all boils down to making an analysis on what social platform will be a good fit for your company. Right now, big brand names and marketing/technology companies are doing well with Google Plus. Smaller companies might benefit as well, depending on their niche. In a comparison that can be easier to relate to, it’s like choosing whether direct mail, television ads or even paper directories are a good fit for your company. Believe me, there are some clients who still invest thousands a month in Yellow Page ads. Marketing is about choosing a mix of different strategies that will suit your company well – it doesn’t mean that you have to just choose one thing and stick to it.

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

Policies, Personalized Search & Privacy Invasion

big brother is watchingIt’s not even halfway through March of 2012 yet and backlash against Google seems to be at an all time high. Let’s take a look:

The New Privacy Policy
In January, Google announced an update to their privacy policy so that all your personal information (including most intimate search habits) are shared amongst their 60+ properties (Gmail, YouTube, Picasa and Google Maps). For those of you worried that all your personal information being spread so thin, the bad news is that you CAN’T opt out. The “good” thing is that Google assures that this information will be tailored to your preferences and enhance your search experience.

Screenwise – Get Paid to Get Spied On
Would you like Google to track your every move? How about if you could get a $25 gift card in return? Google’s next project, Screenwise, will let users do just that. Volunteers will be monitored via a browser extension and this research project is strictly an opt-in option. Anyone interested and willing to participate?

Majority of Users View Personalized Search Results as a “Bad Thing”
A survey by Pew Internet & American Life Project shows that 65% of users view personalized search results as a bad thing because it limits the information you get. Overall, 73% felt that it’s an invasion of privacy. The question is, will you continue to use? There are easy alternatives that include: search without being logged in, use non-personalized browsing (Chrome’s incognito or Internet Explorer’s InPrivate Browsing mode).

Obviously, the good still outweighs the bad by far in user experience, especially when compared with other search options out there. No one is being forced to use these free services. But what do you feel about all these new Google changes?

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.