Google+ is not even a month old yet, and marketers everywhere are trying to uncover the relationships between Google’s new social networking product and their search results. Here at HubSpot , we’ve picked out five of the ways that Google+ will influence how you will get traffic from Google’s search engine, whether by boosting you in the search results or increasing the chances that people will click into your site.
1. Improving Google’s Intelligence - Google will be able to improve their results pages is through enhanced information on your social circle. Google+ has a lot of elements that will let Google understand trends and what people are interested faster than ever before. Not only can they see what you share with your friends or what you are reading, but now they can see which of your friends are the most important to you. In the past, they could have a broad vision of your followers or associates on Twitter, but now they can more directly see exactly how you interact with that person. For example, do you frequently share links with only a small handful of people? If you have a very tight relationship with a small network, and a broader network who you are less engaged with, they could know to promote your tight relationships in search results or ads over the broad network. Essentially, Google is getting deeper vision into how individual users share and discuss things on the internet. In the past, they had a limited vision of this but now they can own the complete picture.When placing recommendations on the results pages or looking for a certain page to promote, Google now knows which of your friends you trust and listen to the most.
2. Improved Search Results Quality - Another benefit will be that this makes Google’s social results much harder to cheat on. Google can more easily police who has a real profile or who is a spammer, and watch how they try to influence search results. When they see a profile that only shares and votes for things off one website and nothing else, they know who to reduce or shut down the influence of. I’m sure that this goes even deeper and that Google’s spam team is thinking about this quite a lot, but the bottom line is that Google+ can help them watch and shut down spammers. Less gaming in Google's results is a long-time goal for them and very powerful.
3. Changing How You Get Traffic - Google also very recently rolled out their version of the Tweet or Share button, the +1. These +1 buttons appear in Google’s search results and can be embedded on other websites as well. They are are tied to a destination page address, just like Share or Tweet are - The count that is displayed in each location is based on the address of this page. This detail is really important to be aware of, because this may influence how you need to design your website. If you’re creating landing pages for paid search campaigns, and your pages have several variations, all of the +1 votes that you earn will be broken down separately for each page address. This isn’t a huge problem, but it’s important to know about - Every time you move a page or change the address of something, you’ll be resetting the +1 count for that page.
4. Improved Click-Through Rates - The fourth major factor here is an often forgotten attribute to SEO success is click-through rate, or how often people who see you on their results page actually click on your page in the results. One of the powerful ideas behind these +1 votes now is that if you can see that certain results are extremely popular, or that people found a specific resource was particularly good or helpful, you have that information available to you without even clicking into the site. You can be aware that 500 people have already found a certain page useful and good before you ever click or read any other details about it. Being able to see that impact will strongly encourage searchers to click on specific "good" pages and ignore ones that are not as popular with their readers.
5. There’s More To Come - This may be cheating a little bit since there isn’t a specific number five here, but the biggest lesson to be aware of is that we don’t yet know what else is coming into Google+. Google is releasing almost daily updates to Google+ across the board, ranging from more flexible privacy tools, to bug fixes, to new features around Circles and Huddles. With these features coming in all the time, and known Google plans coming soon around business accounts, marketing, and advertising built into Google+, the possibilities of how this new social network will affect Google’s search engine results are nearly endless.
Do you have any thoughts or ideas of what we’ll be seeing affecting Google’s results soon? Share it with us in the comments!
Originally published Jul 18, 2011 11:08:00 AM, updated October 20 2016