Google+ is changing the web, even if you don't want it to. That's right. Now, more than ever, it's critical for your business to create and build its presence on the new social network. But hey, if you don't want to take it from us, another search update from Google today might help to convince you.
Today, Google is launching three new features to its search update, dubbed "Search plus Your World." The update brings personalization of Google search to a whole new level with the inclusion of results from an individual user's connections on Google+, making it impossible for businesses to ignore the impact Google+ is having on search. Here is a quick overview of the three new features.
These results enable you to find information only pertaining to you. They show photos and updates from Google+ that include your own and those that have been shared with you on Google+, and you're the only one with access to these specific results.
Profiles in Search
These results, also shown in autocomplete and regular search results, will display Google+ profiles of people you know or others you may be interested in following when you search for people's names.
Once searched, you'll also have the simple opportunity (if you're signed in and you use Google+) to add Google+ users to your Circles from directly within the search results.
People and Pages
These results show you profiles or Google+ business pages on the right-hand side of the results page when you search a specific topic or area of interest. And again, it enables you to follow profiles or pages in just a few clicks.
What if I Don't Want Personalized Results?
If you prefer to exclude personalized results from your search results, Google has also created a toggle that allows you to see only 'normal' Google results. You can toggle this on and off via the results pages, or you can permanently turn it off in your Google settings.
How This Impacts Marketing
To give you a quick idea of how impactful these updates are for marketing, consider this hypothetical example. Say you're an IT software company, and you have a Google+ business page. Now with Google's new updates, if someone looking for IT software searched Google using the term 'IT software,' they might find your business' Google+ page. And think about what would happen if you don't have a Google+ page but your competitors do. Competitors: 1. You: 0.
Furthermore, if your IT software company has built up a large following on Google+, content that you've shared with your followers will also show up in those followers' relevant Google.com searches, keeping your business top of mind and increasing its visibility among existing followers.
You may not want to create and maintain a presence on yet another social network, but in an online world where Google dominates, you can't afford not to. You can bet that Google will continue to update its search algorithm to emphasize the importance of social media, and Google+ is where it's going to source that social data. Stay ahead of your competition, create a Google+ business page, and regularly update it with keyword-optimized content so you can leverage another powerful opportunity to get found in search.
Do you have a Google+ business page yet?
Originally published Jan 10, 2012 11:27:00 AM, updated October 20 2016