What Google's Social Search Means to You

Jan 31, 2012
Alexandra Barcelona

Last week, Google rolled out the controversial “Search plus Your World”. In a nutshell, this new search now includes your social graph in your search results. Here’s the kicker: Google considers your social graph to be made up of Google+, not Facebook, Twitter, or any of the other major players in the social network arena.

This new feature means that when you do a search in Google, you’ll now be shown results from within your circles on G+ and other G+ members who have made posts about your topic. This feature can be turned off by logging out of your account. But does that really mean that Google won’t give G+ profiles priority over other sites? Danny Sullivan of Search Engine Land does an excellent breakdown of what exactly Google’s Search plus  Your World will do to your search results (logged into Google or not).

After reading Sullivan’s post, two questions came to mind: What does this mean for SEO of your brand and did Google just bite the hand that feeds it?

What this means for SEO
Personally, I think it’s too soon to tell what exactly this will mean for the SEO of your brand; however, after seeing the various screenshots of Sullivan’s posts, it’s easy to see that brands with G+ pages get priority over those that don’t. Hopefully Google quickly fixes this error and produces relevant pages, rather than G+ pages, otherwise it may be time to bite the bullet and create a G+ page for your business (even though, as many have pointed out, there is no ‘hard data’ on G+’s user base – i.e. how many people have accounts and actually use them).

Did Google just bite the hand that feeds it?
Google is a search powerhouse. People like that Google shows the most relevant search results. It’s simple, easy-to-use and you can usually trust that the results are the best you can find on any search engine. However, with this new integration, Google is forcing people and brands to join Google+ or risk not showing up in results. Will this make people flee for search engines that are more ‘fair’ when it comes to providing results? Only time will tell.