[Search Engine Watch] How Google Search Plus Your World is Changing SEO

In its simplest form, search engine optimization (SEO) used to be about three things – making your content crawlable, linkable, and usable. Gaining greater visibility on search engine results pages was relatively easy. Depending on your business model, it was also much easier said than done.

Nimble smaller businesses routinely outmaneuvered larger enterprises when it came to securing specific query-relevant rankings in the search engines, especially in Google. Ultimately, relevancy had to be redefined by shifting algorithmic weightings toward trust and authority, and away from feigned popularity and repurposed content.

Now, SEO needs to be as conversational as it is contextually relevant, in order to be well represented in Google’s most recent algorithmic shifts. True to form, enterprise level SEO initiatives will have to play a game of catch-up this year in order to reap new opportunities from social search results.

[Read] How Google Search Plus Your World is Changing SEO by PJ Fusco

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Google+ Brands in 30-Seconds or Less

There are two primary ways people can interact with Google+ Brand Pages:

  1. The +1 button: The +1 button is analogous to Facebook’s ‘Like’ button and allows Google+ users to indicate that they support or recommend a particular brand’s Google+ page.
  2. Circles: Give fans the ability to take a more Twitter-like approach by following a favorite brand in Google+ space.

Which method of interaction will prove to be most pertinent or most popular?

Both have content sharing capabilities that mimic Facebook and Twitter so in my opinion, it doesn’t really matter, these are the two pertinent Google+ metrics of the moment. What is of interest is Google’s glaring lack of originality and innovation in the social sphere.

As suspected when Google decommissioned [+] from its repertoire of search query operators, Google Direct Connect functionality makes it easy to discover Google+ pages for brands. To discover some brand pages for yourself simply go to Google and search for [+], followed by the page you’re interested in (like +Cabelas). Then you can ‘Like’ them or ‘Plus’ them or ‘Circle’ them or ignore them as you please.

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Google+ to Rival Facebook?

Google introduced its social networking service called the Google+ project — which happens to look eerily similar to Facebook. Yet Google+ emphasizes its un-Facebook-like ability to share information with specific groups of people and of course, respect users privacy. Although the idea of Google + privacy may be contrary to recent history. Remember Google Buzz? It is a social sharing tool for Gmail users that resulted in the Federal Trade Commissions review of Google Buzz for deceptive privacy practices. Anyway … Google insists that Google+ circles of friends allows for easy and completely private compartmentalization of your social self.

Google+ users can drag and drop Gmail contacts into different groups, or circles of friends, so to speak. Right now the service is available only to a select group of Google users who will soon be able to invite others. (Let’s hope this works better than Google Wave-R.I.P.)  Rather than sharing everything with just about everyone on Facebook, those invited to play with Google+ “inner circles” can share information with smaller groups — like colleagues, former colleagues, college roommates, or dog park friends, coffee clutch, blood relatives, in-laws, outlaws, etc. Notably, Google+ also offers group text messaging and video chat.

Privacy matters aside — what’s really at stake here? IMO, Visitor traffic and advertising dollars. Google’s status as the most popular entry point to the web is in jeopardy as Facebook continues to challenge the perennial 900-lb. gorilla that is Google. In May, 180 million people visited Google sites (including YouTube et.al.), as opposed to 157.2 million visits to Facebook, according to comScore. Google figures that when people visit Facebook, Google loses access to valuable information that could benefit its web search and paid advertising, as well as Google stockholders, of course.

One thing is for certain — it’s unlikely that the announced release of Google+ will result in a return to negotiations with Facebook for access to its “like” data, like Bing/Yahoo have. It’s estimated that 20% of the US online population has a Gmail address. Seems like Google still has a long way to go to rival the estimated 500 million active Facebook users each month. At least Google +1 makes a heck of a lot more sense now that there is a Google+.

Related Information:
Facebook Stats
Google hits record with 1 billion site visitors in May

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