The introduction of Google+ is a sure indicator that the search engine is embracing the importance of social media and the impact social signals has on influencing search habits. The world of search is the foundation on how Google was built and how it leads the search sector and a recent report highlighted the fact the Google is expected to command nearly 80% of search revenues within the US.
Google+ is the search engine’s assault on the social media market and to raise the game back to Facebook and Twitter and here are a few reasons why:
1) Real Time Search Results
Google needs to think creatively on how it will fill the on-going void of not providing real time search results, something that the search engine relied upon Twitter to fill, that was until 2011, when Google’s commercial deal with Twitter ‘lapsed’, it remains to be seen whether this was a deliberate and strategic decision by Google or if this played to the strategy of Twitter monopolising the market for “real-time” search results.
Either way, Google has looked to fill the Twitter void by introducing their own equivalent of “real time” search results in the form of Google+, this is the ace card played by the search engine, and in doing so, why it would be wise for SEO and Social Media managers to take Google+ as a key strategy of their campaigns.
2) Google+ Business Pages
In it’s early days, social media was a platform catering for the customer to customer market (c2c) providing a branded platform for individuals to connect, interact and build communities around similar interests such as hobbies, educational establishments, sports or lifestyle habits as provided by Friends Reunited centred around schools or Myspace around music. Together with this there has also been niche social media platforms beginning to evolve e.g. www.triiibes.com catering for specific interests.
Facebook took this to another level in terms of its unprecedented global reach, but at the same time provided an opportunity for businesses to create corporate accounts where they could bring their messages and promotions to their audience on Facebook.
And so Google also saw the same opportunity, providing a platform for businesses on a global or local level to interact with their customers. With Google introducing local search results within their SERP pages, it was another way for companies to communicate with their local customer and gain visibility through the search engine.
3) Maximising the impact of Video through YouTube
With the impact of Google integrating blended results within the homepage of search results, Video now has a presence within page 1 of the SERPs and this in turn provides another channel to interact with your customer base through video. The importance of video becoming a main stream channel to interact with your customer is highlighted by the fact that YouTube users upload 48 hours of footage every minute and take into account, YouTube is now the second largest search engine (a Google product) demonstrates the strategy video has.
4) Dominate through Market Share
A recent report from Hitwise revealed that 91% of all searches conducted in the UK were on google sites up by nearly 200 million searches year on year – not only are Google sites are continuing to monopolise the UK market but provides a platform for Google + to benefit from the search engine’s dominance.
5) Optimise through the Personalisation of results
Google+ has provided the user with the benefit of receiving personalised results. The aim of such results is to provide the user with more relevant (personalised) search results. If you’re logged into your Google account, and based on your search history, Google will then begin to display the more popular websites you visit to display within their search results pages based on the user search history provides. By providing the user with a more “personalised” search results page, this will provide the user with more tailored, bespoke search results.
6) Knocking down the Walled Garden
There was much debate in the early 90’s of the “walled garden” approach a number of internet brands adopted, the idea behind the walled garden meant that the company (or provider of service) took full control over the data, content and media.
Brands such as Facebook and the Apple operating system operate within a walled garden where users are restricted to running pre-approved applications or accessing content that is hidden behind a log-in screen and which is not accessible to search engines and internet users who have not signed up to such platforms. Whilst this may add to the commercial value of the organisation on retaining individual users information (with a view to selling this data for commercial gain e.g. Facebook cost per click advertising campaigns).
Google in its very essence does not operate a walled garden, hence the opportunity for Google+ to harness and maximise individuals digital footprints to create a true social media presence through the many Google verticals that enrich their social media platform.
So Google+ is here to stay and it’s here to be part of your SEO and Social media strategy for your organisation if you are looking to maximise organic traffic referrals as well as enhancing your brand through digital platforms.