Google Gets Personal With “Search, Plus Your World”

This week Google announced major changes to their search results with the launch of ‘Search, plus Your World‘. When I read the blog post I instantly knew this will have a big impact on search engine marketing, particularly organic SEO.

The idea is to make results more personal by including three new elements:

  • Personal Results, which show results unique to the user by including photos and other content from their Google+ circles.
  • Profiles in Search, which enable users to immediately find people they’re close to or might be interested in following.
  • People and Pages, which will help searchers to find people profiles and Google+ pages related to a specific topic, and make it easy to follow them with just a few clicks.

As an SEO expert, I have a feeling this could make my job a lot harder as valuable page-one SERP real estate is taken over by users’ personal search results. It will, of course, depend on user take-up and whether people are willing to change their search habits.

If you’re actively doing SEO for your website, these changes will inevitably have an impact on what you should be doing. For a start, it seems obvious that the number of ‘pluses’ your content receives will make it more likely it’s returned in other people’s search results.

The emphasis in Google’s search algorithms is definitely shifting towards social signals, but backlinks will still be important for the foreseeable future. So, from an SEO point of view, my advice is to continue to create top quality unique content, that will both encourage people to ‘plus’ your pages and at the same time improve your back link profile. It’s going to be an interesting few months seeing how ‘Search plus Your World’ will really affect the way people search.

Paul Thewlis is an online marketing professional, SEO expert and author of a wordpress book for business bloggers.

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