Are Users Happy with Their Google Search Results with Google+ Integration?
Written by Trent Brownrigg · March 30, 2012
In January of 2012, Google announced Search Plus Your World, a major search enhancement that integrates activity from Google+ into the search results. So for example, when logged into the social network, if you type “skiing” into the field, you may see the photos you recently uploaded of yourself and friends from last year’s ski trip. While some users are finding the feature to be incredibly useful, others find it unnecessary and intrusive. Needless to say, the reception of Google+ integration in the search results has been a mixed bag of sorts.
Another Controversial Move By Google
No matter the opinion of individual users, most will at least agree that Google Plus Your World is nothing short of impressive. In the past, Google has tried to index content from its two main rivals in the social space, Facebook and Twitter, but things just didn’t work out. While both have refused to provide access to fully crawl their sites, Twitter has been the most cordial. In fact, it wasn’t long ago that we were seeing updates from the microblogging service being displayed in Google’s real-time search section. That stopped in the summer of 2011 when the two sides failed to renew their agreement.
Seeing how ugly things turned out, it was not all that surprising when Twitter came out and voiced its displeasure about Google integrating Google+ activity in the search results. In a statement made not too long after the launch of Search Plus Your World, a representative from Twitter said the update would make it harder for users to find information in the listings. This statement was presumably made because the enhancement ranks the activity from Google+ above the standard results. The other part of it relates to Twitter’s content specifically being pushed further down the page. Google didn’t seem very broken up about this as it replied by basically saying Twitter only had itself to blame.
Impact on SEO
Google’s decision to complement the search results with content from Google+ has some pretty big implications, especially from an SEO perspective. Initially, some were even concerned that Search Plus Your World could potentially spell the end of SEO. Search engine optimization will continue to be important as long as people rely on search engines to find content on the web, but the enhancement did cause some marketers to rethink their strategy. With the update in effect, more brands have come to realize that being active on Google+ could be vital to increasing their search visibility.
Due to all the fuss that has been made over Google’s Search Plus Your World, it is easy to lose sight of one of the most important components of the update, which in this case, refers to it being an optional feature. If a user wants to receive personalized results fueled by Google+, they can turn the feature on, and easily turn it off whenever they have a change of heart. This control alone probably made a lot of users happy.
Guest post by Edith Li – A freelance writer and a consultant for an online provider of email templates.