Are you getting the most from Search Plus Your World?
In SEO circles a few months ago there was a big buzz about Google unrolling their new social search update Search Plus Your World or Search+ for shorthand. The impact of this, in theory, is that if you search while logged into Google you should get results like the one below.
So when I searched for 'multilingual' here Search Laboratory pages came in at respectable 3rd and 5th place along with a list of people in my circles who had '+1'd' them. In contrast when I did the same search in incognito I got this result:
Unsurprisingly there is not sign of Search Laboratory (after all 'multilingual' as a lone keyword doesn't mean much - the searcher could be looking for anything at all to do with 'multilingual'). What's happened here is that Google looks at what my friends on Google Plus (G+) have +1'd and moves those pages up the search rankings. The idea is that results recommended by my friends are more likely to be relevant to me personally. This is a similar idea to the Venice update that Arron mentioned on Friday; by offering increasingly personalised searches Google can create a better search experience for everyone.
So how can businesses benefit from this? Well the first thing to realise is that even though a lot of your customers probably aren't active users of G+, Search+ is still affecting them. So how can you make the most of it?
You might have noticed those little by-lines that have started to appear next blog posts and articles on Google searches.
These by-lines are incredibly useful to any content producers as they allow you to identify work as belonging to you. This means that if your writing is stolen or scraped, it is much easier for Google to spot this as you have verified to them that you are the author of the content. It also improves click through rates and allows you to see how often your content shows up in the SERP's.
It's easy to implement once you've set up a G+ account. The simplest way is to make sure you include 'by' (Author name) on every page of content you write. So for this that would be 'by Daniel Frank'. Then you go to your G+ profile click on edit and find the Contributor to button. You can then enter the websites that you write for. The last stage is to enter the email address that you use for those sites in your 'work' section and in theory when you write for these sites you should show up as the author. Google has also provided a couple of other methods.
Google + for business pages
You can also create business pages on Google+ that make for a great way of sharing content. Not only do the public settings make it easier to get your articles and photos in front of greater number of eyes. The ripples feature is a great way to trace the impact of your posts and get more attention. The more attention and links you have - the more +1's you get. This in turn means that you will get put in front of more eyes on Search+.
The other social networks
For all that I've gone on about the various pluses in this post, Facebook and Twitter may yet prove to be more important. Aside from keeping your social media marketing working well there is talk about Twitter and Facebook opening themselves up to Google's spiders again. If they do then the sheer number of interactions on these networks is likely to outweigh that of Google+ by a large margin so don't forget them!
I'd love to hear how you and your business are getting on with Google+, if indeed you are already using it... all comments and questions welcome.