Working in the digital marketing industry, it can sometimes feel as if we are slaves to Google. We use it to judge the effectiveness of search engine optimisation (SEO) for our clients (although why everyone calls it SEO Lord only knows, we should just call it Google Optimisation and be done with it). We use it to track analytics, to check our email, to search for news, for images, for blogs, for prices of products – we even use it to watch videos (yes, it also owns Youtube). Given such global dominance, the fact that Facebook is still the world’s number one social network with over 800 million members worldwide is refreshing to say the least.
Unfortunately it seems that Facebook’s days are numbered – simply because Google’s forcing people and businesses to sign up to its social network Google+. Not through choice mind you, but because they have to if they don’t want to be left behind.
When it comes to search, social media can play an important role. Besides helping you get quality backlinks, shared content such as blogs, Facebook posts and retweets can help drive traffic to your website, provoke comment and debate and increase the likelihood of your content appearing in search engines. Google’s “search plus your world” changes however have put an end to all that.
The new changes now automatically populate Google searches with results from Google+ including photos, posts, and profile pages. Google says these changes enable searchers to find both private content shared by friends and overall web content via a single search, yet I’m more inclined to believe it’s a blatant attempt to kill off Facebook and Twitter and continue Google’s global dominance.
“But Google+ isn’t for me!” I hear you cry. “I’m happy with Facebook and Twitter thank you, I’ll stick with these…”
If that sounds like you you’re making a big mistake. Why? In a nutshell, although content from these rival services can still appear among search results – this will only be if it's specifically relevant to what you're searching for. Google+ data will now appear regardless of whether or not you're seeking it.
If you are a business that relies on Google for organic search traffic and sales, personalised search results will become the norm when users are logged into their Google account. Not only will this make it so much harder for businesses to determine their search rankings, it will also make it harder for customers to find them. Throw in the fact that Google+ results will be appearing before public listings and that not all of these results will be relevant and you’ve got a serious headache.
The only solution? Join Google+. Create a brand page and become an active member. Get your brand page into as many influential people’s circles as possible, post keyword-rich status updates often in order to increase your relevance in important searches and do it in a natural non-spammy way.
The SEO industry will undoubtedly have to bend to Google’s command as these aggressive changes have turned the SEO landscape on its head. Sadly, it seems that failure to sign up to Google+ and get a ‘+1’ strategy in place will do more harm than good.
Time for Facebook and Twitter to either up their game and do it quickly or raise the white flag and surrender.
Why not give Google+a try today and add us to a circle or two. Click "Add to circles" below.