5 Harsh Truths About Google’s ‘Search Plus Your World’ Update

Jan 17, 2012   //   by Obaidul Haque   //   SEO  //  9 Comments

The recent update by Google termed ‘Search Plus Your World’ has invited a lot of criticism from the SEO and the social media arena (Twitter is almost enraged!). While many feel that it would be a unique experience for them to see personalized results in Google searches, many others view the update as an ‘antitrust’ move. Though different people will have different thoughts on the Google+ content integration with Google searches, there are a couple of truths that (I think) nobody should deny.

Here are the five harsh truths that you really need to be aware of, if you just heard about the ‘Search Plus Your World’ update.

#1. It will Impact a Brand’s SEO
As the search results start to get personalized (content pulled in from the searcher’s Google+ network), it’s quite obvious that the public results will be pushed down the SERPs. Yes, if a major portion of your brand’s traffic comes from Google, you’re in trouble. Now, you’ll have a hard time as customers will see the personalized results towards the top by default (when logged into their Google accounts).

#2. Not Everyone Would Notice (or Use) the Toggle Button
The social search shift that’s happened does come along with a toggle button, which users can use to switch from personalized results to global results and vice versa. The bitter truth, however, is not every user will be able to notice or use the toggle button. You can never expect all your potential customers to be as savvy as to switch between personal and public results.

#3. Personalized Results May Not Always be Significant
Now this is a big problem! It’s fine that the personal results will display content shared by the people you know on Google Plus. What’s important to note is whether you trust everyone in your contacts list or circles for recommendations, as you may have thousands of people in your Google Plus network.

#4. Search Results will be Social only ‘Personally’ (not ‘Globally’)
The personalization of Google search results also sends a clear signal that a website won’t rank higher simply because it contains superior quality information. In fact, you won’t be able to see a lot of potential results (or information) while searching on Google logged into your Google account.

Instead of directly promoting Google+ content into the search results, Google could definitely use social data from their social network as signals to differentiate wheat from the chaff. The results that this social search shift will return are only ‘personally social’ and not ‘globally social’.

#5. Google has the Hammer to Make Us all Use Google Plus
Certainly, Google has a wide range of products that it can use to propel the growth of Google Plus further. According to a recent research, Google Plus will boast more than 400 million users by the end of 2012. So, you can never say ‘No’ to joining Google Plus at the cost of losing your organic rankings, can you?

What’s your take on this social search shift by Google? Please feel free to talk back in comments.

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Obaidul Haque

Obaidul works as an SEO manager handling client projects. He focuses heavily on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Social Media Marketing (SMM). Also a passionate blogger and freelance writer, he shares his insightful views regularly on HelloBloggerz . You can follow him on Google Plus or Twitter.

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  • Raj says:

    It’s a fear due which alot of people have joined google plus. But this will be a community majorly used by the SEO/SMO people and not by regular users. People using Facebook for their networking hardly logon to Google+.
    I read this somewhere, which is very much true about Google+:
    Google+ is like a GYM membership, everyone has it but no one uses it 🙂

    • Certainly, most of the small and medium sized businesses are flocking to Google+, because participation at this social network affects their brand’s organic search rankings in Google. However, one should never forget that Google+ is still evolving. And only time will tell where the social network takes us, if the prediction (400m users by the end of 2012) is to be believed. In any case, Google has got the benefits to propel the growth of Google Plus further.

      Thanks for your comment, Raj!

  • Gregory X says:

    I really wish Google would stop messing with a good thing. I hated Instant Search, and I’m pretty sure I’ll hate this, too. It’s about time to switch to Bing or Duck Duck Go, IMO. This is really getting tiresome. I also believe that I’m hardly alone, and that if Google keeps making these big changes a lot of people are going to switch to another search engine.

    • Definitely, if people don’t like the changes that Google is applying, they’ll certainly move to other search engines (that function the traditional way). And that’s, in fact, the biggest risk. Facebook and Twitter should be happy thinking about it too. 🙂

      Thanks for your comment Gregory!

  • Tim Ryan says:

    Everyone on Google + must be so confused when they were first prompted about the update. However, this will affect those who use SEO more. Like Facebook, I really wish Google won’t fix what’s not broken.

  • […] If you paid some attention, you can easily remember the updates that Google launched last month. ‘Search Plus Your World’ rolled out on January 10. It updated its Panda algorithm with version 3.2 around January 18 […]

  • Alain Saffel says:

    Google is becoming less useful all the time. I never use Google logged in, but when I do (just to test it) all the +1s and shares I see are from people promoting their own thing. Hey, I don’t have a problem with that, but how useful is it?

    It seems that Google is doing what’s useful to Google and not the user.

    I think Google is doing a lot of wishful thinking when it comes to Search plus Your World. If I want to know what restaurant to go to tonight, I’ll ask in Twitter. It’s way quicker. And most of the time my friends aren’t going to have any good info on what I search.

  • dien dan seo

    thanks for article, i relly helpful for our

  • Jamy Hoster

    Google plus is a community which is used by the person who like make a social network with world and most of them are related with internet marketing business. I am fully agreed with you I also never use that toggle button on G+ thank you for sharing such a nice information.