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.