What is “Search, Plus Your World”?
Last month Google released its latest changes to their search algorithm called “Search, Plus Your World”. Essentially the changes mean that now the search results presented on Google will be even more tailored to each and every individual.
The important thing to remember is Google’s business model and their mission, which is to provide the searcher with the most qualified results.
Why do they want to do that? Well it’s quite simple – if they provide the search user with search results that do not meet the user’s expectations, then the user will move to another search engine such as Yahoo or Bing. If the searcher then finds those results are better suited, then next time they are looking for an answer they will bypass Google and go elsewhere.
Now of course Google don’t want this. Google wants you to use its plethora of services: Google docs, YouTube, Gmail etc, because if users switch to another search engine then they will start to lose advertising revenue. This is important because advertising revenue is Google’s largest income stream.
So what Do the Latest Changes Mean?
If you combine this change with the Panda update of last year and Google’s social media strategy Google+, then I think the underlying theme is that you have to create unique quality content that adds real value to your community on a regular basis.
Why Have The Changes Been Made?
Google are aiming to provide each individual user with a unique search experience. Yes, I did say that, a unique search experience. They will do that by taking the organic search results that are gathered by the Google search algorithm and combining that with results shared, reviewed and liked by people in your online community – it could be friends, family or work associates however you categories them.
So for example you want to book a holiday, you go to Google and type in “cheap holiday to Mexico.” In the search results come all the usual airlines, holiday and travel companies but also there is a review from one of your friends.
The review says that they just came back from Mexico they had a great time, the resort was superb and it was really great value.
Now when you see that review, because you already know and perhaps trust that person who has made that review, you will be more inclined to be influenced by their experience than other reviews from other holiday companies.
The same theory applies for any content on the internet. If you write an article or a blog post on small business marketing tips that gets shared by “Bob” on Google+, and somebody in Bob’s following then does a search for small business marketing tips, then your post is likely to appear in the search results because their friend Bob has already recommended it. To make it really personal, there may even be a picture of Bob or a little logo by the side in the search results. It is all about Social proof (Watch the official Google video below).
As you can see it is a pretty important and significant update.
As a small business owner what should you do?
The previous strategy was to get a website or blog, optimize content for relevant search criteria, get some back links and then convert the traffic on the back end. This process will not change, however just churning out content and syndicating it to social media sites will no longer be good enough. You need to make sure that you practice the following:
1. Create top quality content
2. Deliver incredible value with your content.
3. Motivate people to engage with your content. (Like, share, comment)
4. Position yourself as an authority in your niche
5. Listen to your customers and other people in your niche.
6. Comment and share on what is meaningful to you with your community.
Providing incredible value, listening to your community and being meaningful to others will help build your brand and position you as an expert in your field. One thing that is certain is that in an age where the mass of messages multiplies daily, only a small number really matter. Google know this, and that is why they have made the changes. (“Search, Plus Your World” )
If you want your business and brand to have sustainable profit and your messages to influence others, then you need to make sure your message is the one that matters.