Tuesday 21 February 2012

Google Search plus your World

The following article was first published on their own blog by Bookassist's Ciaran Rowe who talks about the recent introduction of Google Search plus your World and its impact on the search results page.

Google “Search plus your World”
Google recently announced the launch of a new feature on their search results pages, called Google “Search plus your World” which incorporates results from the user's Google+ network in addition to the existing results. This initiative is part of Google’s efforts to include more social content in their results. Since the deal they had with Twitter has lapsed, and they are not given access to Facebook content, the obvious source of social content was their own Google+ network.

Although the new look is available to users searching in English in the US, it is not available worldwide yet, but Google announced that it would be rolling out very soon.

The three key changes to the page are personal results, profiles in search and profiles & pages.

1. Personal results

The image below, which is a sample provided by Google, shows the layout of the page with the new elements.

The red arrow points to personal results which are taken exclusively from content that has been shared with the user in Google+. If the user clicks on this area it will expand to show the contents of the personal results from Google+.

The yellow arrow points to personalised content which is embedded in the page, in this example showing photos from the users Google+ circles, related to the search query.

The green arrow offers the opportunity to turn off search plus or to toggle between standard results and search plus results.

2. Profiles in search

This new element adds users from your circles to search results so if, for example, you start typing the name of someone in your circles, Google autosuggest will complete the name and display their content in the results. It will also show Google+ profiles related to the search results and provide a button to allow you to add them to your circles.So if, for example, you see a blog article or a news commentary that you like, you can add the author to your Google+ circles.

3. Profiles and Pages

This area allows users to connect with high profile Google+ businesses and people. In the example provided, if you search for a music related term, some high profile musicians profiles will appear on the right hand side of the page, giving you the opportunity to connect or find out more about them.

Some issues raised by the new Google page include:

Privacy - many users are concerned that the content of their Google+ pages is being shared in the results pages, but Google have emphasised that the new system is extremely secure and that content is only displayed to users that have previously had the content shared with them through their circles. An example would be, if a friend that was following posted photos of their trip to Thailand on Google+, I would see those photos in my search results if I did a search for Thailand, however, people not connected to my friend would not see his photos.The new page uses SSL encryption to ensure the security of the content when users are logged in to their account. An unfortunate side effect of this for marketing purposes, is that Google analytics no longer displays keywords that were used by visitors to your website if they are signed in. This information is now displayed as (not provided) for organic traffic, although adwords users still have access to the data for the moment.

Quality of results - the fact that Google are using their dominant position in search to push their own content to the top of the results page is felt by many to have a negative effect on the quality of the results. Googles priority appears to be showing results that are tailored to the users history and likes rather that displaying unbiased relevant results as in the past. An example would be breaking news which may become harder to find from sources that are not on Google+

Opt in/out - there is currently no way to opt out of having your content displayed in searches by users that are in your circles, so it is important to monitor what content you share. It is possible to opt out of seeing Google search plus by adjusting your search settings once the option becomes available.

This recent development emphasises the importance of creating your own Google+ business profile in order to maximise visibility in Google search.

As further information becomes available, we will update this blog, so check back soon.

For more information on Google search plus see the official Google post

Bookassist in Scotland provide booking engine services for an ever increasing number of independant hotel operators with full account management support to develop their online presence and most importantly conversion. Contact the Ayrshire based office on 01292 521404 or by email

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