Google has made its Google+ network more relevant across the Web with its new "Search Plus Your World" feature, which will incorporate Google+ user-based results into search queries. This powerful integration of search results and Google+ makes the need for brands to find a home on Google+ even more clear.
"We’re transforming Google into a search engine that understands not only content, but also people and relationships," wrote Amit Singhal on Google's blog on Jan. 10. The three new features are:
Personal Results: Searches will find information gathered for each individual user, such as Google+ photos and posts, that will be viewable only by that person on their results page.
Profiles in Search: Google's auto-complete and results page will now provide profiles of the people users are connected to or might be interested in following.
People and Pages: Results will contain people profiles and Google+ pages related to a specific topic or area of interest.
So what do these changes mean for communicators? Adam Singer, digital marketing practice director for Lewis PR, says that participating on Google+ and other social networks now has a direct impact on what your network sees in search, providing very tangible search visibility benefits beyond unique content and inbound links.
"In essence, if you're a communications professional and only understand social media marketing, but not search engine optimization (or vice versa), it's time to learn both," says Singer. "PR professionals and marketers who do not are going to get left behind. Skills from community building to keyword research to content creation and analytics need to be a part of every team's bread and butter."
Singer also recommends taking advantage of the tools Google is offering, such as Authorship, in order to stand out in the search landscape, and to place Google+ features like the +1 button on your Web site or blog.
"The bottom line: It's time to get serious about creating a digital strategy that sits at the search/social intersection," says Singer. "Savvy companies are already here, but many still need to catch up."
Attend PR News’ Digital PR Summit on Feb. 16 in San Francisco to learn more about Google+ and integrating the latest social media and SEO tactics into your communications initiatives.