It seems like every time we start figuring out how search engines really work, Google finds a way to change the game again. This is a good thing, though—it keeps us on our feet, encourages adaptation and provides a new competitive learning experience. Those who aren’t willing to “face the strange” are the ones who will be weeded out from the great opportunities that the internet has to offer.
So exactly how are things changing? Better yet, how can you capitalize on these changes? Well, let’s take a look…
Google+ Direct Connect
This is a new feature that was introduced somewhat recently by Google—it allows people to navigate to a Google+ page when using Google Search. That might not seem like a big deal, but it actually is. What this essentially entails is Google+ becoming a more relevant and significant pillar in the SEO game. With Direct Connect, your Google+ business page can show up in people’s searches if they are using your targeted keywords. Not only that, but they can also choose to add your page to their circles directly from the Google Search list.
For now, Google+ is keeping this feature fairly limited. You will have to apply for Direct Connect compatibility to capitalize on it now. Your best bet is to give the application a shot and, if you aren’t granted privileges soon, spend some time preparing for when the feature goes fully live.
Can you imagine a world in which your high-quality content was spotlighted by the most powerful search engine network’s news feed? Well, you’re living in that world now! If your online content receives a +1 from a Gmail user or Google+ circle, it becomes eligible to make an appearance in the spotlight category of Google News.
Furthermore, whenever you +1 a piece of content, your profile picture will appear directly next to the content you appreciated. This will give you a lot more exposure in terms of who sees you and who can find out what your business is all about. The trick to this is being precise about where you’re injecting +1’s—don’t just spam them everywhere simply because you want people to notice you. Rather, leverage the feature as an opportunity to show people that you have good taste in the industry.
People and Pages
If you’ve managed to make a significant impact on a few particular keywords with your Google+ page, it will now show up on the right-hand side of the search results page for those who are using those keywords! There isn’t much to say about this other than having a Google+ page is officially critical. You just can’t ignore it any longer.
Google also introduced a new Personal Results feature which allows people to find information about their personal interests when using keywords that would normally yield the most-popular results. For example, if you searched on Google “average Joe”, the top results would have information about the TV show, restaurants and other popular references. However, if you had someone with the nickname “Average Joe” in your Google+ circles, then you would get a bunch of information about that person instead.
What this means for marketers is networking will become absolutely paramount (if it isn’t already). People who choose to use the Personal Results feature aren’t going to be bothered by your SEO campaigning, no matter how powerful it is. They’ll be interacting with information that is relevant to them, not you. If you want to get in good with this potential audience, then you need find ways to become something they actually care about before they head to the search engines.
 http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/29270/4-Critical-Ways-Google-Is-Changing-Search.aspx (Retrieved 5-12-2012)
 http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/28892/Google-Adds-Google-Posts-and-Add-to-Circles-Buttons-to-Search-Results.aspx (Retrieved 5-12-2012)
 http://support.google.com/plus/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=1711199 (Retrieved 5-12-2012)
 http://www.businessinsider.com/walkthrough-how-google-plans-to-change-search-results-with-google-2012-1 (Retrieved 5-12-2012)