By: Ryan Miller
Google has once again unleashed a massive change to the way their Universal search results pages display information and the auto-fill recommendations in Google Suggest for users that are logged into the search engine behemoth.
Earlier this year these updates, dubbed Google Search Plus Your World, began rolling out for all Google users. We discussed part of this update in a previous post about Google+ showing prominently in Google search. The biggest and most immediate change that Google users will notice, and will verify that Search Plus Your World is now working, is that when you type in your search term, you will be notified of the number of personal results for your search query along with total results, and a new switch box to turn your personal results on and off:
As with the previous incarnation of search results, you’ll see in your universal search results personalized search returns based on your location, your search history, and websites that those in your Google+ circles have shared. Now in your results, you’ll also be shown within the image results photos that have been uploaded by yourself and others within your circles in addition to standard photos returned from http://images.google.com. Additionally, Google will also suggest people who have authority within the realm of your search term that you may want to add to your circles. For instance, a search for “SEO” suggests Rand Fishkin and Barry Schwartz:
Note that while Google does tease “Learn how you could appear here too” the reality is that there is no way to submit your profile to a specific search query, you earn the space by discussing a specific topic on Google+ and becoming an authority figure on the subject.
Speaking of getting suggestions for names to add to your circles, Google Suggest will now auto-fill Google+ URLs for high profile names that you are searching for if they have a Google+ profile. For instance, starting a search for Google’s CEO Larry Page, I am suggested his Google+ profile:
Let’s take a look and what the new personal results page look like. It is widely cited that the strength of social sharing comes from the fact that users will give greater credence to content and websites that their friends and connections have shared over content that is not. To that end, doing searches within your “personal results” will turn google.com into a search engine for all things connected to you via Google+.
Here you’ll see search results laid out much like you would on the Universal SERPs, except here all results some definitive tie-back to a person or page you are connected to within Google+.
As mentioned before Google Search Plus Your World can be turned off, and with that something that Google has not provided for some time – non-personalized search results. The setting of your location will still provide local-based results if the search query is relevant, but your results are no longer further personalized based on search history, sites visited and your social sphere. For webmasters and marketers, turning off Google SPYW can give a more objective view as to where their website is ranking when social influence is not a factor.
For those looking at how Google+ can continue improving their personal profile, website and brand visibility this is a clear indicator that the more time spent in Google+ publishing, sharing and talking about the topics more relevant to you, the more potential return you will see. Getting circled now takes you and your brand out of just the stream and drops you directly into the search results of those who have you circled. This is just one more reason to accept that Google+ is not an option; even if you are publishing duplicate links and comments to multiple social accounts which in turn have many duplicate social connections, it is how that content will be found by those connections that is becoming more and more unique.
Ryan Miller is the SEO Manager for Advance Digital, and provides best practice techniques for improving your search visibility. You can follow him on Twitter @cromiller and add him to your circles on Google+.