By: Sylvie Dale

SEOMoz’ Rand Fishkin on Friday posted a nicely simplified explanation of how Google is changing SEO rules yet again, this time by prominently displaying its top-shared Google+ posts in search results in ways that we’ve never seen before. Connecting the dots, this means that web pages that don’t interact in social networks could soon begin to be seen as low-quality search results.

Google is so powerful, so frequently used, that there is now a verb in the English language called “Googling”. Although its approximately # million users still are fewer than Facebook’s (about 800 million users), adding Google+ results into regular search exposes these accounts and posts to billions of searchers per day. 

Of course, there are rules for when and how Google shows searchers Google+ posts, and these have to do with which Google+ accounts are in the searcher’s circles. If the searcher is not logged in, these posts don’t show, but a “People and Pages on Google+” box will still recommend related profiles. 

Here is an example of a search I did with “personal results” turned on in Google:

Google+-personal-search-results

Fishkin commented in his Whiteboard+ video that relevant posts from Google’s new social network are showing up in search results in a couple of powerful ways:

  • If you have a Google account and you are logged in when doing a search in Google, you’ll see some Google+ results very high on the page – personal recommendations for you, showing you who else in your circles has shared or +1d the information. 
  • If you are not logged in, a box on the right side of the page shows a few recommended Google+ accounts that you should add to your circles, based on what you just searched on. 

Increasingly, the search results you see are going to be enhanced by the social signals (sharing, +1ing) that happen within Google+. 

That also means that companies which are not in social spaces interacting with others in their areas of expertise could be labeled as low-quality or spam by Google’s search algorithm, making it even harder for them to rank.  

Conclusion: If you want people to find you on the web, not only do you need keyword-optimized pages with a healthy number of links pointing back to them, but you will also need a good level of interaction in the major social networks such as Google+. 

Watch Fishkin’s video on Google+.