How do you feel about your pretty face appearing next to your writing in Google search results? If you are a marketer, get ready for it! With Google having gone social, it is time to get on board with integration of social media and search reaching a different level. And we’re just getting started.
To most, the launch of Google’s social media platform, Google+, was an obvious attempt to compete with Facebook, the #1 (yes, Google still isn’t winning) social platform in use and active user totals. Everybody who is ANYBODY is on Facebook (except Troy, feel free to tease him about it!) daily. Facebook’s mass popularity struck fear in the heart of Google as the search giant realized it’s search methodology was becoming dated. How is that possible? Social media.
We use the Internet to find EVERYTHING. In fact, over 90% of us turn to the web first to find any new product or service. As all companies realized how important it was to jump on the website bandwagon, the selection on the web became overwhelming. In fact, a simple Google search for the best restaurants in New York City gives us 207 million results to choose from. Gee, thanks Google… that doesn’t really help me narrow things down.
With an unmanageable number of results to wade through, we started turning to each other to answer the questions that Google simply could not narrow down enough for us. Except this time, we turned to each other online. We started sharing our favorite restaurants, posting feedback about our favorite hotels, and giving product and service advice on Facebook. Before we knew it, we had Yelp, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, TripAdvisor, Pinterest, and MySpace, just to name a few. Google stood at the back of the line behind all of these new platforms screaming for attention. Sorry Google, get social or get out of the way.
Eventually, Google figured it out, and launched Google Plus, “WELL, we can do social media TOO! We’re Google!” they seemed to proclaim, stomping around in a tantrum. Maybe they were finally ready to grow up to a real platform after the failures of the now-shutdown Google Orkut, Jaiku, Wave, and Buzz were semi-successfully swept under the digital rug. Perhaps it was their awful attempt at naming social networks that caused the problem; who is ever going to say “I’ll Jaiku you!” Anyway, Google Plus launched with an immediate integration into search results, differentiating themselves through search from other platforms. Google Plus represents much more than an attempt at copycatting Facebook interaction. By getting all of us to post our information (Google Plus profile), preferences (think Google Plus One button), reviews (think Google Places, now Google Plus local), and community interaction (think Google Plus Circles) on their own platform, Google can now use the data to personalize Google search results like never before. Suddenly, you can get customized results that seemingly incorporate the opinions of real people that you interact with right on your Google search results page.
Thanks for that personal blog post about your experiences, Hayden! Now I know where to go eat, using a combination of Google search and social media to get the perfect response for me.
Google knows that Hayden Lynch wrote that blog post because of Google Authorship, a way to directly connect your Google+ Profile with content on the web that you wrote. Simply put, it’s telling Google that you are the author, and Google gives you credit by plopping your pretty picture ( a.k.a: Google Authorship Image ) and other related information about you from your G+ profile in search results. Google then uses signals to narrow down search results by pulling up websites written by or related to people in your Google+ Circles, also from your profile.
Google’s direction towards attributing content to the digital profile of the writer makes Google Authorship very important to SEO. Now, if you are a prominent author who writes quality content, YOU are likely to become a ranking factor on websites where you write. As a marketer, think about a well-respected thought leader in your industry. How much would you LOVE to have that prominent industry thought-leader write a blog post on your company’s website? With Google Authorship, you can brag to both Google and to your website visitors, likely followed by a boost in organic traffic!
Look for more posts to come about Google Authorship and Google’s move towards social. It’s a big part of SEO, and while it’s not really new on the scene, it’s impact is changing the game. So you’ll see us talking about it a lot.
When you are ready to get Google Authorship setup for your company, feel free to talk with us about it!