What Marketers Need to Know About Google's Big Search Upgrade

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smkinoshita
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Not to knock G+ (as I do like it) but a lot of these big search upgrades are really dependent on how much people actually use G+.

Even then, those changes are pretty underwhelming.  Any monetization for the Page/People profile recommendations just sound like another variation of Adwords -- "sponored suggestions" and more of the same isn't in anyone's interest.

I would think that the real utility that a G+ integration with search would come in helping brands find their advocates.  For example, let's say I write an favourable article about... the CMO site.  The CMO site's page on the G+ network allows it to recognize when I write about them, so it sends an alert to the page's admin.  The page admin then gets to see my article's ranking search terms as well as number of +'s it received, and maybe allow us to connect.

Now to Google to monetize the whole situation, the admin can then do something like send me a gift, special offer, coupon, product, or other credit to encourage me to continue to advocate the brand.  Google charges the brand to deliver the offer if I accept.  By flagging content that the brand sponsored after the fact, it not only identfies to searchers that it's sponsored content but also they potential for them to earn a reward by creating content about the brand as well.  So the brand gets more social connections and search ranking, G+ users get a practical reason to connect to brands, and Google gets its piece of the pie when brands capitalize on it.  Of course, any system that offers rewards is subject to being gamed but I think it's a lot more interesting than anything Google's currently offering.

Mitch Wagner
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Scott, that's a very smart idea. I wonder what other tools Google could give marketers to incent them into using Google+ more?

Discussion on the blogs today centers around (1) Whether Google is crossing the anti-competitive monopoly line here by using the area where it has a monopoly -- search -- to build new business. (2) Why did Google exclude Facebook and Twitter from its results. 

I'll add #3: Will this be effective without including Facebook and Twitter results?

And if it's not effective or fails to catch on, then it's something marketers don't need to pay attention to, of course.

Dwhite706
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Scott I really like your idea.  This will work great if G+ takes off. I don't see that happening though.  Google has not done a good job of differentiating this upgrade from what's available.  I find G+ to be a bit intrusive, although I'm sure I would be in the minority. 

AliceAMM
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Trust
AliceAMM   1/11/2012 3:55:33 PM
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From a consumer's perspective, I find this Google change frustrating. For some time now, Google has been a trusted source for finding what's out there. The belief was, and still is, the results were unbiased and represents all that was out there ... as much as one search can be all inclusive.

The phrase "google it" will now have a different meaning. If I google something and the results I will get aren't a true represenatation of what's out there, I find that insulting. It's force-feeding me (read = the consumer) what Google wants me to have based on who is a friend of Google+.

I feel a rant coming about misleading folks and companies that become arrogant and all ... so before my soapbox crumbles under the weight of it all ...

 

Mitch Wagner
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Re: Trust
Mitch Wagner   1/12/2012 11:41:21 AM
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AliceAMM - It's not force-feeding based on who are friends of Google+. It's giving you results based on who your Google+ friends are. 

Ariella
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Re: Trust
Ariella   1/12/2012 12:43:14 PM
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Now when I do a search, the top of the page shows the avatars chosen by my Google connections who have something on the topic. I have yet to click those yet. Usually I am just looking for a quick bit of info when I Google, rather than various takes on a topic.

kicheko
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Re: Trust
kicheko   1/12/2012 4:23:24 PM
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@Mitch - For marketers it looks like its going to be a little more difficult now since they must find a way to penetrate as many circles as possible. They have to be serious about forming relationships with their customers because they are going to need these to reach them.

kicheko
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Re: Trust
kicheko   1/12/2012 4:30:44 PM
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Ariella - Previously people used to joke that, 'if its not on the first page of google it doesn't exist'....now i see that joke changing to something like 'The further you go from the first page the better'. By this i anticipate that the later pages after google has exhausted ideas from your circle members, will be the more neutral results, which are what you'd be looking for.

One of the good things they can do is to add a filter option that says 'ignore google+ circles' , but then they'd be eating at themselves if they did that.

Mitch Wagner
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Google responds
Mitch Wagner   1/12/2012 5:53:03 PM
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Google responded to some of my outstanding questions:

The CMO Site: If a Google+ user Circles a brand page, and that page shares content, does that content also show up in future searches by the user, same as if it was shared by an individual person whom the user had Circled? 

Google: Yes, relevant results that have been shared with you by Google+ Pages you are connected to may appear in Search plus Your World.

The CMO Site:On the Profiles in Search feature: Will that apply to brand pages, so if a user types in a search they'd see suggestions for brand pages alongside the profiles of real people?

Google: Profiles in search currently shows Google+ profiles for people. With Direct Connect, which launched with Google+ Pages in November, users can find Google+ Pages in their autocomplete predictions or navigate directly to the +Page by typing a '+' in front of their query. We're still experimenting with Google+ Direct Connect and it won't work for every Google+ page. 

Google also said that Search+ is available only to consumer Google accounts. It's not available to Google Apps for Your Domain users. This could be an issue for B2B marketers. Says Google: "We're working to bring this to as many users as possible in the future but have nothing to announce at this time."


Mitch Wagner
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Re: Trust
Mitch Wagner   1/12/2012 8:42:33 PM
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@kicheko - They have to be serious about forming relationships with their customers because they are going to need these to reach them.

Which was always what they should have been doing, rather than rely on SEO. 

If your business depends on SEO, then Google, rather than you, owns the customer relationship. 

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