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The world of search is a battleground.  There are the searchers (you, me and just about everyone on the Web), the information providers (everyone that is creating content, THINK: Web sites and beyond) and the search engines.  It is this third group, the search engines, that is currently one of the areas undergoing the most dramatic changes and Google, the most popular search engine of all, is leading the way with its “Search Plus Your World” feature.Google Search Plus Your World

What is Search Plus Your World?
Google, like most companies in the digital space, knows that social is playing a larger role in how we use the Web.  Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and now, Google Plus are all ways for us to connect with others and share our lives on the Web (related links: “A Quick Guide to the New Facebook Layout,”   and “Why Small Business Should Take a Second Look at Google Plus.”)  So, Google is always on the hunt for ways to draw in social connections into its main business: search.  In some respects, this isn’t new as Google has been displaying social sharing within the main search engine results page (SERP) for some time now.  But “Search Plus Your World” is a radical change that further customizes the SERP for individuals.  Search Engine Watch has a good summary of the new feature and I’ve embedded a video below from Google promoting the feature.

How Will “Search Plus Your World” Affect Businesses?
The changes look interesting, but a question remains: what does this mean for businesses, and small businesses in particular?  Here are a few thoughts in response to that question:

  1. If your business isn’t engaged in social media, you need to get there — quickly.  Participating in these social networks is no longer optional.  If you’re in business and you’re searching for customers, you must have a presence on social media.  The content about you and from you in those social networks is now showing in search engine results and it will affect visibility, clicks and performance.  (here’s a link to a previous post about how to allocate your business should allocate its time within social media)
  2. You must monitor your performance in the search engines.  This used to be somewhat easy.  It’s getting more complicated with these changes, but it is not impossible.  At a minimum, you need to monitor your performance via Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools.  SEOMOZ has some great advanced level tools that will go further.  Bottom line: know how your company/brand/product is performing in search or you risk being left behind.
  3. You need to have a solid digital marketing strategy.  Posting content and participating in social networks in a haphazard manner is guaranteed way to get poor (or no) results.  When you craft a solid strategy and implement it in a focused, but flexible way, you can engage your audience, encourage them to share your message and get those shares to show up within “Search Plus Your World” features.

Of course, these are just a few of the many points businesses should consider in light of the new Search Plus Your World feature, but I believe these are the essentials you should consider in light of Google’s changes.

So, how does your business stack up?  Share your thoughts in the comments area below!

Here’s the promo video for Search Plus Your World: