Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Google + Updates

Google has launched several updates since the release of Google Pages

Google launched Google Pages on November 7th and since then there have been several updates to Google Plus. Google has begun displaying select Google+ Pages in search results by publishing Google+ posts and giving users the option to add pages to their Google+ circles straight from search results. These options are only available for those brands that are part of Google’s Direct Connect. Google’s Direct Connect is Google’s feature that allows users to search for Google+ Pages by typing + followed by the brand name. This automatically directs users to the brand’s Google + page. Direct Connect is being rolled out slowly to those brands that have made themselves eligible for it by including a Google+ badge on their websites.

Google has also launched a Google+ Badge Tool that creates badges that show people’s faces and count the number of +1s the page has received. These badges are meant to go on brands’ sites and they include the +1 button and the option for users to add the brand’s page to their circles. Google has announced that the Google count that appears in the badge will be a compilation of all +1s across a brand including those from the homepage, Google+ Page and any ads being linked through Social Extensions.

Google has also announced its partnership with 6 companies to create management tools for Google+ pages. These companies are Buddy Media, Contact Optional, Hearsay Social, HootSuite, Involver, and Virtue.

These changes have the potential of having great impact on SEO. By displaying Google+ Pages in search results, these pages dominate more of the search real-estate. This allows brands more tools for reputation management as people are less likely to encounter negative results in search when most of the real-estate is dominated by the brand.

Starcom suggests that once brands have created their Google+ Pages, they should connect it to their websites in order to become eligible for Direct Connect. Direct Connect will be a great differentiator especially in the early stages where only select brands are part of this. Having a Google+ Page with Direct Connect will also increase the likelihood of appearing on Page 1 of search results as Google+ Pages are being published within results. Having your Google+ Page connected to your site will also be beneficial for SEO as social cues are being included into Google’s search algorithm.

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