Despite Facebook’s potential for dominating social search, Google is once again proving that they are not only committed to holding their ground, but they also have a strategy for doing so.
It’s fascinating to watch how Google is methodically going about their business to fulfill their goal to: ”Get you the most relevant search results as quickly as possible.”
As a marketer, you have to keep in mind the YOU they are referring to is your customer.
The most relevant data for consumers is social data that is shared among friends. This is why Google recently did a major overhaul to Google Profile to aggregate what we share across the web – with special emphasis on the social networks.
Traditional vs Social Search
Google has traditionally ranked content according to relevance and authority. Relevant content is what has been recently updated – it’s recent news. This is why consistently and frequently updating your blog earns a higher Google ranking.
Authority is measured by the quantity, and more importantly, the quality of links to your blog or website. These referring links indicate to Google that you are creating content that is valuable. When you create useful content you earn inbound thinks – votes of confidence – such as a retweet.
The missing ingredient in traditional search is context – what is relevant to those social circles that are most likely to do business with you.
Any entrepreneur will attest that their first customers were friends. When you first opened shop didn’t you test your product or service with family or close friends?
That’s context. Where are your friends? On Facebook, a place that is not available to Google. However, some of them are also on Twitter, LinkedIn, Quora and numberless other sites.
You can help Google help you connect with more customers by updating your Google Profile. Your friends trust you, and that is why your prospects will seriously consider their perspectives.
So, step one for juicing up your web presence for social search is to bring as much social content as possible into your Google Profile where Google can easily access it. This includes your blog, Facebook page, article distribution sites, etc.
Here’s my Google Profile to give you an example. Note how many RSS feeds I’ve brought in.
Bring it all in. The more content the better.
Google +1 and the Facebook Like Button
Google +1 is an attempt to emulate the ingenious and powerful Facebook Like button. The difference is Facebook Like only shares your content within Facebook, and Google +1 shares with your friends on the open web where Google still commands 65% of the search results.
Here’s a post from Google’s blog that explains with a video how Google +1 will work.
The big question is who are your friends outside of Facebook. We don’t really have an answer to this yet, but it seems logical that they are your connections that run through that Google Profile. Why? Because having a Google Profile is a requirement for using +1.
As I’ve said before, Google doesn’t care about you. Their customer is the one doing the search. They use them to sell advertising. You use Google to accomplish that objective, while driving traffic to your sites.
When all is said and done, everybody wins. Just think of this as a game that you have to play to bring in more business.
Who Are Your Friends?
Are you close with your thousands of Twitter followers? Of course not. Facebook understands that too. That’s why they only send you what the friends you most recently connected are sharing. Google will do the same.
More than likely, anyone you connect with on Twitter, Quora, and other sites that Google is aggressively indexing will receive your recommendations – much like your Facebook friends will receive your Likes in their newsfeed.
My recommendation is to not over-think this, because none of us really know exactly how the Google +1 button will work.
We just have to remember that Google is Google – they still control the majority of Internet searches.
You can sit back and wait, or you can take a few simple actions now that may prove to be invaluable for bringing in new business.
Action Steps for Immediate Results
The steps you should take are pretty simple.
1. Set-up or update your Google Profile.
This will immediately help Google to index more of the content you share.
2. Click on the +1 button on sites associated with content that you believe will be valuable to your community.
Everyone is an authority in their niche – that little space that they share with friends and customers. By clicking on the Google +1 button you notify Google of that authority.
When you take these simple action steps you help Google fulfill their goal of delivering the most relevant results as quickly as possible to whomever is doing a search.
In a perfect world this helps your trusted friends, who are in turn help you to grow your small business.
Update: After some some time of not seeing the Google+1 button I did some research and discovered you have to opt-in to this “experiment.” Go to this link and select “join this experiment” under the +1 Button description and you are good to go. Make sure you are signed into Google when you do this.
Feel free to share this with your friends by clicking on the Facebook Like Button – or now the Google+1 button on the bar at the bottom of this page.
And please consider subscribing to learn more ways to profitably grow your small business.
Until tomorrow, Jeff