Google is calling it Social Search… and yes, you should have seen it coming. It's now included in your search returns: relevant results from your social network, provided it's Google+.
Matt Cutts, from Google’s search quality team, explains that the reason Google is integrating social is, “We’re transforming Google into a search engine that understands not only content, but also people and relationships."
This makes sense. Oftentimes when I am in need of a service or product I will ask those in my network for their input. Social Search allows me to obtain opinions and data from my current network while I am doing a search of the web for more information.
What does this mean for your business
There are tons of implications and certainly the complete impacts of this change are not known, but we do know a few things you need to be thinking about with regards to Google, your current clients, and your future clients.
1) Stop fighting it and build yourself and your business profiles on Google+. It is just a matter of time before this becomes a huge part of search so get acquainted with it now.
2) Encourage conversation on Google+ about your business. The best way to use this new search function is to have people talking about you. This will quickly expand your reach within search. If your customer Kim talks about you on Google+, when her network searches for your keywords there is a good chance Kim’s post will show up on search. That is a solid referral from a trusted source.
3) Interact with your customers on Google+. If you want people to talk about you on social networks, you need to start by getting interested in their posts first.
4) Add the Plus1 (+1) button to your website. Google, similar to Facebook and Twitter, created the +1 button as a share tool. You should be encouraging people to +1 your blog posts, and making it simple to +1 your website.
5) Connect and Comment with competitive and complementary businesses. The end result is you want your website to show up in search for your market. For some this will work best by connecting with people in your industry that provide complimentary services or products. For others you will need to create a communication strategy that is beneficial both to you and your competition.
Here's Matt Cutts explaining all about Google+ just in case this is the first you've heard of it:
Feel free to reach out to me if you need any guidance on getting started.
Jabez LeBret has authored three books and is a managing partner for Get Noticed Get Found. Over the last nine years he has delivered over 700 keynote addresses in five countries. His main area of expertise is managing Gen Y in the workplace, advanced Facebook strategies, LinkedIn strategies, Google+, SEO, local directory optimization, and online marketing. He recently relocated to Chicago.