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Big Google social search announcement

Google logoA big change was announced by Google on 1/10/12. Google rolled out a seemingly small search engine ‘tweak’ that’s going to fundamentally change the way we search. How?  The short explanation: They are more effectively integrating YouTube and Google+ into your search results provided you’re signed into a Google Account. What does it do?  Google has now changed how they present search engine results to the average browser. As Google says on their website:

“We’re transforming Google into a search engine that understands not only content, but also people and relationships. We began this transformation with Social Search, and today we’re taking another big step in this direction by introducing three new features: 1. Personal Results, which enable you to find information just for you, such as Google+ photos and posts–both your own and those shared specifically with you, that only you will be able to see on your results page; 2. Profiles in Search, both in autocomplete and results, which enable you to immediately find people you’re close to or might be interested in following; and, 3. People and Pages, which help you find people profiles and Google+ pages related to a specific topic or area of interest, and enable you to follow them with just a few clicks. Because behind most every query is a community. Together, these features combine to create Search plus Your World. Search is simply better with your world in it, and we’re just getting started.”

Here’s the full post on the Official Google Blog: So what does this mean for your SEO efforts?  Are backlinks dead? Absolutely not! Any change of this sort opens up new opportunities, and yes, there will be winners and losers. But this should have little impact on most small-to-medium-sized businesses in the short term.  In fact, this update will assist with integrating your existing social media into your ‘regular’ (non-social) search. But it would be foolhardy to pass up the opportunity to develop your social media presence, especially on Google+ and Youtube, if you haven’t already. SEO is constantly changing.  If you want to continue to rank well with Google, then you need to stay in front of that change. So embrace the change and make the best of it by strengthening your social media presence, especially if you’re in a business where there is a significant social aspect to your marketing.