On Tuesday, Jan 10, 2012, Google made the biggest change to their search algorithm ever. They have integrated their 60 million (and growing) user strong social media network into their results.
Above, I searched the term “Internet Marketing”. If I was going to pay for this keyword on Google I’d probably pay $100 a click.
This result shows Facebook expert Mari Smith as the number one result on the far right. This is the coveted paid real estate.
You can also see that I was not even signed into Google Plus. Which means they are not just showing me things in my social network. They are deeming her important because of what she has done on Google Plus overall.
What It Means
The game has changed. The reason Mari is now number 1 for a highly competitive search term is because she earned it. The days of gaming Google for rankings are over.
Mari is number 1 there because she creates content about that topic and has close to fifty thousand people who have her in their circles. If you’re not up on your Google Plus terminology yet, that is the same as a Like on Facebook. And those likes and circles, that’s just good old fashioned list building.
Google Plus has decided she is a top influencer in Internet Marketing based on what she has created on their social network. Social media has dictated who appears on top of the search result page, put her picture up and gave her primo real estate.
Told Ya So
I hate to say it, but I’ve been shouting this for a long time now. I’ve been telling everyone who will listen that content and social media are going to be the key to search. And today we wake to validation and proof of that fact. It is no longer a theory.
Like Aragorn said to Frodo; “You can no longer wait for the wizard. They are coming…”. Businesses can no longer wait to get into social media. Your competition is coming and they’re about to eat your lunch.
Made To Order
In the picture below I am now logged in to Google Plus. And you can see the results are similar but now personalized to me. I am actually the number one organic result for Social Media. But, I may be the only person who sees this result this way because they’re giving me results from my own life.
The Lords Of Content
What does this mean? Simple, content and connection is king!
These results may not yet be seen by everyone the same way as Google rolls out this massive change. And things may change as advertisers very likely shout about their lost real estate. Or as Google itself decides to make tweaks.
But one thing is for sure, the handwriting is on the wall that people who create valuable content and draw an audience will win. And win big.
Google will now show you not only influencers that have big Google Plus followings but also people you may already be connected to. If someone who is connected to someone you know talks about what you’re looking for, it may bring that back to you as a personalized search result.
Businesses Be Doing?
Create high value content and connect and share it with people in Google Plus, Facebook, Twitter and whatever other social media channel important to you.
Make sure your profile is optimized. Look at Mari’s profile page below. Notice how choc-full of keywords it is.
She’s got pictures and links to her other social profiles. Optimize yours like she does hers.
Are Freaking Out
In the not so old days, as in up until Tuesday, you could use black hat SEO trickery to fool Google into ranking you. Smoke and mirror tactics like building backlinks by bulk commenting on blogs or forums.
There’s many things that people could do to get Google to see your site. Then Google thinks your important because of all this inbound activity and you’re ranking high.
Now we know- and this has really been going on for a while-that they care about the quality of the content. If people go to your site and bounce out, (which means they see the content sucks and leave), you’re not going to rank.
So now you have to make them stick to your site like never before. You have to have great content that makes them want to stay and participate.
With social media though, this really makes it very hard, if not impossible, to trick the search engines. Social media is self policing. If people don’t see you as a real human who has something of value to say, they won’t follow and participate.
Fakers and spammers just lost their jobs. 2012 is the year of content and connection.
I’d love to be added to your circle. You can find me on Google Plus here.