What the Industry Thinks of “Search Plus Your World”

What the Industry Thinks of “Search Plus Your World”

11th January 2012

Yesterday Google announced their newest step towards a completely socialized web. The integration of Google+ into the SERPS didn’t come as a surprise to most people in the search and social industry. It was after all ‘just a matter of time’.

The responses on the web differed from ‘a great development’ to ‘a terrible idea’. Luckily we didn’t see that many “SEO is dead” posts (haven’t seen one myself, have you?). But there were a lot of opinions. Below you will find some opinions from experts, but also an overview of some of the posts about “Search Plus Your World” and some Social Media activity as well.

What do the experts say?

We asked some experts to give us their views on the developments, here are some of them:

Rand Fishkin – SEO Moz

“Any careful observer of Google’s desire for social data and need for incenting participation in Google+ likely saw this move coming. Googlers likely believe that the long term relevancy value is worth the short term criticisms and the many lower quality query results that will appear due to the change. If it means they can eventually earn and own a significant foothold in how content and links are socially shared on the web, it will mean a huge win for the quality of the results they can deliver in spite of continued link graph manipulation.

The big questions for me are around regulation and government actions. If Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter and others rally their lobbying forces, we could see a serious challenge to how Google’s allowed to operate and leverage search to promote their own properties.”

Rand actually predicted something like this last week

Rishi Lakhani – Explicitly.me

“First off, it sounds like MySpace.
Second, it’s annoying, useless, and one of the worst things Google can ram down our throats. Sadly, after a few failed social networks like buzz, wave etc, they needed one that “seems” to succeed. As such, I genuinely believe that the only reason they are introducing this feature is to compete with the social powerhouses that are twitter and Facebook.”

Richard Baxter – SEO Gadget

“For SEO folks that are embracing a truly inbound marketing strategy, this is great. In exchange for creating really, really engaging, unique and original content that people love, Google are rewarding us with better search engine visibility on almost all of their channels”

Andrew Girdwood – Big Mouth Media

“I think Search plus Your World will upset some people – especially those who dislike change.

That said, from the teasers Google has given us, Search plus Your World looks like a search service that I’d like to use. I really hope they get real time in there.

In terms of search marketing this impacts both SEO and PPC.

PPC is effected because Google+ Pages can (and should) be connected to AdWords.

SEOs wedded to old style strategies are less likely to welcome Search+. SEOs who have evolved to a multi-signal approach, who already work with engaging content and encouraging social and other signals are in a strong position to do well. All SEOs will now have to work with clients to help produce the sort of content that will do well in Google’s new world.”

Andy Atkins Kruger – Webcertain

“We will have to wait and see what lands before drawing too many conclusions – but I hope Google have thought this through carefully. I’m not convinced that all users want full personalization or seeing lots of references to “friends” and what they like or have found in the past. When I search, I don’t necessarily want to be dictated to by my own set of friends. If that’s right, then this could be an opportunity for Bing. For Google to be right, it would have to speed up and simplify the process of finding exactly what you’re looking for without getting in the way or slowing things down. We’ll see. ”

Peter Young – Mediacom

“My gut feel is that the announcement today by Google is certainly a bit of mixed bag. There are certain features I really like, and there are certain features I know I am going to loathe and despise in equal measure.

Certainly I actually like the closer integration of much of Google+ into the results. In certain contexts I feel this make sense however part of me feels like much of the new ‘social improvements’ take away what is so special about the internet.

I doubt this is the last we will see in terms of social integration either. Google has a clear vision to integrate search into the wider social landscape, and one would be a fool to suggest we aren’t going to see further changes in coming months and years. Certainly I wouldn’t mind seeing more intelligent use of social perhaps based on where in query intent or where within the search/purchase funnel I am rather than the current all in approach.

Theres no doubt this is a significant step by Google. Its not a huge game changer, but it does offer search marketers (both PPC and SEO) a number of significant challenges and opportunities (not the order). However I would certainly recommend being aware of the impact these changes may potentially impact before making any wholesale changes to your online marketing campaigns.”

Sam Noble – Koozai

“Google Search Plus Your World is just taking personalised search a big step further which is what a lot of us would have predicted would happen in 2012. I am pleased that they have added the option to switch between personalised and non-personalised results but it will be interesting to see how many searchers actually interact with the button.

Having your friends and acquaintances comments, photos and discussions in your search results will be good and I can see it working well, but I can’t understand why I would want to see my own photos and comments in my results. Let’s say I am looking at going on holiday to Mauritius and Google return search results for various holiday companies but also pulls in comments and photos from friends, I would find this useful and informative. As I have been to Mauritius before, Google Search Plus Your World may return me with photos from my previous holiday there which personally, I would find a little irritating as it would detract from what I am trying to achieve with my search.

That said, it is very early days for Google Search Plus Your World and it will be interesting to see how it evolves over time and which features they choose to keep and which they bin. To make it really work, I think that a link up with other social media platforms other than Google + would be needed. Using only Google + will alienate a lot of contacts that searchers have, making it less of a personalised search function.”

Li Evans – Da Li Social

“This newest “advancement” from Google should be a huge surprise if you realize what Google’s trying to do, get you the most relevant results that are important to – “you”. Research shows that as humans we trust recommendations from our inner circles more than even just a set of search results, that’s why this new announcement by Google is significant.

The only drawback at this point that I see in what Google’s doing is that it’s focus in serving you up results based on “Search Plus Your World” is how heavily it relies on Google Plus. If you are a marketer who’s been using Google Plus (and who hasn’t been using it to promote their own content) it will help you personally if you trust those other marketers in your circle. But if you aren’t active in Google Plus and mostly rely on your interaction with your Facebook friends or Twitter friends, how will this really help “Search My World”?

While I think this is a significant step forward in getting “truer” results, I believe that until Google can incorporate “all” of my “world”, I (and most others) still go first to social networks to search, then a search engine. That’s why it’s important to incorporate this advancement into your online marketing strategies, but not forget about what and where your customers really are.”


As said, there was a lot written about Search Plus Your World, just take a quick stroll through Techmeme. Most of the posts focus on the personalization and the favoring of Google+ results in stead of Twitter or Facebook results. A quick overview:

Sharing a search story – Matt Cutts about Search Plus Your World
Google’s Results Get More Personal With “Search Plus Your World” – overview article by Danny Sullivan on Searchengineland
Search Engines Should Be Like Santa From “Miracle On 34th Street” – article about Google pushing their own content – Danny Sullivan on Searchengineland
Schmidt: Google+ Not Favored, Happy To Talk Twitter & Facebook Integration – Danny Sullivan talks to Eric Schmidt – Marketingland
Twitter: Google+ Integration In Google Search Is “Bad” For Everyone – Twitters response – Matt McGee on Marketingland
Twitter Really, Really Hates Google’s New Google+ Integration – Jason Kincaid on Twitter’s complaints – Techcrunch
Misdirection, Doublespeak, Non-Answers, And Straight Up Bad Decisions – MG Siegler about Google pushing their own content – on ParisLemon
Search & Social – you can’t get the cream out of the coffee – Joost de Valk on the latest developments
They Did It: Google Personalizes Search & It Is Not Evil – Read Write Web
Google Launches Search Plus Your World – Searchenginewatch
Search, Plus Your World, as long as its our world – John Batelle
Google’s Plans to Promote Google+ in Search Get a Poor Reception – All Things D

Finally Some Google+ Responses

Google’s response on Google+ to Twitter accusations
Jeff Jarvis on Google+


Written By
Bas van den Beld is an award winning Digital Marketing consultant, trainer and speaker. He is the founder of State of Digital and helps companies develop solid marketing strategies.
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