The jury is still out on exactly what Google are trying to do with their ‘Search Plus Your World’, feature. Some including Twitter believe they are purely trying to promote their Google Plus social media site and give it a USP by integrating it with search; other people however think that it is a larger push for Google to try and make results more relevant to people based on where they are, what they do and who they do things with: i.e. results based on location, interests and friends and colleagues.
The changes with Your World include personal results which show you results for photos, posts and so on of yours or which have been shared with you, then there is the potential for profiles to be included in search if Google thinks that a person, or brand, is of interest to you or if you already know them and lastly people and brands when searched for have their Google Plus pages come up as an auto-suggestion: great for SEO if no-one else on Google Plus yet has a similar name or brand name but you are struggling to rank naturally for your own name
If we assume that Google are going for the latter of the two options given earlier, i.e. trying to purely make search results more relevant, and not just pushing Google Plus then it means for SEO that more niche content may be needed and more content rehashed to be relevant to different localities perhaps. It may well also mean that getting plus ones is going to be even more important than originally thought and that it really will be a matter of getting plus ones from as wide a range of people as possible for general websites or focusing on a relevant niche for a niche site. In either case it is going to require communication with real people, no longer will good relationships with Bloggers and other site owners be enough or even Social Media superstars. Websites are going to have to communicate effectively and continually with everyone in and around their target audience: for those already great at Social Media it should be easy, for those webmasters who have relied on SEO keyword research, content creation and link building the game may be about to change.
One thought is that certain types of websites will lose out unfairly, there are a lot of websites that are useful, functional but still not exactly interesting and they may struggle to interact with people who come to them purely to get information or to complete a task such as completing a tax calculation for example: this could actually see people having trouble finding what they want.
Google despite what some SEO experts claim don’t usually role out major changes too quickly so that they can’t iron out problems, those who say they do tend to use black hat techniques and are the people Google want to catch out.
So what does it mean for SEO if Google is just trying to promote Google Plus, well Google plus one buttons and a social media campaign on Google Plus might be necessary, though of course by doing this you are giving Google exactly what they want but working in SEO isn’t that what we have always had to do?