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Yesterday, January 9th2011, Google posted a video to it's YouTube channel called “Search, plus your world.”
Here's the video:
The video its self is visually appealing and commands your attention, but for those of us who already know what Google+ and +1 are, I think it was a little convoluted. Immediately after first watching the video I realized that this warranted a post on ADM.
A few months ago we wrote about how the Google +1 button was a new way to SEO, and now things are changing again. Google search results, when logged in to Google, will now rank websites higher if they not only have +1 endorsements, but also Google+ profile posts and comments, pulling that information right in to the SERP.
This video and the changes made to google search results with the inclusion of Google+ and +1 brings up yet another need for media literacy. It is important that people know what this is and why they see it when they enter in keywords. Why? Because although it is “cool” an could potentially help us make decisions, it could also hinder our research process.
We've asked our clients if they think their new potential customers would rather click on a link that their friend(s) endorsed over one that wasn't.. and usually they said yes. And we think so, too. But in that statement lies the paradox: sometimes what our friends know and think is helpful, but sometimes it isn't and we don't necessarily know which is which.
For example, if all I know is that I need a new car and don't have any brands in mind or know very much about cars in general, then searching and seeing endorsements by my friends could help me very much in my decision, at the very least it can expedite my ZMOT research.
However, if I do know what I want or know a lot about cars or at least the different features that are important to me, I may not need the input of my friends. Instead, I need to do my due diligence and research what I want. If this process is interrupted by my friends' endorsements, then I may be steered off course or at the very least I may waste time weeding through what they've suggested.
I'm not saying that this integration is bad. I think that in a lot of situations it can be beneficial to search. I just think there needs to be an “Off” button. Ever have a friend or colleague who gave you advice on everything that came out of your mouth, solicited or not? That's kind of what this is like. Even if we're not looking for advice, it is presented to us right there in the organic SERP results.
Right now the only Off button is to log out of Google and start your search over, but I'm willing to guess that the average person isn't going to go through all of that hassle, or even know that it's an option. With the increase in “(not provided) “ as a keyword referral, we can see that a lot of people are searching while logged in to Google and winding up on dealership websites.
I'm hoping that Google puts out a TV ad about this new search, and one that doesn't look as convoluted as this video so that people know what's going on when they search for things and their friends' heads and comments pop up.
I'm interested to hear what others think about this, do you think it's a good idea? How to do think it will affect automotive SEO?