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Google+ Changes Force AU Businesses to Become S-E-OCIAL

|Apr 19|magazine9 min read

This story originally appeared here in the April issue of Business Review Australia magazine.

Written by Kathryn Galland

Despite hype and controversy surrounding an American Google+ investigation involving ‘Google Search, plus Your World,’ more Australian businesses are seeking presence in Google’s social networking platform.

The new ‘Search, plus Your World’ feature pulls topical content from a user’s Google+ profile and inserts that data at the top of search results. That data is information from relatives and friends about what they do, where they buy, where they go and what they “+1” or “like.” Users can “+1” websites and business + Pages.

In light of the new search engine changes, Matthew Collis, founder of Search Academy in Sydney, says, “It’s increasingly more important for companies to have as broad and relevant social footprint as they can.”

Google Australia would agree. The Google Australia blog encourages businesses to join Google+ to interact with their clients via video chats called Hangouts, create a Google+ Page for their business and add a Google +1 button to their website.

And the results are in. Several in the SEO blogosphere have already noted that “+1’ing” webpages help raise their search rankings. The question is: how can businesses capitalise on the technology?

Insert the middleman. SEO consultants, like Collis, help make sense of complex Google algorithm changes and changing business competition through SEO research and SEO analysis tools.

“We understand what the important components are of the algorithm,” says Collis, “and then we construct and monitor the statistical relationship of those components to actual rankings within each of our clients’ target market.”

As Google is the largest, most popular search engine and dictates search result rankings through its algorithm, it is a good idea for companies to stay up-to-date with search modifications. Yet keeping up with Google’s many search algorithm changes can be challenging for most businesses.

“It’s like trying to throw a dart at a very small dart board that’s moving and you’re blindfolded. Then someone is whispering in your ear, ‘Okay, the board has moved to the left now,’” Collis says.

That whisperer might be Matt Cutts, Google guru and associate who says Google makes more than 400 changes per year “tweaking or improving an algorithm.”

But, the largest change in recent months is the unveiling of Google+, incorporating social data in search results.

The first SEO firms to successfully market Google+ can potentially reap big returns on investments for their clients.

The interaction between companies and social media will only be strengthened by Google’s new social-integrated search,” says Collis, “so we do our best to ensure that companies stay at the forefront of the trend while producing quality content.”