With the introduction of each new Internet-based application comes questions galore, especially from business owners throughout the Northern Virginia, Maryland and Washington DC area. Each business owner wonders what the new introduction on the Internet will do to their current search engine optimization efforts, and if all the progress they have made climbing the ladder in recent months — and sometimes years — will suddenly be rendered useless. So let’s discuss what Google+ is and how — or if — it will impact the search engine optimization efforts you are currently making, or even those we make for you.
The basis of Google+ are Google “Circles.” Circles are basically categories of people you know which are organized into groups by topic. Such as friends, family, roommates, business associates, fraternity or sorority members, dog lovers, or any other category you choose. You simply drag and drop each of your contacts on Google+ into one of these categories, and they are organized.
Then comes “Sparks.” Sparks is the Google+ name for interests. You select your interests – ranging from computers to kittens and everything else in between – and Google+ offers you content based on those interests. It is basically creating a profile of your likes and interests then finds postings on the Internet it feels matches those categories.
Moving on to “Hangouts.” Google+ Hangouts are essentially nothing more than a chat room for your and your circle of friends to hang out in and chat — more or less, it’s just a video chat similar to those offered by a variety of programs available to anyone with a webcam.
Google’s answer to text messaging via the Internet is introduced with “Huddles.” Huddles allow you to connect with a group of people through messaging, there is even a mobile app available for Android phones. The app lets you send messages from your phone to your huddle and everyone can chat together.
The “Instant Update” feature of Google+ allows users of Android phones to automatically upload photos from their phone to Google+. This is a pretty simple feature and requires little explanation, so we will move on.
So how will all of this impact search engine optimization? Until recently, Google had a contract with Twitter to display Twitter feeds in real-time, which was also included in search engine results. The contract with Twitter expired, and Google did not renew it. Now, with the introduction of Google+, we know the contract was not renewed so Google could feature their own Google+ feed in search engine results. So the presence, or absence, from Google+ could eventually impact your SEO efforts, but the amount of the impact is not yet known.
The one factor that may impact SEO greatly are the Google Sparks. Since the Sparks are really interest topics, and Google suggests them (provides a pre-determined list of possible interests) many SEO experts are trying to quickly figure out how their topic of choice gets included in the Google Spark categories. Since Google created the categories, and they are not freely sharing the advice, nobody really knows how to become a Spark interest.
The one main takeaway from the study of how Google+ will impact SEO is this: in the future – possibly near, possibly not – Google rankings will be based on human interaction as much as SEO keywords. Creating a social media presence sooner rather than later — via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and others — will be beneficial. Developing online relationships with customers, clients, associates and more will prove beneficial as Google changes their methods of page ranking…yet again. Give us a call at Digital Assembly Line and we can help with all of your SEO and social media needs.