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The top SEO gurus are (still!) in a huff about Google’s latest major change to their search engine: personal results. If you haven’t noticed yet, any time you log into Google and then search, you get a cute little button in the upper-right area of your search results that says “Show Personal Results”. If you click on it, your search is altered to include any relevant material created by people in your Google Plus circles.
What does this have to do with SEO? It’s debatable. Most people search Google without logging into their Google account — and most people who do log into their Google account won’t turn on ‘Search Plus Your World’ (as the big G calls it). Furthermore, many people who might otherwise turn on SPYW will be turned off by the fact that it only displays results culled from Google Plus. Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and the other major social sharing sites have all declined to allow Google enough data access to be able to twine that content into search results as well.
That said, even if only 1% of searches are SPYW searches, that’s still 4 million searches every day that will have Google Plus results mixed in. For SEO specialists, that’s a gold mine of searches waiting to be tapped. Some big names like Ed Dale of The Challenge have decided that SPYW is big enough to build an entire business model around, encouraging every SEO nerd in the world to add him to their Google Plus circles so that his content will appear in their SPYW searches.
Many people view Google’s inclusion of only Google Plus results in Search Plus Your World as a somewhat cynical attempt to drive more people to use Google Plus — particularly marketers — but the opposite is true. Google would benefit hugely from the inclusion of Facebook, Twitter and other social network results in their searches; their failure to do so is because of Facebook and Twitter more than it is because of Google.
All told, however, as Search Plus Your World becomes more and more popular, the importance of social networking in SEO is going to rise. That fact is seemingly the one thing that the top SEO experts all agree on — the question no one has answered quite yet is how to take best advantage of the change.