Google Search Plus Your World: Crowdsourcing Masterclass

Thursday 12 January, 2012 at 2:21 pm / 0 comment - Cole Whitelaw


Lots of interesting information is being banded about regarding Google’s new “search plus your world” service, a deeply integrated mix of Google+ recommendations and natural search results.

There’s enough information on the change and its short term effects on the search user experience, ranging from: Search plus your world is Good (rare), all the way to: Search plus your world is the Devil and will come round your house with Jeremy Clarkson and shoot you in front of your family. In the face.

The most obvious being that the higher Google+’s uptake, the more people will be logged in when searching and the more frightening the curse of (not provided) becomes.  Secondly, of course is that PPC position #4+ are made increasingly less useful.

I wont be covering that here, there are many, many opinions around that. What I’m interested in, is that this heralds yet another power play from Google, with repercussions that echo for once, beyond the search industry.

Rule With a Carrot-Shaped Stick

Google hasn’t had anything like the traction they wanted from Google+ and so has resorted to something very similar to the ICO on the cookie regulations – Rather than take direct responsibility for consumer education/acquisition, just force webmasters to market your products for you. Easy.

As set out by Danny Sullivan, any smart marketer can clearly see that a compelling Google+ presence will at least create:

    • Extra visibility in the real estate previously saved for Adwords positions 4-10
    • More Meta content and eye candy in the snippet/ relationship bumph
    • Visibility in personalised content recommendations from known people


With Google augmenting results with rich information like this, the CTR improvements that a webmaster can expect from SERPs could be huge if they can leverage a large Google+ network. This, of course, seriously incentivises the use of onsite +1 buttons and increased activity on the network itself.

This move essentially crowdsources promotion of Google+ across the millions of webmasters who care about their exposure on the search results page.

So instead of publishers, merchants and webmasters taking the traditional view of adapting and targeting their marketing based on what the market is requesting, in fact, to compete for these high-profile SERP augmentations one needs to force users through a hoop route prescribed by Google; That is, Google+.

Of course, you could just up your Adwords bids (cough, profiteering much?).

Just take a second to re-read that. You, as a business, don’t need to be on Google+. It doesn’t have the penetration of Facebook, it’s not as creative or controllable an experience as your own web property – YET, you are missing out on the equivalent of a #4 adwords bid and some shiny rich snippets by not doing so.

From the other perspective you, as a user, don’t need to be on Google+ as well as Facebook, Twitter etc. I’d wager that until all of your mates are on it, it’s relatively useless.

So the fact remains, to compete for exceptional levels of favouritism, a business needs to push users, content and otherwise direct brand engagment onto Google+. What a stinker.

Or should I say masterstroke? – Tweet this post

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