Since the launch of Google+, Google search results have omitted Tweets and Facebook ‘Likability’ in its search results – but the question is will the consumer adapt to a new type of social network or are we too comfortable where we are?
My guess is that Google will leave us no choice but to adapt, but usage will not be the same as Facebook and Twitter. Some recent usage stats show that although Google+ launched strong that users and time on site is declining instead of growing.
I predict that Google+ will not be the either/or social network replacing Facebook, but will become a social search engine.
Google+ will most likely change search completely because the web as a whole has become socially integrated, with friend recommendations driving consumer engagement in content and thus high rankings in search and overall online visibility.
Google+ will give the search engine what has been missing, something that algorithms alone could not provide – aggregated data on consumer preferences, habits and interests as an indicator of relevancy.
Google is trying to do what they have done with content on the web from the start – organize content based on user preference. By aggregating the social web, Google is able to understand consumer behaviour like never before, and own the data – which is what makes Facebook so powerful. Marketers have the ability to target their marketing messages based not only on user activity, but by circle of user’s activity, interests, social buzz – along with all of the other demographic information they have only been guessing about until now.
The number of Google+ likes that content has will affect ranking in both the paid and non-paid organic search results. If Google+ is adopted in the way the Google hopes, a Google+ “like” (for lack of a better term) will be an important indicator for ranking content as relevant.
If users adopt, Google+ will have access to consumer preferences, demographics and psychographics (much like facebook has gathered over the past few years) like never before. More than that, they will be able to tie that knowledge in to Google Adwords making it a marketing vehicle that will be able to serve almost personalized ads based on what Google knows we like.
So the question is, will Google+ take over as the social engine of choice?
Of course Google is hoping for that – but Facebook is not going anywhere. Facebook has been so widely adopted by consumers that I predict it will maintain and continue to grow its user base. It will be interesting to see though how Facebook will evolve from here. Perhaps Facebook should add a search engine? (back at ya Google!)
Will users adapt? Google+ needs to focus on integration into all their products and educating users about how to use their +’s. My guess is that consumers will adapt, but not as a replacement to social networks like Facebook and Twitter.
Times are certainly changing in search. It will be interesting to see if Google+ has enough mass appeal to bring Google to the next level…whatever that may be. Make sure you Google+ this post, Tweet it and Like it on Facebook – now that’s alot of love to give – and I thank you for it!