Google Social Search: Will Your Local Business Benefit?

Since launching Search plus Your World on January 10, Google has certainly been all the buzz, receiving much criticism via twitter and leaving the world to speculate on it’s effect on the rest of us.

Let’s take a look at how local business owners can find potential in the changes to searching the web Google has instituted.

For those of us with Google+ accounts, your Google+ content and that of all of the people in your network will now influence the outcome of Google searches.  This is being done in an effort to further personalize the search experience.  As Nancy Messiah wrote, “…for those of you who have been circling away with abandon, now might be a good time to revisit your Google+ contacts.”

Here are some key questions local business owners should be asking. Is Google Social Search going to make your personal searches or searches by others for your burgeoning brand less relevant or harder to come by? No.  Aaron Wall of SEObooks.com points out that while it is clear how Google’s strategy works for building market share in a marketplace scenario (think of customers searching by price, product, company) it is unclear how much relevance Search plus Your World will have on building social media communities.  Developing your own Google+ community WILL have an effect on YOUR clients search results.

What does this mean for my customer?  It appears that Google’s efforts to personalize the experience of sifting through online content is  the next logical step in search.  As I understand it the launch of Google’s Social Search takes some of the power out of influential publisher’s hands and places it into the hands of consumers.  This is a good thing from the standpoint of limiting the ability of those wishing to ‘game’ the system.  If you’re offering customers something they desire, you stand to gain by the latest changes.

But Google has left the other social media network players out of the equation for the time being.  This is not a benefit to the masses. This is why so many folks, while keen on seeing the benefit of Google’s changes are not happy with how those changes are playing out.  How does the local business owner take advantage of these sweeping 60k ft. level changes? Here is where your focus should be maintained.

1. An emphasis on strong, relevant content people will want to share is still relevant to SEO performance.  2. Producing high-quality content that is relevant to your business and truly useful to your current and potential clients will always remain essential, now even more so.  3. Increase dialogue by contributing to those in your network by commenting, collaborating on articles, referring to each other in content, etc. 4. Continue to dedicate substantive time to developing your Google+ page.  Don’t have one? No option my friend, get one.

…And finally, please remember: It is all about the client.  Always ask yourself: Am I GIVING more value then I’m TAKING, am I LISTENING to my clients more then TALKING, am I focused on WE or ME.  Because all the SEO capabilities in the world mean nothing without a client-centered approach to doing business.

IMG_4556rt-600x600Scott Graves is passionate about helping business owners.  Tune in to his show ‘The No Boundaries Radio Hour’ with co-Host Dennis Mannone on the No Boundaries Radio Network.  Meet him at the crossroads between strategy and innovation at scott@smgravesassociates.com or twitter @smgcreative.

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  • Cmaser

    Scott, I think that key phrase for the topic of Google Social Search is the one you list in the last paragraph “Am I GIVING more value then I’m TAKING, am I LISTENING to my clients more then TALKING, am I focused on WE or ME”. I’ve seen a number of networking opportunities go wrong as a direct result of the one-sided ME approach that folks sometime take.