Google announced yesterday that they are launching “Search, plus Your World” claiming that this will be revolutionary for people searching on the internet. While this may be helpful for some search purposes, it may be harmful for others–or benign at best.
What will the impact be on local business search?
Only time will tell for certain, but it appears that it will place even more emphasis on the importance of getting positive feedback from customers as well as having a presence on social media. Less emphasis on traditional SEO and more on getting conversations going and putting more and more content out on the web.
First, to summarize the Search, plus Your World, it is just being launched and will be rolling out over time as is normal for any big changes from Google. So, what you see today and what you see “tomorrow” may be radically different. Again, nothing new when dealing with Google. Search, plus Your World only works if you are signed in to Google.com and, at least for now, only works if you are searching in English.
While touted to increase the uniqueness of your search vs a search on the same term by your neighbor or BFF, it appears that there is greater weight put on Google+ and YouTube content at the expense of competitors such as Facebook.
This shouldn’t be a surprise since Google+ and YouTube are both properties owned by Google. Facebook has already been coordinating similar search results with Microsoft’s search engine Bing and sharing content with sites like Yelp, Pandora and Spotify.
This all reeks a bit of 1984 to me and rather than broadening our horizons, “personalizing” our searches may instead make our worlds more lopsided. If Facebook is any indication, while you can find lots of great information there, your stream (or wall) is flooded with what Facebook deems is the most relevant to you. The problem is because they are pre-filtering content unless you go out and seek out your other friends who post less frequently, you are apt to be taken down a more and more narrow path.
What does this mean for local search for business? Well, it could mean that potential customers do not find your business quite as easily, especially if you have been relying on traditional SEO. However, if you have embraced social media and are developing a following then your local business can do very well with this change.
Read Google’s official post about Search, plus Your World including what they are doing to protect privacy in these personalized searches.
If you have not yet embraced social media, you still have the opportunity to take advantage of it to market your local business and bring in new customers. Rather than thinking of it as something more you have to do, think of it as an extension of your existing customer relations projects and word of mouth advertising–because even on the internet, that is advertising that works!