I have been an avid supporter of the new Google+ social network, and in my opinion, Circles have been the best invention since sliced bread. However I noticed something interesting recently, since I started using Google+ and the Plus 1 button, I have been staying logged into Google for 90% of my browsing sessions and as most search marketeers will know, staying logged into Google means that you will be seeing a lot of personalised search results.
Personalised search results, in itself is not a bad thing. From a SEO point of view however, it can be slightly irritating as you know that the results each person is seeing can vary quite significantly. So you find yourself having to explain to your clients that no, they are not number 1 for the keyword “car insurance” yet and it only appears that way because they keep searching and clicking on their own site every five minutes.
According to comscore, Facebook accounts for over 16% of the total time spent online. According to Nielson, an average user will spend approximately 6hrs on Facebook. This seems to be the trend with the popular social networks, people just stay logged in and if you use facebook, I am sure you will know this to be true
At the moment, Google+ has hit approximately 20 million users, and that number is rising. That means 20 million people are potentially seeing personalised search results. Now picture Google+ being the size of Facebook…. starts getting scary huh. Now does this mean SEO is dead?
I do not think so. I think SEO is shifting from the traditional model of search as we are used to, to a more social based system where the sharing of links through social avenues like twitter, Facebook and Google+ will become bigger signals in Google’s ranking algorithm. So as Google starts showing personalised results to a larger number of searchers, the more socially connected sites will end up having the edge. Sites shared or +1′ed by your circle of friends might start showing up higher in the rankings and Google’s recent announcement of +1 inline friend annotations seems indicate this will be the case.
However, this is just my humble opinion… What is yours?