This Ain’t Your Daddy’s Google Anymore

This Ain’t Your Daddy’s Google Anymore image google update 300x125google updates

Unbeknownst to many casual observers, Google is radically changing—and in a way that’s powerful enough to wipe out the competition and change the way businesses operate online. The search giant has been altering and tweaking its business model for a while, and the combination of changes is sure to have sweeping side effects. Whether or not you’ve been aware of these transitions as they’ve happened, here’s a review of what’s going on and where it’s likely to take the rest of us.

Google+

There’s no denying the power of Facebook – the social network with close to a billion users and an advertising system to monetize them. But now, backed by the power of the world’s largest search engine, Google+ is the social network on the rise. “Google wants to have a rival to Facebook,” says Slate technology columnist Farhad Manjoo in an interview at NPR. “That’s what the aim of Google+ is – to get lots of people using Google+ instead of Facebook, and to get some of that advertising business.”

What this means for your company: Google+ is growing. If Google has its way, Google+ is only going to grow in popularity. Don’t be the last one to notice! Rather than sticking to the old-school Facebook, expand your social presence to include Google+. Set up your own personal profile, and set up a page for your brand.

Google Authorship

Back in the day, the rank of a webpage depended chiefly on that page’s content—today, thanks to Google Authorship, it also depends on that page’s author. The content that ranks highest in search results is the content from the best writers. What’s more, search results link directly to author profiles.

What this means for your company: Your content creators need to set up Google+ author profiles and link them to each piece of content they create. Doing so is a simple two-step process: Set up a complete Google+ profile, and verify authorship from one of the two ways Google provides. To learn more about verifying authorship, visit https://plus.google.com/authorship.

Panda

If your company cares at all about search engine marketing, you’ve probably heard about Google Panda—and you’ve probably heard about it more than once. Primarily a site quality update, Panda first launched in early 2011 and has had a series of iterations since. As of March 2013, these changes became an especially big deal—particularly to websites not focused on the user experience. Based on new algorithms, page rankings changed, search results changed, and everyone scrambled to keep up.

What this means for your company: Thanks to Panda, Google essentially penalizes bad content practices. So to protect your business, avoid having a low percentage of original content, work to lower your website bounce rate, and aim for longer visits from users. Google Now

As reported in a recent Content Equals Money article, Google Now is basically an automatic search assistant designed to help users find what they need faster. As a user types in a search request, “cards” appear that predict what the user needs next. Someone might search for “flight to Chicago,” for example, and cards will bring up flight tracking data or details on hotel reservations.

What this means for your company: Experts predict Google Now will be a big deal in terms of local SEO. If you’re a business focused on the local market, make sure your keywords, links, and Meta tags incorporate relevant terms accordingly.

Your Thoughts

Nobody can predict exactly how the future will play out, both in terms of Google and in terms of everything else. But when the writing’s on the wall for search engine marketing and social networks, only a fool wouldn’t pay attention. Take the tips in this post to heart to prepare yourself to make the most of Google’s changes!

What steps are you taking to get your business in Google’s good graces?

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