Game Changer: Google Plus Changes Search And Social Media Marketing

On Tuesday, Jan 10, 2012, Google made the biggest change to their search algorithm ever.  They have integrated their 60 million (and growing) user strong social media network into their results.

Above, I searched the term “Internet Marketing”.  If I was going to pay for this keyword on Google I’d probably pay $100 a click.

This result shows Facebook expert Mari Smith as the number one result on the far right.  This is the coveted paid real estate.

You can also see that I was not even signed into Google Plus.  Which means they are not just showing me things in my social network.  They are deeming her important because of what she has done on Google Plus overall.

What It Means

The game has changed.  The reason Mari is now number 1 for a highly competitive search term is because she earned it.  The days of gaming Google for rankings are over.

Mari is number 1 there because she creates content about that topic and has close to fifty thousand people who have her in their circles.  If you’re not up on your Google Plus terminology yet, that is the same as a Like on Facebook.  And those likes and circles, that’s just good old fashioned list building.

Google Plus has decided she is a top influencer in Internet Marketing based on what she has created on their social network.  Social media has dictated who appears on top of the search result page, put her picture up and gave her primo real estate.

Told Ya So

I hate to say it, but I’ve been shouting this for a long time now.  I’ve been telling everyone who will listen that content and social media are going to be the key to search.  And today we wake to validation and proof of that fact.  It is no longer a theory.

Like Aragorn said to Frodo; “You can no longer wait for the wizard.  They are coming…”.  Businesses can no longer wait to get into social media.  Your competition is coming and they’re about to eat your lunch.

Search Results
Made To Order

In the picture below I am now logged in to Google Plus.  And you can see the results are similar but now personalized to me.  I am actually the number one organic result for Social Media.  But, I may be the only person who sees this result this way because they’re giving me results from my own life.


The Lords Of Content
Will Prosper

What does this mean? Simple, content and connection is king!

These results may not yet be seen by everyone the same way as Google rolls out this massive change.  And things may change as advertisers very likely shout about their lost real estate.  Or as Google itself decides to make tweaks.

But one thing is for sure, the handwriting is on the wall that people who create valuable content and draw an audience will win.  And win big.

Google will now show you not only influencers that have big Google Plus followings but also people you may already be connected to.  If someone who is connected to someone you know talks about what you’re looking for, it may bring that back to you as a personalized search result.

What Should
Businesses Be Doing?

Create high value content and connect and share it with people in Google Plus, Facebook, Twitter and whatever other social media channel important to you.

Make sure your profile is optimized.  Look at Mari’s profile page below.  Notice how choc-full of keywords it is.

She’s got pictures and links to her other social profiles.  Optimize yours like she does hers.

Internet Marketers
Are Freaking Out

In the not so old days, as in up until Tuesday, you could use black hat SEO trickery to fool Google into ranking you.  Smoke and mirror tactics like building backlinks by bulk commenting on blogs or forums.

There’s many things that people could do to get Google to see your site.  Then Google thinks your important because of all this inbound activity and you’re ranking high.

Now we know- and this has really been going on for a while-that they care about the quality of the content.  If people go to your site and bounce out, (which means they see the content sucks and leave), you’re not going to rank.

So now you have to make them stick to your site like never before.  You have to have great content that makes them want to stay and participate.

With social media though, this really makes it very hard, if not impossible, to trick the search engines.  Social media is self policing. If people don’t see you as a real human who has something of value to say, they won’t follow and participate.

Fakers and spammers just lost their jobs.  2012 is the year of content and connection.

I’d love to be added to your circle.  You can find me on Google Plus here.


About Mike Brooks

As the owner of, Mike helps local businesses to get more customers online by making them findable when people search for their product or service, build their online brand using social media and creates celebrity and authority through video marketing campaigns. Mike also helps others build their career as social media consultants with


  1. Mike, as Google and Facebook wage war, the whole Internet landscape will change. This integration of Goolge+ with search results is going to have a major impact on the way we use Internet marketing. I love your phrase, ‘the year of content and connection’. I am grateful that I resolved in October 2011 to blog daily and to write a number of posts for small business owners about the importance of Google+. It’s interesting that I came across your post via Mari’s comment in my Google+ stream. I think we have to conceptualize Internet marketing as circular, no longer linear. I am also reminded of the impact of a stone thrown into a lake – a series of concentric circles form where it lands in the water. So it will be with creating content and connections. The more connections we have, the more concentric circles we will create with each piece of content.

  2. Excellent stuff this… I have been saying as well, for some time, that things will suddenly change1 And this is far from the end of it… much more to come!

  3. Nice overview Mike. This changes things big time, though the long-term implications are still fairly unclear to me. My big takeaway: Google+ is going to matter because of its integration with search, not because it adds social media value that you can’t find anywhere (everywhere) else. It’ll be interesting to watch throughout the year.

    In a completely unrelated note, can I ask what program you use for your screen shots w/graphics? Thanks!

  4. Garrett, the program I use is called Snagit. It came bundled with Camtasia but I think it can also be purchased on it’s own. I think Microsoft also now has a screen capture tool called ‘Sniping Tool’ bundled with Windows 7 in accessories now.

  5. he introduction of google plus has tremendously changed the world of searching. Afterall in earlier days if we need some information about something we will ask our friends or asks someone who have all the knowledge. So in google plus the person who knows and shares the most information and having as many followers as he/she can have greater value in internet society.

  6. Agree Michael (nice name!) Am spreading this post far and wide.
    Would you like to guest on #gpluschat ?

  7. Hey Jim hope you are well! Circle me lol

  8. I heard everyone talk about new search feature in Google but when I type exactly the same keyword “Internet Marketing”, I see only ads by Google appear,

    Is it this feature have been activate world wild?

  9. I don’t think it has been rolled out world wide. And results may vary since their objective is to personalize search.

Speak Your Mind