Ever since the mass Google country specific redirects back in 2008, users in the UK search and receive results from Google.co.uk by default. Whilst that makes perfect sense, there is one feature that UK users miss out on by not using Google.com. Search Plus Your World.
When Search Plus Your World was announced by Google back in January 2012, the search world sat up and took notice. Search Plus Your World was meant to be a giant stride for Google to provide personalised, social search results, and finally set the Social Search juggernaut rolling. As a recap, here is what Search Plus Your World was offering:
- Personalised Results – thanks to a new toggle button at the top right of the SERP, users could select either personalised results, or the normal search results for a search query. It was (is) about about finding the best results for you. The +1 button and Google+ play a big part in personalised results because Google can see content or things shared with you, by people you are connected with
- Google+ Profiles in Search Results – In the November prior to the Search Plus Your World announcement, Google launched Direct Connect, allowing users to jump from a search query directly to a Google+ page. ‘Profiles in Search’ is an extension of Direct Connect that now works on Google.co.uk;
- People and Pages – this is designed to help you find Google+ profiles and pages related to a specific area of interest. This started strongly, but since the Hummingbird update, this appears less strong. That said, Google+ communities are stronger than ever, so I expect Google+ content to bounce back.
It all sounded amazing. The SERPs would get a massive facelift, personalised search was going to be bigger than ever, and Google+ finally made sense! But once the fanfare finished, the UK waited for this seemingly big search change to roll out across the pond. Aside from Google+ search profiles in the search query box, we’re still waiting.
Then, out of the blue, the little personalised search result button toggle appeared on one of my UK SERPs.
I asked around the office and took to Twitter to see if anyone else was experiencing this. With just one response confirming it was just me. I decided to take the opportunity to run a few tests to see how it impacted impact my SERPs.
The first thing I noticed that both individual and brand contact details were being pulled through from Google+ on my personalised results, but not the worldwide results;
Next I tried a few image based searches, and noticed many of my Google+ photos are being pulled through into the SERPs with personalised results, but not with regular results. Interestingly, the ‘View all Google+ results‘ link is pulled from a Google+ search URL – https://plus.google.com/u/0/photos/search/my%20australia%20photos;
I also noticed a lot more Google+ posts entering my SERP on personalised results. This varied depending on my search query;
All very interesting developments, and all seem to centre around Google+ integration. Shortly after I captured the images in this post, and few other colleagues also starting seeing the Search Plus Your World toggle button appear on their UK SERPs, so it looks like a UK roll out is imminent.
What Does This Mean For The Search World?
Well Google+ becomes very important now as it gives brands an opportunity to gain more exposure on the first page of the SERPs. If Google+ wasn’t part of your search strategy before, it should be now.
I didn’t notice too many changes to the PPC ads during my searches though. It will be interesting to see how Google serves PPC ads based on Your World results. They are already shooting themselves in the foot with Direct Connect, as a huge chunk of brand keyword revenue is skipped as the SERPs are missed out.
Let us know if you see any more development or interesting personalised SERPs!