Recently there have been some changes in the SERP’s when searching for big brands. You may have noticed some changes down the right hand side of your screen if you have been logged in to Google and have a Google+ account attached to it. Search marketers have been crawling all over Google+ since it’s release in September 2011 and rightly so – there is much hype over the impact of Google+ as a search ranking factor. While the new update to the listings may not have affected rankings it is a very interesting addition and will undoubtedly affect the way users interact with brands and search results.
After a few searches for different brands it seems that the listings do not appear for every brand, but do appear most of the time for large brands that are active on Google+.
Asos are pretty well known as being big players on social and on-line and seem to have the new enhanced listings showing their latest posts along with followers down the sidebar to the right.
A search for Cadbury also produces the listings:
John Lewis are also known to be big players on the on-line and social scene, although this result is a little more interesting it combines local data into the results in a way not normally shown.
There are many other brands such as the Financial Times, and of course Google’s own products that these results are showing up for. The only requirement is that a user is signed in and has a Google+ account – which is now standard with every new Google/Youtube account created.
Initially when I seen these results I thought they were part of Google’s new Knowledge Graph results, but although similar are a separate feature they seem to be rolling out.
An interesting fact is that brands seeing enhanced listings have reported significant increases in Google+ activity with John Lewis and ASOS reporting a 2% increase in the number of people in their circles within 24 hours.
The strange issue remains of why only a handful brands are being shown with these listings, other brands with significant G plus presences are missing. It may be that Google has beta tested with a handful of brands based on ad spend, or it could be down to other factors we will inevitably just have to wait and see – and also wait and see how this new feature impacts search CTR and branding.