No search results are safe from the Google+ effect.
Yesterday afternoon, I was walking back from a meeting and checking Twitter (yes, I know all about the dangers of walking and reading on my phone) when I saw this update from someone I follow:
I have been following the Chris Dorner events pretty closely for the past week so I wanted to find out what was going on. I think Twitter is a great source for breaking news, but it’s not the most reliable source of information. So I did a quick search for “dorner” on Google (iPhone 5 using Safari not logged in) and was surprised to see Google+ results ranking above everything else (right under the News box).
I wasn’t sure if it was something that was only happening on mobile, so I did the same search on my computer and saw the same thing:
I did another search for “dorner news” and again saw two (different) Google+ updates at the top of the search results:
To put this all into context, news about Christopher Dorner was the most-searched-for thing in the United States yesterday (way ahead of even the President’s State of the Union address), according to Google Trends:
So the top two search results for two of the most-searched-for terms in the U.S. yesterday both belonged to Google+ posts. That is major. Let’s take a closer look at what we can learn from these posts.
This was the first result I came across:
Maria Quiban is an anchor & meteorologist at KTTV, a local Fox affiliate in Los Angeles. The interesting part about the result was that this was her personal profile and update. Not the official one of her employer (who didn’t post their first update until 5:20 p.m.).
What can we learn from the results for ‘Dorner news’?
Let’s look at the top result from ABC News (in San Francisco — not even Los Angeles):
I added the arrow to point out the significance of adding the picture to their post. Look at how it shows up in the search engine result pages (SERPs):
Which result are you more likely to click?
The top Google+ result gets these four eye-catchers:
- BREAKING NEWS
- Logo thumbnail
- BIG image
- Freshest result
8 Key Takeaways for Publishers & News Outlets
1) Google+ should no longer be an afterthought for publishers. If you aren’t using Google+ for your publication, you are missing out. In the words of Brian Clark, “Get Over Yourself and Get On Google+.”
2) Go beyond Google News. Just because you are in Google News, doesn’t mean you are covered. Think about maximizing your touchpoints.
3) The nimblest, or most agile outlets have another distinct advantage. It doesn’t matter if they are the biggest or even the most authoritative.
4) Have an integrated plan with your staff. This allows you to respond quickly (and effectively) to market shifts or the latest news.
5) Be descriptive and use multimedia (photos, videos, etc.) in your Google+ posts.
6) Implement rel=”publisher”. Want that nice little logo to show next to your search listing? Make sure you have implemented rel=”publisher”.
7) These results don’t last. If you look at the the SERPs for either of these terms today, you will see something very different, and none of the Google+ posts. Which leads me to one thing I am sure of…
8) Google SERPs and Google+’s effect will continue to evolve, so pay close attention. Breaking news events allows us great insight into shifts, tactics, and updates. Watch closely, see what worked, and figure out how you can make that work for your news outlet (or website or brand).
Have you noticed anything similar lately? Please share your insights or examples in the comments.
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