G+ and Circles in the serpsOK, we knew it was kicking in, hence this week’s focus on the ‘new’ Google algorithm. Yesterday, Youtube’s new look was the focus because video is part of the all-important algorithm.

Today’s post should have been about QDF (Query Demands Freshness) in regards to news, blog posts, tweets etc, but there has been a new announcement which demands attention.

Before we get to that announcement, perhaps we should talk about the ‘new’ algorithm. There are those for whom, once upon a time, the acquisition of Goto, or Hotbot’s latest colour scheme, made IRC buzz. SEO was about hiding terms such as “Pamela Anderson” in your metas and making the keyword rich text the same colour as the bgcolor. Oh you may scoff now at such immature antics, but some of us remember when it worked. For a while, in about 1994/5. It is not often you see such tactics proposed these days, but there are many tactics from 1-2 years ago that would seem pointless now to the IM cognoscenti.

So, “new” has become a very subjective term in SEO and Internet Marketing – more “How new are you?” There are apps and techniques and on-page or even offline optimisation strategies which for many SMEs are complete wizardry. Let’s face it, there are still business people who don’t know what Twitter is! So, we are using new this week to mean – climb out of your PPC and basic SEO box, look at some of your options, understand what drives your audience to you in 2011, and then do it. If you don’t know what Google+ is, and you don’t have a Facebook profile, or you have never tweeted, blogged, answered a post in a forum, or set up an RSS feed to track your competitors – this is ALL going to be new. It might be an idea to start there first….and then return to find out what else you are missing.

Google + is suddenly appearing in the SERPs. (You need to be careful not to confuse +1 with G+). What we are talking about is that G+ status updates (stream/what’s news/posts etc) and Add to Circles have been spotted out in the wild. At present, it seems to be only on Direct Connect accounts, but that is a fairly typical Google strategy – target early adopters and reward those who at least give the betas a run for their money.

Now the Google devs are actually approachable on G+, the instant and valuable feedback that these beta tests garner for Google are well worth the pain of getting 153 comments to a throwaway comment about a new album a dev is listening to on Google Music. (Did you know that had also launched this week?! We’ll show you the workaround shortly for UK people).

The point is though that Google is playing a fast catch up to other social networks. It may not be a quick game. In fact, it is looking increasingly like a long one i.e not instant gratification, as many have come to expect of the online world. However, Google is joining up its dots and adding new functionality, removing dead wood (including the decent version of Reader, but we won’t go into that), and listening far harder, or so it would seem, to its users than a) has been the norm previously and b) its competitors.

So, today’s task is to look at your G+ page/profile, discover if you have actually spotted the SEO factors that Google is taking into account for its algo, and making sure that your page has half a chance to join the firehose that will be the re-introduction of real time search, but from G+ primarily and not Twitter, as it used to be.

And if you think that ignoring all those people who added you to circles over the last 10 days is still an option, or that applying for Direct Connect might be a waste of time…..think again. Your G+ status update might bring your company page to a first page position that your traditionally SEOd website has little to no chance reaching in a competitive world. *THAT* is the new algorithm!

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About the author:

A practising internet marketing consultant since 1996, Lindsey Annison helps companies improve their website marketing, online PR and information architecture. Lindsey is also a qualified adult education lecturer and author. As co-founder of the Access to Broadband Campaign, she has been instrumental in the provision of high-speed internet access to rural areas in the UK. Lindsey is also a past winner of Silicon.com's Outstanding Contribution to UK Technology