Joe Erfe By
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Launched in April of 2012, Google's Penguin algorithm update has a stronger ability to spot unnatural gaming of its search platform from duplicate content to link schemes.  Sites that heavily rely on unnatural linking, black hat techniques, or aggregated content have been hit hard.  An update to their Panda algorithm which was launched in February 2011, both Panda and Penguin address sites that tend to lean on unnatural linking strategies, thin and duplicate content, along with sites that have too much ad-to-content ratio.

So how does Google+ play a role with the most recent updates?  It’s neither secret nor surprise that Google’s latest algorithm update leverages their social network Google+ as a ranking factor.  However at the end of the day, Google+ is just another ranking element that supports their overall goal to present relevant content.  The old SEO adage that “Content is King” still rings true today.  No matter how hard you slice and dice it, original/fresh content with proper linking and engagement will win any day.

Here are 2 Things That You Should Watch Out For With Google+ And How it Will Affect Your Search Engine Optimization Efforts:

1. Search, Plus Your World

Google Search wants to present the most relevant content. In order to make the experience a little bit more personal, Google wants to present a cleaner view of their search engine with real people.  This cuts down on spam with trusted sources. 

According to a blog post by Google, Search, Plus Your World Offers:


This new feature opens up a new avenue and reach.  An interesting element to note however is that creating relationships with your groups and circles play a key role for getting content distributed throughout the social search rather than just building out link bait strategies.  Google+ is a tool that helps reach audiences, builds relationships, and also affects search behavior.  A lot of traditional marketing tactics tend to come into the mix once a social layer is added, just like TV, radio, and print.  This time around it’s easier to find out what the other end of the party wants and needs instantly. 


2. Encrypted Search Due to Privacy Settings:

The downside to the Google+ with search integration is that once you’re logged into any Google account whether, Gmail, Google+, or Webmaster Tools, etc., as long as you’re logged in, all keywords are stripped off and cannot be reported anymore due to the encryption of search queries via SSL (or what you see as https://).  The action is the same as when you log into your bank account or when you purchase items online.

A lot of analysts and SEOs have been irritated by the move since the true number of search keyword referrals are now smaller than what they used to be.  This issue shouldn’t be a cause for any alarm however since even with the current state of events, a sample size of keyword referrals should still provide enough insight as to what the main keyword drivers are to the site.

In Conclusion

Search Optimization hasn’t really changed much over the years.  Sure the rules are a little bit more efficient, but as long as webmasters try to follow proper guidelines, avoid spammy practices, and apply traditional marketing tactics to reach audiences; no matter how many algorithm changes or product releases, Google will always present relevant content to best serve its users.