Search Engine giant, Google – having recently delved into social networking with Google+ – has come up with a new search feature that combines the two. It’s called Search Plus Your World (SPYW) and it could prove to be a major feature in eCommerce web design.

Users that are logged into their Google accounts – including Google+ and Gmail – now enjoy a personal results option. This incorporates content shared with anybody in the user’s Google+ Circles (as in circle of friends), as well as addresses stored in Gmail Contacts.

For example, if a user searches for ‘shoes’, the SPYW search results will show any related information that friends have also found – sharing the shoe shopping experience. This can include photos and articles, as well as details of shoe stockists.

What does it mean for your eCommerce website design?

The trouble with other social networks – such as Facebook or Twitter – is that shares are very much ‘here today, gone tomorrow’. In contrast, Google+ hangs on to all that information and resurrects it at the appropriate time. So all friends’ previous shoe activity will show up on SPYW whenever the user is suddenly in the market for a new pair.

In terms of search rankings, social link building is becoming as important as the old school SEO techniques used by professional web developers. Google now places more importance on socially shared links because they tend to eliminate spam and other abuses of the system. Which is why it’s important that you get ahead of the game now, rather than wait till everybody else catches on. It’s still early days for Google+, but it’s only a matter of time before it becomes ubiquitous. Ignore SPYW and you run the risk of being another also-ran in the search results.

So how do you get aboard the Google+ bandwagon?

  • Ensure the Google+ chicklet is on all your site pages
  • Treat the chicklet like a call to action – highlight it, don’t bury it
  • Give somebody the job of looking after Google+ activity
  • Share images and video content regularly, tagged with appropriate keywords
  • Optimise your shares like you would for Twitter or the Facebook Newsfeed
  • Encourage Facebook and Twitter subscribers to also follow you on Google
  • Pay extra attention to customers with Gmail accounts with a special request to add you their Circles
  • Use Google+ as a microblog to give product usage tips, feature customer reviews, announce new products and sales events, etc.
  • Find out who’s talking about you on Google+ and engage with them – raising your social profile.

As ever, you can always talk to a professional web design agency like iWeb for expert advice on Google+ or any other aspect of eCommerce web design.