{{ searchResult.published_at | date:'d MMMM yyyy' }}

Loading ...
Loading ...

Enter a search term such as “mobile analytics” or browse our content using the filters above.

No_results

That’s not only a poor Scrabble score but we also couldn’t find any results matching “”.
Check your spelling or try broadening your search.

Logo_distressed

Sorry about this, there is a problem with our search at the moment.
Please try again later.

With the release of Google+ in September 2011, businesses have been looking to see how the platform can assist in their digital marketing efforts.

In particular, companies have been keen to see how Google+ can impact on search engine marketing.

Previously Google has highlighted the +1 button and Search plus Your World as key ways in which Plus can enhance the search experience, both for companies and the end user.

But until now, the top right area of the search engine results page has displayed a mixture of recommended Google+ results rather than one single brand page, as shown with the search for Rackspace below.

Now, for some brand related search terms, a single Google+ page is now being displayed in this area. Brands that we have noticed this in are listed below.

ASOS

John Lewis

Financial Times

Cadbury

Google and YouTube also feature in the same manner:

Google

YouTube

Interestingly, while these results appear similar to Google’s new Knowledge Graph product, these searches have all been done on Google.co.uk where Knowledge Graph has not yet been rolled out.

Also, the same results have occurred whether signed in to Google+ or not, meaning that these results are not the result of personalisation.

Likewise, many major brands are missing despite having significant Google+ presences. Indeed, out of the top 50 brands listed on socialbakers.com, none but the above displayed the same enhanced Google+ listing, despite having regularly updated content and high levels of engagement from fans.

Two examples are H&M and Coca-Cola:

H&M

Coca-Cola

What are the factors at work here?

As Google is constantly tweaking both search and Google+, it is difficult to predict the factors which have been at play with these brands being displayed.

One point of note is that all invest significant sums in paid search, all have Google+ pages, and all use their Google+ page as a direct sales channel as well as for brand awareness (with the exception of Cadbury and Google-owned pages). 

I spoke briefly to Mike Fantis at search agency Make It Rain to see what his opinion was.

Mike said,

Some of our brands have previously had their Google+ page listed in search, such as Best Western Hotels. It is strange that now it is only these brands seem to be appearing in this way.

For comparison, these screenshots were taken around 2.30pm UK time on the 21st May 2012. Looking at current Google Plus user numbers, it can be seen that since then there have been significant increases in the number of people adding these businesses to their circles, a fact likely due to their new listing as seen above.

For example, ASOS and John Lewis have seen almost 2% growth in the number of people in their circles within less than 24 hours.

What are your views?

What factors are causing these brand pages to feature on the results page in this fashion? Is there a connection between paid ads and these listings? How do you feel Google+ pages will be featured in search in the future?

Please share your thoughts below.

Andrew Warren-Payne

Published 22 May, 2012 by Andrew Warren-Payne

Andrew Warren-Payne is a Senior Research Analyst at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or Google+

55 more posts from this author

Comments (31)

Comment
No-profile-pic
Save or Cancel
dan barker

dan barker, E-Business Consultant at Dan Barker

hi, Andrew, how are you?

These have been live for a little while now. Andrew Girdwood posted a little more detail on them in March here:

http://blog.arhg.net/2012/03/use-social-media-to-stop-competitors.html
http://blog.arhg.net/2012/03/more-social-extentions-showing-in.html

A few more that seem to buck the 'paid ads' idea are: 'Guardian', 'Daily Mail', 'SEOMoz'.

I think the maps thing is different - it's been live a little longer: http://www.seroundtable.com/google-maps-right-14150.html

I'd be interested to know if there's a definitive trigger for the 'latest posts' thing!

dan

over 4 years ago

Andrew Warren-Payne

Andrew Warren-Payne, Senior Research Analyst at Econsultancy

Thanks for this Dan, especially for the links to the other posts which deserve credit for the earlier spot! One thing I did find interesting was that at certain times of the day (i.e. Monday morning yesterday) these results were not displayed.

I think it's definitely interesting to find out which Google+ pages are displaying in such a manner on the SERPs, and why others aren't. Any ideas on the factors at play?

over 4 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Thomas Barker, Performance Media at RBS

3 of my clients have had it appear and the one common thing that seems to trigger it is the fact they published something within the last 24 hours on Google+. You will notice it disappears if they don't keep publishing regular posts on Google+

Look at your examples above. You will notice all of them have published their "latest posts" within the last few hours.

Google once again loving fresh content. Time to get your Google+ publishing strategy setup

over 4 years ago

dan barker

dan barker, E-Business Consultant at Dan Barker

Good spot, Thomas!

Worth a go, Andrew. Why not try posting a bit more frequently to the econsultancy g+ page?

dan

over 4 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Jenni

We don't use our Google+ page as a direct sales channel, but we have the listing you mention above (even though none of our competitors appear to). Having a certain number of followers might be a factor too, and posting frequency.

Just tested it now and posting on our Google+ page triggers an instant update in the search results which is nice - almost like a Facebook-style news feed.

over 4 years ago

Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton, Editor in Chief at ClickZ Global

@Dan - good idea. Will this work for personal pages as well? I have no 'enhanced' listing when I Google myself, but then I rarely seem to find the time to post to G+.

over 4 years ago

Dean Marsden

Dean Marsden, Digital Marketing Executive at Koozai Ltd

Its about time more brands were added to the results and it makes sense to have the G+ profiles and updates in the right hand column where the knowledge graph info shows. I like it.

I would like to see it rolled out quickly for smaller brands too, such as Koozai. At the moment I only see ours via the personalised results in Google Search plus your world feature, but its there!

over 4 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Darren

I'm not surprised to see this, and expect to see a lot more brands having their Google+ pages show up over time. Google is desperate for Google+ to take off and, as with YouTube, will try and give it as much exposure as it can. By making it a significant presence in the SERPs it ensures companies (and SEOs) can't ignore it.

over 4 years ago

dan barker

dan barker, E-Business Consultant at Dan Barker

@Graham - I haven't seen them for personal pages. (could just be me missing them though, or not searching for the right people). Instead posts are just dropped in among the main SERP content. eg. If I search for your name on Google.com, I get this:

http://i.imgur.com/SPvUS.gif (note link #2!)

Most 'famous' people seem to now have Knowledge Graph results in the states. (eg: http://bit.ly/zuckerburger)

dan

over 4 years ago

Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton, Editor in Chief at ClickZ Global

@ Dan - I just noticed the screenshot that Andrew Girdwood used in the link you posted, though I don't see enhanced results for his name.

Are you actively selecting 'personal results'? I haven't noticed so much G+ content when searching for myself (not that I do it very often...)

over 4 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Neil M Hancock

Very interesting, and clearly indicates how much Google want to push Google+ onto people. What will be more interesting is how many actual consumers will want to engage with brands on Google+.

over 4 years ago

dan barker

dan barker, E-Business Consultant at Dan Barker

@Graham: oh yes! how foolish of me. You're right. I *do* get those on .com at the moment: http://i.imgur.com/YlzvI.jpg

Not for many people though. Only seems to be those in my circle who post regularly. (and some odd ommissions among them too)

do you get them if you search for me on google.com when logged in?

over 4 years ago

Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton, Editor in Chief at ClickZ Global

@Dan No, mainly results for your atheist namesake: http://i.imgur.com/OtkGZ.png

over 4 years ago

dan barker

dan barker, E-Business Consultant at Dan Barker

is that .com? it looks like .co.uk

over 4 years ago

Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton, Editor in Chief at ClickZ Global

Yes, was UK. This is what I see on .com: http://i.imgur.com/htVnA.png

Nothing for me.

over 4 years ago

Heledd Jones

Heledd Jones, Head of Search Marketing at Confused.com

Very useful post and comments - especially @Thomas - just tested this with our brand page and it does work! I would add that we've been appearing on and off in this space for a few weeks, and haven't noticed the 'significant increases' that Andrew reports for the other brands, but it certainly looks better than our competitor's PPC ads taking up that space :)

over 4 years ago

Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton, Editor in Chief at ClickZ Global

@Heledd Why do you think it has been going on and off?

Is it about receny of posting, as Thomas suggests?

I see that, while ASOS and Cadburys have two G+ posts showing, you have only published one in last few days, and have just one result:

http://i.imgur.com/XDsTt.png

I guess it's also a good idea to add images as Cadbury does in the screenshot in this post to stand out more.

over 4 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Thomas Barker, Performance Media at RBS

@Heledd & Dan - no worries. I'm lucky to work with a very strong brand that has multiple sites and when I noticed it on one of them I set about trying to work out why the other ones didn't have it.

At first like most I assumed it was due to the lack of paid activity and it was Google just filling up SERP space until I noticed another site's Google+ pushing ads down. Then it was an obvious conclusion really. Google likes fresh content - who knew!

over 4 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Neil Stickland, Digital Project Manager at Domino Printing Sciences

Why John Lewis and not BBC, why Cadbury and not Nestle? Very Random!

over 4 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Malcolm Gibb

Only just started to see these, have also noticed other types of results, search for ITV or Channel 4 etc.. I believe it may be the knowledge graph results at play for that though.

@Neil: John Lewis and Cadbury are massive players on the digital front and spend a lot. Nestle and BBC not so much when it comes to trials and releases like this. I know Cadbury were up there at the front for Youtube custom channels etc.

over 4 years ago

Heledd Jones

Heledd Jones, Head of Search Marketing at Confused.com

@Graham - yeah I'm pretty sure it's down to recency based on @Thomas' comments..
Agree re: images, something we'll need to bear in mind...
Very interesting :)

over 4 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

David Somerville

Worth noting also that two of these brands have G+ badges on their homepages linking back to their profile pages.

Definitely has to be considered as a factor for consideration by Google.

over 4 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Thomas Barker, Performance Media at RBS

@Neil John Lewis' last post was today. The BBC was well never apparently: https://plus.google.com/u/0/109391436332468942086

Cadbury last post was today. Nestle was...I dont know, I can't find the Nestle Google+ profile.

Another thing my clients, @Heledd's confused.com, Cadbury and John Lewis all have in common though is the fact they have "verified name" accounts. Wouldn't surprise me if this is essential as well as having recently posted.

over 4 years ago

dan barker

dan barker, E-Business Consultant at Dan Barker

I don't think it's purely 'recency', as Econsultancy's page has been updated today & they don't have it. ( https://plus.google.com/104079255913915128656/posts )

One thing to note is that in all of the brand page screengrabs above, each of those pages is 'verified'. (see little 'verified' tick mark next to each brand name).

SEOMoz was the only example I could find without a 'verified' tick. Any more?

over 4 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Thomas Barker, Performance Media at RBS

@dan I did notice that all pages mentioned so far including confused.com, John Lewis, Nestle and my client (Sky by the way) have "verified name" accounts. But I wanted to find a few more to see if its part of the algorithm/decision process.

over 4 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Alex Garcia

I think what you are seeing is the changes with the knowledge search, not enhanced or paid advertising.
It has rolled worldwide, but you need to use chrome to see it. Does not matter if you are signed in or not. But you won't see it with other browsers. Yet...

over 4 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Erik Goldhar

Hi, thank you for the post.

I think personalization is at play here.

I am in Toronto, Canada. When I am logged in and do a search for our small mobile company Clikbrix I see the right side box with our latest G+ post underneath. When I am logged out I do not see the box.

When I try ASOS - I see nothing whether logged in or not.

When I try Pepsi I see the box but I have them added.

When I try Coca-Cola - I see the map only.

When I try Google - I see the box but I have them added.

When I try HGTV (home and garden tv) I see the "people related to HGTV box"

Doesn't seem there is any rhyme or reason at this point - I am sure it is less concrete for all those outside the US especially. It will be very interesting to see where all of this nets out.

Thank you again!

over 4 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

James Bowyer

What I find interesting here is the fact that employees of Rackspace are appearing alongside the brand. I wonder how closely social media initiatives are being developed to control this and the content being displayed.

over 4 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Thomas D

You should verify your Google+ page by adding code to your website if you want to try and get it to show for Google+

over 4 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Weeks

Thanks in support of sharing such a fastidious thinking, piece of writing is
nice, thats why i have read it fully

about 4 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

mezzo

Very useful. Thanks!

over 3 years ago

Comment
No-profile-pic
Save or Cancel
Daily_pulse_signup_wide

Enjoying this article?

Get more just like this, delivered to your inbox.

Keep up to date with the latest analysis, inspiration and learning from the Econsultancy blog with our free Daily Pulse newsletter. Each weekday, you ll receive a hand-picked digest of the latest and greatest articles, as well as snippets of new market data, best practice guides and trends research.