EO service provider BrightEdge Technologies noted on its resources last December 20th that Google has started integrating Google+ brand pages to primary search engine results. However, this move was already discovered by Search Engine Land last November. But as of the moment, the recent search engine results integration only occurs to selected brands like AT&T, T-Mobile and Macy’s.
A Google representative offered a statement about the search results: “Content from the +Page, such as recent posts, will appear as annotations attached to its associated web page under the site links in search results if that site is eligible for Direct Connect. It uses the same bi-directional link and algorithmic criteria as Direct Connect.”
BrightEdge’s VP for Marketing Brad Mattick also noted that the inclusion of Google+ brand pages in the search results enable marketers to squeeze in some promotional messages. This is deemed by other brands as one way for Google to attract brands to join and be active on its social networking site. As a result, the integration of Google+ Page content to search engine results raised concerns about anti-competitive behavior. Seeing this as an anti-trust move, Herb Kohl of D-Wisc and Mike Lee of R-Utah brought this to the attention of the Federal Trade Commission, urging the authority to investigate on the search engine giant’s search business practices.
Meanwhile, the search engine giant defended that the creation of business pages on Google+ will not influence a brand’s page rank. In addition, Google is always improving its algorithm to provide relevant search results; hence, Google+ Page will be ranked on search engine results just like other social media profiles.
There are users who argue that the anti-trust issue is out of the question. Pulling a page content and listing a social profile to search engine results are standard behavior. In fact, a brand’s Facebook Page or Twitter account also appears in search engine results. As for Google+’s case, they are still within their rights since it’s their platform, technology and services.
Moreover, showing a brand’s Google+ Page is one way of informing people of the brand’s “official” business page. Still, it won’t outrank results associated with other social media channels.
Regardless whether the search engine giant is curating the search results, its integration with Google+ Page ends the argument why organizations must also have a business page on Google+.