Early adopters of Google+ received another carrot last week when brand searches started returning Google+ profile posts in the right rail of the SERP. Notably, this recent addition to Search+ commandeers the top of the right rail and pushes ads down the page for some brand search and general search queries.
BackgroundGoogle began featuring a People and Places on Google+ box in early January when Search+ went live. Broad searches such and “news” or “entrepreneur” returned a box in the right rail. We see a list of three relevant Google+ profiles with high circle counts. No ads were featured beneath these boxes.
ChangesSome branded and general searches started returning a latest post box, which can be shown along with ads on the right rail. This change further acknowledges the importance of Google+ to Google’s overall product strategy as they are likely sacrificing some AdWords revenue to support the new listing. Google+ is making its case to become the premier platform that helps individuals and businesses establish and benefit from their identity on the web, and Google is willing to exploit its core search product to hurry brands into adoption.
The next search was for “pet med”. This search appears broad enough to trigger ads below the latest posts. Currently, it is unclear how the latest posts box affects click-through of either organic results or adsApplying the tilde search operator did not reveal and new Search+ box, but the change did make the query inexact enough to return ads.
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