Google+ Is Slowly Invading Google’s Main Search Results

google-plus-red-128Google+ content is slowly — but very surely — expanding its footprint inside of’s main search results. The latest integration comes via the rel=author tag that Google’s been supporting since the summer.

Mike Blumenthal tipped us to this latest change, which may (or may not) still be in testing.

Here’s how it works for me, which — as I’ll explain below — is slightly different from what Mike B. is seeing.


When a search result with rel=author appears in Google’s search results, the author’s avatar and the adjacent byline both now link to a new Google search results page that begins with the author’s Google+ profile. (As best I can recall, those used to just link directly to the Google+ profile page.) Below the Google + profile information is “More results,” all of which come from the author.


The Google+ profile integration is even more substantial if you’re searching directly on the author’s name. In this case, Google shows a couple recent Google+ posts in addition to the profile information.


Maybe what’s most interesting about this is that, once you click the author’s avatar or byline, it acts as a search filter that continues on future searches. After doing the above, if I change my search term to “seo,” I continue to see only results that I’ve authored and the Google+ profile box remains at the top of the search results. In fact, in the example that Mike Blumenthal shows on his blog, my name appears up in the search box as a filter with an “X” to remove the filter.


I’m not seeing that same “X” filter in any browser that I try. Your mileage may vary.

(Added: This “persistence” appears to be session-based. If I close my Google search tab and then search again in a new tab, the filter no longer remains in place.)

Google has been slowly and quietly inserting Google+ into its main search results recently. We recently wrote about a potential Google+ and Google Places integration that some are seeing, as well as Google+ content appearing as site links on some queries. It seems safe to say that we’ll continue to see more of this in the future.

Related Topics: Channel: Social | Google: Google+ | Google: User Interface | Google: Web Search | Top News


About The Author: is Editor-In-Chief of Search Engine Land. His news career includes time spent in TV, radio, and print journalism. His web career continues to include a small number of SEO and social media consulting clients, as well as regular speaking engagements at marketing events around the U.S. He recently launched a site dedicated to Google Glass called Glass Almanac and also blogs at Small Business Search Marketing. Matt can be found on Twitter at @MattMcGee and/or on Google Plus. You can read Matt's disclosures on his personal blog.

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  • O.M.

    It is getting difficult to keep up with all the changes happening in Google Search

  • davep

    The only way Google will make a “success” of Google Plus is by using tactics like this. Virtually nobody is using it through choice (after all, it doesn’t fulfil any need) but by making it a way to get a prominent presence on the front page of the search results they make it indispensable to publishers and unavoidable for users. Another step towards making Google’s search product less useful, and shrinking the visibility of publishers own sites on the internet.

  • Adam Saverian

    Great summary. I’ve been covering this on my podcast for the last couple of weeks. I have two opinions on the matter:

    1) I find Google+ elements in search results helpful. For example, I like to know what people I follow like, and I like to be able to follow brands I find in search results.

    2) As an SEO I find the integration of search and social to be fascinating and game changing.

    I’m still sympathetic to Dave’s opinion. It will be interesting to see the reaction to Google’s integration of search and social in the next several months. I’ll be keeping up with it on my podcast (The Online Business Hour) .

  • renanpoa

    Look at this post of Mike B. too:

  • Nick Stamoulis

    It only makes sense that Google+ data is becoming more prominent in search results. Google+ was primarily created to get this data in order to improve search, which is becoming more personalized. Social data that is shared is viewed as trusted which means that it will rank more prominently.

  • Tasman Hayes

    Thanks for the article Matt!

    I’m excited by the integration of Google+ into search results, and the use of the social metrics for ranking. To me it has the potential to be a “market disruptor”, giving new entrants the chance to get great rankings from the quality of their content. Cat videos will rule the world!

    Actually, I’ve had some posts do really well against established authority sites, with zero off page SEO. That makes me happy.

    It the meantime, does anybody know what metrics Google are looking for to show authorship? For one day, my articles showed up in search results with my photo, and then the next day it stopped. Do I need to post more regularly? Be in 10,000 Google+ Circles? Or have a certain average PR on my posts? Tantalizing and maddening. If only I knew why I fell from favor. :-) Suggestions and observations invited.

  • Matt McGee

    Tasman – my author status has also come and gone, and I know others have seen the same thing. Don’t know why, but you’re not the only one.

  • Elizabeth Jamieson

    Good job Tasman asked this question. None of us know if the no-show authorship icons are due to not being in enough circles or due to Google not having rolled this out to everyone. I suspect it is the former as I have not seen any authorship icon listings for those with only a handful of circles. My rel=author stuff validates in the keyword snippet tool.

    I concluded that you have to write more (a lot more) and become more socially proven in a recent blog post. It’s only conjecture though. I think my conclusions make sense if we think of G+ as a way to combat spam. If this is the case it’ll be worth waiting until I grow my circle love. However long that takes . . .

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