Today Google announced a change to the way it presents its search engine results that evoked breathless proclamations from the technorati like these:

“Google+ could change the entire way we use the Web — and drive millions of Web sites who depend on Google to change how they attract customers.” – Business Insider

“… a significant blurring of the line between the web as we know it and the web as you and your Circles of friends know it.” – Mashable

“Google’s search results are undergoing their most radical transformation ever, as a new “Search Plus Your World” format begins rolling out today.” – Search Engine Land

What’s Changed About Google Search?

I recommend reading the posts linked to the blog quotes above for details, or Google’s blog for details. But in a nutshell, the new “Search plus Your World” as Google is calling it brings Google+ content (public and/or shared with you) into your search results more strongly than before. (Did you notice the sly inclusion of “plus” in the feature name?)

The effect will be strongest for users logged in to Google+, but all users have some access to the Personal side of the new SERP. The new layout includes a toggle button that allows searchers (for the first time) to turn personalized search on or off (the off position is known now as “Global,” and will show results the way you saw them until today if you weren’t logged in to Google.

Here’s a bouncy video from Google demonstrating what Search plus Your World will do in results:

Content Creator’s Bonanza

If you create original content on the web, this update may result in the potential of much more of your content surfacing when people search for your name. This is a huge step forward in the power and importance of personal branding on the web.

With Search plus Your World in Personalized mode, when you search for a person’s name, Google will bring Google+ profiles into the results. If you’re a Google+ user, persons more closely associated with you will get priority (a real help if you follow an author named “John Smith.”)

Here’s the kicker: the results will also pull in content from around the web associated with that person. Now we know yet another reason why Google has been pushing authors to implement the rel=”author” and rel=”me” tags linked to their Google profiles. Authors who have implemented that verification will get a huge boost to their content in search results.

If you are a content generator, today’s change means that it is no longer optional for you to be on Google+, and it is no longer optional for you to have your content authorship verified with Google.

Thankfully, we have a handy guide “How to Show Your Author Photo in Google Search Results” that shows you how to enable that verification. Do it today!