Brand Google+ Pages Showing up in Search Results (SERPs)

77 of the world’s top 100 brands now have Google+ pages, up from 61 on board last month. The number of fans adding these brands to Circles has grown 50 percent in a month, to a total of 222,000 fans combined, according to BrightEdge.

BrightEdge revealed that a review of all top 100 global brands’ Facebook and Google+ Pages shows almost 300 million fans on Facebook, compared to 148,000 on Google+ for the same brands. Google leads the pack, with 77,000 fans having added them to Circles. A few brands, including Google, IBM, and Vodafone, have a Google+ Page but not an official Facebook Page.

Starbucks quadrupled their following within the last month, while Pepsi rose to over 20,000 fans. Compared to Pepsi’s 6.84 million member fan base on Facebook, this may seem like small potatoes, but it’s still very early days.

“Google is embedding their popular new product with its dominant search marketing position, replicating the tie between social and search channels, just as Facebook’s Open Graph tied sites and search together earlier this year, blurring the lines between social and search engagement,” said Jim Yu, CEO of BrightEdge, in a written statement. “Top 100 brands are realizing that they now need to address both channels. Now the real work begins, if they want to extend their social presence on the Web from Facebook to the new Google+.”

Google Plus in SERPs

Google continues to offer incentives for brands to include one of their Pages as a part of their search and social strategy, such as the inclusion of Google+ Pages in primary search results. There has been some speculation that this particular move could lead to more anti-trust woes for Google. BrightEdge Marketing VP Brad Mattick told Mashable he believes that “blurring the lines between G+ and search results parallels Microsoft’s inclusion of the Internet Explorer browser in its Windows OS in the 1990s.”

Two of the US Senators involved in the subcommittee investigation this fall have asked the FTC to launch a formal antitrust investigation into Google, who they believe could be abusing their dominant position in the market, or may do so in the near future. Senators Herb Cole and Mike Lee told V3, “While we take no position on the ultimate legality of Google’s practices under the anti-trust laws and the FTC Act, we believe these concerns warrant a thorough investigation by the FTC.”

Embedding Google+ Pages in primary search results is a savvy move on Google’s part, given that a PageLever study this August found that 34 percent of Facebook fan page referrals come from Google, Yahoo!, and Bing searches. But is there a risk that this could be seen as a way in which Google abusing their dominant position in the market? Might it contribute to a further, and more in-depth, antitrust investigation against Google? Those questions remain.

The SocialShare Google+ 12-2011 report is available to download in its entirety from BrightEdge Resources.

Related reading

How to speed up SEO analysis API advantages for SEO experts (with bonus)
Common technical SEO issues and fixes, for aggregators and finance brands
faceted navigation in ecommerce
marketing automation for SEOs, five time-saving strategies