The key to Google+ relevance: The Plus Box

Google's Search Plus Your World has been integrated into mainstream search culture for some time now. Google highlights Google+ content in search results, including links that have been shared through the social network into a personalized results page, Social Media Examiner explains.

Users have the options to view personal results or look at straight organic links, or switch between the two.

Search Plus Your World builds traffic in many ways, and it's always a good idea for businesses to try to get circled with a wide array of people to increase authority and maintain a wide presence on the site.

However, another important way to get noticed is to be featured in the "Plus Box."  This shows people or businesses that are related to a current search on the side of the search engine results page, and may entice users to find out more about that person or company in some way relevant to their interests.

There are many factors that go into who or what is featured in a Plus Box.

For instance, Ian Lurie of Conversation Marketing recently conducted a study to determine how Google makes determinations for Plus Box spots.

Lurie found that it appears Google gives preference to pages over individuals. Pages that had membership in 3,000 to 6,000 circles appeared in Plus Boxes more than individuals with circle membership as high as 1.5 million.

When it came down to specific factors, Lurie determined that Google bases its Plus Box decisions on reach, circle membership, freshness, (quality) post frequency, and average +1's, re-shares and comments per post.

What's more, "Google's far more likely to show a Plus Box for broad concepts with low commercial intent versus niche terms with high commercial intent," Lurie added.

Conversely, Lurie also found that keyword and topic relevance in the "about" page didn't figure into Plus Box placement, nor did keyword relevance of posts. This means significantly less weight is placed on SEO optimization.

In terms of frequency (or freshness), people who didn't make a post within 72 hours didn't appear in the Plus Box. And regarding +1's, it's more likely that users will like content if it's well-written and interesting. Google is smart - it will recognize when people are talking about a certain post and will see the person or industry is worth being mentioned prominently.