Why is the impact of Google+ so important to the mining industry? Because all online activity starts with a search engine query and Google holds 78% of the world search market. As of May 2012, Google started to include content from social media in its search results. Most prominently, Google started to rank Google+ content as very “important” in search results. This means that content produced by citizens not just in Google+, but links from news articles, blogs, videos and photos on other sites and services will suddenly rank very high in a person’s search results. But may not appear in a GoogleAlert. As activists and environmental groups have become increasingly agile with the use of digital media and social media, this means anyone searching for “open pit mining” is 90% more likely to see content opposing this form of mining. The issue then, is that people will refer to these resources before they ever see your message about the different approach you are taking and the environmental safeguards you are putting in place. As a result, initial impressions are formed and once perceptions are established, it’s very hard to change them.
The more content placed in Google+ by these activist groups, the harder it is to convey your message of being environmentally responsible.
Our research into Google+ use shows that content opposing many forms of mining has increased 25% since February 2012 and in search engine analysis, Canadian citizen searches for information on mining has increased by 37% over 2011. But in 97% of the instances, the content being delivered is by opponents to mining. In terms of North America, that means over 40 million people are researching mining practices through Google alone.