Google dominated marketing news this week with the addition of features to Google+ and its search engine, both of which are likely to boost the company's appeal and effectiveness for marketers on the channels.

Brafton spent two days at SES Chicago this week. Hearing techniques that brought companies success and others to avoid from some of the industry’s best was a great experience. However, there were some other developments that demonstrated where social media marketing and SEO campaigns should focus in the next few weeks

As businesses of all sizes consider expanding their social reach to Google+, the network received a massive push from last week’s introduction of Google+ Pages. Brafton reported on Thursday that the platform’s answer to social media marketing drove a massive traffic boost in the following week.

The week ending November 12 was the third largest in terms of traffic since the platform launched in late June. The two weeks following the removal of the invite-only barrier remain as the top two.

Google+ gained 5 percent more traffic last week than the previous seven days, and 25 percent more visitors than the same week in October.

Some have resisted dedicating any time to Google+, as the amount of content on the site has been minimal for some time. However, Brafton reported on Tuesday that Google+ is now available for integration with six separate third-party social applications, such as HootSuite, Involver and Buddy Media. Those using HootSuite to manage their Facebook and Twitter profiles can also add content to Google+ without heading to the website to post their photo, link or witty observation on a city’s public transportation problems.

Making it as easy as possible for users to update their profiles and see others’ posts will almost certainly help the network. Though, it is only available for businesses and organizations using Google+ Pages, normal Google+ users cannot integrate their accounts just yet, and no timetable has been set for full availability.

With the holidays rolling around, social media marketing figures to play a major role in retailers’ plans to make customer service as strong as possible in this time. Engaging customers and providing original social media content for them to learn from and respond to can help companies improve their sales performance during the busiest shopping period of the season, Brafton reported on Wednesday.

Google said on Thursday that the average shopper accesses more than 10 sources before making a purchase decision. According to a Deloitte study, shoppers now know how to find the best deals and where to look for the information likely to finalize their decision on a purchase. Using original, engaging social media content can persuade a shopper to buy from a store – even if a price is slightly higher. Creating an emotional connection through social media can be an especially powerful tool. More than 60 percent of people use social to stay in touch with loved ones. Playing on this with engaging social content can be an effective way to convert through social.

In the B2C sphere, social media marketing has an additional component that frequently results in consumer conversion. Brafton reported on Tuesday that localized social media marketing campaigns are becoming increasingly popular and profitable. In fact, localized social is expected to generate more than $2 billion in revenue by 2015 from its benchmark of $400 million last year. The recession and still lagging economy has resulted in a greater desire to spend money locally to give the economy a jump, and implementing this tactic into a social media marketing campaign can leverage the sentiment.

All the talk of Google’s move into social media marketing should not takeaway from the company’s primary business – that of dominating the search market. Removing the “+” character’s functionality on search frustrated some. However, Google quickly reinstituted the feature in a new way, adding a Verbatim search option, available on the left-side toolbar of Google SERPs, Brafton reported.

Just another new feature aimed at bringing users a quality search experience. Despite the efforts of some competitors, Google is still the leader in search by a vast margin. Brafton reported on Thursday that market share for October pegged Google at 65 percent and Bing-powered search, which also includes Yahoo, at 28.6 percent.

This data reaffirms the position that Google SEO should be the primary focus of content marketing campaigns. Seventy-two percent of marketers using SEO named it as an “effective” method of driving traffic, generating leads and boosting sales, Brafton reported on Tuesday.

Algorithmic adjustments worry some marketers from time to time. However, Brafton noted on Monday that Google said it makes changes to its algorithm “hundreds” of times throughout the year and most adjustments have minimal effects on search results. A code change or two often devastates spammers, which is the goal for Google and a good thing for any business leveraging white hat SEO tactics.

Most recently, Google announced a “freshness” adjustment to its algorithm that will reward content based on its publication date. News content marketing campaigns may see the most benefit from this, as quality articles will shoot to the top of SERPs .

Brafton reported recently that fresh news content is especially appealing to tablet users. Many of whom said that they access news articles from their mobile device every day. Additionally, they are likely to begin reading more news than they did prior to their purchase, Brafton found.

Targeting these users may soon become more important and easier for businesses using SEO. On Wednesday, Brafton reported that 79 percent of people would rather receive a tablet than a laptop as a gift this holiday season. With iPads, Amazon Kindle Fires and various Android-powered tablets topping consumers’ holiday shopping lists, aiming news content marketing campaigns at demographics likely to own tablets could help businesses appeal to more prospects.

Leveraging trending topics is an equally effective way to boost content marketing campaigns. Next week, businesses should consider weaving the Thanksgiving holiday and Black Friday into their articles to boost their appeal to search crawlers looking to provide results of the highest quality.

Joe Meloni is Brafton's former Executive News and Content Writer. He studied journalism at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and has written for a number of print and web-based publications.