The first day of the Search Marketing Expo East 2011 in New York City created plenty of excitement with Google, of course, being the topic of much conversation.

In fact, Google’s Panda update and its recent social media foray (Google+) generated much heated debate both at the event and across Twitter feeds almost immediatly in the day’s first session, “Which Way Google”. Obviously, social has proven to be of particular interest for marketers as some consumer groups worry about continued privacy issues and growing amount of data collection to which Google now has access. Google has been on the hot seat on these issue in recent years and often Google’s take on the matter and those outside the “Plex” differ sharply as evidenced by this sessions discussions.

Twitter Feeds from Event

Over at a session called “Google Survivor Tips” Matt McGee, executive news editor at Search Engine Land, moderated an interesting debate about Google’s new ranking algorithms. Of course, atop this much heated debate is Google’s Panda update which is a revision to the Google algorithm that penalizes low quality content by lowering organic search rankings. Panda uses metrics instead of its previous method of only factoring traditional ranking indicators like keywords and inbound linking.

The update has had adverse affects on many websites resulting in losses of organic search rankings and the “Google Survivor Tips” sessions promised to deliver insightful tips on how to get back into Google’s good graces if your site has been “pandalized.”

Also a hot button topic was the how search marketers can take advantage of Google+ by publicly showing what internet users like, agree with, or recommend on the Web, as well as how it will affect factors such as Quality Score or CPCs.

Although some in attendance were a bit skeptical.

Certainly two-percent user rate isn’t going to impress anybody, but that should change soon. Google is expecting to shake up the social media space with Google+ and how users communicate with each other is obviously different from how they communicate with brands. Google is hoping they can satisfy both camps with different versions of the product. As users activity increases (and it will) expect to see Google+ play a greater role in everyone’s marketing mix.

As of today, Google+ allows you to create a personal profile, where you are given the opportunity to provide fairly detailed information on your work, family, interests and expertise. These profiles are completely searchable and, by using the appropriate keywords, can help a thought leader to reach a wider audience.

Stay tuned for a full wrap from the entire show from our BFM blog team at the event.