Over the last few days Google have launched a potential game changer into the search world. ‘Search plus Your World’ has set up a firm foundation for Google to move into becoming a social search engine in an effort to make its search results more personalised and relevant to the individual user, allowing them to have more access to information and content from people they know or from within their own online sphere.
One of the main changes brought in through this update is the way that Google+ accounts, pages and information have become even more deeply intertwined with search results. Information shared on Google+ is becoming even more prominent in today’s SERP (Search Engine Results Page), out ranking rival social networks in search rankings and set to play a deeper role in personal searches. This is why any current SEO Training should include information about the way we currently use Google+ and guidelines about using it as a tool to help get your content, and message, across.
Keeping organised groups of experts, pages and enthusiasts of different subjects is a great way to filter and view new content and comments around one topic. Building your own directory of large circles not only opens up your network to a wider audience it also helps to build internal links.
When your content appears on other users’ streams it is indexed by the web crawlers and the more a piece of content is crawled the more importance search engines place upon it.
So the more people you share your content with the better chance you have of achieving a high search ranking, as well as improving your odds of receiving more shares, +1’s and comments.
We have put together a few Google+ circles for you to add to your own profiles, so you can get a start on growing your network:
- SEO: Here is a circle of SEO experts profiles and pages which will give you the latest and up-to-date information from the world of SEO
- Social Media: A circle of the movers and shakers in Social Media
- Project Management: Includes experienced project managers, project management methodologies and pages offering project management tips
- Software Testing: Pages and profiles offering insight and tips on software testing
- Photoshop: Adobe Photoshop enthusiasts and professionals who share their knowledge of how to best use the photo editing software.
Make sure you add more profiles and pages to these circles expand your reach.
Google have been including author information into their search results for a while now, displaying a thumbnail photo and link to the author’s Google+ account within search results. However, now they have made it easier for Google+ users to lay claim to their online content without having to link your content to your profile using HTML author tags.
By adding the sites you contribute content to in your profile’s ‘Contributor to’ box and by making sure your email address is added to the ‘Work’ box all on your profile, Google will include your image and G+ account details to its indexed links; as long as the original post includes your name and ideally your email address.
This is a great tool to allow you to stake claim to your work and direct readers to your own account, as well as being potentially a great way of cracking down on people copying your work rather than sharing it.
Take a look at Google’s content guidelines to find out more about including your author information in search results.
Your profile is your online you. Google+ has set itself apart from other social media sites such as Facebook by making public profile pages far more searchable to search engines by default, indexing information such as:
- Your Biography
- All text from any publicly shared posts
- Anything you have +1’d, be it on Google+ or on an external site
- All of your photos
- Links to anyone who has added you in one of their own circles
A lot of information can be extracted from this, which is why you can use your profile as a tool to connect everything you have done online, making it searchable in personal searches and Search Plus Your World queries. Luckily, Google do make it easy for you to manage what information you do and don’t want shared and indexed, so spending that extra bit of time sorting out your privacy settings is a must.
Due to its keyword rich and easily web bot readable set up, shared content on Google+ has a tendency to do very well in search results. While some say this is due to Google favouring its own products a lot of it is due to the way they optimise their pages, which include long and descriptive title tags which hold more valuable information for crawlers to use in order to accurately index the page.
Also, using your circles you can easily specify who you share your content with, so you can easily target your audience with relevant content they would be interested in. This will mark the post as “Limited” on your shared post, which when clicked will show who you have selected to be privy to the post. Combine this with tagging people using a “+” or “@” before typing their name to really give a sense of personalisation, thus highly increasing the odds of your content being viewed by the people you really want to see it.
We have recently published a post giving the low-down on ‘Search plus Your World’ and its potential threat to SEO and online marketing, so be sure to give it a read to find out more about how the new development could affect your SEO efforts.
From what we’ve seen personal search is here to stay, so the time is now to adopt techniques to get your content found or risk falling off of the search map forever.