Using Google+ to Aid Your SEO

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.

Circles

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.

Google + Circles

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+ Authorship

Authorship

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.

The Profile

Google+ Authorship

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.

Sharing

Sharing on G+

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.

Written for Cornwall SEO by Silicon Beach Training providers of SEO Training, PRINCE2 Training, Business, Management, Programming and Mobile Development Workshops.

 

Why Attract the Linkerati

If you want links, it is the Linkerati you need to get the attention of.

Who are the Linkerarti?

The Linkerati are those who link

They are distinctive from your customers or your clients or the other people you would like to impress, but do not have the power to link to you.

There are various tribes within the Linkerati, and these all respond to different stimuli.

Most are excited by information.

Not just any kind of information, but information that intersects their current thinking. Which raises other problems.

How do you find out which kind of information intersects the thinking of the Linkerati?

How do you get the linkerati to take notice of you information?

How do you create information which will juice up the linkerati enough for them to link to you.

You have to tap into the Lizard brain, or the Old brain. You need to get down to fundamentals.

People link, motivated by emotion. It’s why popular bloggers can produce mediocre content and get links. Emotion counts.

A lot of the linkerati get emotional about data, particularly when it’s represented in a graphical format. Hence the rise of infographics for seo. The brain can digest pictures or visualisations quicker than text and the linkerati love information that is steam pumped into the visual cortex.

Although linkbait is still effective, an infographic or visual based linkbait will generally get more links.

But, if you are not part of the linkerati it’s very tricky to get into the head of this tribe. You certainly have no chance if you are a suited marketing executive, you must dip into the tribe and employ a translator, negotiator, emissary.

The best advice I can give is become like them. Even if you are one of the Marketing Executives, come over to the side. Other than that, you are going to have to talk to one of us who can communicate with both sides.

Would you buy a link for the Price of a Mars Bar?

Can a link, retailing at 55p be both profitable for the link builder and effective for the linked to?

A while back I came across a link building scheme that was effectively selling links for 90c, or about 55p. Which is the price of a Mars bar.

As I offer a link building service I was left scratching my head over how they did it whilst keep it effective and making a profit.

Consider one link being built every ten minutes

(they stated all this on the site)
By hand
Do follow
Indexed
Correct anchor text

6 links per hour
30 links per 5 hours = one day
600 links built over 20 days = one month

Retailing at 90c per link
= $540
Costs = $320
Profit = $180

Worker gets $360

This does not take in to account links which are rejected.

To hire a full time worker you would have to outsource to a country where $360 a month is a decent wage. They do exist, but running a team offshore raises other issues.

The only place which fits the criteria are forum links, not the signature links, but within a snippet of text. Could this be performed within the 10 minutes? Probably could be, but you would have to have a team process where each member concentrates on a specific task.

Tasks would be:

  • Researching forums
  • Opening accounts
  • Opening email accounts
  • Seeding the account
  • Writing link text and posting link
  • Entry into spreadsheet and saved in Dropbox
  • Indexing of links
  • Report to client

It could be done, whether or not a link from a forum is worth the effort is worth it is another thing. And you would only know this if you tested it. And if this did work you would hardly blog or comment about it.

My thinking is that it is cost effective, rather a binary yes/no work/not work.

The problem is the effort involved in setting up this kind of thing is not worth it if you only have one site. It really only works if someone else sets up the service for others to buy and then creates efficiencies of scale which make it worthwhile, and would probably need quite a few clients.

It’s interesting though isn’t it?

Content Marketing Training and a dog called Fenton

One of the biggest problems I come across in helping people build links to their websites is how to build magnetic content which attracts links. It seems that selling plumbers supplies online does not naturally lead to expertise on online publishing.

Who would have thought?

The reality is, creating effective web content is a highly specialised skill and in some ways is counter intuitive to running a business online. So, someone who may be expert in sourcing plumbing supplies and negotiating favourable terms may not be able to produce digital information which excites the cockles of the linkerati.

Website marketing is a nuclear arms race. If one website in the niche gets a 30 megaton bomb, then everyone has to, just to keep up. If someone goes out and gets a 35 megaton bomb everyone again has to run out and get the latest nuke. And thus it is with getting websites to rank.

Your plumbing supplies website can compete in the rankings without having over 300 back links, just as long as no one else does. Once you get your links from the usual places, the industry body, local chamber of commerce and a link from your web designers (web designers have a cheeky habit of sneaking in an advertising link on the website you just paid for) etc. it becomes a bit more of an effort to go and get the links.

And so a natural backlink ceiling is imposed on your niche. But along comes Frank the plumber and he uploads a picture of a dead squirrel that he pulled out of the waste pipe of a Bosch Dishwasher. The picture goes viral, his local plumbing supplies website starts to rise in the search engine results page and the cash starts flowing in.

Frank the plumber has not offered cheaper prices, or become a better plumber, arrives at his jobs in a quicker fashion or has improved his business in any way. Except, his revenues have increased because a dead squirrel has caused his website to collect more links, thus rising in the rankings and becoming more visible in the search engines.

Frank starts thinking. If the linkerati like pictures of dead squirrels found in the waste pipe of a Bosch Dishwasher, I wonder if they will like a picture of a dead mouse stuck in a hose retaining ring? Frank goes on to find that people online find pleasure in emailing pictures of dead animals found in plumbing, thus creating an online gallery of user generated content and also creating a community of rabid fans who can be nudged to do things with help the marketing of the website.

Now, I’ve outlined a scenario which has happened many, many times. People fall into becoming skilled at using content to market their websites. These people have no obvious training in online publishing or any kind of publishing and yet they just seem to get it, whilst others find coming up with ideas for effective content incredibly hard.

My theory as to why this is so hard for the average business person to grasp is that they simply don’t have the time to understand the basic concepts of what works and why it works. It’s important to know why a piece of content works.

You laugh and share Fenton, but do you know why?

Content like this is sometimes called Linkbait, which is misleading, but that’s for another blog post. This skill of creating magnetic web content and using it to juice up the linkerati can be taught and is something I am going to be teaching with the launch of Linkbait Coaching 3.0. Which takes a focussed look at analysing what works, why and how to replicate it. It’s not ready for launch yet, but soon.

You could of course hire someone specifically for this task, or you could train someone in-house. Training in the art of content marketing will pay you back in sack fulls over time. Investing in creating better content is something that can be used over a variety of mediums and is not just for improving your Google rank.