Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Taking Over The World With Google+

I am on Google+ and have been for awhile.  I haven't used it a ton though, mostly because I don't fully appreciate the value of it.  After the session on Google+ at Type A Conference With Lynette Young, I have a lot more appreciation for it.  Fortunately, I wasn't the only one in the room in the same boat.  The slides for the Google+ presentation are posted online.

I have also posted other Type A Conference recaps:
Keynote session with Chris Garrett
Don't Rank Me: Getting Past Scores and Numbers with Kelly Whalen and David Binkowski
Time Management with Amy Bair

I have become known as the Google+ queen in the last year, but I have been in the tech space since 1989. I started blogging in 1997. I started podcasting in 2006. I've been a parent since 2001 and 2007, so that totally rocks. My second and final husband came in 2000 (first one was an "imaginary" marriage to a celebrity). I have owned my own business since 2006. I then dyed my hair purple and usually don't wear pantyhose. I was consulting companies on how to do it better for themselves but not doing it myself. I founded a company/community called Women of Google+. I also have a book later this month because the outside world needs to know about this Google+ for Small Business.

My job online is to find interesting stories and interesting women and companies that use digital publishing - this is so much bigger than blogging or Twitter or Facebook. Those are the stories I like to amplify and promote online. I am an advocate for this.  I have 1.2 million followers on Google+ and am on of the top 50 followed women on Google.

Most of the room has Google+ - very few actually find value from it in the room, however. It is not a social network. If you think about Google+ as being a direct funnel into the search engine of Google, that's how you need to think about it. Everyone knows about SEO - we write about things and tag them and enough people have linked to you, and we'll put your search up higher. This is like tapping a vein straight into Google saying, "this is my quality content." By going in and putting a little effort into Google+, you will start to promote yourself and grow in relevance in all 60+ categories that Google has platforms on. If you are a digital media content provider, you have to pay attention to Google+ for that reason.

The key thing to make the mental switch between "it's supposed to be a Facebook killer" or LinkedIn and what it actually is - you have to understand that Google+ is the water in the rocks of the vase of flowers. It ties all things together.

Google does best in searching, right? You search for car dealerships in Google, and you'll get a ton of information - where the closest dealership is, what cars they have available, the phone number or hours the dealership is open. People give knowledge. They're the ones who tell you what cars they like and why. They are the ones who you go to once you've narrowed down your choices to help you make that final decision based on what they know.

Google as a company is looking to switch from the information web to the knowledge web. They need us to do it because there are no algorithms smart enough to do it for them. We are the bridge between information and knowledge online. If you're buying a car, you search it, break down the price bracket, does it have the right safety functions for your kids, what cool gadgets does it have, etc. While you narrowed down information in searching, I then went to my friends to find those who have had similar experiences to get that last 10% of knowledge to make the decision and put me in a better place.

Think about how many people you're connected to. When they are searching for something, and it is halfway relevant to what you write about - wouldn't you like to be at the top of the search with your picture and link to your post and the like?

For better or for worse, the way the Google knowledge graph works, the more people who follow you, the more you move up. On Google+, I have over 1.2 million people in my circles. When people are searching for something, I am at the top. It isn't just quantity though. People who have 20 followers and participate on Google+, setting their identity and more, they also are ranked highly by Google because of what they are doing right. You are at a conference. You can easily add 100 followers here, right?

You want to build your knowledge footprint. You want to project yourself into the future to be known for certain content or being thought leaders in a certain area. You need to create that knowledge footprint. Everything you put online, you need to have it be relevant somehow to the digital footprint you're creating. If you write about cats and want to be known for that, you don't want to post about peanuts. That isn't growing your digital footprint in the way you want.

There is a way to get your Google+ content outside that platform. You will have one identity with Google (except YouTube which has its own login), and you can link it in and through all the products. Think of Google+ as your vacation home - go out there and party once a week or a couple times a month, then head back to your home (blog, Twitter, Facebook, etc). But the more you put into your Google+ page, the more your ranking will improve.

You have one main page. Think strongly about hangouts and what you can do with them now. There are 10 person hangouts, and you can broadcast them outside the hangout, record them, store them on YouTube. Google has rolled places and local into the Google+ page, so it makes a difference when you participate there. Overall, the more you branch out in the internet, the more it will feed into Google+.

Think hard about authorship online. People say that page rank doesn't matter anymore, but I don't know if that's true or not. In Google+, 100% of your content is visible to those in your circles at all times, not what Facebook wants them to see. Take advantage of that.

In your Google+ about me, under other profiles is the direct fat line Sharpie drawing from you in the Google world to the rest of the Internet. You have to lead to content where you are the sole author. Don't put in but your actual page with your username. You have to go into edit profile to see these and add them. They aren't meant for human consumption but instead for the search engines to tie your authorship throughout the internet together so that you will continue to pop up higher on searches.

"rel=me" - that says you're on the other side of this. It says that you're the author. If you search the links, it's telling Google to make a round trip in its linkages for authorship and digital footprint that creates. Google+ points to Twitter and make a round trip so Twitter also points to Google+. It increases your author rank. If you publish on a group blog, go to your bio page on the group blog and put your link into other profiles. There are to my knowledge an unlimited number of links to profiles.

If you have a link to your brand's Twitter account, then you want it to go under the "Contributor to" section because technically others could contribute to it. That's where you put anything you want to do just for the sake of passing a link along to your readers, but that doesn't give you any link juice. Other profiles and Contributor To are the ones you want to fill out in your About Me page.

On the top of your profile, it will ask you for a tagline. When people hover over your name, in the Google search engine, this shows up to them. This is your 3 second introduction, so take advantage of it. Don't put your business name because people won't care, but put your elevator pitch type information there - who are you and what you can do for others. This is where you put your keywords that matter to you. There is no search engine value from this, but it is what others then see about you.

AuthorRank - it means that your reputation as a content creator will influence the ranking of search engine results. If people are interacting with your content, you will rank higher than if people simply like or share your content. You will get more power from the interaction.

Facebook is a little bit of a walled garden. You have to be in Facebook to get in there. Facebook is where you go to hang with the people you already know. Google+ is the place to go to connect with people you want to know in the future. This is where you get new eyeballs and new contacts. And the more content you produce that people like, the higher you will rank. It's not just rewarding SEO stuffed pages and links. A lot of people doing the traditional key word typed five times in a post and then tagged are now getting bounced from search results in exchange for the people who are having the high AuthorRank.

If you have a blog outside Blogger, there are two WordPress social plugins that have the structure and code that needs to talk to Google to make the connection you want. TF Social Share and Google+Blog. I use them and have seen a huge increase in the content search ranks. It's claiming the authorship, which is what you need. There is a difference in speed, though. Things show up in Google Alerts within 10 minutes from Google+. It's shown up five days later from the blog. It's showing up almost a week earlier in searches when it's posted in Google+, meaning it's shown quicker and rises higher in search results faster. This is your way in if you don't have a highly ranked or mature blog.

The Google+Blog pushes it from Google+ and pushes it to your WordPress blog so you don't have to type it twice. Doing paid SEO will get you a 0.5% increase, putting the plus 1 button on your blog and participating minimally (once a week/twice a month) on Google+ gives you an order of magnitude impact. You can plus 1 your own post, whether you do it from your blog or on Google+ has the same impact. If you have a Blogger blog, you have a golden ticket because you're already in the Google system.

Rich content publication - use video or pictures in Google+. + people instead of using @ to tag them. Hashtags work on Google+, too. It is a clickable link and you can see all other things that have been tagged the same way. If it's something that isn't heavily tagged, they will show one to one connections. If it's a popular tag, it will show conversations and threads.

Google+ is not a scary platform at all, and you can publish on it easily. You can do photos and videos. You can do live video chats that you can broadcast to the world that automatically gets archived to YouTube. You can set security as tight or loose as you want it for your videos there. If you tag it and then go out and fill out what it's about, etc., you will outrank just about anything else in YouTube almost immediately. You also get featured for 24 hours after your broadcast is done on YouTube Live, which gets something like 100k hits a day.

The video created from your broadcast Google+ hangout goes straight to your personal account, but you can download it and then upload it to a brand's YouTube page if needed. You have to be the originator of the hangout and be the one to say that you're doing a Hangout On Air to have it show up on your YouTube page. You can start HOA from a brand page, but it still goes to the personal YouTube page.

Social connections - everything you do should be shared with the public. Forget about the other circles you've created, for the most part. Everything you want the world to know about you and your brand, put it public. If it's something silly and stupid that you don't want a part of your digital footprint, then put it in circles. Even if you put it in friends of friends, it won't be touched by the search engines. Don't worry about building a follower count. In that capacity, you aren't necessarily talking to an audience yet. You are talking to the Internet.

You want to have things look a little different in each place (your blog and Google+), so switch it up a little. Put video in one and pictures in another. Have a slightly different message on your blog versus your Google+ account. But post in both places to get that 10% jump in search result impact.

Community building - you can do pages in Google+. You don't get all the sections that you do for a personal page. You cannot follow someone until they follow you first in Google+ as a brand. You have to earn it. As a fallback, you can always post public and it hits the search engines.

Choose your name for Google+ to represent how you're best known. If you use your name online and are known as CecilyK, use that. If you're The Bloggess, use that.

The digital world is ruled by search engines. They will get your blog or your newsletter or on Twitter if they find you or are referred by someone else. Search engines are where you get your "fresh meat."

Reminder of the quick tips:
Your Google+ Profile and links need to be filled out 
Google+ content should all be public
Don't freak about about your Google+ social connections. They'll come.

SPYW & your knowledge footprint - think about how you want to be known. Don't ditch your blog or things that work for you, but look to see where you can put your content to put your content where it will be found and found faster.

If you have your identity under a Yahoo account, as long as you have the same account name from Google+ and YouTube, you don't have to create a Gmail account to host it.

You will have to start from scratch with Google+. Use the search bar inside Google+. Search for laterals - who would read your blog or like your information. Comment on their stuff, like their stuff, share their stuff. That's how you'll get your circles built. When you have a small following, if you reach out to them, it helps. If you just post content, the search engines will come - if you create those circles, the people will come.


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