Category

Google SEO

Google Plus and Social SEO Facts and Evidence

By | Google Plus, Google SEO, SEO, Social Media Marketing, Social SEO | No Comments

Introduction:

Two and a half years ago I began building my personal blog in relation to Google+ marketing; then from September 2013, I focused all of my attention on building Plus Your Business. For both sites I’ve created content, had great guest bloggers, and shared content via my profile and the PYB page. Everything achieved has been due to the support and engagement of the Google+ community; the social visits have largely come from this source within the first month, and then the engagement with that content has signaled to search that “hey maybe other people who like to see this too!” and it then shows up for a) personalized results (inc. G+ posts), and b) incognito too.

This post is shows you the facts, the results, the evidence that the way we work with clients and train people in the Academy really does work. We are building a number of client case studies which will also be released by early 2015 as well.

How Social SEO using Google+ ‘works’

There is a load more information available on the PYB website, but here are a few keys to the process:

  • Create content that deserves to re-surface
  • Do your best to make that content ‘ever green’
  • Build relationships on Google+ with people who are already authorities on the subjects for which you want to rank
  • Build a community of people around you who regularly share your content ‘around this subject’
  • Look to have a considerable number of pieces of content produced and distributed prior to the more challenging terms/phrases for which you wish to rank
  • Look to use opt-in ‘niche circles’, and be prepared to run community driven campaigns which will amplify your content
  • Re-amplify when the content becomes ‘stuck’ in Search and doesn’t seem to move

This is the approach we have consistently taken, and as you will see, the results can be outstanding.

Here is a full blog post on this for y’all: Google+ and Social SEO

A few things:

The ‘pretty’ graphs are sketches, i.e. not to scale – but the numbers reflect the posts to which they relate.

We have called the first month ‘Social’ and named the entire life of a post ‘Social and Search’: the reality is that, often, we have achieved a first page, incognito result within a few days, meaning that the first month’s stats may well include ‘Search’ too. Also, when content is re-shared on Google+ after this initial month, the stats are blurred as there is a Social element there too.In addition, the ‘spikes’ you see in the screenshots are reamplification of orginal posts.
All of that being said, however, you will have a good idea of what we have achieved by putting the Google+ community first, and how Search and Social can work hand in hand.

What to see how quickly this post made it into Search?

Yep, personalized and incognito results – Number 1 after 2 days.
(Which is why I say I am generalizing that Social is the first month – it can be very quick indeed for some terms, and personalized search even more so.)

MartinShervington.com

To begin, this graph is for my blog, and here is an overview of total visitors for the past 12 months:

MS overview

MS Overview

Next, let’s take a look at the total number of Page Views for the site:

MS.com

Total Number of pageview: 504,707

Average time on page: 00:05:23 mins

MS

Plusyourbusiness.com

Ok, so now let’s move onto the Plus Your Business website, which launched early September 2013.

And here is an overview of activity for the past 12 months, starting with total number of visitors:

PYB overview

PYB Overview

And next you can see total Page Views:

PYB

Total Number of visits: 306,826

Average time on page: 00:02:54 mins

PYB

Ok, so that is the website overview. Let’s next move into taking a look at individual posts on the sites…

What is Google Plus

Update! Now this is over 300,000 unique vistors:

2015-03-25_09-19-20

Here is the first month of activity on the most popular post to date:

What is googleplus_Month one

Total visits in first month: 25,142

Average time on page: 00:05:20 mins

What is Google Plus_Month_OneNEW

Social activity was great, but as it secured the desired position in search to answer the query ‘What is Google Plus?’ (and variants of it), what happened next was very cool..

Here is an overview of the last 15 months:

What is googleplus_Whole duration

Total Number of visits: 258,789

Average time on page: 00:05:10 mins

What is Google Plus_WholeDuration NEW

Yes, that is 250,000 who have been introduced to Google+ through our training materials, just from this one post.

Social = 9.7%
Search = 90.3%

Ok, so what next? Well, Google+ is great for marketing, so here is a blog post just on that…

A complete guide to Google+ Marketing

Here is the first month of activity:

A complete guide to Google+ Marketing_Month One

Total visits in first month: 6,338

Average time on page: 00:04:43 mins

A complete guide to Google+ Marketing_Month One NEW

Here is an overview:

A complete guide to Google+ Marketing_Whole Duration

Total Number of visits: 11,369

Average time on page: 00:04:48 mins

A complete guide to Google+ Marketing_Whole duration NEW

I know what you are thinking…that is not quite so impressive! But hold on, look at the dates…this only launched in July 2014, and we are able to targeting a value nice phrase that is converting attention into leads. Search for ‘Google Plus Marketing’ in an incognito window and you’ll see it is rockin’ Search results.

So, what next…

Social = 55.7%
Search = 45.3%

Google Plus For Business and Individuals

This post is one that is aiming to capture the eye of everyone looking at Google+ for business application.

Here is the first month of activity:

Google Plus For Business and Individuals_Month One

Total visits in first month: 7,890

Average time on page: 00:05:18 mins

Google Plus For Business and Individuals_Month One

Here is an overview:

Google Plus For Business and Individuals_Whole Duration

Total Number of visits: 15,525

Average time on page: 00:04:38 mins

Google Plus For Business and Individuals_Whole Duration

So, Search is delivering double the initial social activity.

Social = 50.8%
Search = 49.2%

Beginners Guide to Google Plus

Here is the first month of activity:

Beginners Guide to Google Plus_Month one

Total visits in first month: 2,482

Average time on page: 00:03:52 mins

Beginners Guide to Google Plus_Month One

Here is an overview:

Beginners Guide to Google Plus_Whole Duration

Total Number of visits: 8,868

Average time on page: 00:03:29 mins

Beginners Guide to Google Plus_Whole Duration

Where social drops off, Search picks up the slack! Next…

Social = 28%
Search = 72%

Complete User Guide: Google Plus Pages for business and brands

Here is the first month of activity:

Google Plus Pages for business and brands_Month One

Total visits in first month: 3,140

Average time on page: 00:12:33 mins

Google Plus Pages for business and brands_Month One NEW

And here is an overview of the entire duration:

Google Plus Pages for business and brands_Whole Duration

Total Number of visits: 38,826

Average time on page: 00:09:22 mins

Google Plus Pages for business and brands_Whole Duration NEW

Yes, we went from 3,000 people in social to 38,000 including Search over the duration of the post.
And we could refresh the content, re-amplify and give it a lift too.

Social = 8%
Search = 92%

The Ultimate Guide to Google Plus Posts

Here is the first month of activity:

The Ultimate Guide to Google Plus Posts_Month One

Total visits in first month: 4,797

Average time on page: 00:10:10 mins

The Ultimate Guide to Google Plus Posts_Month one NEW

Here is an overview:

The Ultimate Guide to Google Plus Posts_Whole Duration

Total Number of visits: 44,244

Average time on page: 00:07:37 mins

The Ultimate Guide to Google Plus Posts_Whole Duration NEW

So, 4,000 lead to 44,000 on this one. Building communities around your content really can get you Search results!

Note: the spike was due to re-amplification of the content, which often gives it a lift in Search.

Social = 10.8%
Search = 89.2%

Ultimate Guide to Google Hangouts

Here is the first month of activity:

Ultimate Guide to Google Hangouts_Month One

Total visits in first month: 9,089

Average time on page: 00:10:19 mins

Ultimate Guide to Google Hangouts_Month One  NEW

Here is an overview:

Ultimate Guide to Google Hangouts_Whole Duration

Total Number of visits: 110,337

Average time on page: 00:09:35 mins

Ultimate Guide to Google Hangouts_Whole Duration NEW

And yes, on this one too – 9,000 Social turns into 110,000 Social and Search combined!

Social = 8.2%
Search =
91.8%

To conclude:

Google really has changed over the past few years, especially as the default setting is now personalized/private results. Social really matters. And by Social I am really talking about Google+
You may like to think about it this way, after the ‘news’ i.e. the first wave of activity in Social, it will often be down to Google Search to sustain the visitor volumes to your website.
The key though is this: think about building community around your content. This will enable them to amplify it, and signal to Search your content should be seen by more people.

When it is new, people say “read all about it!” (i.e. engage with it) which turns into a piece of content becoming ‘authoritative’ in Search. Then people pop to the library, i.e. Search, and access the content, even if they did not see/engage with it themselves in Social.
Google+ enables publishers, bloggers and content creators to level the playing field in terms of ‘size’ of business – now it is about being unique, and producing high quality which enables people to feel we are answering the questions, solving their problems, in the best way for them. So, does Google+ tilt the ‘Search’ field toward you? Yes it does.

Google Plus Marketing Case Study Teaser

By | Case Studies, Google Plus, Google SEO, SEO, Social SEO | No Comments

This post is a ‘teaser’ for a full report on the visitor levels for PYB related content, as we want to show you want can be achieved using content marketing and Google+

As you will see from the information below, this single blog post has had over 250,000 visitors in less than 15 months.
With an average time on the page of over 5 minutes, we can safely say that myself and PYB have already helped hundreds of thousands of people learn about Google+. Cool, huh?

So, this is how we did it…

  • Using Google+ for Social SEO – full article here.
  • Well targeted outcome as a desired Search position i.e. ‘What is Google Plus?’, with a back up of ‘What is Google+?’
  • Secondary benefit of ranking for ‘What is Google?’
  • Giving away content that people would have been willing to pay for!
  • Refreshing content when it gets outdated
  • Building community excitement around new releases within that blog post e.g. new videos
  • Consistent branding on images and expectations
  • Relationship building with existing authorities in that area e.g. Guy Kawasaki, and Vic Gundotra (who both shared it)
  • And generally providing one of the best solutions for newbies curious in learning Google+

Note: The post featured was released about 3 months prior to the launch of this PYB website on my personal blog, and now contains embedded PYB videos. I’ve applied the same approach time and time again for this site as well, and have a full case study in Level 4 of the Academy for the post on ‘Google Plus Marketing’. Also, included within the ‘full chart’ is social activity, ongoing too e.g. re-sharing the content, but the main thrust is from Search.

What about you?

It is not often that I say “Look what we did!” but I thought a little transparency on our stats may be appreciated.

So, can you do the same for your niche? Well, of course it will depend on the number of people searching, but the principles will be the same.
Be helpful. Create rockin’ content. And build a community of people around you who appreciate what you do.

It may only really engaging around 100 of the ‘right’ people (with networks) to create this type of result, and then you have 249,900 additional visitors.
(And please note, there is always more to it ‘happening in the background’ of course, but the headlines give you some idea of what we do here at Plus Your Business.)

Here is a screen shot of month one:
What is googleplus_Month one

This is mainly ‘Social’ activity i.e. not secure in Search as yet:

What is Google Plus_Month_OneNEW

Then you see the overview of the duration of the post:
What is googleplus_Whole duration

And here is a pretty ‘sketch’ version for you too:

What is Google Plus_WholeDuration NEW

What does this all mean? Well as the full case study will reveal for about seven Plus Your Business and MartinShervington.com posts, you will see how building community on Social i.e. Google+, will enable you to achieve long term Search results.
Interested in knowing more?
Click that big button below and we’ll get right back to ya!

Streamline your Social Media with Friends+Me and Google+

By | Google Plus, Google SEO, SEO, Social Media Marketing, Social SEO, Useful Tips | No Comments

Friends+Me will help you to save a lot of time dealing with social media. Keep reading!

Every small and mid-sized business owner know that social media presence is a necessity these days. Time does not grow on trees and helpful tool can come in handy. That’s where Friends+Me as a cross-promotion service comes to play.

You can spend all day long on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin and so on but it will not matter next day because people tend to forget really fast so the only strategy viable in a long term is consistency and focus. You have to publish new content on a regular basis to multiple social networks and that can be extremely time consuming.

I’ve prepared 8 tips that will help you to start with Friends+Me and to focus on Google+ and on creation and reshare of a great content.

Don’t forget to follow Friends+Me on Google+ to get the latest updates, tips and tricks!

 

1. Publish once and let Friends+Me assist you with the rest

Google+ is a great source of a high quality content, you should take advantage of that and reshare to your Google+ profile or your client’s Google+ page. Friends+Me promotes all new posts to other social networks for you.

Just GET STARTED with our free plan.

Friends+Me

2. Improve your SEO while having fun with people on Google+

You may think that SEO is dead and social media is all that matters these days. You would be right because publishing on Google+ is the best SEO technique there is.

Social media matters these days more than ever. So the best strategy is to customize message for every single social network to get the most out of it BUT what if you don’t have the resources needed for such a massive task?

With Friends+Me and Google+ you’ll get the power of social media marketing, FOCUS and SEO almost for free.

Oh, and I cannot forget to mention Google+ Authorship, which will help Google search engine to help your potential customers to find you. Amazing feature!

 

3. How to control reposts destination

There are basically two ways Friends+Me handle reposts of new Google+ posts.

Friends+Me reposts all your new publicly published Google+ posts to accounts assigned to the default destination accounts group unless your post contains one or more control hashtags. In that case, reposts are published only to accounts assigned to control hashtags used within your post message.

Short version is that Friends+Me reposts to accounts assigned to control hashtags found in Google+ post otherwise to default destination accounts.

Friends+Me -  Account Routing

Friends+Me – Account Routing

 

Repost to a default destination accounts

See the left column Default destination accounts on the screenshot.

Friends+Me skip all posts that contain #ns, #noshare or #plusonly hashtag. It is possible to create your own “noshare” hashtags.

Hashtags controlled reposts

See the right column Control hashtag groups on the screenshot.

There is a predefined group of control hashtags and you can create your own custom control hashtag with destination accounts of your choosing.

 

4. Schedule reposts to other social networks

Repost scheduling feature allows you to predefine times at which you’d like Friends+Me to publish new reposts to your destination social accounts (Twitter, Facebook, …).

That’s a great feature because by specifying times at which the biggest number of your followers is online on other networks you’ll be able to increase overall engagement and the count of actions such as favorite, like, retweet and so on.

All you have to do is to go to detail of your destination accounts and enable repost scheduling feature. The best post times, which you can of course customize to your needs, are used for every type of social network.

Friends+Me - Account Scheduling

Friends+Me – Account Scheduling

 

HOT TIP !

Do you need some time to be able to fix mistypes that may appear in your newly published Google+ posts before they are reposted to your other social accounts?

Enable delayed repost scheduling for your destination accounts (Twitter, Facebook, …). Once you enable this feature Friends+Me will delay publishing of new reposts to other social accounts for a specified amount of time which you may use to fix any mistypes or just to update your Google+ post message.

Friends+Me - Delayed Account Scheduling

Friends+Me – Delayed Account Scheduling

 

5. Schedule posts for your Google+ pages

There are times when you’re kissed by a muse and create more than just one great post. What you should do once you have one or more posts prepared is to schedule those posts to be published automatically at times you pick so you don’t have to worry about it anymore.

Post scheduling is also great for times you decide to finally go on vacation because you deserve a really long one 🙂

Friends+Me allows you to schedule posts for Google+ pages. Every post published this way is reposted to other social accounts in case the routing is configured properly.

All you have to take care of is to pick the right time and Friends+Me will do the rest for you.

Friends Me  - Account Publish

Friends Me – Account Publish

 

6. Invite team members to help you manage your social accounts

Everybody needs a helping hand from time to time. You can invite your co-workers and friends to help you manage your accounts and publish great content.

To invite a team member you’ll have to visit your Friends+Me profile.

Friends+Me - Profile

Friends+Me – Profile

There select the Team menu.

Friends Me -  Team Members

Friends Me – Team Members

You can pick one of two roles for your new team member.

A team member with role Profile Manager can manage your entire Friends+Me profile as the owner does. For example, to connect/disconnect social accounts, change configurations, subscribe to a premium plan, invite other team members and so on.

Team member with role Account Manager is able to manage only selected subset of accounts. For example, they will be able to schedule or publish new posts, update account’s link shortener, update repost schedules and so on.

All you’ll have to do to invite a team member is to input your team member’s email address, pick a role and Friends+Me will send your new team member an email invitation.

 

7. Master your Google+ post title not just for Twitter reposts

You should use a proper format for your Google+ posts, the most important thing is to use title, because Friends+Me will use only the title for Twitter reposts in case your post contains more than one line.

What Makes a Good Headline? https://plus.google.com/+dustntv/posts/BRRifvc7wXX

Here’s an example of Google+ post with title and how the Twitter repost looks like.

Google+ post - All premium features FREE for EVERYONE

Google+ post with title

Twitter repost - All premium features FREE for EVERYONE

Twitter repost of Google+ post with title

 

8. Track your Google+ accounts insights

Friends+Me partnered with CircleCount recently and thanks to this partnership Friends+Me is able to provide you with an important insights for your connected Google+ accounts.

Google+ account insights offers these metrics:

  • How many times your Google+ profile/page and its content were viewed.
  • How many new people follow your page/profile.
  • Comments, shares and +1s on your last 50 public posts within the last 4 weeks.
  • CircleRank index tells you how your account stands against all other Google+ accounts indexed by +CircleCount service, for more info check http://www.circlecount.com/faq
Friends+Me - Google+ Account Insights

Friends+Me – Google+ Account Insights

How to Use Clean Google+ URLs & the Google+ Canonicals

By | Google Plus, Google SEO, SEO | No Comments

How to share the cleanest G+ URLs by removing unwanted parameters.

In this article we will cover the following:

1. The main Google+ Canonical URLs.

2. Some of the many types of Google+ Profile URLs.

3. The different types of Google+ Page URL parameters.

4. Sharing a G+ Post link with the ‘Link to post’ URLs.

5. My discussion with John Mueller on cleaner Google+ URLs.

6. How I usually keep cleaner G+ URLs in the address bar.

To begin…

When using Google+ an attentive user will probably notice there are quite a variety of URL types which appear in the browser address bar. At first glance some of these URLs do not appear to have a particular purpose, or follow expected patterns.

I have seen several questions frequently arise as a result of new (sometimes even seasoned) users not having a clear understanding of which URLs should be used, when & how. Questions including:

 

  • What is my root, or canonical Google+ URL?
  • What URL should I use to share G+ content either on, or off of Google+?
  • Why does my browser URL bar show extra characters I do not recognize?
  • Do I have to include these extra characters when linking to G+ URLs on a website?
  • Why are the /u , or the /0 and the /b characters included in my address bar?
  • What is the cleanest (shortest) URL I can use to effectively share my content?
  • Do I have to use a G+ custom user ID once I get one, does it become canonical?
  • What is the difference between using a profile ID & custom user ID?
  • Why does Link to post function give me a different URL than exists in the address bar?

 

As a website developer I have always been rather picky about the URLs I use & how best to display them in the simplest fashion. We could describe “clean URLs” as a kind of lowest common denominator (the simplest & clearest way that specific URL can be used) & wherever possible, I believe it is user friendly to use them & share our content this way.

 

A few weeks ago I brought some questions up in a Hangout-On-Air discussion with John Mueller regarding Google+ URLs, who (as usual) provided me a very helpful and informative explanation on the purpose of these extra characters, which I’ve included below.

 

┅┅┅┅┅┅┅┅┅┅┅┅┅┅┅┅┅┅┅┅┅┅┅┅┅

One side benefit of my particular fondness for editing my address bar down to shorter URLs, was that I soon realized after doing so I could see TBPR on many G+ Profiles & quite some time ago this led to my writing a rather interesting story on Google+ authority (which is outside the scope of today’s topic).

┅┅┅┅┅┅┅┅┅┅┅┅┅┅┅┅┅┅┅┅┅┅┅┅┅

 

 

1. The main Google+ Canonical URLs.

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Following are Google Plus’s canonical URLs (main URLs indexed in Search).

 

Google+ Profile Custom User ID Canonical URL

By looking at the source code of any Google+ profile, we can see exactly how Google labels their canonical URLs (colored blue in the tag below). If you have a Custom User ID, that name becomes part of the URL:

 

<link rel=”canonical” href=”https://plus.google.com/+JoshuaBerg“>

One thing to be aware of regarding custom user IDs, is that URLs are actually case sensitive, and each user can choose the manner in which your names are automatically capitalized. Once you’ve chosen the capitalization style keep it that way. While Google+ will recognize & automatically redirect users to the same capitalization found in your canonical,  there are some advanced reasons why it may not be helpful to regularly change that (ie. this changes the canonical URL after which further iterations stabilize authority).

 

Google+ Profile User Number Canonical URL

 

If you do not yet have a custom user ID, your canonical URL will be this (where ‘110133760398936676625’ would be changed to ‘your own user number’):

<link rel=”canonical” href=”https://plus.google.com/+110133760398936676625“>

 

Google+ Page Custom User ID Canonical URL

For Google+ pages, the custom user ID will follow the same pattern:

<link rel=”canonical” href=”https://plus.google.com/+REALSMO“>

Note that in the URL bar you will see it is displayed quite differently depending on whether you have currently selected to “manage” that page.

 

Google+ Page User Number URL

For pages without a custom user ID, again it will instead be a number (where ‘112896655266337932972’ would be changed to ‘your own user number’)

<link rel=”canonical” href=”https://plus.google.com/+112896655266337932972“>

 

 

2. Some of the many types of Google+ Profile URLs.

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Following are some of the many differing URLs that I have seen users grab & share from their address bar. Note that most of these ultimately redirect to the Google+ canonical URL & so many users may not notice the difference. Using my own G+ profile URL as an example, they are as follows:

 

https://plus.google.com/u/0/+JoshuaBerg/posts (default)
https://plus.google.com/u/0/+JoshuaBerg/
https://plus.google.com/u/0/+JoshuaBerg
https://plus.google.com/u/+JoshuaBerg
https://plus.google.com/+JoshuaBerg/posts
https://plus.google.com/+JoshuaBerg/
https://plus.google.com/+JoshuaBerg
  ✔ canonical

[Although the canonical, in the G+ system it will always default to include /posts at the end, which is expected behavior.] https://plus.google.com/u/0/110133760398936676625/posts (default)
https://plus.google.com/u/0/110133760398936676625/
https://plus.google.com/u/0/110133760398936676625
https://plus.google.com/u/110133760398936676625
https://plus.google.com/110133760398936676625/posts
https://plus.google.com/110133760398936676625/

https://plus.google.com/110133760398936676625  ✔ canonical (for non-custom)

 

Sometimes also shared to a profile’s other tabs, such as: /about ‘s

 

https://plus.google.com/u/0/+JoshuaBerg/about
https://plus.google.com/+JoshuaBerg/about
https://plus.google.com/110133760398936676625/about
https://plus.google.com/u/0/110133760398936676625/about

 

 

3. The different types of Google+ Page URL parameters.

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Upon first opening your business Google+ page to manage it, your URL will be this:

 

https://plus.google.com/u/0/b/112896655266337932972/+REALSMO/posts

 

The u/0/ do not have to be used here, but if you remove the b/112896655266337932972/ (where the number is your page number) you will see you are no longer managing the page, but instead viewing it as your personal profile. So when you see these parameters b/yourpagenumber/ in your URL, it is supposed to mean you are currently managing that page.

If your page does not have a Custom User ID, then instead a managed page will appear as follows. Notice your G+ page number is just repeated twice:
https://plus.google.com/u/0/b/112896655266337932972/112896655266337932972/posts

https://plus.google.com/b/112896655266337932972/112896655266337932972/posts
Now the canonical URL’s for this G+ page would be as follows, with the extra u/0/ and the b/112896655266337932972/ (managed page parameter) all removed:

https://plus.google.com/+REALSMO  ✔ canonical  (page with a custom user ID)

https://plus.google.com/112896655266337932972  ✔ canonical (for non-custom ID)

 

So when we share any of these URLs, we should be sure to remove those unwanted parameters, because as you can see from the page experiment, changing the URL parameter can change the active profile of the user viewing that page, or cause other anomalies & appear unprofessional.

 

 

4. Sharing a G+ Post link with the ‘Link to post’ URLs.

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Another peculiarity about Google+ URLs is that even if you have a custom user ID, whenever you get a link to share from the Link to Post button, the URL to be shared will only contain a profile number & never a custom user ID. However all unneeded URL parameters previously discussed will already be stripped out.

If you would like to get a link to a post with your custom user ID, then you would need to click on the date of that post which will open it in a new tab. Then you may grab the URL from the address bar. You can also remove & substitute the profile number with your custom user ID anywhere.

So a Link to Post URL looks like this:

 

https://plus.google.com/110133760398936676625/posts/8xsMmLDYr6j 

 

Or you can have your custom user ID substitute the number, as they appear in the address bar:

 

https://plus.google.com/+JoshuaBerg/posts/8xsMmLDYr6j

 

A useful fact about sharing URLs in Google+, is that you do not have to include the http://, or the www. So if you would like to reference the above URL in a comment for example, you need only write it as:

 

plus.google.com/+JoshuaBerg/posts/8xsMmLDYr6j

 

 

5. My discussion with John Mueller on cleaner Google+ URLs.

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At 46:50 – 49:50 in this video I asked John Mueller what these extra URL parameters are for & whether we should remove those when sharing a link:

 

John Mueller:

 

Yeah, I always watch out for that as well.

So the /u and the /# is a mechanism that we use for multi-logins, so if you have multiple accounts associated with that browser profile that you’re in at the moment, so that you can switch between those. Sometimes you have /u/0 ,  /u/1 , /u/2 , for the different accounts.

So if you share a URL, stripping that out is a great practice, because that way it automatically uses whatever the user who’s looking at it has as their default profile.

 

John Mueller goes on to explain:

 

It’s really from the multi-login, for example I have my Google Apps account and I have my Gmail account & switching between the two is possible. And the /u/1 or the /u/0 is basically just a way of keeping that state in the URL.

It’s not something that we use for indexing, we try to strip that out as well, and I think if you share a URL it’s best to strip that out, so it doesn’t focus on any specific profile of the person who’s clicking on it.

 

In other words, if you share a URL with these extra parameters in it, it may cause undesirable affects for your readers who click on it, such as changing their active profile when they go to that link.

 

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-vP4dEBOmo8] Google Webmaster Central office-hours hangout, June 20, 2014

 

 

6. How I usually keep cleaner G+ URLs in the address bar.

▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔

 

When I’m working in Google+ I usually do not have the above extra parameters appearing in any of my URLs, because I delete them from my browser address bar at the beginning of the session. Once removed from there and the browser is refreshed, they generally will not reappear from most of the Google+ links.

 

How to work with cleaner Google+ URLs.

 

The one place they will return from though, is from your Google+ Login link on the top Right hand side, or from the Right hand notification posts menu. However, if you manage these from the Google+ Notifications page https://plus.google.com/notifications/all with those parameters removed, they also will not return.

In conclusion I will say that the more people understand & use cleaner Google+ URLs, the better the G+ experience is for all of us. A good understanding of & best practice usage of these URLs also provides a good impression of a knowledgeable Google+ user.

Interested in Google+ and Business? Well contact Joshua and the PYB team here!

 

Your First 9 SEO Tasks

By | Google SEO, SEO, Useful Tips | No Comments

Your First 9 SEO Tasks2

SEO can be bewildering for people who are not familiar with it. Even if you are knowledgeable about it, it can be a large time commitment. If you are just beginning to work on SEO for a web site what are the first things you should plan to do? Here is a list of 9 areas that are a must do:

1. Setup Google Analytics: Or, if you prefer, some other anayltics package. Don’t rely on the analytics your web hosting company provides you, because these are usually pretty primitive and as your knowledge of how to use analytics grows and expands you will find this very limiting. Setup your analytics software right away because that way it can collect history over time which you won’t have if you install it later. Google Analytics is a great choice because it’s free, and actually pretty powerful as well.

Once you have your analytics setup, make sure you learn how to check your organic search traffic volume, and specifically, the traffic from Google. Just open your analytics for your web site and click on the links in the order shown in this screen shot:

Google Analytics Google Organic Traffic

This is the first step. You should also setup conversion tracking as you want to see how much business you are getting from organic search traffic. You can see a great guide to setting up Google Analytics Conversion Tracking here.

This is a must do because it helps you measure the bottom line, and that’s a really good thing. Note that if you don’t sell products directly off your site, measure contact requests, or visits to key pages, or other metrics that will help you see if that organic search traffic is benefitting your business!

2. Setup Google Webmaster Tools: What does Webmaster Tools get you? Plain and simple, think of it as a report from Google on some of the things they observe about your site. You should want that. In fact, you should want that badly! Some of the more interesting data they provide includes:

  1. Backlink Data
  2. Rankings Data
  3. Most Common Keywords on Your Site
  4. Crawl Data
  5. and, a whole lot more!

Just for example, here is a screen shot of a crawl report:

Webmaster Tools Crawl Report

3. Check Your Indexing Status: This is one of the basics, and it’s easy to do, as it requires only two steps. The first step is to write down on a sheet of paper how many pages you think your site has. If you have a blog or an e-commerce site, you need to remember all the category pages or archive pages. You don’t need an exact count for this, but you do need to hvae a sense as to whether or not its dozens, hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands or more.

For your second step, go to Google and type in the following search query: “site:yourdomain.com” (quotes not needed). The result you will get will look something like this:

Example Site Query Search Result

This result shows how many pages has in their index for your site. Did the number Google returned shock you? Did you think you had 10,000 pages and Google showed only 132? If so, you probably have a problem. Or, did the reverse happen? You thought you had 123 and Google shows more than 10,000? This would also indicated a problem (which may be a duplicate content problem!).

If either of those things happens, its time to get yourself some SEO help. Unless you are very technical you probably will not be able to figure this out on your own, but I have included this step in here because its better to know you have a problem if you do.

4. Run a Crawler on Your Site These are tools that will read your site in the same mechanical way that Google does. Here are two good ones to use: Xenu or Screaming Frog. Xenu is more of a general purpose crawler and Screaming Frog is more targeted at SEO. Whichever you use, make sure to fix all the “Page Not Found” errors.

These are also known as 404 errors as this is the status code returned by a web page when someone tries to access a web page that does not exist. When Google sees a lot of these it can lead them to believe your site is of poor quality. You don’t want that! If you use Screaming Frog you can spot other problems, such as the presence of missing or duplicate title tags, but more on that in points 6 and 7 below!

5. Pull keyword volume data Find out what keywords related to your business are most searched on by users. There are several tools that can do this, including Google’s Keyword Planner (requires that you have an AdWords account), and Wordtracker.

Keyword Research for iPhone Cases

This data is invaluable for many reasons. One of those we will discuss in the next tip, which focuses on the title tags you use for your pages. But, it is also extremely valuable to understand the language your prospects use when they think about what needs they have related to your product, or products like yours. Marketers 30 years ago would have fallen all over themselves to get data like this. It should impact the language you use on your web site, not just in the title tags of your pages, but also in the content itself.

If you are speaking in the language of your customer, this will inevitably lead to good results for you, not just for SEO, but also for conversion. Important note: Don’t slather these words all over your pages with reckless abandon (sometimes aka “keyword stuffing”)! You still want to create pages that look good, and intelligent, when your prospective customers are viewing it.

6. Optimize the Title Tags of Your Site: I wrote an in-depth article called: 3 Golden Rules of Title Tags on Search Engine Watch. The shor summary is that you should try to have a separate page on your site for each major user need you help address. The keyword research you did in the last step can help you address that, but it is also critical that you draw on other information sources as well.

What user needs do you think you address? Can you do some surveys of people or run some tests to ask those prospects that needs they think they have? This is an important step – it is very hard to close a customer if you don’t bring them to page that speaks to their need. Once you have the list of pages you want, use your keyword research to help you pick out your title tags, as well as help you understand how to structure the content on the page.

7. Eliminate Duplicate Content: The great majority of web sites have some problem with duplicate content. You can read more about the Duplicate Content Problem and Its Solutions here. There are countless sites that Stone Temple Consulting has worked on where we increased their search engine traffic just be addressing duplicate content problems.

How do you find it? Look for duplicate (or near-duplicate) title tags – this can often be a hint that a page is a duplicate page. Where can you get that data? Remember the crawl of your site we did in Step 1 above? Now you get to use that data again. Here is an example of some of the output from the Xenu crawler:

Xenu Title Analysis

Scan the title tag column and find the pages that look like they have the same title. Once you have identified the problem pages you will need to bring your developer in to help resolve the issue, but at least you will know what to tell them. This may sound a bit painful, but it is definitely worth it!

8. Create Remarkable Content: One of the big problems with the world of SEO it that there is so much disinformation out there. Article after article will talk about some trick someone learned that “drives SEO”. Much of this advice will lead you to do things with your site and content that is only for search engines, and most of that advice is bad.

Focus instead on creating non-commercial content that differentiates you from your competition. This is actually what the search engines want you to do as well. How to do this is a long story, but the basics are that you need to truly be an expert in your space (or employ one), and have them write content that solves problems for others, in novel ways that other people have not done it.

May not be simple to do, but it’s how businesses make it, or not, in today’s digital world.

9. Tell the World About it:

Last, but not least, you need to let people know what you have done. We don’t live in a “build it and they will come” world. You do have to get out there and promote your business, and more importantly the great content you have created. The ways to do this are many and varied, but include building up a strong social media presence, publishing columns in journals/blogs that cover your industry, speaking at conferences, and concepts like these. If you have completed the first 8 steps, this last one will turn out to be easier than you think!

Summary

So there you have it – 9 steps to launching a web site that is search engine optimized. No doubt that there is a lot of work here, but the upside is well worth it.

How to use Google+ for Social SEO

By | Google Plus, Google SEO, SEO, Social SEO | One Comment

Since Google+ came on the scene back in July 2011, there has increasingly been the term ‘Social SEO’ floating about. Well, as Google+ has now settled into itself it really is starting to be the name of the game. What really is it? And how can you use Google+ to do ‘more’ of it? Well, this article has you covered. Let’s begin…

What is Social SEO?

Very often Social SEO is seen as the use of ‘social platforms’ in order to obtain Search results. But actually, this it is the wrong way to think about it all. Here at PYB we like to think about it differently:
Social SEO is what happens naturally when you have the right content for the right people to see for them at a particular point in time.
In order for this to happen, however, you may well need to ‘do something’ to optimize the chances that your content will be seen as opposed to someone else’s.

What makes something social?

Well, ‘social’ in this context means using sites such as Twitter, Facebook and Google+. As we focus on Google+ for Search results, we can see that that platform is really the one that can make your content rise – when, of course, you use it well.

What are the aims and outcome of Social SEO?

Let’s look first at what social activity does:

  • You get more people visiting your website via social sites/posts/tweets
  • You get more engagement on your content e.g. more people +1, comment and share it
  • You get more results appear in Google Search that are relevant for people to whom your are connected
  • You get more results appear in Google Search for people who are not in your network
  • You get brand awareness that enables people to simply ‘go direct’ as they bipass Search.

As such, the aim of Social SEO is to a) increase the volume visitors to your website from social activity, and b) have this volume sustained over time by people re-discovering your content in the future. One of the ways this will happen is through ‘Search’ itself, but as Google+ is a powerful Search Engine in its own right, when you use it wisely you will find a very long life to your posts.

So, all in all, this means that you get more people to your website.

Does this approach work?

Put simply, ‘Plus Your Business’ is built on this approach. There is no paid advertising to generate traffic to the site and here you are right now reading this article. I say ‘traffic’ but that really doesn’t do justice to the process – this is about people and in fact it is about community.

The role of community

When people really connect with your content they will start to form a community around you and it is this community activity that makes the difference in Search. It depends on the nature of the members of the community, the authority they carry on subject matters and the engagement you get, but if you put people first you will find more people will start to connect with you and your brand’s content.This means you will need to start building your network and when you need to consider the role of Google+ in your overall approach to SEO, and to do that we need to think about how Google+ has changed Google Search, including the advent of increasingly personalized results, including ‘Search Plus Your World’ for Google.com – to whom you are connected influences the results which you receive.
So, why is ‘community’ so important? Well, with community comes engagement and it is engagement with content by the ‘right’ people that makes the biggest difference in social SEO.

Is this going to work for everything?

Well, firstly, Social SEO is best for ‘content’ more than it is for Pages in my view. So if you are looking to sell a pair of trainers, unless you want to right the story of those trainers and how they will change the world when you wear them, then you will still need to be looking at traditional nuts and bolts SEO. In fact, with many PYB clients we tend to use both approaches for different aspects of their website.

Does this mean that traditional SEO is dead?

Yes, and no. The general consensus  is that we will need to think differently about ‘Search’ to be successful. David Amerland leads the way on this with his book on Google Semantic Search.
Here is an article and interview that will take help your grasp this from a more strategic perspective.

And no discussion on SEO would be complete without a quick look at PageRank…

Here is a broader discussion on Social SEO that was hosted by Ben Hanlin and included PYBers such as myself and Mark Traphagen for the “myCMGR Worldwide Edition”:

 So, how can you increase your Search results?

Here is what you need to do:

  • Build a strategy as to how it fits into your overall SEO plans
  • Set outcomes as to what you are seeking to achieve from a Social SEO perspective. And I mean, put numbers on it all!
  • Get started on Google+
  • Create a network of people who are authoritative in your subject areas
  • Build a community of people around you who are engaging on your content
  • Create engaging content and post on a regular basis
  • Track the results you are getting from social direct and from Google Search
  • Scale and continue.

Simple.
The reality is there is a lot of planning to make this work well for you. If you just ‘throw content out there’ you won’t find that it makes much difference at all. Be patient and plan well.

Here is a quick video that gives you some tips on point 4…

As here at PYB we want to give you as much as we can to help your improve your results using Google+ we thought we would lay out some key methods we recommend using to achieve excellent results.

How to build up your Google+ page

Next let’s look at how to promote your Google+ page in a way that gets attention from the right audience for your brand or your business. And let’s face it, that is what many of you want from activity on Google+!

I’m going to use the example ‘Plus Your Business!’ page and the associated PYB community, as a way of showing you some of the different aspects that you have to build up your own company page, or your brand page, or it could be a special course, or what have you.

Why do you want to build up a Google Plus Page?

One of the key metrics that people tend to use when looking at success of a brand page is how many people have circled that page.

Now the reason this is important is that the more people who have circled, the more likely that that’s going to increase your audience, all other things being equal. So you want to have enough people that are going to receive the information that allow a certain number, then to be interacting on it.

Now, really important to point out that quality is going to be better than quantity, though. So keep that in mind that the nature of people you interact with is going to be very important because when they add you into circles, you want them to relate to what you are doing.

The other metric that a lot of people would use is the number of +1’s on a page. Now the +1’s are constituted from the number of people in communities, the number of people in circles, and the number of people who have +1’ed the page and +1’ed your site when the page is linked to your site etc. It is called the social number and gives some indication as to social value, but there is no an exact formula to it (well, not known outside of Google.)

There are other ways to approach measuring success, and one of which is going to be engagement. And in particular, engagement in a way which moves people through a sales funnel to a point of buying whatever it is that you’re selling, even when what you’re selling is ideas.

Just focusing now on the +1’s and the number of people to have in your circles, it’s really important that you have the following button on your website that allows people to automatically opt in when they have a Google+ account. Once they’ve opted in, you receive a notification to say that a person has added you to circles. So this is a phenomenal way of finding out who has interest in what you have on your website. The same will be when people add you to circles for that particular page as well.

Add in circles to your Google Plus Page

It’s worth noting that the page can add in circles. It doesn’t, however, appear that people receive notifications that you’ve added them in. So even though you can add an entire circle, you can go to www.circlecount.com, or find them within Google+ or elsewhere, people don’t know that you’ve added them in unless they are already following you.

Adding in circles, however, might well help you to target certain individuals by being able to go to their content. And having a stream of content which you +1, comment on, share, on a regular basis in order to get their attention so that they do follow you. So it could be useful for you to add in circles.
Then you will want to start thinking about your content.Using your own circles to track who is engaging the most with you.

If you want to use this system of increasing levels of engagement resulting in increase in interactions from you as well, then you might want to set one up which tracks e.g. people who engage through +1s, comment and shares. There is a lot to circle management but think about appropriately sharing niche circles publicly as people tend to like that (see below for more on that).

Giving people shout outs

Also, another good tip, even when a person isn’t following the page, you can still + their name. And this will bring up the list. You choose the person, and they will receive a notification that you have +’ed them into a post. So this is a very useful way of gaining someone’s attention even when they haven’t followed the page yet.

This method, you want to use a little carefully because if you use it inappropriately, people are likely to mute or even block the page. And then you can’t get in touch with them in the future.

Sharing circles publicly

On Google+, people generally like to be put into circles. And a circle is a way of bringing people together around a particular theme, location, business type, or whatever you want it to be. Now, with the Plus Your Life and Plus Your Business communities, I tend to ask people if they would like to join circles. If you also ask people if they would like to receive a notification by email for key content them this is a great way to build up opt in lists. More on that here.
And yes, adding the Page into such a circle is fine on this occasion (as I know you will ask that at some point!)

So by engaging people around a theme, bringing them together into a circle, adding your page into that circle, sharing that circle publicly, it is likely you’ll have more followers.

Using hashtags to find the right people

The next step is to use hashtags when you search, or you can use keywords in order to find people that are talking about the subjects that your page is all about, or your business is all about. When you do this, you’ll find a potential audience for what you are posting. You can then engage with them and start building a relationship.

How to think about your content scheduling.

This has to be one of the best kept secrets to using Google+ well: plan, and plan, and plan your delivery of content.

You can have the best content in the world but if people don’t get excited about it, well then it will fall flat. I’ve seen this time and time again on Google+. In fact, I have taken on corporate clients and shown them how to adjust a few things, whilst keeping the same content, and move it from no engagement to, well, through the roof. Simply Business are one example of this.

So, think about running campaigns on Google+ more than just sending out content.
Then, when you are ready to go you will want to create posts that have the best chance of engagement from the right people.

How to create engaging Google Plus posts

So, if engagement appears to be one of the key factors in Social SEO, then you will want to make sure your content is as engaging as possible. As such, there is no better way to show this than by PYBer Dustin Stout’s image below. The original article is here and thank you for his permission to use it.

anatomy-of-a-perfect-google-plus-post

 

Note, here at PYB we tend to look at a mix of ‘picture posts’ and using ’embedded links’ as part of the overall Social SEO approach. If you want to know more on that then please do get in touch.

Here is a quick video for you in the meantime:

Sharing content via a Google+ profile

Next, going from your profile, you can visit the page, and instead of saying that you’d like to use Google+ as that page, you simply share the content from that page to the people with whom you’re interacting from your profile. Now if you do this, it’s likely you’re going to have more people that will start following the page. Particularly if you say, this is where you’ll be putting certain content and you won’t necessarily be sharing it to your profile. So if they relate to that content, they’re likely then to follow that page.
Note: the more you and people within your organisation have built their personal networks, then the more this method works.

Using communities to gain engagement

The next tip, if you’re working again as your page, and you share to a specific community, you can do that just in the same way as you share to ‘Publi’c but you choose a community to which you are a member, then that content will appear from that page. And this way, people will see the content that that page is promoting, that page is sharing. And if they relate to it, again, they may well add you in.

And another quick word of caution, if people find that that content is not relatable for the specific community in which you’re sharing it, then it’s likely you’re going to get removed or even banned because people may feel it’s a little bit too much like spam. But if the content is relatable, then you’ll probably be fine.

Making your content go viral

Another tip is to get your content onto the What’s Hot and Recommended list. Now this will happen when posts regularly get a certain number of +1’s, a certain number of shares, a certain number of comments. And it becomes important from a followers’ ie. a circler’s point of view – by being on that list, you will have more people potentially follow the page just because your post has been seen by more people. Now, how you do that is another story. But in essence, look to get as many +1’s, comments, and shares as you can on your post, and it’s likely at some point, it will then go over to that list.
Note: from a true Social SEO point of view it is more important that people with authority on a subject know and support your content than simply trying to get ‘a load of shares’.

Using Google Hangouts

Google+ is a community of people who have been doing ‘this’ for a while. There is a general culture of mutual collaboration and support, and countless sub-cultures as the world displays itself in a digital space. As such, you can connect to people using the tools you have available, and one of the best are Google Hangouts. Think about interviewing people to whom you want to connect and build a relationship. The more you make it about ‘them’ the better you will do. And guess what? You will find that the more you do this, the more people will start to engage with you too.

Paying for attention (in a good way)

If your Google+ page relates to a business, and that business has a physical location, then you’ll also have the opportunity to use Google Express. Google Express is a paid promotion of your page or your website within a certain radius from your business. Now this can be incredibly useful to get the right people looking for what you have to your doorstep at the right time.

People know your name

This also relates to the Google concept of ZMOT. ZMOT means Zero Moment Of Truth. If you’d like to know more, go to www.zeromomenofftruth.com and you can download a handbook there. In essence, it’s about having touch points with people who are going to make a decision at a point in time to purchase online. And the more touch points you have in a positive fashion, the more likely they will choose you over and above someone else. Why would they go to anyone else when they have had 5, 10 or 20 positive experiences with you and your brand already? This is the real power of social.

Conclusion

Now putting it into my words and making it a little more simple than it is – but in essence, everything you’re doing on Google+ will really help you to build the relationships, build up those multiple touch points, and enable that decision to be you as opposed to another competitor, brand, or idea. And guess what, this is really what Social SEO is all about. Being there at the right time for that person.
The world of SEO really has changed. The world is now Social.

 

The Future of Search is Mobile and Voice

By | Google Semantic Search, Google SEO, SEO | No Comments

For quite some time we at PYB have been thinking about Google Search. But you may not realize quite how different the future may be…

Vic Gundotra has told us consistently that they are going more and more in the direction of mobile. This means that in the future we will be using keyboards far less, and looking back that tippy tapping on the keyboard will be rather quaint.

Take a quick look at this Star Trek clip and you will may start to see why:

So, voice will be all the rage. And with devices such as the MotoX, which are always on and ready to go, you will simply have to ask and you will receive the information.

But what will this mean for you as a business?

Well, one of the things is how you will have to start thinking in ‘questions’. This may not seem obvious, but I want you to do a test with me right now. Just sit back and ask your computer for something… Apart from direct commands such as “get me information on…” you probably asked a question such as “what is the weather going to be like today? What was Daria Musk’s last song? Or even how much is Google’s stock price”.

All about questions…

The reason you asked a question is because we often ask questions when we want to know information. With the old Search we have been trained to think in terms of keywords, not questions. And so have our customers. This is all going to change as Google Semantic Search really starts to transform Search, and how our context (e.g. location, Search history, age etc) and our device deliver the right result for us at that particular time. Relating to Google’s Knowledge Graph too, you will be able to follow up with questions after your initial question – and as such, you want to have that depth/levels of questioning all available.

With accurate voice controlled search we will be looking at a future of Q&A with Google. Yes, very much like the computer in Star Trek.

So, what should you do?

The main thing as a business is to think about this: answer people’s questions. Meaning, be the answer to people’s questions.

As people start using mobile more and more, this will make a huge difference.
So if you haven’t a) got your website to display well on a mobile, and b) had a strategy meeting on how you need to transform your approach to content on your site, then you will want to get moving on it soon. We may not be fully ‘voice activating’ yet, but this is the way Google is moving so it may be an idea to be ahead of the curve.
And let’s face it, it will be a lot better that Siri here:

Much more on this from the PYB team over the coming weeks…

Image credit here: http://www.droid-life.com/2013/09/06/lg-nexus-5-round-up-a-beautiful-render-plus-everything-we-know/

How to be number one on Google

By | Google SEO, SEO | 2 Comments

Introduction

When it comes to Google Search you may already know much time in the past people spent trying to get on the first page for search terms. The world of Search is changing, as you will see below, but to many people that number one spot still means a lot – including traffic.

As such, here is a quick video showing you how the Plus Your Business approach has led to a very interesting search result:

The importance of the #1 spot is changing…

The SEO world has changed with the advent of ‘Google Semantic Search’ and no longer is it all about ‘keywords’, although there is still a role for them. Check out the PYB free resources where you will be able to learn the latest in the field!

But in the meantime, what if you could get to number one? What would the effect be then?

Well, in this quick post I thought … Read More