How David’s Tea is using reviews to improve customer service

By | Google My Business, Local SEO, SEO | No Comments

David’s Tea now has over 160 stores around the country, and recently had its IPO.

Super service orientated, brightly lit stores, and the grandest selection of tea you will find on the high street since Nineteenth Century England.

But it is not the product that got my attention. On my walkabout, I chatted with one manager – Randy in their Burlingame location – and he mentioned how reviews were used internally as a kind of performance measurement. Not the only one by all means, but still something that was discussed with the member os staff in relation to that review.
After this event I discussed more and more places were doing the same in this area.
Reviews is not about the experience you have, it is about how you feel about the experience you had.
Sometimes you will find the feedback says more about the person giving it than about the facts – and sometimes a manager may well have observed the exchange, and will input their view post event as well.

Negative feedback that cannot be resolved really hammers a business as their stars start to drop.

Here is an example from Yelp:

A 2 star review…
“TL;DR – It feels like a bunch of high schoolers working their first part time job.

Ok. 5 stars for my first visit and 1 star for the two times after. The first time I went, there were 2 workers there who were super friendly and knowledgable.

Second two times…. not as much.

All the girls do there is just talk to each other. The store was pretty full of customers browsing, but the girls just talked amongst themselves and ignored basically everyone; except those ringing up.”

Compared to this 5 star one…

“Super friendly and fast service. Super transparent pricing than that! Ashlee made the whole experience a delight!! Definitely try if you’re around.”

If you browse many people’s reviews you will see one common theme – it is all about customer service, combined with the product/service offering itself.

And that is the key to getting more, good reviews – improve customer service and you will get the stars.

But, of course, Yelp can attract some complainers. And that is why I think Google is going to rise in the mind’s of business owners across the world. Google owns Search, and it would seem (from my testing in the field) the mobile Search results are increasingly delivering Google data, including reviews, open hours, shop images, over and above Yelp listings.

Whichever way, people are listening, and my personal experience of David’s Tea has been 5 stars every time.

Local Business Marketing Meets Mobile!

By | Local SEO, SEO, Small Business Marketing | No Comments

Want to hear about the latest in Local Business Marketing, from Google?
Well, here you go!

Rachel: Hello, and welcome to another hangout on air with the Google Small Business Community. My name is Rachel Sterling. Many of you are probably watching this hangout on a desktop computer. But many of you might also be watching on a phone or on a tablet. In US, the average person now has almost three devices.

So we’ve been talking about mobile all month here in the community. And to help demystify mobile advertising, we’ve invited fellow Googler Sheryl Lim from the Local Small Business Solutions Team to help out. Sheryl thanks so much for being here.

Sheryl: Thanks for having me.

Rachel: So what do you do here at Google?

Sheryl: So I work in a Small Business Solutions Team here in Google. And what we do is to develop solutions as well as products that help businesses discover the right Google product for them, and help them grow their business.

Rachel: So we’re aware that there are so many different things that small businesses can do and you’re just trying to make their lives a little bit easier.

Sheryl: Exactly.

Rachel: Okay. So before we get started with our discussion, we always have one question that we like to ask all of our guests. If you could ever hangout with anyone in the entire world, who would it be and what’s the most embarrassing thing you would ask them?

Sheryl: So, this gave me the inspiration because I just watched Avengers: Age of Ultron last week and so I just thought how cool it would be if I could have a hangout with Tony Stark.

Rachel: Absolutely.

Sheryl: My question for him would be, can I just borrow your suit for a day?

Rachel: Where would you go in the suit?

Sheryl: My fly across the Golden Gate Bridge.

Rachel: Great views.

Sheryl: Exactly.

Rachel: I’d also wonder if the suit is warm because it’s really cold out there.

Sheryl: Yeah, they’ll be useful.

Rachel: So, we want to get started talking today about the importance of mobile. We mentioned that everybody is got mobile devices. I’ve got a phone. I’ve got a tablet. Even my 4-year old has a tablet at home. So mobile has been a hot topic for a while. Why do you think it’s become so important even for small business owners?

Sheryl: So it is because how integrated it is to all our lives. You talked about you’re your small 4-year old has one? I look at my own life; I look the mobile as the first thing I look at when I wake up. I check it throughout the day. I dare not count the number of times I look at it every hour. And it’s the last thing I look at night to catch up news.

Sheryl Lim 1

Rachel: I think I read stuff that said people look at their mobile phones 150 times a day.

Sheryl: Exactly.

Rachel: And everybody sleeps with it by their head.

Sheryl: That’s scary. That’s me. And also on top of that, consumers spend three hours a month looking mobile apps. So because of that SMBs want to be a part of the conversation. Also SMBs are the consumers themselves. So they probably exhibit the same behavior. And I knew a lot of SMBs from who manages businesses in mobile. There is receiving calls is major calendar.

Rachel: So I know that apps have started to play an increasing important part in my life. I know you work at Google. So this is a real plug for Google thing. But I’ve downloaded Google Now to my phone. And every morning I check Google Now and it tells me what the weather it’s going to be like.

It tells me how long my commute down 101 is going to take. Like today I took an hour in change to drive 12 miles. And then I get other app notifications all the time. So those apps do drive my behavior.

Sheryl: Exactly. And there’s such an important part. They kind of tell you what to do next. SMBs want to be a part of that. SMBs should be driving those notifications. Tell them that you’re near by a school.

Rachel: So mobile is important we’ve established that. What are some of the differences between mobile web versus the web at large?

Sheryl: I think there are two key differences. Firstly, you’re in a very, very small screen size. So does only limit the things that you can do in it. And so you want to be make sure that information is very pertinent to the user. And users have very little patience and high demands. They want to do everything on a mobile MR compared to the desktop.

Rachel: And so you mentioned small screen size. I would also say that then what’s probably really important if you’re loading complicated images and it takes forever, how is your consumer, how are your users interacting with that content? Are getting frustrated?

Sheryl: Yes. And most likely they could abandon it and move on.

Rachel: Okay. So what do you think the time delay is like before people get frustrated and move on?

Sheryl: I don’t know. I heard like less than a minute, less than 30 seconds.

Rachel: For me I would say it’s probably less than five seconds. I have a limited to know patience on my mobile phone. On the desktop I might give it some more time because I would just assume that my computer is slow or older whatnot. But my mobile phone it doesn’t deliver what I’m looking for in that moment, I get so frustrated. Okay.

So let’s talk a little bit more about behavior. According to the folks here at Google, 91% of smart phone users look up information while in the middle of a task. So for me, last night my son complained on stomach pains. Now, normally I would think he’s just trying not to eat his vegetables. But then he didn’t eat his dissert.

So I knew something was serious. I was on the phone in a second looking up where the after hours pediatric care was. And like let’s say that took a long time to load, that would have really frustrated me. so what are some of the other typical behaviors that people do on mobile?

Sheryl: So you’ve touched on a big point which is that lots of people are looking for local information while they are on the go whether you’re in a store. I’ve been there as well. And deciding between tow products to purchase. And I look on my mobile to see which one has the better review.

Or you’re trying to find the nearest door and you look in your mobile to navigate to the location. On top of that people use mobile for entertainment. You probably done this yourself which is to watch a YouTube video while you’re standing in line. Or just hang out in the evenings and use it for communication.

Rachel: I do all of those things. I was looking at new furniture for my patio because I’m still renovating my house. And I went to the store and I thought that their prices were too expensive.

And right there in the store I could look up the set that they were trying to sell me and I saw that I was 25% more than if I got it from an online retailer with free shipping. And then waiting for coffee, I’m constantly reading New York Times or Mashable or BuzzFeed while I’m just waiting.

Sheryl: Exactly. I think mobile has become kind of like our personal assistant and entertain everybody.

Sheryl Lim 2

Rachel: I like that a shopping assistant. Your mobile phone is your shopping assistant. Okay, so you mentioned talking about people being in that I want to buy it moment or looking for something when they are on the go. That brings us to sort of the cracks of the conversation that we want to have here today which is local. How can businesses use mobile to tap into local customers?

Sheryl: So the first thing mobile businesses should recognize what customers are doing. And we talked a lot about that earlier. Customers are looking for information while they are on the go. So SMBs and businesses should tap into that. Make sure that you’re there when customers are looking for you.

And we talked also about how they have little patience but high demands. So make sure that for example that your side is discoverable. Or your part of that conversation where there’s an app or mobile site strategy.

Rachel: So let’s talk about the apps for a minute. Now, I’m renovating. So I go to home depot and I noticed that home depot had an app. And typically when I walk around that store, I wonder around looking for somebody in an orange vest to desperately help me. And they can almost sense my desperation, so they avoid me.

But I noticed that they had an app. And the app was great because it showed me where all the products were, what aisle it was in. And for me that was so empowering. It meant I could walk into a store.

I didn’t need to ask anybody for help. I just could go on my phone, get the review, get the location and get out as quick as possible. Is that what you’re talking about when you say about like helping your customers?

Sheryl: Yes. That’s through an app strategy. Some of it may also be that you’re looking for like you said a patio furniture and you searched it to Goggle when you searched for patio furniture.

Businesses that offer patio furniture should make sure they are part of Goggle as well so that you can surface the wider ray of patio furniture that you offer or even the very product that you’re looking for.

Rachel: Part of Goggle. This is our next question. I love that segue. So we’re talking about how you can optimize for mobile and people think it’s complicated, it’s a lot of work or really, really expensive. Let’s talk about the bare minimum thing that businesses can do that we can help them with here at Google.

Sheryl: So we have a great product here that we call Google My Business.

Rachel: We call it GMB for short.

Sheryl: GMB for short? And what it does is it allows you to get on Google. The best part is that it’s fee.

Rachel: Okay. So when Sheryl says get on Google, what she means is you’re actually putting your business on Google maps. And that includes your location, your hours and a link to any reviews and your phone numbers, is that correct?

Sheryl: Exactly. So that you’re there when customers are searching for you on that. And not only that is on Google Search as well so that customers are looking for your business on Google Search, your business shows up.

Sheryl Lim 3

Rachel: I think it also provides credibility. If somebody is looking for you and they don’t know if you’re like let’s say they’ve never heard of you because you’re a small business and you haven’t done a lot of advertising. The minute that people see that you’re there in maps, they know that you’re a real store. They know that you’re real product and it becomes credible.

Sheryl: Yes. And what Google My Business also allows you to do is take control of that information that we share and make sure that it is complete and it is right. So as you mentioned you’re able to make sure that your right directions are there. Your hours are shown.

Your business description is shown to the customers know exactly what kind of business they’re looking for. And photos. Photos are so important. I look at photos when I try to search restaurants.

Sheryl Lim 4

Rachel: Yes. So like I know that now not only can you do street view photos. But you can also do upload photos inside your store.

Sheryl: Yes. There’s also what this product called a 360 view. That our photographer to come into your store and take a video and a photo shoot the earnest workers at your store.

And funny enough I had a SMB down in Palo Alto tell me that the customer came into the store because they saw one of the photos and saw that the store carried a friend that they were looking for.

Rachel: So it wasn’t even like through search. It was from randomly looking at a picture.

Sheryl: Exactly.

Rachel: That’s amazing. Well, what we can do here after this is over is we can include a link to Google My Business in the Community so that if anybody is interested in learning more about how to get on Google like can just click on that link and follow the steps. It’s pretty easy.

Okay. Moving on we’re talking about mobile optimization. So yes, we can encourage people to get on Google and have their shop list on maps. But what if they’re looking to optimize their website? So when optimizing for mobile, what are some design principles folks should keep in mind?

Sheryl: Well, I think the first part after you spend all the effort and probably call us in developing the website is make sure that it is accessible from search. I’ve seen plenty of SMBs where they’ve got a great-looking website you can if you find it. For some reason it is not indexible like Google Search.

So you make sure to use that. Secondly as we mentioned, users have little patience and so you want to make sure that you anticipate some of the users needs. What are key information that they are looking for and get it there in front of them.

Sheryl Lim 5

Rachel: So does it make sense then to put yourself in the mind of your consumer? What are the steps and the decisions that they take in advance of going to your site and making a purchase?

And then look at what those pain points are? Where are they getting hang up in the process? What’s taking too long to load? What is an obvious question that perhaps you’re not answering right on that first screen?

Sheryl: Exactly. Oh maybe what you could do is ask your best friend or one of your families or your mother is look at your website and go through it. Because they’ll probably give you a different perspective.

Rachel: And you and I were talking before we got started. We met a couple weeks ago and we were talking about this hangout. And you said something that I want to bring up right now. You said make every tap and swipe count. What does that mean?

Sheryl: So this goes back to how where usually we’re searching for information ago. And we have very very little time to find the things that we’re looking for. And so we don’t want to go through 10 different steps, 10 different tabs. Go backwards, go forwards and look for that information most likely you’re going to give up. So make sure that they find the information with the least amount of tabs and swipes possible.

Rachel: So if your 4-year old has stomach ache and is not eating his dessert when you do the search for urgent care after hours on fathers day at night, you get the place that’s open and the address and the phone number right there on that main screen.

Sheryl: Exactly. Or the phone number right smack at the top because the likelihood is that you want to call.

Rachel: You also want to make sure that that phone number is clickable. That is something that I’ve noticed a lot also is that people will put a phone number on a mobile website but when I go click on it, it’s not actually activated to make a phone call. And then I have to basically –

I’m terrible with numbers. Everybody knows this about me. And I’m like I’ll turn to anybody I’m like, okay you remember the first three digits because you can’t go back and forth. So that’s also just something really easy that people can do.

Sheryl: Exactly. Because otherwise all you type – you either call the wrong business. But you probably go to the next one. The other has the phone number.

Rachel: Yes, absolutely. Okay. So, let’s say you’ve done all of these. You’ve gotten on Google, you’ve optimized your website for mobile, you’ve made sure that you’re accessible on mobile search, you’ve done an analysis to make sure that you’re there answering every single step in the consumer’s journey and like every tap and every swipe counts.

You want to increase the amount of exposure and traffic you have. And we know that that requires some paid promotion. If you’re a small business owner, how do you get started with paid advertising?

Sheryl: My recommendation would be to just star on Google Search first. What you want to do is then capture the intent of consumers. Go in Google Search and type in what you’re looking for. And you want to make sure that you’re there as a paid ad on top of their search. Whether you’re looking for restaurants or plumbers or lawyers.

Rachel: And so after Search, what would be the next step?

Sheryl: So when you set up your search ad, what you want to do is make sure that if you have a store front business that you append your business information to it through a location extensions product.

Rachel: Okay. What is that?

Sheryl: So what it does is ensures that there is an address at the bottom of your ads so that consumers can figure out, can easily identify where the nearest store is or how far the store is because we also append the distance from the user to the store. They’re also able to navigate their way in getting – I think Google Maps is very easy with one click and make the way to the store.

Rachel: I was deciding between two after hour care places last night. And I picked the one that showed up on maps. It’s taking eight minutes versus 12 minutes. So it is really important to me to make sure that it’s there.

Sheryl: Yes. And sometimes the store there is like 2 miles away from you. May take longer because of traffic. The store is 4 miles away from you.

Rachel: I also want to clarify my son is fine. And he ate the dessert this morning. Okay. So, back to this just for one quick minute. In addition to advertising your products and your business, if you spend the time to build an app, should you advertise the app download itself?

Sheryl: Yes. You should certainly do that because I imagine you’ve been in this app store itself and you seem – you’ve been mandated with thousands of millions of apps. Consumers can figure what app they want.

Rachel: We have a statistic here about it. I’m sorry. According to statistics there are over 3 million mobile apps available for download.

Sheryl: So can you imagine one of that 3 million, how do you make sure that you stand out?

Rachel: And if you spent the time building it. You want to make sure that people can find it. Okay. So let’s talk more about local advertising now. One of the main benefits of mobile marketing is the ability to reach customers when they are on the go. And what we’re calling these are near me searches.

I’m looking fro restaurants near me, I’m looking for plumbers near me, shoe stores near me, urgent care facilities near me. Near me searches have doubled in the last year. And 80% of them come from mobile. How can business owners tap into that sort of local targeting on mobile?

Sheryl: So what you want to do is if you are near the consumer when you’re typing near me, make sure you show up. And how do you do that? What you want to do is take advantage of location targeting. For example, you’re a plumber based in San Francisco.

What you want to do is make sure that your ad just shows – limit your ad to San Francisco only. Why waste your ad on New York City when consumers in New York City will not be able to take advantage of your services.

Sheryl Lim 6

Rachel: Okay.

Sheryl: So limit it to San Francisco and maybe 30 mile radius around San Francisco if you’re willing to serve that area.

Rachel: Or depending on the traffic I would say of 5 mile radius.

Sheryl: Or if you have a store down in Palo Alto, most likely you want to highlight your store to people who a have or five miles away from your store because the other people who are most likely to come to your store. So what you could do is do location targeting as well as big your ad up when the consumers are about a mile away from your store.

Sheryl Lim 7

Rachel: I’ve done that sort of search. I’ve been let’s say racing out of here on a Friday afternoon and I have an hour to kill and I’ll do a search for nail salons in my town. And the ones that show on top are going to be the ones that I click on. And that person is probably prioritize that search because they know I’m in a one mile radius of their store, and I’m looking for that result right away.

Sheryl: Exactly. And we’ve also seen some SMBs do that. They had success with it. So I have one SMB based in Florida where they own three marina clubs. And they managed to kind of limit their ads to just Florida area as well as do some of those bidding strategies. And what they saw is an increase in clicks. But not just an increase in clicks but also an increase in reservations.

Rachel: Interesting. Okay. So they’re getting people who are before the actual purchase and people who are in the process of the purchase.

Sheryl: Exactly.

Rachel: Okay. So I wanted to share this stat because I thought that this was really interesting. 50% of consumers who conduct a local search on their smart phone visit a store within a day. 18% of those searches lead to a purchase within a day. So for me this feels like a slam dunk. If you’re there on mobile, if you’re capitalizing on those near me searches, 50% of the time somebody is going to walk in the door.

Sheryl: Yes. And I’m one of them.

Rachel:  All right. Let’s move on to the next question which is, we always like to do this on our hangouts. We want to empower people after they’re done watching this so that they feel that they can go out and do everything that we’re talking about. So what are the three things a business owner should do today to get started with mobile?

Sheryl: Number 1. get on to Google My Business or GMB. It’s free. It’s gets you on Google Maps, Google Search. So it’s a why not. 2. Make sure that your site is optimized. So make sure that it is index able and searchable on Google search or any of the other search engines. And make sure that you take advantage of every tap and every swipe. Consumers are impatient.

Sheryl Lim 8

Rachel: It’s like you would know and drive traffic on a mobile device to your website to only find out that its’ the desktop version that’s slow loading on the phone.

Sheryl: Exactly. And they do remember that. And so they would kind of ignore your business in future.

Rachel: 100%. And then we also talked about this. If you want to actually do any paid search, what should be the first thing that people do?

Sheryl: So I recommend AdWords Express. It is a lively version adwords. It’s simple and it guides you through and it manages your campaigns for you. Al you have to do is set it up in a business and let us do the work for you.

Rachel: That’s fantastic. So at this point we’re going o take some questions from the community and then go over here to my tablet. Hold on just one second. Okay. And it’s not turning on. There we go. Okay. We have some questions here. The first one from Military Paralegal Services. What’s the best way to reach clients if I offer services but not products?

Sheryl: So I think we’ve got – we talk about both products that work for that. Google My Business allows still highlight your business, your opening hours, you know store base but all you have to do is just highlight the geographical area that you serve.

Rachel:  I actually talked about this with my contractor who’s renovating my house. He’s in the process now of getting on Google My Business. And I talked about how when you’re interviewing people who are sole proprietors and their own business, the credibility is really important. Somebody is on Google doing Google My Business instant credibility.

Sheryl: Exactly. One other thing I’ll highlight is that our ad products. You want to take advantage of location targeting. Most likely if your service is fine, you probably serve a very limited area. So you want to make sure that you show which area and you’d highlight your ad to that specific area that you’re service.

And the other thing is our calls product. You want to make sure that call that you mentioned is prominent alongside your ad because to the consumers they can just call you and engage your services.

Rachel: Location targeting and click to call.

Sheryl: Exactly.

Rachel: Perfect. Okay. Our next question is from Collins Barrow who said, do adwords search campaigns on mobile point you to local client locations if you perform a search?

Sheryl: I’m not sure I understand what you mean by local client locations if I read it correctly I assume that means store locations. And say if you do enable location extensions where you add the business address to the specific ad itself.

Once a user clicks on that address, it will point the user to Google Maps and the user can figure out where it is pinpoint the map and will navigate to it.

Rachel: He might also be asking like if you’re doing searches, is there any sort of recognition of where you’re calling from? Or where your phone is pulling the signal from? So if you haven’t done location targeting, would you show up?

Collins we can always follow up with you after the hangout if you want further clarification on this question. Okay. Molly asks, how can we tie in Google Analytics and/or Google AdWords to work with Google My Business?

Sheryl: So at the moment Google Analytics does not work with Google My Business right now. But Google Analytics is a great product to enhance your adwords so that you know how the user behaves once they get into the website.

What you can do with Google My Business and adwords is that you used the Google My Business information that you’ve invested time, make sure your information is correct and use that to drive the location extension product within Google adwords.

Sheryl Lim 9

Rachel: Okay. Thanks. Another question from Military Paralegal Services, how is Google My Business beneficial to a business that is virtual?

Sheryl: So if you’re virtual meaning I presume more likely ecommerce, then what I would recommend with Google My Business is to just build a brand page and ensure that your business is there. More of a promotion of your business rather than a kind of directions. Google My Business is predominantly directed to consumers with a physical business location or a physical service.

Rachel: Okay. And Sayeed asks, how can this be helpful from my online custom made dress-shirt business?

Sheryl: So if you have an online business then I would not recommend you start with Google My Business in order to promote yourself. I would recommend – well, I think the mobile site principle still remains which is even more pertinent if you have an online e-commerce because you want consumers not just to find the information that they’re looking for but to be able to complete a purchase on the website, on the mobile web.

And so actually it’s even more pertinent for you to ensure that they’re able to easily complete that purchase. And then you can enhance your website with adwords and make sure that consumers are able to search for you.

Rachel: And Sayeed I can always talk to you after because I think my husband needs new shirts. That’s all the time we have for questions today. Sheryl thanks so much for joining us here. This was really great.

Sheryl: Thanks from me. I had a lot of fun.

Rachel: Okay. And as always you can find more information about this topic and others in the community at Until next time, I’m Rachel Sterling. Thanks so much for joining us here on the Google Small Business Community. The place where you go to get the help you need to succeed on the web.

[End of transcript]

Google Plus and Social SEO Facts and Evidence

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


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.)

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:

Total Number of pageview: 504,707

Average time on page: 00:05:23 mins


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:


Total Number of visits: 306,826

Average time on page: 00:02:54 mins


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:


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 =

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 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.


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



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?

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
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.



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=”“>

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=”“>


Google+ Page Custom User ID Canonical URL

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

<link rel=”canonical” href=”“>

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=”“>



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


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: (default)
  ✔ canonical

[Although the canonical, in the G+ system it will always default to include /posts at the end, which is expected behavior.] (default)  ✔ canonical (for non-custom)


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



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



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


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:
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:  ✔ canonical  (page with a custom user ID)  ✔ 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.



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: 


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


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:



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



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] 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 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: “” (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!


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.

Google Plus SEO: Trust, Reputation and Authority

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

“Search engine optimization (SEO) is changing. Once a “dark art” you could outsource and forget or buy-in as needed every time you noticed your website traffic dropping or your competitors’ websites doing better than yours, it has now become an integral part of your business practices and is closely integrated in your business structure.” David Amerland


For the past 10+ years, SEO has become paramount for marketing but as the online world is undergoing such a radical change you will need to rethink it all.

In the future you want to make sure you are helping people get the best/right information at the right time – then people will be delighted with their search results, and guess what? You will be rewarded by getting great search/social traffic over a long period of time.

No longer can you simply ‘buy links’ and think of that as your SEO strategy. The world is now much more ‘social’.

Here is a quick list of ways to show if you are at risk of being left behind:


  • Are you still thinking just in terms of keywords?
  • Is your view of your success just based on search results for those terms?
  • Is ‘link building’ still your main SEO tactic?
  • Are you focused on spreadsheets when it comes to SEO?
  • Is the number one spot on Google how you get most of your online business?
  • Do you consider ‘anchor text’ to be crucial?
  • Is SEO seen as a ‘silo’ of marketing?
  • Do you assume your SEO approach can be ‘left to it’ whilst you put new marketing energies elsewhere?


If so, you need to rethink.

The first thing to know is that a technical audit is an easy way to sort out issue within your site itself. That is essential for SEO. But you need to change to catch this next wave…

How SEO Is Changing Business Practices

In the past so many people used to buy links to increase their ranking on Google. You would employ a company, or staff member, to lead the SEO push and they would target keywords. Then you would squeeze a load of those keywords into your content’s text and hope you would get some visibility. You would use social like you would send spammy emails to people, and you would sit back and hope customers would simply arrive.

Well, this is no longer good enough, instead you need to look at:


  • Creating quality content
  • Have a website that people find easy to get around with content relevant to the user
  • Reaching beyond your site so people begin to talk about you and your business – creating a buzz
  • Have advocates who ‘love your content’ and want to spread the word
  • Have ways to engage the customer in conversation
  • Stay ahead of the rest – be the one people want to include in the latest conversations.


All the way, content is King. (And engagement is Queen, as consultant Mari Smith says; and Community is Kingdom, as we say here at PYB!).

20 years ago marketing was taught using the Jerome McCarthy model of the 4Ps: Product, Price, Place, and Promotion (distribution).

This is, however, outdated.

Now, it is more like global advertising and marketing firm Ogilvy & Mather’s 4Es: Experience, Exchange, Everyplace, and Evangelism.

In 2008 Kevin Kelly, founder and former editor of Wired, talked about “1,000 True Fans.” These are the ones who spread the word; amplifying your message.

And just like we looked at in module 2, David Amerland says we need to focus on three things: trust, reputation, authority – which are gained in that order.

David Amerland says “The absence of a central authority creates a currency out of perceived trust, which then acquires monetary value that translates into increased eCommerce and Internet services activity.”

Trust and Author Rank

“Trust is one of those qualities that you cannot easily define but is worth its weight in gold.” David Amerland

When it comes to ‘trust’ what you used to go can only go so far in this new world of the semantic web. You can no longer ‘buy’ trust with an expensive website. Instead, every time you reach a potential customers you have a touchpoint that will determine whether you build trust, especially through your social activities.

Trust online will stem from two experiences:

1. Direct experience – e.g. having already been a customer of your company, and

2. No direct experience – this is where a third party comes in.

In this way, on web as David Amerland says is “the most popular third-party “suggestion engine” is search.”

Creating an Identity in a Connected World

“The Web is more a social creation than a technical one. I designed it for a social effect—to help people work together—and not as a technical toy. The ultimate goal of the Web is to support and improve our weblike existence in the world. We clump into families, associations, and companies. We develop trust across the miles and distrust around the corner.” From, In Weaving the Web: The Original Design and Ultimate Destiny of the World Wide Web, by Tim Berners-Lee.

It is Google+ that leads the way in making people want to use their real name, photograph and information. Before Google+ there was not really an incentive to do so; you could create a twitter handle and ‘burn it’ if you wanted to come back ‘as another person.’ But Google+ is different.

Trust and Authority

Until recently, ‘Page Rank’ (named after Larry Page) determined authority and trust online.


In this example, the larger the circle, the more importance is would be given in Google Search.

The information attributed to links themselves would include:

  1. Relevance of the website linking

  2. The location of the link on the webpage itself

  3. Anchor text used to link

  4. The ‘importance’ of the linking website

  5. The age of the website, the page and the link

Ranking and Reputation Scores

As David Amerland says, “having an algorithm judge your reputation is no easy thing.”
This leads us to ‘Author Rank’ which considers the following in relation to a piece of content:


  • Who created it
  • What else they’ve created
  • The content creator’s connections on social media platforms
  • Their online activity
  • The content’s quality e.g. originality
  • The nature of the content e.g. type of words (relating to level in a subject), the paragraph length etc.
  • The use of multimedia on a site etc.


As such, trust can now be determined by an algorithm and businesses need to take note.
All of this has been made possible by Google being about to attribute content to its right owners.

As you can see below, the article has been attributed to me and my Google+ profile image is displayed alongside.

Note: since August 2014 this will only happen for Google+ posts

What to check what you have linked up?

Google: ‘Structured Data Testing Tool’ and from that page you will be able to drop in a URL and see what has been connected.


Search is changing and you really want to be ready. And we can help, of course.

Social, Search and Site – how to use Google+ to make it all work together

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

If you are on Google+ you are most probably very aware of being Social. But what do you want to get out of your activity? Well, in this quick post I want to get you focused on what you can achieve…


I think of this as having several levels…

Level 1

On Google+ you can build up ‘touch points’ over and over. Every +1, comment and share starts to build up touchpoints, connecting. This in turn leads to people ‘knowing who you are’ – this gives brand recognition. And when the time comes for someone to make a purchase decision, you are the one who comes to mind.

Level 2

With social you can convert attention into clicks. Recently this came in from a client: “Two more conversions yesterday! We’ve only had 68 click throughs in the last 30 days but with a 7% conversion rate. Unreal! Looks like Google+ might be the ticket!” This was just from a selection of well crafted posts using a Plus Your Business system. Now, you may think that 4 people converting to business is not that WOW, but this was a secondary benefit build into our work as it was really about ‘Search’ and ‘Level 1 of Social’, and the ticket value was darn good to. Also, we are running spreadsheets on the entire process to show that the methodology works over time.

Level 3

This is all about relationships and building a network and a community around you, that loves what you do, which in turn leads to amplification of your key messages.


Using Google+ you can build a following of relevant engagers who will amplify your message into Google Search. Whether is it personalized results, or global, this is SERIOUSLY powerful for both content and product pages. You know we talk about this area A LOT so you can check out more on using Google+ for Social Seo here.

I really must emphasis this – the Google+ community, your connections, will give you Search results. They are the ones who will make you an authority and who tell the world ‘your content rocks’. Social and Search are now working hand-in-hand.


So, here is the third aspect of the triangle, the site itself. It is all well and good having great Search results, and an amazing social presence but if your site is converting people to business you may well be on a long term brand building exercise. This has its place but many people want results NOW. As such, think in terms of ‘Site’ enabling your social and search presence to turn into fruit. If your site is not converting then you may like to consider a revamp. Think about your business outcomes – sales, leads.

Also, on your site, makes sure you add the social sharing buttons – make it easy for people to share your content, flowing it back from search into social. Think of the main networks for your business, but Google+, Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest are probably a must!

Working social-search-site together

With Google+ you will be able to flow information from your site, have the community engage with your incredible content, and this will give the signals to Google Search that your content would be great for other people to see in the future.
So much of what you want for your business can be achieved when you build your Google+ presence and community – it really will help you build up trust, reputation and authority. In turn you will be able to transform you business, enabling more of the right people to visit your website and engage with your brand at every step of the way.


Think Social-Search-Site and flow content in a way that enable people to fall in love with you and your brand. It does need to be approached from a strategic viewpoint though, and many people tend to look at each element independently. Don’t. Think about the information flowing through each of the areas, and reinforcing its relevance along the way.
Want to know more? Get in touch with us here.

Google Plus For Business and Individuals

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

Welcome to Google+

2014 is going to be an incredible year to build up your Google Plus presence.

It really is going to be excellent for Google+ Marketing.

And as such, this complete video and blog guide you will be taking you on a tour of many of the main features of Google+, the social destination, that you need to really get to grips with it all.

Not a business? Don’t worry! It is a perfect place to start for both businesses and individuals alike.

The videos are step-by-step guides through just about every feature of the platform, and beyond.

Why should businesses consider using Google+?

Well, Google+ is Google!

Google’s Vic Gundotra (update: now ex-Google, but this holds strong!) says that Google have put a social layer over Google’s products and services, and this seems to be the best way to describe to people what Google+ is about. It is not just a social destination, although that is a part of it, but it reaches into everything Google is doing. Check out this video from earlier this year to get a ‘view’ of how it all fits together.

Consider this an entrée before the main course! You may also like this podcast from Social Media Examiner as it will help you to see the bigger picture.

So, if Google+ is Google then ignoring Google+ would be like ignoring Google!

The benefits for an individual include:

  • Smart social experience in the Stream
  • A vibrant community for global networking
  • Google+ communities for finding likeminded people with similar passions

And for businesses they include:

  • Quality Social Engagement
  • Super-powered surfacing of content in Google Search (Social SEO)
  • Authority building
  • Awesome collaborative tools and cloud storage
  • Free video conferencing
  • Integration with YouTube – ideal for content creation and extending reach
  • Integration with Google Adwords – perfect for producing measurable results (BETA)

And much more…(click to see a quick video)

As Google+ extends across Google’s products and services, there can be rather a lot to grasp to be able to apply it well.

But don’t worry, we are here to quick start you, and even get you on the fast track as well.

“Yes, but I am so used to other platforms!”

Well, here is a free 2500 Word PDF guide that will help you get used to this incredible new experience if you are already using Facebook and want to understand the different language used. Please contact Mary Stovall if you need any more guidance.

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Feel free to download and send it to your friends to help them over to the Plus side of life!

Note: the links in the download are also clickable.

Google+ Course – learn just about everything you’ll need, for free

If you are an individual looking to find their way around a little better, then the first set of videos are perfect.

As a business, you may well like to read on and learn about Google+ in relation to SEO and advertising through adwords too.

So, why are we doing this for free?

Well, here at Plus Your Business we are committed to supporting the community in learning and utilizing Google+ in the most effective way possible. And if you want to know more, we are here to help so just get in touch.

Index to VIDEOS in this post:

  • Introduction to Google+
  • How to set up a Google+ Page (more for businesses)
  • Google+ Posts and Photos
  • Google Circles and Communities
  • Exploring Google+
  • Google Hangouts and Hangouts-On-Air

And then…

  • How to start a private Hangout-On-Air
  • +Post Ads explored!
  • Adding social extensions to Google Adwords
  • Google Drive
  • Using Google Drive and Hangouts together (awesomeness)

The first steps…

This overview video covers everything you’ll need to get started on Google+, and is ideal for even the most seasoned Plussers to brush up on their skills as the platform does change over time.

More on Google Authorship

(note this has now changed: only G+ posts show people/pages alongside)

Google Authorship connects your Google+ profile to content you create.

To find out more about Google Authorship then check out this blog post.

When Authorship is set up it correctly it enables your image to appear alongside your content in Google Search.

Your name and the number of people who have you in circles may also appear, but note that there are no guarantees.

Google+ for Business Search Result

Google+ Pages

If you are acting as a business then you will probably want to set up a ‘Google+ Page’.

There are 5 options, as you can see below:

Google+ Pages overview

The video below will take you through the set up process.

One key point to stress though: if you have a ‘Local business’ you will want to choose that option – you will not be able to change it later.

A Local Page is for business when people come to visit you (i.e. you have hours when you are open), and/or when you visit people in a local area (e.g. as a plumber).

If you are considering setting up a Local Page then check out this article.

Then, when you are ready, check out how to create your Page:

Google Pages don’t have ‘Google Authorship’ but there is something known as rel=publisher mark up.

This connects a Google+ Page to your website. Again, this article will cover just about everything you need. 

You can even add some handy, attractive buttons like the ones below.

Website plugins

Click the links below to access:

Then simply add the ones you choose to your website.

Google+ Insights

The analytics on Google+ are starting to really come together now (which is great!) – here is an example of the analytics on a Google Local Page:

Google Local Insights

This will help you keep track on how much ‘traction’ your content is getting when you post…

You are also going to want to look at setting up your Google Analytics too.

Google Plus Posts and Photos

On Google+ you can send an array of messages, including:

1. Comments/text, including formatting:




2. Adding an image, multiple images, web links, Google Drive documents, YouTube videos, and events.

3. You can then easily select your audience, including being able to notify a select group by email (go easy on this!)

Google+ post box

That last point re: notifying by email is very powerful, especially when you build niche lists and ask their permission to notify them in this way. Full instructions on that here.

There is a lot to Google+ posts and photos, but this video will take you into the detail.

More on Google Ripples

Google Ripples are a great way to find influencers. You will find them on any public post that has at least one share.

Kawasaki circles with border
As a business, you will want to have a strategy relating to building relationships with the influencers in your niche.

You can use tools such as CircleCount and CircloScope to really help you discover, and then manage this process.

Note: make sure you return back to this section. I will publish a full process on using Google+ to find your ‘One Hundred Brand Evangelists’ within the month!

Google Circles and Communities

Here is a complete overview of managing your circles, as well as managing the flow of content in your stream from all sources including Google+ communities.

Here is a quick tip:

1. Click on a circle name at the top or the screen, and then…

2. Click to either receive notifications, choose whether to see that content in your Home Stream, and how much you want to see.

Altering the flow in your stream

Then there is Google+ communities which are a brilliant way to meet like minded people. With tens of thousands of vibrant communities on Google+, you will find something that works for you; and if you don’t you can always create one.

Check out  this video so you can master the flow in your stream from circles and communities, as well as connecting with influencers.

Once you’ve got to grips with the basics, you may like to ‘get your circles in order’.

This is the system I’ve used for the incoming stream.

And check out the course here for the way to really use circles to get engagement!

Exploring Google+

Google+ is a powerful search engine in its own right.

1. Search in the top bar for content, e.g. using a hashtag, and then…

2. Filter using the tabs on the top or under the ‘more’ option.

You can use the tabs to filter your results.

This video will show you where you can ‘click’ to explore and filter your Google+ experience even more…

Google Hangouts and an introduction to Hangouts-on-air

Google Hangouts are a phenomenal tool! It allows group chat (up to 100 people) and video call (up to 10 devices; 15 with an Apps account). Here is a pic of hangout interview I did with Chris Brogan:

Chris Brogan Hangout

When you consider that with ‘Hangouts-on-air’ (HOA) everyone has their own broadcast station you will see this as a content marketing dream.

Check out this video for a step-by-step guide to it all…

The main course is complete!

Well, ladies and gentlemen, that should give you a basic idea of how to use Google+.
There is a lot more to really leveraging it as a business, large or small, and as such we thought it would be useful to include some more free content that you may find of use. Consider this to be moving on to the dessert. Sticky toffee pudding, or chocky cake anyone?

More on Google Hangouts-on-air

As you can see from the last video, Hangouts-on-air (HOAs) are seriously cool.
One little know feature is that you can use them for private meetings, recorded on YouTube.
You cannot start this from with Google+, however, but the video below will show you how you can from within YouTube.
(It is very easy to do, but this feature may still be rolling out…)

Google+ and Social SEO

The world of Search Engine Optimization has been turned on its head by Google+.
Now the world is social. It is also highly personalized and increasingly mobile.
Google+ has all this covered.

The key point is to build your network, connect to the people who you/others consider to be influencers in your field, and produce quality content for the community which you serve.

Here is a really fun example of what can be achieved using Google+…

What is Google

If you would like to know more on how this result was achieved then check out this article. 

The key is this: the role of community combined with serving them the best content you possible can.
They will give you Search as they give you authority on a subject and that content then emerges in the future as people’s Search results on Google. First people build up trust through every interaction, then you begin to develop a reputation as they amplify your messages. Then you have a ‘reputation’ form over time. This then allows that content to emerge in Google Search, increasing your reach far beyond the original community.

As you will read in this article on ‘Trust’: “Think of it this way: you are the best baker of apple pies in your community. People pop by and you gift them a tasty pastry dessert, and they had back to the edge of the village. The people who have eaten the pie just have to tell others about it. They love it that much. In turn, the pie gets the attention of people outside of your village and people ask the recipient what they think of it (think ‘network’, ‘sharing’ and ‘Google Search’). They give it a rave review and say that you are the best pie maker in the area (which you are). And where should they go if they want to buy a pie for themselves? To you of course! As such, there is never a need to knock on doors and sell to the villagers, to your community, when you have them as your best evangelists.”

This is when you really start to enter the world of Google Semantic Search, so check out this article with the man who who wrote the book, David Amerland.

Advertising: Google+ and Google Adwords

Recently Google has been rolling out this feature. It is AWESOME. As you will see in this blog post and from the video below.
In brief, it enables an advertiser to increase exposure to their content (i.e. a Google+ post) as it enters Google’s Display Network.
This interview with PYBer Mark Traphagen will tell you why we are so excited about this…

You can also connect you Google Adwords account to your Google+ Page using social extensions.
This enables social information to appear in connection with your adverts.
This video will take you through the process.

And, you may like to look at using a simple version of Adwords called Adwords Express.
Plus Your Business clients are finding this especially useful on Google Local pages.

Google Drive – a Complete User Guide.

Google+ and Google Drive work hand-in-hand. This video will take you through just about everything you need to know to make it work for you and your team. Trust me, it will transform how you communicate. When you combine this with setting up a private community for project working, you will be flying in no time. Click here for instructions on how you can set one up.

Then you will want to bring in using Google Hangouts…

How to use Google Hangouts to collaborate even more effectively!

In this final video in the series for ‘Google Plus for Business’ we bring it all together  – using Google Drive and Google Hangouts with teams. It is a quick video but once you see how easy it is, we hope you will get started and embrace this new way of working.
It is incredible how efficiently we can community when we have the right tools.

And finally…

As you can see, there is a lot to learning Google+, but we are here to help. This site has free resources that are updated regularly to keep you smart! We also have an awesome team here to help if you want to go on the fast track, as well as a thriving community which we hope you will join. See you soon!