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Posts Tagged ‘facebook’

Google Plus – How it Effects Your Search World

Last week, Google announced that its new Social Network platform, Google Plus, will now effect search results.  The buzz spread like wildfire across the SEO industry. How much of a game changer will this be? Will search engine optimization still matter if search results are now personalized instead of taking the most relevant and trustworthy sites and ranking them accordingly?

It’s no secret that Google’s main goal for the past year has been integrating their new budding social network with their search results. Anyone logged into their Google account with a Google Plus profile will see a different set of results than a searcher not logged in. Google Plus users will have the option of personal or worldwide results. There is an icon at the top right of the SERP that shows a silhouette of a person or a globe, and the Plus user can toggle between the two sets of results.

Clicking on the person icon, the top results for a search will be based on recommendations, or Plus 1’s, that you and the people in your circles have made, or info that others have shared with you. Results with reviews and pluses will have higher ranking then those without. By switching over to the globe, you will see the natural results without these social signals affecting them as directly.

Google has used social signals as a part of their algorithm for years, with personalized results getting a boost.  Twitter follows, Facebook likes and shares, and Yelp reviews have factored in to results; companies have used this buzz to crawl up the rankings. Facebook and Twitter have criticized this change, citing that Google will give preferential treatment to its own social signals, a claim Google has denied.

Other features to Google Plus, like the fact that users must opt-out of the personal search and not opt-in, have led to concerns among users and SEO’s. However, it is easy enough to switch the results back to the global, impersonalized results. There is even a way to permanently remove the personalized results in the search settings. Concerns about privacy are also prevalent, as anyone with access to private information can share it publicly. It is ultimately up to the user who they share info with, but the receiver can post it at their whim, so know your circles. As with anything on the internet, it’s a good rule of thumb that if you wouldn’t want your content on the web, don’t upload it to begin with.

As Google Plus fixes the issues and bugs that are inevitable as it gains in popularity, it will be important to make the most of its features. As the social signals for sites that have “Plus 1’s” will affect their rankings, it will be essential to have your customers, friends, and followers take the time to “Plus 1” your website. While there are already business profiles in Google Plus, expect them to take an even bigger role in the coming year. Add your business and website to the Google Plus universe, and interact with as many people as you can. While you will undoubtedly hear a fair amount of back and forth criticism as this new platform gains traction, the fact is this is a product of Google, the search engine that typically dwarfs all competition. Even if it is never as popular as Facebook or Twitter, it will have an impact on your rankings, so you’ll want to get on board.

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Quick ways to boost your online buzz

So you’ve got a web home (your website) and have worked hard on making it SEO friendly. But you still need a boost in the online buzz department. Here’s a few easy, 30-minute or less tips to get you started.

Write a blog post
Websites used to be a home page and a series of jump and landing pages. They were an interconnected loop of relevant information that led to a specific result (usually a sale). Blogging has changed that; since you update it regularly (right?), you are constantly feeding the search engines new keywords giving them reason to rank you higher and give you more buzz.

Post a video on YouTube
Video is probably the quickest way to reach a broad audience, and YouTube is the biggest channel to broadcast it on. Popular videos are two things: engaging and informative. You want to give your viewer valuable information without putting them to sleep.

So play to your strengths. If you’re funny, be funny. If you love sports, slip a few references in there of your favorite team. Don’t shy away from who you are because you want sound a certain way. Authenticity is king on the web; be who you are and people will respond.

Tweet tweet with Twitter
A “real time” results scroll pops up with every Google search. Tweeting is now a two-fold activity; you talk to your follows while also building some up-to-the-second Google buzz. Update Facebook, too. If you can get a buzz going on both sites, the rest of the web is soon to catch on.

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Getting Started with Social Media

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Last week we wrote about how large corporations were using Twitter to improve their brand image and connect with customers in new and interesting ways. This week we want to show you some simple strategies small businesses can use to monitor their brand on Twitter and other social media sites.

If your business is brand new to social media, start by creating profiles on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and other social media websites. By taking this simple step, you will begin taking ownership of your company name on search results. This is an easy reputation management tactic.

The idea is that when someone searches your company name, you want to control the results they see; particularly on the first page. Instead of seeing things that are out of your control like a bad customer review or lousy press, the searcher will see your home page followed by the social media profiles you set up and perhaps some other IYP and directory listings. There are only ten spots on a search engine results page. By creating these profiles and utilizing some basic SEO tactics, you can control all ten results without much effort. (Tip: creating a Wikipedia page is also a helpful way to control the results).

After you have set up the profiles, what next? A good place to start is at search.twitter.com. This search tool from Twitter allows you to search their entire stream for keywords, like your brand name or your products and services. Enter your company name and perform a search. If someone Tweeted about your company, it may be a good idea to try to connect with them. Politely @reply to their message and if they are unhappy, see if you can address their concern. If they are saying how great your company is, thank them for the support.

For many small businesses, their company name isn’t being discussed everyday and repeating this exercise can be a waste of time. Instead tools like Tweetbeep will do the work for you and send you emails when someone Tweets about your company. There are a lot of articles about Twitter tools, but there are a few good ones: here, here and here.

Finally, develop a long term plan. Remember that social media is about community building. If you can give advice and become active among industry experts, your community will grow. The new local trends feature shows what people are talking about in your area. Become active in community discussions. If you use Twitter simply as a way to consume information rather than provide information, you will have a hard time building a community. But if you can create a community of people interested in your Tweets, you will improve your brand name and your company’s ability to retain clients.

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