Google+: What Does This Mean for SEO and Search Results?

Initial discoveries.

In a recent blog post, Robyn Schelenz wrote an article about “Search Plus Your World” and how search is becoming more social. Naturally, as online marketers, we’re interested to see how integrating Google+ profiles and pages will impact search results.

In the coming months, we will be testing different tactics to see how exactly our page and client pages will show up in search results and see what factors will make direct impacts. AJ Kohn from “Blind Five Year Old” does an amazing job of outlining SEO techniques for Google+ that I can’t wait to try out. I will report my findings to either arrive at the same conclusion as AJ or perhaps dispute some of them. (Look for updates in the future or add us on Facebook and Google+ to receive notifications.) In the meantime, we will discuss our initial findings on search results with Google+.

For this exercise, we searched the word “Fashion” to discover our initial findings about Google+ and SEO.

Search Results when NOT logged in
As a logged out user, obviously, no personal results will appear. However, it looks like Google will encourage users to participate in Google+. On the right side of search results, Google will show you “People and Pages on Google+” relevant to your search query.

Click to view larger.

However, the results will differ each time you search for the same search query but only by a few pages and people. I refreshed a few times and these profiles/pages were listed most often and were the ones I analyzed:

• Coco Rocha
• Burberry
• Sarah Potempa
• H & M
• Vogue

The question is then, how can your Google+ profile/page appear in search results for specific search queries? Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to conclude what influenced the results in that space, but here are three points that I’ve drawn.

• Interestingly enough, none of the actual websites were delivered on the first page of search results. Of course, this won’t always be the case for every search query.

• The more Google+ users that have your brand/company in their circles = more visibility.

It looks like all of these Google+ profiles/pages have a remarkable number of people who have added them to their circles. Each profile has at least 70,000 followers. As with any social network, it looks like if you have strong two-way interaction with your followers, you will be granted more visibility and it could influence whether your profile/page shows up in search results.

• Having the keyword throughout your profile won’t necessary result in your profile/page showing up in search results.

Every profile/page, with the exception of Burberry, had the keyword “fashion” listed either in the brief description, about page, and/or posts. However, each profile had the keyword “fashion” listed no more than 5 times. So, sorry folks, keyword stuffing won’t work.

Also, it seems like for specific search queries, these Google+ pages won’t even show up in search results. This was the case for Coco Rocha, Vogue, and Sarah Potempa.

The opportunity lies in having your Google+ page/profile appearing in search results for highly competitive, broad keywords even while your website does not. Hopefully, one day, we will figure out how to fully optimize Google+ pages/profiles to make this happen.
*P.S. Google’s video on “Learn how you could appear here too” won’t help.)

Search Results WHILE logged in (As a Google+ User):
As previously stated in Search Plus Your World, when logged in, you can now view personal results mixed in with other results, and it looks like Google will prioritize your personal results first.

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Another interesting observation is that Google seems to index your information quicker for personalized results. As a test, I shared a blog with the caption “Has to be one of my favorite fashion blogs out there,” and within seconds, it already appeared in my search results.

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How about someone who has me in their circles? I asked a friend to check her search results for the keyword “fashion,” and again, within minutes, my post showed up in her search results. We will try to determine exactly how many minutes it takes or if it’s instantaneous in a future post.

The take away from this tiny experiment is to write compelling content, and then, share that content. This shouldn’t come as a surprise but to write about something that other people care about takes time and effort. This is how you build an audience though. (Also, share videos and photos!)

As of right now, it looks like text match determines what shows up in personalized results. Meaning, if you are a designer and want to show up for the keyword “fashion” in your Google+ users’ personalized results, then, include the word “fashion” in your entry.

Also, Google+ is about discovering related pages and people. Again, Google will suggest Google+ pages and profiles for you.

Sure enough, the same profiles appeared:

Click to view larger.

As the Leverage SEO team dives deeper into exactly how Google+ will impact search results, one thing is for certain: Get a Google+ page or profile. Because the fact is, Google+ is one of the fastest growing social networks and has already reached 90 million users. Take this opportunity to establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry and to get personal with your current and potential clients. As search becomes more social, you will want to make sure you’re part of the conversation.

Look out for future posts on Google+, and leave any questions you may have in our comments section below.

Google Gets Personal with “Search Plus Your World”

Welcome to Google 2012!  As of this week, Google has begun rolling out their new personalized search for users logged in through  The change to Google’s search results is called “Search Plus Your World” and it could have a great impact on your search results.  But is it as big a deal as some in the SEO space are touting?


Search Plus Your World presents a mixture of personalized, even private, results with the more generic results you would otherwise associate with Google.  Where you are used to seeing “about X number of results (X number of seconds)” below the search box, you will now see “X number of personal results and X number of other results (X number of seconds).”  You might also see personal information mixed in with the actual result listings.  For example, if I searched for “Fido” while logged into my Gmail account, I might see the normal list of sites along with images of not just any dog named Fido but of my dog Fido, or my friend’s dog with Fido, etc.  If you haven’t been using Google+ much, you probably won’t see a significant change—your Google Instant suggestions may be more personally oriented, but otherwise, your queries are not going to be affected.


For those that do have a high degree of integration with Google+ and other Google products, like the photo service Picasa, the change will be more noticeable.  You will see private pictures that you may not have shared with the world now pop up in search results.  Never fear—they weren’t suddenly shared and they’re not accessible when you’re not logged in.  If you find the personalization an unwelcome change, you can toggle between personalized and non-personalized results by using the new human / globe buttons visible in the right-hand corner of the page.


Twitter’s lawyer, Alex Macgillivray, is particularly irritated with this new development in Search, as Twitter results are excluded from the new personal / private results (Source: BBC). Some speculate that Google was hoping for a reaction like this and that “Search Plus Your World” is in part meant to induce Twitter and Facebook to share data with Google.  Possibly, but we are not quite there yet.


At the moment, this should have little effect on current SEO campaigns.  The update makes Search more social, but since it only does so through the still growing Google+, its impact is limited.  Plus, few queries are likely to have a big inbuilt social footprint.  If I am selling anything related to cats, the most popular animal on the Internet, then, perhaps I am wondering how this will affect my business.  Even in this case, the personalization thus far seems restricted to very specific keywords, like the name of a particular cat.  As another example, my own search for “Christmas” showed me a number of possible personal results below the search box that I could click on (as my social circle had been discussing Christmas), but did not appear to affect the ordering of the actual SERPs at all.


The moral of the story is a variation on the old cliché, “the more things change, the more things stay the same.”  This update will probably affect internet marketing more distinctly in the future but it certainly doesn’t change the importance of internet marketing.  If Google is now integrating the use of Google Plus and Picasa into its search and if Bing is currently integrating Facebook (and they are), then getting all your bases covered socially and otherwise is even more important.  It’s a direction that should reward SEO tactics and websites that look to please users and search engines—a user friendly site is more likely to be shared.  This new update ensures that SEO will be an interesting and invaluable marketing channel in the new year.

Tweets for Tat

The first thing small business owners do when they find out that I work for an online marketing agency is ask for help. Many small business owners are at a loss as to how to effectively leverage online tools in their marketing mix. The truth is there is a litany of information out there on these topics but most either don’t know where to find it or the text is very cumbersome, often for no reason. For example, I recently read an article with 15 points on effective tweets. That’s 1,000 words to describe how best to write 140 characters. Well, these tips can be surmised in 3 easy points: content, engagement, and aggregation.

In the land of tweets, blogs, and 24-hour news coverage, content is king. This means write good, thoughtful tweets that have some relevancy to those individuals following you. I have run into several small business owners who don’t understand why they cannot increase their social media presence when they are creating content everyday on their wonderful product lines.

Content leads us to the crux of the matter, which is engagement. You have to be actively engaged in what your audience is saying. Consider GM… recently the automotive conglomerate was plagued with protests from angry consumers regarding advertising dollars that were spent with a radio show that some considered to be offensive. This could have been a PR nightmare for GM—a company doing everything it can to support sustainability and American values. For every tweet GM received regarding this matter, they issued a personal apology and assured customers that the affiliate was instructed to cancel any further ad orders.

Finally, make it easy on your audience to find out more about you and your expertise. Twitter requires the creation and sharing of a great deal of content on a weekly basis. You can improve user experience and SEO value by linking appropriate tweets to articles or blogs on your site. Consider a large lumber yard that frequently tweets about DIY projects and HGTV television shows. It would be beneficial to link some of those tweets to appropriate web pages so audience members know where to get material for such projects. Writing 140 characters can seem like a daunting task. The truth is if you follow some basic guidelines and encourage your audience and customers to follow you, great success on Twitter will follow.

Google+ Growth

Recently, I have posted a few blogs regarding viral videos. Let’s face it, nowadays fads are all the rage and crazes are in vogue. There are new social media tools rolling off the brains of eager undergrads hoping to be the next Mark Z.

Coeds aren’t the only ones in this game. Very recently, Google unveiled its answer to Facebook: Google plus. In the coming weeks, a few of my colleagues will write extensively about plus and the benefits it could hold for advertisers. What we can say unequivocally today is one such benefit will be a large audience that will expound greatly across borders. Read more

Google+ for Businesses and Branding

I came across an article about how companies will begin using Google+ as a branding platform. “Google+ Brand Pages Coming in Two Weeks” addresses the question of when Google+ will follow in Facebook’s path and provide the opportunity for companies to promote their brands.

Currently, companies must apply to be a  part of Google’s testing phase for business pages. Similar to Facebook’s company pages, Google+ brand pages will be the primary source of advertising revenue for this new social media network. Read more

The Power of Social Media

This year during SXSW (South by Southwest), an annual Austin music festival for all of you not in the know, a few colleagues and I decided to go out in search of celebrities!  We wondered aimlessly amidst the throng of skinny jeans and plaid shirts until one coworker received a tweet about a secret comedy show featuring Aziz Ansari that started in a couple hours.

My co-workers and I made our way to the venue about 2 hours before the show started. Imagine my surprise when a line of around 200 hundred people awaited us. How could this be? We had the super secret Tweet! The truth is, that tweet spread like the flu in my niece’s 2nd grade class.

The question is why?

So often an advertiser wants to have this type of rapid fire success with social media outlets. What most don’t understand is “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” Social media, as with any effort, requires patience and string-will. In order for this to happen you must constantly update your profile, twitter, and other tools with cool, new information. One of those tidbits will be your rocket to the moon.

Going Viral happens over night, but Going viral cannot happen overnight.

Content is Key

Maneuvering the social media landscape can be a tricky business: DON’T link your Twitter to your Facebook account; DO feed your blog. DON’T deactivate commenting on your fan page; DO monitor the conversation for inappropriate or offensive comments (which you are responsible for managing.) DON’T self-promote; DO send out valuable content and engage with your customers. There’s a lot to remember, and the fact that it’s constantly evolving with new best practices being developed almost weekly, using social media as a marketing and branding tool has become a full-time job.

Research shows that social networking sites aren’t the best medium for advertising… yet. Users are still resistant to social media ads as being intrusive in this particular space. If social media is one of the most effective marketing tools but advertising isn’t being well-received, then it’s engagement that customers are seeking.

Content is key to effectively building a brand and generating word-of-mouth. Some recent stats published by eMarketer show inbound marketing channels as the most cost effective approach to generating leads over outbound marketing, with LinkedIn and blogs being at the top for successfully turning leads into customers, meaning brands need to allocate funds for creative and valuable content creation. There’s a good 70 / 30 rule of thumb that branders and marketers should follow when publishing updates on any social media site. Only 30% of status updates should be self-promotional content while the remaining 70% should be valuable content that is interesting, educational, or sparks a dialogue with followers. It’s also a good idea to monitor the frequency of status updates depending on which platform you’re utilizing. For example, it’s common practice to tweet 3 – 5 times a day, whereas Facebook and LinkedIn only require your attention once a day.

As Jeffrey Eisenberg summarized during his keynote at PubCon last week, “meaningful interaction with your audience will result in conversions and a positive relationship with the customer. –Marketing Pilgrim

So Know That You’ve Liked Me – Are You Going to Buy Something???

Now that your business is branching out and reaching fans through social media. How do you keep these users coming back to your site and interacting/purchasing over and over again from these sites?? Through these new advertising channels, you are now tasked with turning these first-time purchasers into advocates of your brand. A pretty cool article from eMarketer on How Marketers Can Keep Brand Fans on Board tackles this dilemma.

What are users looking for and what keeps users around?

Users are still drawn the most by incentives – although new-media users expect deals, these users also search for brands to help solve their problems and get their feedback on products and services – this will help make a larger connection with online users and shoppers.

Marketer Beware: What can lose a user’s interest and loyalty?

The top three reasons users stopped following a brand?:

  1. The brand sent too many messages
  2. The brand acted irresponsibly
  3. Content was irrelevant

The Magic Recipe: Keeping Users A Returning Consumer and Raving Fan:

There is a fine balance in what we see above to gain return visits and create fans on our clients’ brand – too little communication won’t help engagement, but too much communication where it seems impersonal or off-base will lose a user’s loyalty.  It is up to your marketing team to ensure online new media users are served with balanced, targeted information that keeps them returning for more and spreads positive feedback through online communities.

Social Media Brand Series- Who is Watching Your Brand? Part 1

Social Media- Protecting Your Brand

Kevin Smith

Its a Saturday night, comedian/actor/director Kevin Smith has just boarded his flight on Southwest airlines ready to take flight.  Minutes later Smith, who is a frequent Southwest flyer, is asked to leave the flight due to his weight and escorted off the plane immediately.  Within a matter of minutes, Smith’s experience is shared with his 1.6 million twitter followers and is National news by Sunday morning. The series of events that took place, while an extreme example, show strike fear in businesses across the land.  One of the top brands in any industry, a brand that took a decade to build through strategic PR moves….tarnished in a matter of minutes.

THE POWER OF SOCIAL MEDIA – Who is watching your brand?

Think about all the investments (both time and money) in understanding how the general public views their brand /products / services and neglecting the unbiased opinions being shared online.  In the case of Southwest Airlines, their team was alert and responded immediately on all mediums to Kevin Smith and the 1 million followers they have on Twitter:

@ThatKevinSmith hey Kevin! I’m so sorry for your experience tonight! Hopefully we can make things right, please follow so we may DM!

Hey folks – trust me, I saw the tweets from @ThatKevinSmith I’ll get all the details and handle accordingly! Thanks for your concerns!

I read every single tweet that comes into this account, and take every tweet seriously. We’ll handle @thatkevinsmith issue asap

I’ve read the tweets all night from @thatkevinsmith – He’ll be getting a call at home from our Customer Relations VP tonight.

@ThatKevinSmith Ok, I’ll be sure to check it out. Hopefully you received our voicemail earlier this evening.

@ThatKevinSmith Again, I’m very sorry for the experience you had tonight. Please let me know if there is anything else I can do.

@ThatKevinSmith We called you on the number you had on file in your reservation. If you prefer a different number, please DM me. Thanks!

Our apology to @ThatKevinSmith and more details regarding the events from last night – #Southwest

Southwest also used their Media site: to issue statements to the general public about the occurrence.  This public response was also followed by private and personal responses to Kevin Smith.  Whether it was the right response, the most important piece was that Southwest was monitoring their Brand and thereby able to react immediately versus having a bigger surprise come Monday morning.

In some of the following posts, we will cover the next steps that occur… damage control!!

Here are some great tools available for monitoring your brand:



Google Blog Engine:

Blog Digger:


How Sociable:

Google Alerts:

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