Danny started by giving the background on Google+ and how we need to engage with it to expand and future proof our SEO strategies.
Bas van den Beld, Chief Editor, State of Search
Bas started by going through the numbers. Google + is still very small when compared to Facebook from an engagement and a visitor perspective. This leads to apathy towards Google+ but there is more to it than that. Eric Schmidt’s recent quote about everything moving towards the Google + platform in the future shows how important it is.
People are using Google+ because they have to. The mind set is key. The most basic human needs is the need to connect with others. It’s a nice sentiment but how is it important? Google has started analysing how people work and are translating that to the search engine. People trust authorities, People want what others have which is largely fuelled by jealousy. We are also open to peer pressure. We also like to spread the word about products and other people.
Google + is bringing in these elements into the search environment. Stop thinking they will kick out Facebook, it’s to get a grip on who we are. It’s all about data. We are getting personalised results in the US already and that’s coming to Europe soon. This is all to figure out who you are, who your friends are, what you do and to which entities you are connected. Go to http://google.com/s2/search/social#gd and you can see who Google thinks you are connected to. These connections power Google social search and they are constantly trying to get more of the offline world online.
How do these factors influence the results?
They are showing authoritative people within each sector. Rel Author is also powering this. Personalised search is also sharing other things like who is at which event. The images increase the amount of click through for those results. You can also thank people that share your content. Google results are also showing conversations in Google+ and you can participate in that conversation in the search results.
How do you use this?
People are more interested in the stuff their social circle share than your stuff. Your target audience are the people that share your content as much as the people that are buying your product. Find your brand advocates. Make sure that you make your content shareable. Work on your social circle and create content that your market wants.
Kevin Gibbons, Director of Strategy, SEOptimise
Kevin wanted to share how much juice you get from Google+, in theory annotations can increase your CTR by 5- 10% according to Google.
1) Miele: 19% CTR without +1s and 0% with the +1s.
2) Soft32 has 456 people that like their brand page – 9% CTR without +1s and 5% CTR with +1s
Overall in both CTR cases G+ had a negative impact but it actually makes sense because the +1 listings are less relevant than the informational results. The second reason is that the brand CTR is always going to be big compared to the deeper pages. Kevin argues that the CTR is really not the major win. The win is that you are getting traffic you would not otherwise get.
He tested clients with G+ vs. clients without.
They saw a 19.5% decrease in organic traffic for clients that aren’t using Google+. The converse was true with clients seeing a 43% increase in clients that did use Google+.
Asos is doing a lot with Google+ which has had a major search impact for Asos.com search impact. They are seeing a 100% improvement on organic traffic.
This doesn’t mean that Google+ has a direct correlation to organic rankings. Google+ doesn’t really matter at the moment in the algo but it is very likely to be there in the future. Google + is being pushed like crazy with 353 million pages indexed.
With Google penguin making things harder links are becoming more outdated as an authority element. This paves the way for social signals to form a bigger part of the algorithm.
5 tips for G+
1) Focus your SEO strategy on great content, don’t chase the algorithm, build great content
2) Build a great content team. Community managers, bloggers, content strategists, infographic designers, guest authors and video producers are all key parts of SEO teams in the future. Bring in people that can make your content stand out more.
3) Use rel=author to get more value
4) Create a G+ brand page and link to your site this syncs up your home page + 1s with your brand + 1s. Brand page +1s have been shown to influence search more than home page + 1s
5) Go in once a day and share your post and comment on your friend’s posts
Google + Tools:
1) View your social connections to a scary level (link is above in Bas’ presentation)
2) Find influencers on findpeopleonplus.com
3) Analyse your reach on Google+ Ripples and evaluate people that share people like you
4) Social sources analytics stream in GA
So in summary G+ has a negative CTR but that doesn’t matter because they are ranking better because of it. Ensure that content marketing is a central part of your SEO strategy.