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Google Plus - Social Animal or SEO Henchman?

Google Plus - Social Animal or SEO Henchman?



Presentation given by Martin Jordan at Social Media Week Glasgow 2012 as part of Equator's #socialmediageek series of events.

Presentation given by Martin Jordan at Social Media Week Glasgow 2012 as part of Equator's #socialmediageek series of events.



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    Google Plus - Social Animal or SEO Henchman? Google Plus - Social Animal or SEO Henchman? Presentation Transcript

    • Who on Earth is Equator? We know what makes your customers click.
    • Who am I?Marketing Director of said large full-service digital agencyAlmost 20 years online » Been social networking online since 1992 » Built my first website in 1994 » Built my first web server in 1995 » Thesis written on Marketing on the Internet in 1996Never looked back! » Been doing internet marketing and spending too much time online ever since
    • Why am I here? We know what makes your customers click.
    • We know what makes your customers click.
    • We know what makes your customers click.
    • We know what makes your customers click.
    • Social is important to Google Google made $38,000,000,000 last year - 96% of which came from Adwords • Targeting consumers right at the point when they want to buy…Best prices Apple Ipad 3 Audi car insurance Cheap personal loan It’s been a hugely successful business model – one that others have struggled to beat
    • Social is important to GoogleHowever, that’s on the decline – seeing an 8% drop in revenue YOYMeanwhile, Facebook has come from nowhere to grab more than $5,000,000,000 from social advertisingFacebook understands your demographics, your emotions, your relationships, your motivations and a lot more…Google needs to succeed in social to get in on thisBut it’s not for want of trying…
    • It’s been a long journey
    • It’s been a long journeyStarted wayyy back in 2004 – a month BEFORE FacebookBeen a Google project from the off - but never been a priority for them.Shares many features of Facebook including embedding photos and videos, live chat, likes and more…But… it never took off in the USA or Europe….but it was HUGE in Brazil, India and EstoniaNow losing ground to Facebook and Twitter – over 86% of its Indian audience leaving in a year – dead soon?
    • It’s been a long journey
    • It’s been a long journeyWhat even was Google Wave?• A replacement for email?• A new kind of instant messenger?• A collaborative project management tool?• A cloud storage tool?• An open platform for new social media tools?It sort of did everything – but something else did each thing better…It died on April 2012
    • It’s been a long journey
    • It’s been a long journeyGoogle Buzz was Gmail on steroids – take all the sharing that exists on Facebook and plug it into email…Not quite Facebook, not quite Yahoo Messenger, not quite Twitter but did all of this within GmailPrivacy was chucked out the window in an attempt to garner takeupAgain the purpose of it was unclear and the product was far from street-readyIt died on December 2011
    • It’s been a long journey
    • It’s been a long journeyGoogle Plus is their BIG push into Social mediaTaking all the best bits of Buzz, Wave, Orkut and…Facebook… and removing the geeky bitsThe success of G+ will directly affect Googlers’ bonusesThey’re pulling out all the stops to make this a resounding successAnd it’s definitely got some stuff going for it….
    • Is it a better social network?Integrated with other Google Services – Gmail…Docs…Picasa…Drive… and a lot moreCircles make more sense as a way to manage your contactsThe mobile app works well and is slickPrivacy settings are more intuitive and easier to manageHangouts are genuinely cool – chat rooms and video meet-ups on speedMuch more intuitive interface than Facebook and constantly improvementsSearch is not crap!More targeted ads (currently)Far better manipulation and storage of photos and videos
    • So is it working?Launched just a year ago it is already claiming to have over 400 million users (100Mn active)AND… companies like Cadbury have garnered a million followers and reasonable interactionAND… they’re attracting SOME celebs - Britney Spears has 2 million followers…AND… photo sharing is taking off in a reasonably big way…SO… it must be good news then ?
    • 100Mn is not that many really… G+ Active Users Facebook Active Users
    • And 3 minutes is just tragic… G+ Time on Site Facebook Time on Site
    • What’s to be done about this ?It’s clear that G+ for all its take up is not getting adopted and Facebook continues to grow…Google is getting more desperate with every passing day to make G+ a successIt could be argued that they’re coercing people into using it – specifically businessesAnd there’s good reason to…
    • Where it’s at...Despite well documented issues (merged business info, duplicate listings etc)Google has the most complete and accurate local search database in the UKConsumers find local listings to deliver the most relevant and trusted resultsAhead of PPC and traditional organic results…
    • Where it’s going...34% of Adwords budget now being spent on local keywordsGoogle increasing visibility & creating new ad spaces in local and social marketsVisible in universal results pages and in Google+ Local business pagesIncreasing visibility & capitalising on local and social advertising spaceWhat happened next to Google+ was inevitable…
    • Merging the properties…It was inevitable that to get people using G+ - search was the place to startAnd so Search Plus Your World was born….That didn’t work…So they got stuck into schlooping lots of important Google properties together…• Google Places, Local Business Centre, Google Maps & Google Local
    • Shifting sands…
    • Still shifting…Now you can expect to find a floating mapUp to 17 results shown on Googles 1st page• 7 local results• 10 organic listingsAnd now all of this relies heavily on G+• Reviews• Plusses• Offsite content that is linked
    • G+ vs. OrganicWhy do I want in this space? » For searches with local intent G+ Local listings now dominate search results » Over 40% of results on 1st page being G+ Local results » Most G+L results sit below the 2nd or 3rd organic listingNot in G+L or in top 3 spaces? You’re not in the top 10! » You’ll struggle to catch the attention of searchers!What can a poor man do?
    • Can you optimise? We know what makes your customers click.
    • Optimising for G+For businesses it’s about being found and G+ is proven to help with local search resultsDentist in Glasgow Glasgow Airport Car Hire Glasgow restaurantsNeeds 3 main areas of focus » The information on your G+ Local page » The information on your website or webpages if you have more than one physical location » Offsite optimisation and authority
    • Needs some foundations…Need a business with a physical address in city you are optimising for » Ideally, your business is located within 2 mile radius of centroid » Depends on competition » Proximity is one main ranking factorBefore optimising G+L for generic keywords - research competition levels within your radius
    • Consistency is key…The SINGLE best way to rank well in Google+ LocalMaintain consistency with your business information• Especially your business name, address & phone number • Otherwise known as NAPThen it’s a case of ticking some more boxes…
    • A partial view of G+L Dashboard
    • Optimising G+ local pagesSet up account with company domain email addressEnsure you have Local area code phone number on place pageGet your listing verifiedUse service & location keywords in business title• Against Google guidelines but works!
    • Optimising G+ local pagesUse service & location keywords in place page description• Think keyword focus in everything you do within G+Place latitude and longitude coordinates in custom attributes• Unexciting but works!Get Proper category associations
    • Optimising your siteGoogle measures a lot of the traditional SEO signals when analysing on-site factorsSuch as » Domain authority, page authority, geographic keyword in title tag, URL, H tags, Copy etcThe main unique onsite signals Google look for when factoring results for Google+ Local are » Name, address and phone number or NAP for short » This must match the details given in your Google+ Local account » Make sure phone number used has local area code » Wrap the NAP in hcard or schema mark-up » Add KML file to tie up coordinates with Google Earth & Google Maps
    • Optimising off-siteJust as with organic search, Google takes into account the traditional offsite SEO signalsQuality and authority of back linksQuantity of back links from locally relevant websitesLocation keywords in back link anchor textsBusiness title keywords in back link anchor texts
    • Optimising off-siteGaining citations from local directory sites - whitespark!Gain links from locally focused business websites kills two birds with one stoneGaining reviews!
    • This stuff works! We know what makes your customers click.
    • Ranking with nothing…Despite having a one page website » Being located 3.6 miles from centroid » No use of geo keyword “London” in the title tag » And no instances of the search term being used in the anchor textAgency Republic rank 1st place in Google organic andin G+L results No1 in GoogleFor the moderately competitive search term “digitalagencies in London”
    • It’s all plus pointsLocal area code phone numberLocation & keyword in text - albeit thinly spreadAddress wrapped in hcard micro formatLow number of citations however, NAP is consistent throughoutGoogle maps show as a key ranking factor… • even one page websites with light content • In unfavourable locations • And no use of search term in external anchor text links
    • Ranking with something…Something more competitive… » Restaurants in London » 22,200 monthly searchesRanks well by more traditional means… Ranks in 3rd in G+L
    • Going a bit further…Close proximity to centroid – less than a mileGeographic keywords in <title>Decent volume of quality linksLocal area code phone numberAddress wrapped in hcard micro formatLink to Google mapsReasonable number of decent reviews (160) Address with link to maps
    • Is sharing worth it? We know what makes your customers click.
    • Not quite in the searches…
    • But isn’t Google+ a SOCIAL tool too? We know what makes your customers click.
    • Not quite at the races…
    • Roundup We know what makes your customers click.
    • Rounding up…Google+ may yet turn into a genuine social network to reckon with• It’ll take some doing to make it happen thoughHowever, it’s definitely gearing up to be a tool that can influence search• And they’re still working on itIf you’re a business with local presences complete every aspect of everything Google gives you• Use Google+ and populate it even if your customers don’t…Stay tuned!
    • How to fix inaccurate informationNo quick fix and no guarantee
    • Google+ Local Ranking Signals
    • Zagat Reviews
    • Tracking in Google
    • What are the pros & consPros» Chance to rank well ahead of global websitesCons» Wrong info *