Category Archives: SEO

Content Marketing and Social Media

Social Media
By Sofiaperesoa via Wikimedia Commons

Content marketing and social media are the best way to market your brand or product on Internet. Not an easy task, if you ask marketing specialists, but very rewarding, if it’s done properly.

Do you write great content and have difficulty propelling it on top of the search results? Do you think your articles are better than other pages listed on Google’s first page? Or maybe you write content in a unique way that would appeal to a certain people segment, but your pages never had the chance to be read. You are not alone, there are many writers, and content marketers with great websites that just don’t have enough readers. There are a few things you can do to push your content on first pages of the search engines, where they belong. One of these things is using social media as a traffic source, and also use the new trends in the search engines world, social signals, as a quality signal.

What Are the Social Signals and Why Search Engines Care about them?

social media
Photo by Paola Peralta via Wikimedia Commons

Social signals are metrics that tell search engines when a subject is hot. In other words, if a particular content piece gets reshared, and gets liked a lot on multiple social media platforms, search engines will interpret that as a positive signal.

A new concept, introduced by Google with its Google+ as a social engine, is to match social groups to provide them with similar search results, in order to deliver the most relevant results.

Why Are Likes Important and which Social Media Platform is Better?

For instance the number of likes on a page means to a search engine that people like that page, and they consider the likes as votes. The number of votes on a page is a sign of quality and it is rewarded by search engines by moving it up in the search results. Any kind of social media “votes” on a page, can move that page up in search engine rankings. But for this specific signal to validate, it needs other social signals as well. Social signals are Facebook likes, the Google+ shares, and plus ones, reshares on Twitter, Stumbleupon votes, etc…

Interestingly, Google has stated that social signals have to validate in time as well, in order to be taken in consideration. Some SEO specialists think that social signals will start to validate in the third year of social networking activity. If the social signals drop after the first year, all the signals are lost. For a search engine this means that either the subject lost public interest, or the social signals were unnatural.

To sum up this, all social media signals are important, and all platform votes say something about your content to the search engines.

Relevance Is the Key

Let’s take the example of an article that talks about computers. All my Facebook friends know that I am an IT Systems Engineer and if I share a link to a post, I vouch for the reliability of the source. They are more likely to share that with their friends, than repost a link, posted by me, about cars. They know I don’t know anything about cars. The same goes with Google+ and Twitter.

Stick with subject that you are familiar with, you can have an objective opinion on, and your friends will identify you with.
If I post a link to an article about wedding dresses, all my friends will first think that I must have been drunk when I did it, or someone blackmailed me. On the other hand, if my daughter shares the link it is natural. Of course Google has a way to figure that out, or if it doesn’t have it yet, it will have it soon. Remember the Penguin update? Don’t spam your friends!

Think of this as a recommendation in your social network. When someone asks me to recommend them a new laptop to buy, they know they will get the best information, because It’s my job and I know what I am talking about. But if I approach my friends and start talking about the gorgeous wedding dress I just saw in a friend’s store, I would just look weird.

Content Marketing and Social Media

Content marketing is a term relatively new to coin the act of creating content to improve sells. There are many writers on Internet that can be placed under the same umbrella, and not only businesses that sell products. The Internet marketers, the writers on social writing platforms, such as Hubpages and Squidoo, many bloggers, etc… use content to attract readers. If the content is interesting it will be rewarded with traffic, hence bring money to the writer, most often from ads.

Content marketing is probably the best type of marketing on the Internet, and in theory it is very easy to target your market using it. In practice, there is a lot of competition, and even if you have the best content on web, your articles might not be getting any traffic. If your content is great, social media will reward you with visitors, but you have to be active on social media. Some social media campaigns have gone viral, and they surpassed even the most optimistic predictions. Social media has the advantage that it doesn’t follow any algorithms to rank content, the numbers of shares and likes is the ultimate ranking algorithm. If people like your post, they’ll share it with others, if not they won’t share it, this means that only content that appeal to public will be rewarded. For this reason, social media is a great signal for search engines, if it gets shared and liked, it is because people like it.

What Can I Do to Improve My Social Signals

Facebook iconMake it easy for people to like your content by adding all the social media share buttons pertinent to your website. At a minimum, you should have Google+, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. People will not make the effort to copy paste your URL into a new window, just to share it. If you make it easy for them, they will like and share your page.

Be Part of the Community, and Build a Community

Social network platforms don’t mean anything if you don’t socialize. These platforms are not your just so that spam them, people will just kick you out of their community immediately. Be part of the community, and interact with it, and not just post there.

While you are there take your time to acknowledge other’s posts and work, they will return the favor. If you post every time but never take the time to like other’s people content, they’ll end up by ignoring you, and that’s not good for you.

Reward great content regardless of relationship with the author, that makes you look good, as a finder of that post or infographic, and get your profile more authority.

Google+ LogoContent Marketing Power Tip: The more people in your niche vote for your content, the more relevant your content is in the eyes of search engines. Google+ is the most powerful social network engine for building relevancy. Google+ can determine if a person is an authority on a subject matter or niche. If your video or article gets many reshares and “plus ones” from authorities in the subject matter, the video, or article, will get ranked. Make sure you setup authorship and publisher tags on your website.
This, combined with other quality signals will make up the ranking for that specific term. Other page quality signals are: average time spent on a page, bounce backs, click outs, etc…

Don’t look at social media for content marketing as to a competition, if you have more likes and pluses, you will outrank other webmasters. Think of it as a team work, to improve everyone’s rankings. If you look at the big players on the social media, and bloggers, you will see that there are repeated interactions from bloggers in the same niche. These guys know that working together will help everybody’s content in rankings.

Other Things To Do

  • Make sure you complete your blog profile. Fill in as much as possible, don’t forget the picture, the “About Me” section, and the social media section.
  • If you haven’t done so, create a Facebook account and start making online friends.
  • Create a Twitter account and follow people with the same interests as yours.
  • Create a Google+ profile and fill in all the information on the profile. Start making friends on Google+. Here is a Google Plus for businesses tutorial, start with that. Do not overlook Google Plus, and read this if you want to know why you need Google Plus for your business.
  • Link your Google+ account to your webmaster profile, and viceversa, to give your articles authority and a name. This is what people call Google+ Authorship. Depending on your blog platform authorship might be setup differently.
  • Create a pinterest account. Normally you need an invitation from a member, but you can also use your Facebook or Twitter account to create the account. Update: you can create now an account without any of the above.
  • Use Digg, Delicious, Stumbleupon and Reddit to propel your content.
  • Use the Facebook Fan Box to showcase your page.
  • Use social media hangouts to connect with other webmasters and share your pages with them.
  • I don’t recommend buying social interaction, but instead build a community with people with same interests.
  • Befriend webmasters on Facebook, connect on Google+, follow on Pinterest and on Twitter, don’t be shy, most of the webmasters will love to connect with their peers.

How To Effectively Manage Google Plus Circles

For businesses present on Google+, or for authors, or for anyone who has many followers on Google Plus, managing their circles can get very complicated, and after a certain number of people in their circles, can even get unmanageable without a software tool. This page will guide you through many of the tasks needed to s
uccessfully manage your circles, will give you some tips and tricks, and present you advanced tools, to take this even further.

Simple Guidelines To Manage Google Plus Circles


Google-Plus-CirclesWhy Do We Need to Manage Google+ Circles?

Here are some basic rules to manage Google Plus circles, and these can be easily performed without any software tool.

Manage Effectively How You Share Content

Google+ circles are just a way to organize the people you want to connect to. It allows you to place these people in circles, based on relationship, (family, friends, coworkers, clients, etc…), based on interests, (web writers, pet lovers, art lovers, music fans, etc…), or any other criteria that makes sense to you. Think about circles as a way to place your social contacts into relevant containers. The concept behind circles is to easily choose what to share, with whom, and in what way. You can share content with certain circles only, or with the public. When you share pictures with the public, they can be seen by everyone, and reshared. When you share pictures with circles they will only be shared with that specific circle, and even better, they can’t be reshared with the public. That allows a bit more control of who sees private pictures, that you don’t  necessarily want to be spread over the Internet, but they are fun to share with your close friends.

In a similar way, a marketer can post a great promotion, and share it with a specific circle of people who expressed their wish to receive such promotions. This would not be pushed into everybody’s stream, so it’s not spammy at all. This technique is used more and more by marketers on Google Plus.

Blocking Spammers and Other People

One of the problems on social networks are the spammers. Some people don’t want to be added into circles, because they are more exposed to spamming and unwanted content. They are somewhat right, but not entirely. Some “ingenious marketers“, (read spammers), realized that sharing to circles ensures 100% distribution, whereas sharing to “Public”, doesn’t guarantee any distribution at all. This was exploited to ensure a higher rate of distribution. Well that’s fine, if someone will add you to their circles just to spam you, you can block them, and report them. Google will eventually remove the account if many reports are received for the account. Here is how you block them: Click on the link to their profile, this will bring to to their Google Plus profile page. On the upper left side, under the profile picture, there is a little arrow sign, click on that, and this will give you two options: block and report, or mute. Choose accordingly. I personally report people very rarely, the antispam functions very well on Google+. But I have muted, and blocked maybe 10 people until now. Take a look at the picture below, it’s just a dummy account, that I am using to demonstrate circle management.

Block or Mute A Google Plus Profile

In conclusion, there is no reason to be reluctant to get followed by unknown people, unless you want to duplicate the Facebook on Google+, which is totally doable, but with some extra features.

Why do you need to manage your circles?

Manage Circles To Keep Engaging People Only

The short answer is that you have a limit of people you can follow, and that limit is 5000 people. If you rely on the people you follow to make some noise, and spread your message across, you need engaging, active people. You need to understand who are your engaging followers, which are the inactive people in your circles, and based on that , remove some of the people you follow. Abit more about Circloscope’s features later on the page. For instance, if out of the 5000 people you follow, you get only 2 or three plus ones, or comments, maybe that says something about their engagement with your content. You also have to take in consideration your contribution to their posts. If you never engage in their posts, don’t expect a different treatment from them, but that’s another story, about engaging with your audience.

Manage Follow-Backs

One aspect of of marketing on Google Plus is followers base growth. In other words, the more followers you have the better exposure your content, your posts, and your company will have. Usually, when you follow someone they will follow you back, so potentially, every one of the persons you follow can be a follower. From this perspective you would like to know exactly who followed you back, and who didn’t, and with that knowledge, decide who to keep in your circle and who not, to make place for people who are interested about you or your business. This is a task that you can’t perform without Circloscope.

Circles Relevance

Your circles need to be managed for relevance as well. People you follow need to be in your niche, this is because that gives more relevance to your content, and because they are more likely to engage with content they know about. Don’t think about it as competing with webmasters in your niche, think about it as collaborating to increase the relevancy of everyone. Let’s say your niche is massage therapy, if you get engagement from massage therapists on a post, Google will immediately detect the authority of those engagers, and rank that post, and the linked content, and yourself as an author, or publisher better. So, following the right people is an important aspect of your marketing strategy on Google+. Obviously, this is a tedious task if you do it manually, but with a software tool such as Circloscope, it is so much easier.

 Circloscope – Circle Management Software

Circloscope is a Chrome extension, for Managing Google Plus Circles.

There aren’t many such tools on the market, in fact, I think this is the only tool that allows you to manage Google Plus circles. Circloscope can help you with these tasks and many more:

  • circle growth
  • connect with the right people, (find engagers, and influencers)
  • find event engagers, (targeted audience)
  • clean up circles, (easily find people who didn’t follow you, and find inactive people)
  • many, many more features in a dedicated article.

To get started with Circloscope go to circloscope.com to try their free gversion. For the full version follow this link: Circloscope Premium.

Google Plus for Business – A Must for Any Company on the Web

google+circlesGoogle Plus for Business Beyond Social a Must for Any Business

When Google has launched its new social media platform, everybody thought that this was going to be just another attempt to battle with Facebook and Twitter. Now after a few years since the launch in 2011, every business realizes that Google+ is not just another Facebook, it is way more than that, and not being on Google+ means self sabotage.

Google+ as A Content and Author Confidence Rating Platform

There is a lot happening behind the scenes, that Google won’t disclose, but SEO experts have analyzed all of the patents submitted by Google, and found a lot about their long term plans. They are planning to use their social networking platform not only for content rating, and for getting trust signals, they are also getting indicators of the authority of a web writer or a business. Google+ is a way to identify authors on the WEB, to rate and rank them, and a way to enhance the other online properties with this social layer. In fact, a Google+ profile and business page is a way to increase your website’s ranking, your website’s credibility, and a way to interlink various of your web properties, such as YouTube, website, a business page on Google, etc…

Google+ as A Content Rating and Ranking Platform

Google Plus is also a content rating platform, and this works like any other social media signals. The more vote for a content piece, the better the rankings in SERP. This is a very simplistic way to explain it, but in reality things are more complex. The number of plus ones will give a certain signal to Google, but as Matt Cutts explained, it is just a little piece of the puzzle, and social signals need to confirm every year to be taken in consideration.

Matt Cutts explained that Google’s attempts to use Twitter and Facebook signals were blocked, so they eventually stopped using these signals. However, plus ones will never be blocked, so it will always be a measurable parameter in rankings.

Furthermore, the resharing is probably the most rewarding outcome on Google Plus. A reshare is equivalent with a link to the content shared. Very simple to measure. More reshares, more backlinks.

What is very interesting, is that content liked and reshared will be pushed up in SERP for anyone in the circles involved. So Google+ authority extends onto Google’s search engine. If you get a plus one, or even better a reshare from an authority, someone with one million followers, your content will be displayed higher in SERP for that million followers. From that million followers, all the people who engaged with your post will push further your content to their followers. This is probably one of the best ways to market your content.

Google Plus Authorship and Publisher Tags

Google apparently already started to use its social media platform to get important signals about web content. Obviously, this is still a work in progress, and not all content can be rated on Google +, but most content can be rated. Besides the content quality rating role, Google + also serves as a confidence rating platform. Google authorship, implemented through rel=”author, is one of the ways Google gets its trust signals. The publisher tag is another important trust signal, and ownership verification, and this is specifically meant for businesses. It can complement the authorship tag, and it is regarded as ownership of the web content. If the publisher tag is present, it is assumed that the content belongs to a commercial entity, a business, and the author wrote that piece for the company.

Social Ads – The New Way to Advertise

Maybe it’s worth mentioning here that the advertising giant plans to implement a new way to advertise, and we can call this social advertising. No, don’t even try to compare to what Facebook does with their advertising. In fact Facebook’s advertising is far from what Google plans to do. The way this will work is by pushing ads through social authorities. Social authorities can push ads to their followers, or just ignore them. A poorly conceived advertising will not be pushed by anyone who respects their followers, so there will be a natural selection. If you look at the way Facebook advertises now, it’s just the opposite; they push any ad that brings some money. On the other hand, on Google+ good ads will look like regular content, and users will not be able to distinguish between regular posts and paid ones. Although this looks like something big businesses with serious PR budgets will benefit from, it is also a big opportunity for small businesses.

In conclusion, if you are not already on Google+ you have to be, the game is changing, and the sooner you get your Google+ business page setup, the better for your website.
For a technical person, with some social media experience, this page is a quick start to set up your Google Plus for a Business.