Similar to the idea that I had in my blog, Don't just SUGGEST the blog, G+ it & get them additional SEO rankings, Debbie reminds us that we should pop into Google Plus and give a +1 to posts by our friends and collegues. I think it is a great idea. Remember, Google wants to know that we are social in SMM circles, not just that we have a profile.
First, let me caveat this by saying I'm not a huge social media fan nor user. Frankly, my time is limited, and I do try to find efficient ways to leverage these platforms. I do know they can help my business by reconnecting with my customers/sphere for higher top of mind awareness, but usually my blogging takes priority - it is a key business generator for me (in fact my largest).
I tend to use Social media to amplify my blogging efforts (and I leverage hootsuite to do this efficiently).
I'm probably not using Social media in the most effective way, but I am using it in an efficient way, and that's what's right for me at this point in my business, especially given my strategy and priorities. I know there are a lot of ways that I can improve and increase my usage, but usually I consciously choose NOT to do this given that I have to run my business at the same time.
Second, let me admit, that I'm not an SEO nor social media expert. I'm simply an avid learner and you can take what I say with a grain of salt.
Third, let me state that I believe Content is King and always will be. I believe that Google is constantly in search of better means to prioritize the better content (and if you remember this principle, really" the more things change, the more they stay the same" (remember A Separate Peace?). As a side note, I keep hearing/reading Google is contantly changing, but in my mind it isn't...it's just optimizing with the same objective in mind. And, yes, the tactics will shift but their objective for the best search for the most relevant content won't. As our behaviors change (think about how prominent social media has become) and as spamming/junk stuff goes out there, they are simply adapting the tactics to still find the best content. Is it perfect? No. Is it always fair? No. Will it always make sense? No.
So given that Google (and other search engines) are trying to prioritize content, it seems that they are leveraging social media cues to figure out which content is best/better. So, if an article is shared, tweeted, plussed, liked, etc they seem to recognizing that. I'm sure this is not the main factor (as the content/key words would most likely be, as well as links), but this adds to the pie (and often creates links, even if they are no follow). After all, if more people like and plus something, it's probably better (as a general rule). If people find it relevant enough to share, reblog, link to or comment on, it's even better. (BTW, I've heard that getting more comments on your blog posts also helps, regardless of whether that is on your Active Rain blog or a Wordpress/other type of blog)...so comment away. In general, the more activity the better, and the more diverse that activity is, the better too (at least I would think). That diversity can come from different types of social media (and/or websites) and more people. The more you have, the more likely that it is legitimate and the less likely that it is faked.
So, of course, start with good content. That is priority #1.
From there, I would recommend broadcasting (not spamming) your content on the social media platforms, esp G+, FB, LI, Tw if you can. Read the post listed above about hootsuite for an efficient way to do this.
But over the last couple of months, the latest "ah ha" has been around Google +. It seems that of all the social media, Google is placing the most emphasis on Google +. No surprise there, given that this is one of Google's properties. What I've seen and read is that they are indexing the updates on Google + and when you have more Plusses on your website/blog pages and Google + updates, they seem to be prioritized in searches. When I look at some of the results for google searches (even when I clear my personal results), I see updates from Google plus. Some of those are mine and it's giving me an extra line on the SERP's. Also, I often see my picture next to my blog posts and it lists how many circles I'm in (I'm in 1,088). My guess would be that if you are in more circles, you are a more trusted source - both by google, as well as by users/searchers. Theoretically, this would should lead to higher placement and more click throughs.
So, it seems that it would be good to post status updates on Google +, and good to have more people add you to their circles (which is probably driven by having good content and to some extent following others), and good to get more plusses. Also, I've heard that your content tends to be prioritized on the SERP's among those following you when they are searching.
While I had been remiss in using Google + more, I was energized by some fo the posts I read here on Active Rain. I've been using more frequently over the past 2 months, trying to post 1 update a day, and it is either a link to a blog post on my website or to AR. (AR has made it super simple - just click the +1 button above the post an voila you are done. You can add a 1 liner if you like. Sometimes, I'll +1 someone else's post on here and sometimes I'll even share it on Google + so I mix up my updates.
I created my own AR circle on Google + and probably most the people I follow on there are from Active Rain, and many are following me. I noticed a few of them had +1'd some of my posts, so I started to return the favor. Now, everyday, I'm going in there and adding plus ones to 3-4 updates (often of AR members and especially for updates I find helpful). It's quick - less than 1 minute. Probably in total, I'm spending 2 minutes every day w/ the combo of posting and +1ind and reading a couple of interesting things.
So, it got me thinking that maybe we can all help each other by +1ing some of our posts (either on AR or on G+ or both). What do you think?
Here's my advice on how we can help each other:
1. If you don't yet have an acct, sign up (even if you don't use it much).
2. Find other AR members. Here's a link to my Google + acct. Feel free to follow me, and I'll follow back (if I know you). Then, look at the people I'm following...chances are you will recognize a lot of them (245 of the 418 people I'm following are from AR). You can easily click and follow the ones you know.
3. Try to post 1 status update daily. It can be the blog post you did or one that you read.
4. Plus 1 some of the updates of your friends, if the updates look good/interesting. If we all do this, we will all collectively help each other. You can either +1 on google plus or right here on Active Rain (or both).
5. If you visit someone else's website and you like it, +1 them.
Those are my thoughts for the day!
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