Danny Sullivan posted a link on his Facebook about an interview he did with Google’s CEO Schmidt, mostly about the official launch day of “Search Plus Your World”, the latest update Google does in meshing up search results by heavily relying on Google+ signals in this new ranking algorithm. I’ll touch just a bit on all the dust that’s up now regarding this new update, and only then we’ll get to discuss what’s Google+ got to do with your business.
So what’s the big deal about this Google+ update?
As usually, there’s tons of technical coverage every time Google burps, so what I won’t be doing here is rehash the articles from Marketing Land, Search Engine Land and so on. What business owners need to know for Google+ and it’s use in ranking algorithms is well summarized by a single sentence that Amit Singhal wrote yesterday on his Search Plus Your World blog post:
We’re transforming Google into a search engine that understands not only content, but also people and relationships.
Ok, I said I won’t get technical, but I have to, just a bit. Google had to find a way to reliably measure social impact and social connections between people, so that they can use these signals in the ranking process that first got active with the Personalized Search feature. Since the official stand on Twitter is that they don’t allow Google to index twitter.com, and Facebook is off limits to Google’s crawler, Google had to find a way of owning some social data.They tried with Google Buzz and failed, and now they’re pushing Google+.
So, Eric (CEO Google) says this, Mark (Facebook owner) says that, Danny (SEO wizz) summarizes all that in several blog posts, then everybody else copies Danny’s ideas and soon we get a ton of buzz on the net. But there’s a whole different world beyond this fog over who said what and why. The world of business and how you and I, the business owners, can and should benefit from all these changes.
Google, Twitter, Facebook, they’re all business enterprises, with rich PR departments. They won’t lie, but they’ll definitely not disclose their business strategy and why they’ve made this and that. So going beyond the press releases, the business reality is that they’re all in this for the money, and they are competing over the same 7 billion people. The pie is not infinite. Whoever gets ahead of the pack gets the reward, and that’s the way the world plays.
Now then, after the noise of tech stuff and some speculations on who’s doing what and why, let’s dive on to the real question for you and me:
Why your website needs a Google+ button?
Humm… where do we start?
OK, say you just launched a new product or service, and you want to put the word out on the Web thinking the more people hear, the better your chance of selling tons of it and retire next week. So you write up a blog post, and then you place a link on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, the whole bunch. Then, you feel that you haven’t done enough, and do yet another twitter campaign, tweeting different 140 characters only to get the link out there more and more. Who can blame you?
Then Google comes along and discovers that Twitter/Facebook has tons of links (no-follow ones, mind you) and says Hey, look how many times this site is mentioned on Twitter. It’s a no-follow link, but heck, I love discovering pages, so let’s see what the big deal is” and voila, you got the social buzz going (it’s not that easy, but bear with me for a bit longer).
The big difference is that Google+ won’t let you Plus a link more than once. It’s like an Election Day, each web page is a voting box, and you can only throw in a single vote and that’s it. So on Google+, even if you want to get a buzz going, you can’t do it yourself. You’ll need real people with real Google+ accounts to come to your website and hit the Plus button.
In a relatively simple way, Google now has an elegant way of measuring social impact (finally) of every single web page. If Page A has 10 pluses, it means ten people like it. If Page B has 100 pluses, it means a hundred actual individuals liked that page. Now if both Page A and Page B have excellent content, if they both have keywords in the Title, URL, keywords are sprinkled in the text where they need to be, and if both pages have about the same incoming links, logic dictates that Page B will be ten times more likely to rank well in comparison to Page A, thanks to the large amount of Google Plus votes.
The beauty of Google+ is that:
- It can’t be faked
- It can’t be inflated by several eager twitterers (spam-proof social gauge)
- Since it’s a one-timer, one vote is one vote:today, tomorrow and to all eternity (or till Google dumps Plus)
This makes things easier for both Google and us, the business owners.
Google will be at ease knowing spammers can’t easily cheat because they need actual people for every Plus. Imagine how difficult it will be for those shady SEO companies to pitch a service “we will provide 5000 Google Plus votes for $5”, as they so readily do with regular links.
We’ll be at ease knowing that if our content is good, we link up internal pages properly and thoroughly, and our clients Plus us today, we won’t get into a position to lose SERP positioning so easily. In this way, even new pages with excellent content will have the chance of outranking dinosaur-websites that rely mostly on “the good ol’ days”.
I’d say, finally, there’s a promising strategy to do away with unlawful competition when it comes to ranking.
Instead of a conclusion
- go and update your site with a Google+ button,
- tweak your content for SEO
- tweak your content to be more reader-friendly
- fine-tune the flow of the product pages to make it easier for visitors to interact with the content
- make sure the texts are useful to your existing and potential clients.
The dividends of doing the right thing rather than cutting corners and hoping for the best are now, more than ever, guaranteed.
Don’t forget to vote with a Plus
If you need any help, we’re here to help: