It’s important to impress all of the Internet’s search engines because you never know where your next big customer will come from. But it’s even more important to impress Google because, at the end of the day, it’s the search engine that the majority of people use to conduct online queries.
In case you don’t believe me when I say that Google reigns supreme, I have the numbers for you.
Before we talk about how you can impress Google with things other than great web content, captivating web copy, streamlined design and clean code, you need to understand why it’s important to impress Google – after you impress your readers, of course.
Here are the numbers, which demonstrate Google’s trend of controlling the search engine market share in the past and present, and project a continuation of that control in the future.
So now that we’ve cleared that up, there’s another concern we need to address before getting to the good stuff. And that concern deals with the following question …
How do Google-Inspired Plugins impress Google?
For some of you, the answer isn’t as flattering as you may have expected it to be.
The truth is that Google-inspired WordPress plugins do NOT impress Google if you don’t have a following on Google+.
If you have a larger following on Facebook, you’ll want to investigate Facebook-inspired WordPress plugins. Or, if you have a larger following on a different social media platform (Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.), you’ll want to investigate WordPress plugins inspired by that platform. In other words, the WordPress plugins you have on your blog should be based on the platform where your market engages the most.
But back to the question of how Google-inspired plugins impress Google. And if you’ve been wondering what I mean by “impress,” I mean helping your website obtain higher rankings in search engine results.
Google-inspired plugins impress Google in two key ways:
#1) They Encourage Google +1s. Industry-respected research indicates that well-positioned pages in Google search share these social signals. The graph below shows specific social signals that high-ranking pages share, and includes information about other factors like word count, the existence of H1s, and keywords in body.
#2) They allow readers to share your post with a comment, which increases clickthroughs to your blog. Unlike standard comment plugins, the Google+ comment plugin (see the Google+ Comments plugin below) allows users to comment on your post and share their comments at the same time. The comment they leave is distributed to their social followers and a link to your post rides along with it.
This helps you bring in traffic because the colleagues, friends, and family members of the person who shared your post can then add unique value to it. The commenter also personalized it with their comment. This means that when your post is shared by a reader who comments, it’s more appealing for their followers to click through to your post. They can sense how much it impacted their colleague, friend, etc., via the shared comment and, in effect, want it to impact them the same way.
When I shared my post about evergreen SEO tactics on Webimax’s blog via Google+, it showed up like this to my Google+ followers.
If you have the Google+ Comment Plugin, this is how a comment would appear on your blog – much more impactful than a standard comment.
Note: There’s a chance you have an audience on Google+, but haven’t yet discovered it. To find out, do a Google+ Community search for topics related to your industry. If you discover an untapped market on Google+, start a series of new conversations and also focus on adding value to existing ones. And if you build up enough traction on Google+ after giving the platform a shot, revisit this post. Also, rest assured that you can have more than one brand of social media plugins on your blog – however, I recommend having no more than two.
You can see a great example of how two brands of social media plugins are married on Marilyn Moran’s blog – the professional blog of one of Webimax’s extremely talented project managers.
Now for the Good Stuff – The Plugins!
When installed, the Google+ comment box will be inserted above the existing comment section on your blog. It will look something like this (taken from M. Moran’s blog post on Mark Traphagen):
Note the easy opportunity for a reader to share their comment, along with your post, to their followers on Google+. It’s as simple as ticking a box!
The Google Plus Badge Widget is a widget that becomes accessible after you download and install the plugin. With this widget, it becomes incredibly easy to give your readers the opportunity to follow you on Google Plus — and after reading your awesome content, they’ll want to. Plus, it comes in one of two great styles and colors.
Note: The above is not Marilyn Moran’s alias! Guy Kawasaki is, in fact, a famous Silicon Valley author, speaker, investor and business advisor.
This produces a Google+ icon that follows readers down the page and gives them yet another opportunity to follow you. Having both this and the New Google Plus Badge Widget may seem like overkill, but we’ll leave you to your best judgment.
I hope you enjoy these new blog plugins and, by all means, if you have tips to help a blog better serve Google – and its readers! – please comment below.
The way we share content continues to evolve and people are always looking for new and innovative ways to present thoughts and ideas. While video has been around for a while, it hasn’t been extremely popular for SEO in the past. Previously, there was really no clear-cut way to optimize a video like you can for a blog post. However, in the past few years, more than 90 percent of marketers utilized video for content marketing. As a content medium, video can convey a lot more than words alone. It’s no coincidence that marketers have started worrying less about technical SEO and more about user-experience.
While creating video for marketing goals is all well and good, content is not worth much unless people see it. So how can you ensure that your video content is found?
This is where words still have their place, even in the realm of video marketing. Because the success of SEO relies so heavily on words, video transcripts can add valuable content and, therefore, further the video’s presence with search engines.
How Video Transcripts Boost SEO
Video transcription can give a little more detail than meta descriptions and video tags can. Because search engines crawl text, a transcript gives the search engines more to crawl, and also offers a better experience for the user. A video transcript is a natural way to fit keyword phrases in throughout a page – therefore, someone who is searching for exactly what the video provides will be able to find it. Transcripts are a great way to include many secondary and long-tail keyword phrases that are likely spoken throughout the narrative. Video adds a human element to the world of SEO and offer users a different kind of experience.
Statistics about Video Marketing
- 62% of Google universal searches include video. (Marketingland)
- Video is 50 times more likely to get organic page ranks in Google than plain text results. (Forrester Research)
- Video search results have a 41% higher click-through rate than plain text results. (aimClear)
- You can double your search traffic by having a video thumbnail in your search result. (IQ Visibility)
- People stay two minutes longer on your site if you have video. (ComScore)
- Posts with videos attract three times more inbound links than plain text posts. (Moz)
So while video marketing is a great, unique way to share new content, video transcription is needed to ensure that your videos are found. This only goes to show that while mixed media is a wonderful way to improve your marketing campaign, content still remains king.
For an SEO-enthusiast, checking Matt Cutts’ blog is not unlike checking the weather. You don’t have to do it, necessarily, but it’s nice to know which days you’re going to want to bring an umbrella.
Of course, the weatherman isn’t always totally accurate. There was that one time he called for a foot of snow and all we got was a drizzle.
If you’re one of those folks who like to stay on top of the SEO forecast, you’ve probably seen Cutts’ post last month called “The Decay and Fall of Guest Blogging for SEO.” It was pretty anxiety-inducing; it’s hard to hear, verbatim, that “if you’re using guest blogging as a way to gain links in 2014, you should stop,” right from the horse’s mouth. “Stick a fork in it: guest blogging is done”; Cutts goes on, “it’s just gotten too spammy.”
But I think it’s the next part that we really need to pay attention to: “In general I wouldn’t recommend accepting a guest blog post unless you are willing to vouch for someone personally or know them well. Likewise, I wouldn’t recommend relying on guest posting, guest blogging sites, or guest blogging SEO as a linkbuilding strategy.”
So, you mean, you wouldn’t guest blog without doing it right? Shocker. The weatherman might as well have told us that it’s going to be hot near the equator.
I have to disagree that guest blogging is “done,” “dead,” or “too spammy,” as Cutts argues. The fact of the matter is that, yes, spam is going to be spammy, but guest blogging is rampant with opportunities for those of us who truly want to reap the benefits. It’s all about doing it properly. Here’s what defines good guest blogging – a practice that, I think, will never truly die:
- Increasing brand awareness. Does your brand have a unique voice? Does your company have something unique to contribute to the industry? Is it entertaining? If you’re guest blogging on a site whose audience is well within your brand’s industry, and your blog post gives the audience something to remember your brand by, you shouldn’t have a problem.
- Being authoritative. Get your facts straight. Be thought-provoking rather than obvious. Use statistics and numbers to reinforce your points.
- Building relationships. Get to know the others in your industry, and collaborate rather than compete if need be. Build relationships with bloggers and see if you can pitch a series of blog posts rather than a single post. Use LinkedIn and Google Plus to get to know other people – people who want to give you guest blogging opportunities rather than people who need to be convinced.
- Give and take. If you’re not sure how to build relationships, start by trading opportunities. Let a name in the industry blog for you, once in a while.
- Not having your eye on the prize (links). Remember that links will come naturally if your content is good.
- Be an expert, not a guest blogger. Know what you’re talking about before pitching an idea; don’t do it the other way around.
And if you want to take guest blogging opportunities on for your own blog, use the above as guidelines to find quality contributors. Valuable guest blogging is all about building relationships, which goes both ways.
According to Moz, Google changes its algorithm 500-600 times per year.
Essentially, this means the landscape of the most popular search engine changes daily. And if you don’t live and breathe SEO, it can drive you nuts.
That’s why I’ve compiled a handy little list of search engine friendly tactics you can implement from here on out without worry. From now until the end of time – or the end of the Internet (God, please no!) – use these tactics to stay on top of your competition.
#1: Write for People. Not Google. Once upon a time, web writers wrote for Google in hopes of ranking higher, paying more attention to keywords than people. And their websites did rank higher – until they didn’t rank at all. Write with the intention of making an impression on people – not search engines – and you’ll never have to worry about the next Panda rollout.
#2: Build Rapport. Not Links. An outside link directed at your website counts for nothing if no one clicks on it; and the only time people click on links is when they form a relationship with the content. Once a relationship is formed, links in various types of off-site content (guest blog posts, Google+ posts, Facebook posts, etc.) become appealing. With rapport, links act as gateways to opportunity – not manipulative keyword-laden anchor text designed to traffic “link juice.”
#3: Give. Don’t Get. Take it from Bob Burg, author of The Go-Giver – a man who has acquired wealth and success through giving rather than getting. While Burg is not an SEO specialist, I think he would agree that giving information via online content and opportunities via social media contests are more effective than saying “please like this” and “please retweet that.” This falls in line with the first law in The Go-Giver, the Law of Value that states “Your true worth is determined by how much more you give in value than you take in payment.” Offer value and you’ll receive more “likes,” “tweets,” and “traffic” than you would otherwise. And in effect, the worth of your website will soar.
#4: Code Like a Minimalist. For search engines, the simpler the code, the better. This doesn’t mean your website should be bare text. Not in the slightest. People respond to attractive design and are more likely to stay on a pretty page than a bland one. What having simple code does mean, however, is having a page that only has what it needs to function properly. So, for instance, after doing some development work on an existing page, make sure you “sweep up” any code left behind from the previous design. It will make your page load faster and make your page as appealing to search bots as it is to eyes of your visitors.
#5: Use Google Authorship Everywhere. You would attach your name to an article published in print, right? So why aren’t you taking credit for content published online? If you write and publish content online, attach a face to pages that come up in Google’s search engine result pages (SERPs). One web content publisher reported a 35% increase in traffic after experimenting with his Google+ profile image – the image that appears next to your link in Google SERPs after authorship is added. Thirty-five percent. That’s monumental.
Now, as I reflect on this list after reading it just like you have, I realize some things:
- I realize search engines – specifically, Google – is more human than ever.
- I realize webmasters with hearts void of “rank seduction” are the masters behind websites listed on page one of SERPs.
- And finally, I realize manipulators will perish and people-focused people will prevail.
It all sound so human, right?
Which is why I can’t come up with a cheesier and more honest way to end this post than to say, “Go human, or go home.”
Moz, creator of popular SEO tools like Open Site Explorer (tracks links pointing to websites) and MozBar (ranks websites’ authority), does more than create amazing tools that make the lives of website owners and online marketers easy. Moz also hosts an amazing resource that helps you understand every important Google update and algorithm change made since the year 2000.
If you already know Moz, you may already be familiar with the resource I’m about to spill. But if you don’t know Moz, or just use it for its awesome (partially-free) SEO tools, you’re going to love me for sharing this with you:
With the Change History tool, Moz provides a history of Google updates and algorithm changes from 2000 to present, offering brief descriptions and one or two links to highly informative articles on the subject. These articles are by trusted sources like the Google Press Blog, Search Engine Land and Moz contributors themselves.
Read through this entire list and I guarantee you you’ll become more Google savvy than 90% of people who own and operate websites. Do a little each night or breeze through it all in one sitting. Trust me, the investment of time is worth it if you’re serious about getting found on Google and understanding the search engine landscape better.
And rest assured, this isn’t a boring list. Google, as a company that’s passionate about delivering the best search results, has quite a number of updates that will amuse you and, at the same time, make you feel good about relying on it so heavily.
One update I came across that made me especially proud to be a Google freak was the “Payday Loan” Update. This update targeted the Internet’s “spammiest” queries – those related to payday loans and pornography. According to an article by Search Engine Land, “this update impacted roughly 0.3% of the U.S. queries, but went as high as 4% for Turkish queries where Web spam is typically higher.”
And with an average of 5-plus billion searches per day, that 0.3% accounts for about 150 million daily searches.
Right now, you may be asking “Rob, why didn’t you just share this Change History via Twitter, Facebook and Google+? The link to the Moz page would have sufficed.”
Well, for one, I love talking to you; and two, I also wanted to share this handy Google Search Timeline with you.
In my opinion, if you’re interested in learning the most you can about Google in as little time as possible, this chart and the Moz Change History are the only things you need to study.
Learn more about Google and, in turn, rule the web more effectively. Remember, Google is how you get found. So it’s worth investigating how you get found (repeated phrase intended).
I’ll admit, I’m getting a little hungry thinking about the impending Thanksgiving holiday, but that’s not the [entire] reason I’m writing this blog post.
Think about this: a turkey takes all day to cook. I mean, you wake up at 8 AM to put that bad boy in the oven, and then you have to torture yourself for hours smelling the unfinished product. When it’s finally done, the last thing you’re about to do is throw away the leftovers. Who wants their hard work to go down the garbage disposal? So, for the next two weeks, it’s gobblers and turkey soup aplenty.
And no one really complains about gobblers or turkey soup because, come on, they’re delicious.
I promise I’m going somewhere with this.
When you write a really good piece of content, it’s kind of like a Thanksgiving turkey. You put a good amount of effort into it, and you’re going to make the most out of it – right? Because if you aren’t, you should. There’s no guarantee that when you write a really well-researched, informative, and/or interesting blog post, you’re going to get as many pageviews as you’d want on it. There’s no reason you should call it a loss, especially if it’s something you think your target audience would want to know.
I was writing a blog post about the essential ways to winterize your home for a client who does HVAC installations and repairs. It’s getting cold out there, and their prospective clients probably want to know how to winterize their homes to save energy and keep the house at a comfortable temperature. If they missed the blog post, they shouldn’t miss out on the info! So, here are a few ways to make leftovers out of perfectly good content (without, of course, plagiarizing yourself).
- Revisit old posts on social media. A few days, weeks, or even months (if it’s still relevant) after you write a good blog post, don’t be afraid to tweet about it again for anyone who might have missed it! A simple tweet or Facebook post reading, “It’s cold today! Don’t forget to check out our blog post on winterizing your home” works perfectly. I’ve seen a lot of companies do this, and I think it’s a great idea.
- Link to old blog posts in new ones. If you mention something in a blog post that’s relevant to something you wrote before, then link to it!
- Make an infographic. Perhaps your followers skimmed over your post because it was too lengthy. Infographics are fairly easy to make (see what I did there?), they’re eye-catching, and they help to organize content in a fashion that’s easy for readers to absorb.
- Make a slideshow. Similar to making an infographic, slideshows are great because they organize the content and make it easy for a reader to find what they’re looking for. Slideshare is a great tool for this because people can search for your slideshow and you can even put tags on it.
- Make a video. I could have easily made that blog post on winterizing your home into an informative video to spread it across more social channels and appeal to an audience who prefers a different type of media.
- Make an e-book, PDF, or whitepaper. Even if your readers don’t want the information now, they can save it to their computers or tablets for reference at a time when it might be more useful.
Do you repurpose your content? What methods do you use?