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.
Gone like a home run – not into the abyss.
Recently, I came across two great articles by Neil Patel, co-founder of KISSmetrics, and Brian Gardner, founder of Studiopress. They both had one word in common – LONG. They also confirmed what I already believed to be true: 1) long form content dominates search rankings and 2) long tail keywords promote higher quality traffic.
Long Form Content: Brilliant When Necessary
When Neil Patel says long form content converts more than short form content, he’s talking about high quality web content. He’s talking about a page that powerfully expounds on one specific point – not a page that’s unfocused and comes across muddled. Remember, even though Google is a machine, it’s a damn smart one.
More Quality Content = More Social Signals = Higher Rankings
Google is smarter than ever because it now reads social signals. That means the more tweets, likes, +1s and other social shares that your page has, the more authority it receives in search engine rankings.
And guess what receives the most social shares? Long form content.
In Patel’s article about content length, he uses one of his own famous blogs, Quick Sprout, to test word count’s effect on social metrics. To do this, he took the 327 blogs he’s written for the site and separated them into two categories: 1) blog posts under 1500 words and 2) blog posts over 1500 words. He then took the average number of tweets and Facebook likes received in each category and made a handy graph.
After crunching the numbers, Patel concluded that his posts over 1500 words received 68.1% more tweets and 22.6% more Facebook likes than his posts under 1500 words. This is just one small example, but it’s consistent with others I’ve come across during my time as a content writer at WebiMax.
Think about this: Google gives high quality long form content an advantage over high quality short form content published on the same day (assuming that each hosting website has similar authority). Because long form content ranks higher, more people are bound to look at it — and because the quality of the content is high, more people are likely to share it. This means higher rankings.
Recent evidence that the use of long form is growing: Google’s recent launch of in-depth articles.
Long Tail Keywords: It’s as Simple as Adding “What Is”
If you use any keyword tool, you’ll see that shorter terms have more competition and longer terms have less. Because the tools show that WAY more users are searching for the shorter terms, people are often tempted to try to rank for these.
Unless your website has superior domain power, however, it could take years – even decades – to rank on page 1 for a short, specific term.
You read it right – decades.
For this reason, SEO companies and web whizzes like Brian Gardner are targeting long tail keywords – keywords three words or longer. In Gardner’s article about long tail keywords, he confirms something that I discovered during my time working for a local BMW performance shop in Manayunk, Philadelphia: adding something as simple as “what is” to a popular term can have amazing results.
My own experience: As a marketing assistant at the performance shop, I developed the company’s content marketing strategy by using old school SEO tactics. I would write articles and post them on every article directory I came across: Ezine, Sooper Articles, Article Snatch, and others (recognition of my SEO ignorance at the time).
One day, I wrote a post on walnut shell blasting – a practice used for cleaning the intake valves of vehicles. Before writing it, I looked for a keyword using Google’s old Adword Keyword Tool. “Walnut Shell Blasting” had high competition, while “What is Walnut Shell Blasting” had very low competition.
Long story short, I added the “what is.” Now you can find my Ezine article about walnut shell blasting at #1 on Bing. I imagine if I posted the piece on the company’s blog instead of on multiple article directories, it would have been close to #1 on Google, too. However, as you probably know, Google has very strict duplicate content rules.
Gardner’s experience: A while back, Gardner wrote a post on email marketing – its definition, how people use it, etc. Like me, before writing it, he did some research and found that he had a better chance ranking if he added “what is” before “email marketing.” As he expected, Google rewarded him with highly targeted traffic.
When Gardner wrote his article on long tail keywords, he noted that “what is email marketing” ranked #14 on his keyword referrals list for Google Search. Pretty impressive.
According to Gardner, “the majority of searches performed are of the long tail search variety. Rather than typing in a generic word or two and sifting through pages of results to find what they’re looking for, searchers are much more likely to type in longer phrases to immediately find the specific information they need.”
Evidence that the use of long tail keywords is growing: SEO companies like WebiMax are focusing on long tail keywords’ enormous potential for highly targeted traffic to increase rankings for new and existing clients.
Imagine the online recognition that could be achieved by combining long form content with long tail keywords.
Vast like the abyss. Awesome like a home run.
It was pitch black back then. But after joining WebiMax and expanding my copywriting skills, I began to see the proverbial light.
I look back at what I wrote then and what I write now and I notice a major difference in the quality and tone of my writing. Before it was good. Now, it’s better than before. And the most exciting part is it will continue to improve as long as I continue to pull from the great resources I’ll be discussing below.
I’m convinced my improvement as a writer resulted mainly from one thing: the wisdom and information in the newsletters I started reading a little over a year ago.
Benefits of Reading these Free Online Newsletters
Taking a few hours out of your week to read them will help you to dramatically improve your writing and business skills. You’ll also become more passionate and confident when the time comes to exercise your opinion. Topics covered in these newsletters include:
• Traditional copywriting and SEO copywriting
• Traditional marketing and Internet marketing
• The business of giving a lot and receiving more in return
• Perseverance, consistency and passion
• Healthy living for a healthy business
I believe that 20% of people are truly passionate about the industry they’re in. The other 80% are either complacent, apathetic, or wishing they were somewhere else. I’m confident that reading these newsletters will make you part of the 20%, if you’re not already part of it.
Whatever percentage you’re part of, find comfort in these newsletters. As you’ll learn, they’re rich with experience, intelligence and a genuine concern.
The Best Online Newsletters Currently Available
Copyblogger is the authority in content marketing. The company that specializes in producing content marketing software and other valuable marketing resources started out as a little blog about 7 years ago. The founder, Brian Clark, wrote two blog posts a day about the importance of content marketing. Eventually, Copyblogger became an empire and defined the true value of having a blog with fresh content.
In the Copyblogger newsletter, you’re going to get the latest on content marketing, social media marketing, SEO and more. In addition to receiving updates every time a new post is published, you’ll also have access to 13 free ebooks that individually dissect topics like landing pages, keyword research, email marketing and SEO copywriting.
Early to Rise
The Early to Rise newsletter is released every weekday morning around 7 a.m. like clockwork. You can always expect it and always expect it to be great. Craig Ballantyne, copywriter and self-made entrepreneur, is the editor of the newsletter. He writes about 1 post per week and brings in professionals in various industries for the other days.
The writing styles these newsletters employ have had a huge impact on my writing. Their content makes me a better businessman while their style makes me a better writer. All newsletters are clear, engaging and concise. I especially love when Bob Burg posts. He writes about the benefit of giving and how it applies to business.
Leo Babauta is an author, minimalist and deliverer of peaceful practices. The ZenHabits newsletter has over one million subscribers.
The truth is, a lot of us lose track of what’s truly important when we start following our dreams. Business and passion can make our minds race and hard to slow down. With the posts on ZenHabits, Babauta makes you stop for a minute and reflect.
He believes in simplicity and contentment and succeeds in helping you find it. Take a break from the biz, relax, and simply enjoy being present. Life is good.
American Writers and Artists Inc. (AWAI)
Mark Ford, the copywriter and entrepreneur who started Early to Rise, also created AWAI. I briefly mention my experience with AWAI in my previous .
Nearly every day, AWAI brings in a professional to write a single post or a series of posts about copywriting, freelance writing, graphic design and other marketing topics. If you’re trying to make your own in the freelance biz, definitely subscribe to AWAI’s The Writer’s Life newsletter. You’ll get amazing deals for awesome courses and news about upcoming conferences and events.
However, if you’re just looking for amazing content, go directly to the AWAI article library. I’ve learned so much from reading these. If you’re an aspiring copywriter, I recommend you read every post by Michael Masterson (Mark Ford’s pen name).
Comment about your favorite places for fresh content in the comments section below and let me know what you think about the newsletters mentioned above.