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.