30 Hands On Google Search Plus SEO Techniques for Getting Personal
Image above: I'm only ranking at #113 for [seo] in "people and pages" but some of my best friends are around me
While everybody was writing posts what the new Google personal search aka "Google Search Plus Your World" means for SEO I almost started to write one about what Google Search Plus means for SEO 2.0
Then I decided to be more conservative and just summarized a few common sense hands on SEO techniques for Google Search Plus and personal search results.
Neither personal search or social search is new to Google. It's just a huge leap forward this time after it has been a bit neglected in recent years.
Google+ and +1 are part of the main motivation behind this new move. Also, the so called link economy where many webmasters are buying links to game Google is the target.
Google wants to know who you are and what you like in order to ensure that low quality web sites do not get the attention they sometimes mistakenly still get on Google search.
We have to understand first that Google Search Plus has a two tiered approach. You get still in a way organic results where personal/social search results are mixed in prominently and you can click on the "personal results" link below the search box to see solely your own search results nobody else sees in that way:
Everybody who is logged in into one of the manifold Google services will see the the new personal search results sooner or later. Logged out users will get some very broad suggestions too. They mainly see suggested profiles on the right of search results:
To really use this feature you at least need a Google Profile and a Google+ membership
if you ask me. Then you need to have some people connect to you via Google+ or other services you are using with the notable exception of Facebook it seems. These services have to be linked on your Google Profile to count.
What more can you do?
- Connect other sites - Link all your other profiles and sites even less obvious ones like Friendfeed or WordPress.com
- Describe yourself - Your short "Occupation" description on your profile matters a lot it seems. Also your latest "Employment" seems to have a big impact. Mention your keyword here.
- Claim authorship - Use the new authorship markup by Google and link back to your Google Profile from your blog posts or respective bio below.
- Use images on your blog - Images on my blog that are properly tagged show up in image results. Michael Gray's images do perform even better, they come in second even when I'm logged in
- Share images on Google+ - Images shared on Google+ rank as well quite obviously
- Upload images to your profile using Picasa - Your profile image but also other images uploaded to Picasa perform very well
- Practice image SEO - Consider common sense image SEO best practices like understandable file names instead of numbers.
- Use on topic circles - Create topical circles on Google+ - I write mainly about SEO, blogging and social media thus I created these three circles for examples (and a few more).
- Use Google+ actively and frequently - Activity counts, even feeding in Twitter updates automatically, pages and profiles by active people show up much higher
- Encourage feedback - Feedback like comments and shares is very important, some profiles with more controversial posts with lots of comments show on top
- Make many people add you to circles - The number of circles you are in counts, Danny Sullivan is in 300k circles so ends up being the suggested user for SEO despite listing at as only one topics he deals with
- Make sure you're in the right circles - The names of the circles you are in counts as well so when you are selling SEO use the term to describe yourself not many others
- Let people link to you on profiles - The number of people who connect their profile to your site is a factor thus make your employees link, this is one of the reasons the guys from Dejan SEO ranks so well.
- Participate in social networking - Socialize with relevant people who are on your level. I don't expect Danny Sullivan or Rand Fishkin to +1 my posts, I will +1 theirs from time, but I focus on people who are into SEO etc. and have enough time to read my posts as well.
- Share circles - You can create and share circles with other people. They can add all of the people at once.
- Use buttons - Add a +1 button to your blog postings. I use the WordPress extension by Pleer SEO.
- Write about Google+ - Blog about Google+ your profile, your page and what's going on there.
- Use a badge - Add a Google+ badge to add you to "your circles" in the sidebar for example.
- Call to action - Ask people to +1 your postings with a little call to action in the last sentence and display the button below.
- Check shares - Monitor who shares your postings on Google+ using Topsy and add these people to your circles.
- +1 quality and popular sites - Clicking +1 is a double edged sword. Your authority influences the things you vote up but also the sites you +1 are influencing your reputation. Vote up crap nobody else likes and you get less influential on Google as a whole not just Google+ They call it Agent Rank. I'm afraid by quality sites they mean mostly popular sites so you have to +1 main stream sources not only high quality niche sites.
- +1 sites you often use - To see the sites you really like on top you simply have to +1 them. The more you +1 them the more likely they are to appear on top.
- +1 your own sites - I don't like this as I prefer other people to vote for me but it seems you have to vote for own sites and articles. It seems Google doesn't dislike self-promotion unless of course your won sites are the only ones you push.
- +1 what's on top - To get more exposure on other people's results it seems you have to +1 what's already on top in organic search. A woman I follow on Twitter linked to the Wikipedia definition of SEO on her private blog and now I see her on top of my search results. I had to look up who she is, she doesn't even follow me back.
- Add keyword to name - Use your keyword in the Google+ page description. Point Blank SEO ranks better than just Point Blank of course when it comes to [seo]. The Point Blank SEO team does not only rank because of the keyword, they have a hugely popular Google+ baiting post but it surely helps.
- Update frequently - It's crucial to update your page regularly. You know Google loves content, it's their business model that you provide free content for them so they reward those who do provide it. Also people like me do not follow empty pages unless they trust the source already.
- Socialize using your page - Companies can follow people on Google+ and +1 updates it seems. They can comment and share like any other user.
- Use keywords in titles - It seems post titles with the keyword mentioned more than once rank better in personal results.
- Use common words - You can optimize for common words again. When I search for car, house or even love I see personal results but most of them are not relevant, they keywords may match but in most cases the whole update may be completely irrelevant to me. So it's good to provide a few updates using these simple terms if you care for them.
- Share off-topic - Do not only share work related content. Google+ is not like Facebook, you don't have to share baby and per photos all the time but some occasional beauty and humor is great to make people happy and encourage engagement I've noticed. It's better than just talking about SEO.
Thanks Niall Mackenzie for screenshots he provided for this post
These are just common sense SEO techniques for Google+, the SEO 2.0 part of it starts when engaging with people. This is a bit tougher and can't fit in short list items easily. I think I will elaborate on it in the near future. I'm still testing and trying to find out myself what's it all about.
I'm looking forward to it. I'm glad that SEO 2.0 has become main stream finally. You can't ignore it anymore. Social media participation and outreach from now directly affects search results. It's about time. I've got used to it in 2008 already when I added StumbleUpon to my search results. Google+ integration is even better.
You can't be a bot anymore.
Get personal now. +1 this post if you like it and join me on Google+!
Also please share more techniques on how to optimize for the new Google Search Plus Your World in the comments.