[Music Cue: “Getting To Know You”]
Google is first and foremost a SEARCH ENGINE. It’s primary motivation is always the quality of search.
With Google+, Google inches closer to the semantic web – or Web 3.0 – we’ve been told to anticipate. In a semantic web world, Google will take what they know (or presume) about you to deliver to you search results they think you will find more valuable. No longer will the search results only be the highest ranking sites for the keywords, or questions, you put into the search box. Now, Google will take everything they know about you, add this to their indecipherable, mythic algorithm and return search results tailored to you personally.
If you haven’t told Google exactly who you are, they are going to make assumptions. If Google thinks you are an 80 woman from Sweden, who loves embroidery, you are going to get a very different set of results on “how to grow tomatoes” than if you’re a farmer from Iowa or a PTA mom in Fresno. The first might be hoping for a few juicy fruits in a pot, the second considering a whole new crop/livelihood and the third a possible Spring fund-raising campaign. Can you see how different those perspectives might be? It’s not useful to show the little old lady all about tomato crops, and then force her to scroll through pages and pages of search results to get to just “put the seed in a pot of decent soil, water every day and stick it by a sunny window”…in Swedish!
1. Fill out your Google Profile, fully, with pictures (from Picasa) and videos (from YouTube) [both Google products, btw]
2. Put your business onto Google Places, literally put yourself on the map!
3. Connect with people via Google+, and chat authentically, as you
4. Create a Google+ page for your business and for each of your products
5. Connect the relevant Google+ page to its website with the Google+ code (via Direct Connect)
Not only will you get better search results for yourself, but your sites will rise in the rankings. That was your primary goal anyway, wasn’t it? They know that, and so Google, apparently, are making it worth your while. In early testing (by folks like Hubspot) sites that had the Google+ link and code on their site received 3.5x more traffic than those who just couldn’t be bothered… with one more blasted social network, for goodness sake!
There is another advantage.
Google is rather like Korean Automakers, watching and improving what’s already there, and delivering the next version at a better price. Thus, Google+ Pages takes Facebook Pages one step further and enables targeted messaging by circle. The Google+ version of lists is Circles and for your personal profile, you can put anyone in your circles whether they follow you or not. (It’s a kind of suped up GoogleReader idea.) On your page, people have to like you/plus you/acknowledge that they have an interest in your page, and then you can put them into individual circles. Once you have accomplished that, you can then target your messaging to each individual group specifically. So, that annoying guy from the Deli who puts his Daily Sandwich into everyone’s stream whether they want it or not, can now just send it to those who truly want to know, EVERY DAY, and the noise can stop for the rest of us!
Some other things to keep in mind:-
2. Remember to put your main keywords in the opening paragraph of your Profile and use the link feature to link to specifically relevant work – that you have produced – for each one. 2 reasons – i) the keywords then come out in blue and so are highlighted and ii) you get to plant a good backlink. [Consider linking to a particular blog post or product as opposed to just a landing page or squeeze each time.] (This is called “deep linking”, btw.)
3. Always put your links in the Recommended Links section on the right hand side, but notice that the label (or descriptor) only allows 12 – 18 characters or so. That means you have to be creative titling those links
4. Put 5 Photos in the photo film strip, and make sure that they are visual product descriptors, with a litle of you mixed in. (unless you’re a model or actor, of course!)
5. I’m told you get better “credibility and ranking” if you drag in your photos from your Picasa folders and that the photos need to be uploaded to a Picasa folder 24 hours ahead of when you pull them across onto the Google Page. I have yet to confirm that nugget, and so present it without proof
Google+ works best with photos and videos. (They do own Picasa, Picnik and YouTube after all!) Whenever a quick photo will tell the story, put it in on Google+.
Build your circles strategically. Where your Facebook might now be out of hand and your Twitter following filled with 000s of people you don’t know, consciously and deliberately build out your circles with which thinkers or leaders you want to keep track of, who you’d like to talk with (not “to”, you notice!!) and who are real friends. Keep them separate, so that your messaging can use the targeting features to the fullest extent.
(PS – where did I get these nifty Google + Icons — they all came from the fabulously talented Max Rylski .. for whom I should be an affiliate, for sure!)