Author’s Note: Before I lead you to believe I’m the most maniacal Google fan boy around, allow me to explain that’s not the case. In fact, I prefer Zoho Mail (one of our integration partners!) and Dropbox to their Google equivalents.
There’s just no denying that the assortment of Google products and services effectively makes Google the bee’s knees when it comes to search. In this article, I’m attempting to highlight some points relating to how Google services can be used in concert to gain an almost unfair advantage when it comes to building a business through search relevancy.
Trust. Reputation. Authority.
These concepts have long been the framework on which most of our society is built. They explain why we are inclined to value the opinions of people like Deepak Chopra and Stephen Hawking, since it is easy for us to identify such established, informed people as being trustworthy.
You’ve worked hard to reside among the best in your respective field, becoming an expert voice of authority on that field. It’s with that voice of authority that you’ve surely generated some content and put it online, in an effort to grow your audience and raise awareness of what you do.
Meanwhile, every spammer and scammer in the world can pump whatever nonsense they want to — often relating to your field — and sometimes get ahead in search rankings, obscuring your infinitely better content.
For your content to be able to stand out in relevant searches, you have to infuse your content with verifiable authority and proven reputability. And with the new upgrades to Google, it’s not just about keywords and linkbacks.
So how can your business tweak the system to make sure your content appears relevant and authoritative? Let’s look at how you can use Google services like Google+ and Author Rank to boost your page rank while making it look oh-so natural.
But Google+ is just a Facebook wannabe, right?
As far as the lot of us are concerned for social media, Google+ may never be as cool as Facebook. But it cannot be ignored. Google+ has eclipsed Twitter as the second biggest social network in the world. You have Twitter, right? Wouldn’t the recent shake up mean that Google+ should be a higher priority than Twitter?
The biggest selling point of Google+ is that it’s got a direct link to the most important search engine in the world. And let’s face it, the other search engines are just kidding around compared to Google.
Google+ has more than 359 million users as of now. Though admittedly that doesn’t mean they are active users, but that they at least have a Gmail account that gives them an auto-Plus account. But, anyway, that’s not the big number.
The number to really think about is the number of Google searches conducted last year alone: 1.8 trillion. So it’s easy to see that, anything you can do to get ahead in Google search results, is a good thing.
That’s where Google+ gets a lot more interesting. (Even, perhaps, unwarrantedly powerful.)
Enter: Google Authorship
“Within search results, information tied to verified online profiles will be ranked higher than content without such verification.” – Google’s Eric Schmidt, The New Digital Age.
If you’ve searched Google recently, you may have already noticed Google Author Rank at work. When you search, you sometimes see little pictures of content authors appearing next to search results.
This Google authored content has a much higher click-through rate than plain text search listings, so you want to work towards having your content do the same thing.
Using Google Authorship, the search engine will rank each piece of content based on the perceived authority of the person who uploads the document. This can be either an author, in the case of a blog post, or an agent of a business or organization, in the case of an infographic created by a research team, for example.
The first thing you need to do is set up your Google+ account (or create a new one) for Authorship. You can also link your Google accounts and digitally-sign content published under linked personas. Google will look for your byline across the web, to make sure it trawls and indexes all of your content. After you’ve taken the steps to do that, you can start exploring and learning just how powerful Google Author Rank really is.
Once you’ve taken care of that, here’s what you’ll be able to do:
Associate content with your Google + profile
Share the content you write via Google+
Appear more favorably in Google search results
See your picture next to search results
Each piece of ranked content is then digitally signed by its creator and, when trawled by the Google’s search algorithm, will add to your authority on a given topic, eventually improving the rank of your content.
If you have extensively published articles about the topic of startup incubators, your portfolio of articles will help your pieces rank higher in related searches.
What’s being said and why it matters…
Some pundits, like Bill Slawski, are speculating that Google’s new Author Rank functionalities will soon replace SEO as the go-to method of advancing content in the digital realm, but who can predict what the all-mighty Google will do next?
The one certainty at this point is that your content will definitely benefit from having your picture next to it, and a higher search rank elevates your status as an authority in your field, meaning that all sites you post your content on — like your company blog — will have higher Google-ability.
Plus, all this focus on authority is in the spirit of improving the quality of the web experience for everyone, while excluding some ne’er-do-well spammers in the process (and the web is filled with those).
If you’re at all concerned about search, the sooner you get on-board with Google+, the more effective your content will be.
Search, words, understanding
Google is so big that it’s able to affect the nature of search from multiple angles at once.
While Google is pulling content into Google+ with Author Rank, it’s also tweaking and refining its mobile search tools, particularly Voice Search.
What’s it all about? The answer is: it’s about helping the search engine have a better understanding of human input, trying to increase the relevancy of search results.
In the past, the keyword phrase has always been the most important — as far as search-engine-optimization, or SEO — way to grow your business through web search. But now it’s about more than words. Google search is now using device data and geo-location to personalize search results for the individual searcher.
If, for example, you search for “technology industry public relations,” you’ve always been able to get SEO-optimized results based on that query. Now, if you search for that from a mobile device in a café in Manhattan, you get results from a boutique marketing firm with expertise in that area, right on the island.
So how does your content get there, like that marketing firm? First, you’ve got to support your content with another Google service, Google Places, so that the search engine understands what you do and where you are. This is especially important for B2C businesses that are more localized, but certainly there are many B2Bs like accountants and lawyers that also tend to have localized client bases.
You can see how connecting your Authored content to your site and putting forth a steady stream of reliable, relevant content — that’s still rich in keywords relating to your field — will aid you in getting discovered by those search users closest – and most suited – to you.
If you’re starting to get the feeling that Google’s various tools play off of each other, you’d be totally correct. While Google’s traditionally billed most of its offerings semi-independently, the company is streamlining more and more.
Another example of this is that when someone “+1” your content, it raises that search’s Google-ability. You and your Google Authorship are then given even more authority because your piece could easily become the top-ranking piece on that topic.
Are you using Google to win bids?
Whatever it is that you do, chances are you possess a wealth of knowledge and experience about your respective field. You’re probably actively posting content that shares that knowledge and experience.
But if you’re not using Google+ to cultivate the trustworthiness and authority of the content you put on the web, you’re missing out on one of the most powerful search tools to ever come around.
If you want to open up more chances of writing proposals that win, build trust with your customers, grow your sales, and improve your relevance in your marketplace, Google+ is a great asset.
Likewise, Google Authorship may prove to be the most important thing to happen to search since 1998 – the year Google search first hit the scene.
What’s your take on Google’s stranglehold on search? Do you recognize (or wish for) a less, shall we say ominous, set of tools? We’d love to hear what you think in the comment space below.
Photo: The New Yorker