As you all likely know by now, regardless of disputed active user rates, comparisons to Facebook, and other controversies surrounding Google’s social network, it’s not going anywhere. It’s staying put and it’s going to affect our lives as internet marketers, no matter what we do or say. Google has decided that this is the way search will be in the future – more socially oriented – and we all need to adapt to that to remain relevant in this industry. With that being said, let’s talk some more about Google +.
Google +: Ever-Changing, Ever-Evolving
Since the advent of Google +, many changes have occurred in the space. First, author pages and the rel=author tag came about, allowing you to prove your authority and your authorship for your blog posts (and possibly show up in the search results as such). Then, Google + for brand pages came out, and there was a frenzy as businesses recognized the need to get on the new social network, and get there fast. That frenzy is justified, as Google recently announced a whole new social search, using Google + information.
In light of this newfound importance, we have to remember the basics. Remember when Google + Brand Pages first came out, and there was talk of “Direct Connect”? Here’s a little reminder, in case you don’t: Direct Connect is useful for brands because users can simply type in [+brand name], and the Google + page will come up. Users can Circle brands right away via Direct Connect and connect with them immediately.
Google + Badge: Rel=Publisher
Way back then, the Google + badge was available for those sites that wanted to be candidates for Direct Connect (it was a limited roll out). Many companies, however (especially smaller ones), opted not to use these badges for whatever reason. Maybe it was because it was too new, or because they felt they had no chance at getting the Direct Connect activated. Well, whatever the reason, those who do not have this badge would be wise to implement it now, as it utilizes a rel=publisher tag that connects your website and content to your Google + Brand page. It’s another method of establishing authority, like the rel=author and rel=me tags are for Google + personal pages.
As you can see, getting the code for the badge is easy, and you can customize the look of it.
More in Google +: Ask Your Network, Use Your Nickname
Ask Your Network
Search Engine Land’s Danny Sullivan reported on something Google seems to be either testing or slowly rolling out within personal results: the prompt to ask your Google + network about the query for which you are searching. I’m not seeing this on my search results, which is what leads me to believe that Google is simply testing out this feature or taking its sweet time to roll it out to everyone. If you click on the option to ask your friends on Google + a question, a box pops up that has a pre-written message starting with “Hi there! I have a question about….”
This is an interesting addition to a very fresh phenomenon of Google + seeping into the search results pages with personal search, or “Search Plus Your World.” I’ll be interested to see how people respond to this, and how Twitter and Facebook react to the news that even more exclusivity is being granted to Google’s social network.
Use Your Nickname with Google’s Blessing
You can now use your nickname or pseudonym when signing up for Google + (which you have no choice but to do when signing up for any Google service), a long-time coming resolution to an oft-complained about issue. Many bloggers and personalities who worked under pseudonyms were having trouble connecting with and engaging followers and fans.
So, now on Google + you can add a nickname next to your actual name or you can change your actual identifier to your nickname; if your name is flagged as inappropriate, there is also now an appeals process (which requires documentation or other types of proof that you are who you say you are and that you actually go by this name). The downside? Apparently, your nickname may carry over to your use of other Google services, like Gmail.
Looking to learn more about Google +, or about social media in general? Curious about interactive marketing, specifically Search Engine Optimization? Check back with our blog for regular updates about news and phenomena in the online space, as well as for free tips and information. If you have questions that are more specific to your business, give us a call at 770-481-1766.