This year, Google has made several changes that have significantly impacted search results. Specifically, they have made a significant transition from search engine results to social search results. In the past, to rank well, it was all about building a high volume of back links to your Website, or paying for traffic through pay per click (PPC). Now, there are two distinct changes to the way that Google provides search results. The first is how +1’s are displayed and the second is author rank.
Before we get into each, as an Internet marketing firm, we can’t emphasize the importance of maintaining a strong link-building campaign. It’s not a matter of abandoning link-building to take advantage of these new opportunities, it’s a matter of doing all three to get the best possible results – link-building, +1’s, and author rank. Internet marketing, from a traffic generation perspective, is truly about maximizing voice share (exposure) online, cost-effectively. And this still holds true with these recent advancements.
Let’s take a look at each change from a business perspective, starting with Google’s+1. Google, as well as other search engines such as Bing, have transitioned to personalization and social search. This means that your prospects search results differ for the same search term. When your prospect searches for a particular product, not only will they see the pages that have been optimized for through search engine optimization (SEO), but they will also see which one of their friends have +1’d a particular product. Not only does this impact the search results of your prospects, but it also impacts their click-through rate and traffic to the sites that are endorsed. So, how do you leverage the +1 enhancement? You perform the following three steps:
1. Set up a Google+ Project profile and add your prospects to a circle.
2. Add +1 buttons to your Website.
3. Produce and publish high quality content to maximize the number of +1’s.
If you’re interested in increasing your traffic, this is a quick way to start making progress.
The next area to take advantage of is author rank. With author rank, the author of content is simply associating him or herself to their content. This achieves two things. First, it provides clarity to Google regarding the level of thought leadership of the author as a result of the number of times that their content is being shared or +1’d. Second, Google provides a picture of the author adjacent to the search result, which influences the click-through rate. Again, having a direct impact on traffic. To take advantage of this feature, you have to add some code called a “rel=me” tag to your blog. We will get into this later this week.
The bottom line is that if you want to generate the most traffic possible, balance a strong link-building campaign with a high-quality social media strategy – with high quality content at it’s foundation.