Starbucks & The Economist Admit To Using Google+ For SEO More Than Social

google-plus-featured Last Friday, a New York Times report on Google+ spotlighted Starbucks and The Economist as two brands currently using Google+ to impact search efforts. Alex Wheeler, Starbuck's vice president of global digital marketing, told The New York Times, "When we think about posting on Google+, we think about how does it relate to our search efforts." According to the The New York Times report, Starbucks has only three million Google+ followers compared to its Facebook page's 36 million Likes. The New York Times says Starbucks, "Updates its Google+ page for the sake of good search placement, and ta [...]

Google Debuts +Post Ads: Lets Brands Turn Google+ Content Into Ads On GDN

google-plus-logo Google has introduced its first monetization effort for its social networking platform, Google+. Rather than running ads directly within the platform, Google has announced a new ad unit called +Post ads, which allow brands to turn their Google+ content into expandable display ads. Those ads can then run across the Google Display Network. Brands can re-purpose pictures, videos, Hangouts and turn them into display ads within the Google+ interface. The ads are distributed on the Google Display Network, which claims over 2 million web sites Below is an example of a +Post ad from Toyota, an e [...]

How Google Plus Profiles & Pages Gain Search Authority

google-plus-featured At SMX East this past October, I gave a presentation titled, "Putting the SEO Power of Google+ to Work." The centerpiece of that presentation was a first peek at a study I'd conducted that seemed to confirm my hypothesis that Google+ profiles and pages gain authority for ranking in Google Search (and elsewhere in Google, as you'll see below) in much the same way regular Web pages do. In this article, I'm going to expand upon that presentation and lay out the full case. Profile Ranking Mysteries: A Personal Case Study I've been active on Google+ since its third day. Thanks to relationships [...]

What Everybody Missed About Hummingbird: Social Signals

google-plusone-featured Danny Sullivan joined me for a live broadcast event via a Hangout on Air (HOA) this past Halloween, and this included a major revelation about Hummingbird and Social signals. Scott Scowcroft has done an awesome job of extracting this part of the broadcast into a short, 5-minute HOA Nugget video (aka "The Scott Treatment") for me, and you can watch it here: [youtube][/youtube] To summarize, it appears that Google previously had major technical limitations with regard to the use of social signals as a ranking factor. With Hummingbird, Google now ha [...]

Google+ Discontinuing Saved Search, Asks You To Bookmark Searches Instead

google+saves-searches Google is quietly disabling the saved searches feature within Google+. For example, I have saved searches in Google+ for pictures that match the term [google] but now when you access it via the Google+ Circles drop down menu, Google returns a notice that reads: Saved searches are going away. Bookmark this page on your browser to save your Google+ search for later. Google then links you to a page that explains how to use bookmarks. This is not a major show stopper for me, but I assume Google wants to clean up the Google+ circles drop down menu. You can access any existing saved s [...]

Top Social Tactics For Search Marketers

SMX East - Up Close Logo When it comes down to social’s impact on search, it all comes down to three things: Trust, credibility and quality. This was a common theme throughout the Top Social Tactics for Search Marketers session at SMX East. As Google continues to penalize links, and search marketers shift away from traditional link building tactics, social is fast becoming the trustworthy and credible way to obtain quality links. Moreso, it’s a fantastic way to build brands, both personal and business. Finding Your Influencers Debra Mastaler kicked off the session with some great tips around influence [...]

Google Launches Hashtag Search, Shows Google+ Posts On Search Results Page

Google logo The integration of Google+ across Google properties continues in a big way today with the launch of hashtag search. Simply put, if you search Google for a hashtag, you might see Google+ posts using that hashtag to the right of the regular search results. Google's Zaheed Sabur announced the new feature this morning on Google+, saying that it's available initially for English language searches on both and The only posts that will show up on Google searches are those that were shared publicly, or shared with you (if you're a Google+ user). Clicking on one of the Goo [...]

Demystifying Link Disavowals, Penalties & More

disavow-links-featured [caption id="attachment_169618" align="alignright" width="269"] Google Webmaster Hangout[/caption] Findings from a recent Google Webmaster Hangout on Air (video) demystify link disavowals, penalties and more. Read on for the official word from John Mueller, Webmaster Trends Analyst from Google and friend to webmasters everywhere. First, Some Background Last month, I introduced Five Steps To Clean Up Your Links like A Techie. The commenters on the post had a lot of good questions, and I wanted to begin this month with a few clarifications. First, the development of that list was meant [...]

You’re Dead… If You Don’t Integrate Social Media & PR Into Your Local SEO Strategy

The peppered moth (Biston betularia), once white with black spots, faced a strange challenge in London during the Industrial Revolution. Buildings and trees, stained with soot, turned black. The light colored moths could no longer hide against this backdrop, and were eaten up by birds. But some peppered moths survived -- by turning black themselves! To survive, you must adapt and change with your environment. Otherwise, you're dead. That's the powerful lesson business owners, marketers and entrepreneurs can learn from a humble moth. The Times, They Are A-Changin' A major shift has tak [...]

“My Photos” — Google Now Lets Find Your Google+ Photos Within Search

google+photos Google now lets you search your private photos and the photos your friends on Google+ share with you. All you need to do is search on Google for keywords such as [my photos] or [my photos sunset] to bring up matching photos. You can even search for your friend's photos such as [danny's photos sunset] or [matt’s photos of food]. Note, Google explains that they use "computer vision and machine learning to help recognize more general concepts in your photos such as sunsets, food and flowers." So this appears like it will get better over time, as it is used more and more by searchers. [...]

Google Rewards App Developers Using Google+ Sign-In With Better Visibility On Google Search

Google+-App-Search What are the most popular activities done or content consumed by apps? Google's now bringing that information to its search results, assuming the app developer makes use of Google+ Sign-In, that is. Google+ Sign-in was launched in February as an easy way to let anyone sign into a site or app using a Google+ account. Now, apps that make use of the service will have popular activity or uses done within their apps shown in Google Search. These results will be front and center on the search engine results pages and are built to save clicks by highlighting popular content consumed within [...]

Google Downplays Google+ With Updated Authorship Snippet?

google-authorship-new-1366893396 Google has quietly changed the user interface for how they display the authorship snippet in the search results. The largest difference is that they removed the "more by" link that linked to additional stories written by that author. The other changes include that now clicking on the author's image and name will take you to a similar result set that you would have seen if you clicked on the old "more by" author link. I believe the author image and name use to take you to that author's Google+ page, when available. Now, the only way to get to the Google+ page of the author is to click o [...]

Google Consolidates Ad Preferences Managers, Now Called Google Ads Settings

Google has been rolling out updates to its Ads Preferences Manager, where users can adjust their account settings for personalized ad delivery, or Interest Based Advertising. The page is now succinctly called Ads Settings. The new Ad Settings page features a cleaner interface, but the main theme is consolidation. Now, instead of separate Ads Preferences Managers for signed-in ads on search and Gmail, ads on YouTube, and ads on the Google Display Network, there’s a single page containing them all. Users can opt-out of personalized ad serving on search and Gmail and on the Google Display [...]

Google Upgrades Its Google Places Dashboard With Google+ Local Integration

google-local-places-featured Google has begun a staged upgrade of its Google Places Dashboard -- the backend tool that allows local businesses to manage their business information that appears in Google's search results. A new dashboard that looks much more like the current Google (and Google+) aesthetic, and also offers some new functionality, will be available "over the coming weeks." It's the latest step in Google's (very) slow process of updating its business listings management from Google Places to Google+ Local. The consumer side of that switch happened last May, when Google's local search results and listings b [...]

Author Rank, Authorship, Search Rankings & That Eric Schmidt Book Quote

google-plus-authorship-featured Last month, an excerpt from Eric Schmidt's forthcoming book came out where he discussed how identity and authorship might be used to better rank search results. Since then, I've seen that widely cited as proof Google is already doing "Author Rank." It's not, nor was Schmidt describing a Google-specific system. But that could come, and Google's existing authorship program may be a part of it. Schmidt On Potential Future Of Profiles & Ranking The excerpt came from the Wall Street Journal, which quoted from The New Digital Age, the book due out next month that Schmidt has coauthored wit [...]

3 Predictions For The Future Of Google+ Profiles In Autosuggest

Google+ profiles have been showing up in the autosuggest listings in Google search results for some time. Now that we know this feature appears to be here to stay, it is time to take a closer look. Just to be clear about what we are discussing, let's look at a few examples. Here, we see an example of SEO Inc. CEO Garry Grant being featured. Google+ Profile Autosuggest Example [caption id="attachment_144489" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Garry Grant Autosuggest[/caption] Here is an example of my profile showing up, John E Lincoln. Google+ Profile Autosuggest Example [caption id="at [...]

Google’s Authorship Fail: How Truman Capote Was Credited As A NYT Writer 28 Years After His Death

rel-author-google-featured If you happened to do certain abortion-related searches in the past few days, you might've been surprised to see the late Truman Capote getting Google+ Authorship credit for an article from The New York Times. What makes it odd, of course, is that Capote died in 1984. He wrote numerous classics that showed up on the Times bestseller list but, as far as I know, he never actually wrote for the Times itself -- and he certainly didn't write an article that was first published in 2010. Capote also died a couple decades too soon to have a Google+ account, which makes this search result -- shar [...]

Google Starts Shutting Down Its City Pages, Shifts To Google+ Local

google-city-pages Google is in the process of shutting down its collection of city pages -- a change that follows the shift from Google Places to Google+ Local, and a change that may be reflective of a larger shift in direction for Google's local efforts. Mike Blumenthal noticed yesterday that the Portland city page had gone missing. The page used to be accessible at (which redirected to, but that URL now produces a 404 error. The same thing happens with some other city page URLs, like and Those pages were laun [...]

Google Starts To Downplay Zagat Scores; It Should Ditch Them Altogether

google-zagat-trash-featured Google is changing the way it collects local business reviews and displays them in search results, making the Zagat score a less prominent piece of information. That's a good thing in my opinion, and many people -- myself included -- hope it's the first step toward the complete removal of the Zagat system in Google's local business ecosystem. In a Google+ post yesterday, Megan Stevenson explains that review authors no longer have to use the Zagat scoring system and can instead just choose words/phrases like "Very Good," "Excellent" or "Poor - Fair" to describe a business. Here's Google's [...]

Helping Or Hurting: The Debate Over Google+ Local

google-plus-local-featured It’s been two months now since Google replaced Google Places with Google+ Local. The reactions thus far have been mixed: SEOs hailed it as a revelation for small businesses, while consumers were left scratching their heads over the new Zagat system. Google+ Local has the potential to be everything this column is about: the intersection of search (indexed local search listings) and social (integrated Google+ business pages). It’s a major update from the number-one player in the local search game: 97% of consumers say they research local businesses before making a decision, and Google [...]

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