A run down of the recent changes being made to Google and how you can use them to your advantage.
The Internet is buzzing about all of the new changes coming to Google search. Facebook, Twitter and dozens of other social media sites are in a collective uproar, racing to find a way to fight back. But it’s just you and your WordPress blog. Maybe you have a Facebook or Twitter account. Maybe you even have a Google+ account. Now it’s time to take that extra step. 65% of all searches are on Google (U.S.). Like it or not, these changes are going to affect you. The good news is you can use them your advantage. And the sooner you start the better.
What’s This All About?
Basically, Google made three significant changes to its search functionality. The first is called personalized results, results tailored to your interests and the interests of your friends. The second is profile search, an easy way to see your friends’ Google+ profiles using the Google platform. The last is related people and pages. A sidebar has been added to Google search results that offer up Google+ profiles that match your search, as well as comments and posts from your friends. At the center of all these changes is increased integration with the Google+ platform to make searching a more interactive and collective experience.
What Can I Do?
Unfortunately, if you sit idly by and passively observe this modification, your blog may suffer the consequence. Lucky for you, WordPress is pretty SEO friendly out of the box and with a few simple steps you can get on the right track. The first thing you should do is create a Google+ page if you do not already have one (Click here to sign-up). Your interests and activities will be very important, so add interests that relate to your blog content and audience. Don’t try and include everything, but make sure that each section is filled out with at least a few. Reach out to any friends you have with a profile and add them to your circles.
You’ll also want to let Google know what blog(s) you are contributing to, so they can match up your profile with search results. To do this, click on edit profile. You will see a contributor box in this section. Type in the name and URL of the sites that you write for. Make sure that your contact info is completely up to date.
If you have a blog with multiple authors, you will want to create a Google+ page for the blog as well. That way all of your authors can join your blog’s circle and Google will have a clearer sense of how everything is connected.
The Right Tools
Your final step will be to complete the circle and integrate your blog with Google+. Chances are you’ve already been engaging with social media, adding like buttons for Facebook, Twitter and Digg or providing links for your audience to follow you on these sites. You should definitely tack on a Google 1up button. Plugins like WP Socializer or Simple Likebuttons make this a fairly painless process and connect your blog to the most popular social media sites.
There are also some other plugins that may help you out. You can pick and choose which is right for you, but they will help build your Google+ exposure.
- Google+ for Page: Add a simple badge to your WordPress posts that allow users to easily add you to their circles and view your Google+ profile.
- WPGPlus: A new plugin that is gaining some traction will post your WordPress posts to your Google+ page so your followers are always updated.
- Google Plus: A kind of all-in-one plugin which will add Google+ buttons, easy access to your profile and a list of who is following you, and a Stream which will show your recent Google+ posts on your blog. You will need an API to make this work, which you can sign up for here. It’s a little more complicated than the others but is very robust and expandable.
A Little Help From Your Friends
The bottom line is, the bigger your audience, the more likely you are to be paired up with relevant searches. Still, you never want to put all of your eggs in the same basket. It’s best to diversify and reach out to readers who share your interests on several different platforms. It’s always better to engage with devoted fans then accumulate a mass of passive ones. Think of this as an opportunity, Google+ is just another way to get a little help from a massive online community.
Don’t forget to join RichWP on Google+!