Whether we love or hate social media, we can't help but admit that it has a huge effect on traffic generation, link building, and search engine placement.
The point I am going to make in this post is something that I haven't heard other bloggers talk about and if they did, I missed it.
That could mean one of two things:
- I need to stay on top of my reading better.
- I am brilliant and came up with something no one else did… hmm, doubtful…
Google Personalized Search
As we know, Google is moving more and more towards what they call a “personalized search“.
It basically boils down to the fact that no two people will ever see the same Google results for any given search.
Besides the fact that the search results are influenced by which one of many Google data centers you are closest to, they also track your location, who you are friends with, what you had for breakfast, what kind of floss you use…
Well, I might be exaggerating a tad with the last two (not for long though), but let's talk about the “who you are friends with“.
Social Connections Influence Google Results
When you perform any type of search on Google, the results you'll see will be largely influenced by who you know and are connected to across different social media platforms.
Example: I was doing research for a client the other day and looked up “start small business” as a keyword.
This keyword happens to be quite competitive with about 114M results and online giants like SBA.gov and Entrepreneur.com ranking at the top.
Yet as I scrolled down, I saw a listing from Gail Gardner of GrowMap.com.
Gail and I happen to be connected on pretty much all possible social networks and that's why Google assumes that anything she shares, as you see highlighted in the image above, might be of more interest to me.
If I perform the same search using Chrome Incognito function (or if you are a FireFox user, they now have a similar options under “Tools” ==> “Start Private Browsing”), which is just about the only way to disable all the personal preferences and get as close to an unbiased search as possible, she is nowhere close to the first page.
A quick search on SEMRush.com confirms the same.
But for the fact that we are connected through social media, I would've never seen her blog listed under that keyword.
Google Plus optimization does matter!
The only logical conclusion is that the more people we are connected to via social media networks, the better our chances will be to show up in their personalized results.
Don't get me wrong though: this doesn't negate the fact that our followers should still be TARGETED.
If I am connected with tons of people who don't own and are not planning on setting up a website, then showing up in their search results does my business no good.
Let's quickly take a look at the possible ways we can connect with more people on the three major social networks: Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus.
Get More Facebook Friends
(Image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/a-loucreations/4366583325/)
Facebook has always been restrictive as to how many friendships you can request per day and for a good reason – it's hard to spam their system.
As of right now, you are allowed to be connected to the total of 5,000 people and that INCLUDES friends and pages.
So you really need to pay attention to the quality of your audience.
Here are my suggestions on how to “spread the net” on Facebook (originally published in this post on how to get Facebook traffic):
1. Implement Facebook “Like” buttons both at the top and the bottom of each post – preferably with the little thumbnails.
2. Add Facebook Comments plugin (I had it on my site for a while, but noticed that it slowed down my site a bit. In the light of the stats above, I am willing to give it another shot, this time tracking the FB traffic a little closer than I was before).
3. Always respond to Facebook comments left on your blog in the same manner you would to a regular comment. Even more so, since the potential for your comment to be seen by so many eyes is exponentially greater.
4. Be more engaging with your Facebook followers by asking questions (“Would you…?” format works the best), changing things up a bit by posting videos, pictures, etc.
5. Use @Tags (works pretty much like Twitter @Mentions) to give credit, acknowledge, thank, etc.
6. Institute a day when you fans can promote themselves on your page in some fashion, for instance: “Share Your Blog Monday”, “Promote Your Business Tuesday”, “Share Your Twitter Account Wednesday” – you get the idea.
7. Give away a free gift to your FB fans exclusively.
8. Chat live with your fans using Clobby Chat.
10. Involve your fans by asking them to help you with your future content creation or a product – this is referred to as “crowdsourcing”.
Get More Google Plus Followers
There are several things you can do to avoid adding people manually – as much as possible anyway.
1. Add Google Plus to Your Sidebar
GoogleCards is just one of many Google+ wordpress plugins.
It adds a widget to your blog that will display a link to your Google+ profile so people can add you to a circle (follow you). It also displays your name, profile picture and the number of people who have you in circles.
2. Export your Facebook friends
This used to be easy with a Chrome add-on. Unfortunately, Facebook decided it didn't want to share your friends' contact info with Google Plus and the add-on was shut down.
Of course, where there's a will, there's a way.
The new “work-around” requires you to use your Yahoo! email account as a go-between.
Tip: I am sure you don't really want all these contacts to linger around in your Yahoo! contact list after the export. You can easily delete them by going into “Contacts” and changing “View All Contacts” to “View Last Import“. Check all and delete.
3. Export Twitter Followers
The best solution I found for exporting your Twitter followers is to use Export.ly.
You can also use the same service to export your FB friends.
Since I did mine the Yahoo! method, I can't vouch it'll work, but I don't see why not.
Word of caution: Google Plus has currently set a limit on how many names you can import at a time at 4,000. So if you have more Twitter followers than that, you'll have to manually edit your CVS file: delete extra contacts or separate them into different files.
4. Read Kristi Hines' “Ultimate Blog Promotion Guide”
Everyone knows Kristi Hines from Kikolani.com. She made it her business for everyone to know her.
And then she shared with us what exactly she did to become one of the most recognized bloggers online in her “Ultimate Blog Promotion Guide”.
The good news is that Kristi just released the 2nd edition of the book to include changes to the world of promotion including Google+, Facebook Timeline Profiles, the new version of CommentLuv, and advanced Google Analytics strategies for measuring results, in addition to the strategies for the top social networks (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and StumbleUpon), email, instant messaging, and more!
So… she added more information to the already incredible resource, and THEN she dropped the price on it. Go figure, right?
In other words, now is the best time to pick up a copy of Kristi's infamous “Ultimate Blog Promotion Guide” at a greatly discounted (not for long) price.
Google Plus Pages
I am sure you've heard that Google finally rolled out their business pages. They now allow any business, brand, or non-human entity to create their own business page.
I just started mine, by the way, and would love it if you honor me by adding Traffic Generation Cafe to your circles.
Of course, there are plenty of opinions on Google + fail.
But if you ask me, if you are still not using Google Plus, you should.
Take a look at my Google Plus tutorial to get started.
Get More Twitter Followers
I think this post is getting a little long as it is.
You may or may not know that despite the fact that I really don't like Twitter much, I still drive tons of targeted Twitter traffic back to my blog from it.
Between my 6 Twitter accounts, I have about 130K followers and hundreds more join me every day.
To learn more about what exactly I do to attract so many Twitter connections, you'll just have to come back and read my post on Wednesday.
Update: here's the link to my post on how to get more Twitter followers fast.
There's strength in social media numbers.
Google knows it and uses social media data (particularly your connections on Google Plus) to serve up more personalized results.
Are you staying on top of yours?
Love it or hate it? Comment to show me that you're alive!