For most people, putting time into meticulously crafting all the elements of a social media profile is a task that only falls into the purview of a full-fledged social media campaign. However, as Google+ has gained steam, the impact of profile pages have expanded.
This is mostly because of AuthorRank – an unverified ranking signal that bears resemblance to PageRank, except that it measures the authority and influence of an individual author, rather than that of an entire website. Similar to increasing your PageRank for SEO purposes, there are advantages to increasing your AuthorRank.
One of the key methods for increasing your AuthorRank is optimizing your Google+ page. Originally, tying your content back to your Google+ profile was simply a means of establishing AuthorRank for yourself. However, as the signal has grown in complexity, even more factors of AuthorRank are tied to Google+. The stronger your Google+ profile, the better your Author Rank. As you go about crafting your Google+ profile, keep these points in mind:
By focusing more effort toward optimizing your Google+ profile, you’ll be able to increase your relevance with Google as a web-author. The initial set-up may be a bit time consuming, but once it’s done the content you produce will be able to reach an even wider audience.
Customizable URLs have become a common staple on social media profiles. However, to the dismay and confusion of many, custom URLs have been conspicuously absent on Google+. Just how could the kingpin of search think that something like this:
is user or search-friendly?
It looks counterintuitive to Google’s mission as a search engine and awful to SEO experts. But, there is some method to Google’s madness. Custom URLs on Google+ present a potential privacy issue. Since Google+ is tied to almost all of Google’s other services, a custom URL could provide hackers and spammers with enough information to cause a problem. With the debacle that was Google Buzz, it’s no wonder the search giant is treading with caution.
In addition, domain-squatting is a potential problem that could negatively impact users, companies, and search results. Unscrupulous people could snap up several custom URLs, potentially driving traffic away from authoritative sites and/or creating conflicting search results.
In light of the issues, Google is being careful. Currently, custom URLs are available on Google+, but they come with some catches. First, custom URLs are in closed beta right now. Only profiles that receive an invite from Google can use a custom URL. Second, Google chooses the URL. But, if you have been invited and you don’t like the URL Google has selected for you, you can request a change.
Google has stated that custom URLs may become available to everyone in the future, but as a paid feature. It may be worthwhile for some companies, especially as pages and posts from Google+ continue to play a larger role in search results.
If you’ve explored Google+, whether from your personal account or the one you are using for your business, you’ve probably noticed the “What’s hot” button in the left-hand navigation. What is “What’s hot?” It’s another Google algorithm at work – selecting the most popular posts from across Google+ and compiling them into one place.
Currently, the “What’s hot” algorithm doesn’t take any personalization into account when displaying results. Although many of the posts may not be relevant to you, there are still the benefits of discovering new, interesting things and seeing what types of content are drawing everyone’s attention around the net.
That second point is important. The marketing benefits of getting your content featured as “hot” are great. You gain the potential of having your content seen, shared, and interacted with by the entire social network – even people who don’t have you in a circle. Being featured can definitely be considered a viral success. So, to appear in the feed, you must cater to user interests.
Google does not divulge what specific factors can push a piece of content into the “What’s hot” feed. However, a little observation and common sense indicate the piece has to have the makings of popularity. Nearly every single piece of hot content has an accompanying image and several comments. They also have lots of +1’s, as well as shares (although, these amounts may be skewed by appearing in the “What’s hot” feed – which will dramatically increase +1’s and shares just from sheer visibility).
By creating image based content that engages your users and invites a rapport with them, you increase your chances of appearing in the “What’s hot” feed. Monitor popular trends, and give your spin on it. As with all things SEO, quality content that considers the end user will win the day.