Entities in the Google Knowledge Graph Search API for Google

The Google Knowledge Graph Search API on a query for Google shows the following Entities and results scores for them. I thought they were diverse enough to be interesting and worth sharing. A couple of the ones listed seem odd, such as the Indian Action movie. “Thuppakki” and the Town in Kansas,”Topeka.” (It seems like there is a song titled, “Google Google” in the film Thuppakki, and in 2010 Topeka renamed itself “Google” to try to attract Google Fiber to the area.) We are told by Google that “Results with higher result scores are considered better matches.”

Google “resultScore”: 292.863342
Google Chrome “resultScore”: 51.392109
X “resultScore”: 51.392109
Googleplex “resultScore”: 44.052853
Google China “resultScore”: 30.75222
Google Lively “resultScore”: 30.75222
DoubleClick “resultScore”: 29.141159
GV “resultScore”: 28.957876
Thuppakki “resultScore”: 28.693569
Google Store “resultScore”: 26.077885
“Google Japan” “resultScore”: 24.272602
DeepMind Technologies “resultScore”: 24.115602
Topeka “resultScore”: 23.718664
Rich Miner “resultScore”: 21.961121
Google Capital “resultScore”: 21.048887
Google Hacks “resultScore”: 21.003328
“Google Korea” “resultScore”: 20.818398
Barney Google and Snuffy Smith “resultScore”: 20.384176
Verily Life Sciences “resultScore”: 19.65727
Patrick Pichette “resultScore”: 19.614473

I’ve asked a couple of Google Webmaster evangelists if they could provide more information about how results scores are calculated, and I’m still waiting for answers from them.


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5 Awesome Design Hacks to Create Highly Shareable Social Media Graphics

Have you noticed how visual social media is these days? It’s not just about text updates.

Everything has an image, graphic, or video. But there’s a reason why. Visuals grab us like nothing else. In fact, our brains process visuals about 60,000 times faster than text. It turns out that an image is worth more than a thousand words.

But what do you do if you’re not an artist? A lot of us find design time­ consuming, or just plain hard to do.

Well then, do you hire an artist? But what if your budget isn’t big enough to justify that added expense?

Take a deep breath. You’re about to enter an alternate universe where design comes easy to you, it’s free (or painlessly affordable), and it’s repeatable. Ready to jump in? Let’s take a look at five design hacks that will make your social media content engaging and sharable.

1. Stop using so much text

Hey, I love text. I’m using it now. But the thing about text is that it can get really overwhelming really quickly. The point of using visuals is to let colors, shapes, and textures do the heavy lifting.

Whether you’re making a visual post for Twitter, Facebook, or Pinterest, don’t allow the words to crowd out the image.

For graphics that support your blogpost, I’m a big fan of using the text to reiterate title of your blogpost. Then, pin that graphic to the top of your blogpost. This will give your readers a hint that they can share your visuals on their social media platforms. Plus, since you have the title on the graphic, it’s even more enticing. Here’s a couple of examples:

Images via Christian PF, Holly Meyer Design, and Ann Marie Loves

As seen in these examples, when designing with images always place your text within empty copy space. This will make your type easily readable, easily digestible, and ultimately more sharable.

Don’t be afraid to add social share hovers on your images, either. A subtle way to do so is with WordPress Image Hover Lite.

2. Use high quality stock photography

Remember – the quality of graphics you promote on social media are are a reflection of your brand itself.

So, what pay off does a high­ quality stock image serve? Well, human beings tend to have an attractiveness bias – we notice, like, and will click on things that look nice, and what’s nicer than a beautifully shot stock photograph to complement your content?

A good stock image not only grabs you consumers’ attention, but it can also boost your brand’s credibility and professionalism. Not that many people are going to trust a brand that uses grainy, awkward and cheesy images, especially not when competitor brands use stunningly cheese-free stock images.

But don’t be put off of the idea of stock images by telling yourself they’re too expensive, because the day of overpriced (and badly shot) images is gone. Now, there’s plenty of high quality, beautiful photos in every category imaginable. And they cost anywhere from $1 to free.

Sites like Pexels, Unsplash, Life of Pix, and SplitShire are really changing the free stock photo game.

And these images are not low resolution either. In fact, most are huge, ready for commercial use (always check first, though), and most importantly for smaller budgets like mine: free!

Now, there’s really no excuse to settle for crappy images that don’t represent your brand in the way that you love.

3. Use a range of visual content

There’s no doubt that visual content is the most powerful way to engage fans on social media. But they don’t want to see the same thing over and over again. How to solve this problem? Create a variety. Here’s four types of strategy:

Quote graphics

Quote graphics help your fans connect with the meaning and message of your brand – not just your product.

Another reason people love to share quote graphics is that if they can relate to them, they’ll be motivated to share the thoughts and inspiration with their friends. Experiment with bold and strong vs light and minimalistic to create a series of quote graphics your fans won’t be able to resist.

Infographics.

Storytelling is one of the most compelling ways to engage your audience with your brand, and infographics allow you to do this in a visually captivating way.

Why World Vision Pinterest Board

Consider how charity World Vision do this on Pinterest. By creating a visual narrative that reflect their brand mission, their fans have an incentive to share the graphics when supporting various causes. This is a great example of how large chunks of data can be used in a compelling way.

When designing your own infographic, always make it easy to scan with facts and figures organized in a logical way. And use colors to communicate directives like, “hey, this is important” and use plenty of icons to tell your visual story.

Screenshots.

If a customer has a question about doing something, why not take a screenshot to answer a FAQ on your social media page? Or use screenshots to give a sneak peek on something you’re working on. It makes the fan/ follower feel like they are getting exclusive information.

Also, chances are if you use a screenshot wisely to help explain, exemplify or demonstrate something, people are going to hit that share button. Visual guides can make life so much easier and quicker to understand, so if you give consumers that “Aha!” moment, they’re going to want to share that with others.

Photography.

Show off your photography skills. Whether you’re on Instagram or Twitter, a great way to bring people into your world is through your own photos that you snap. With all of the great apps available through smartphones, you’re able to take photos on the fly and share them with your audience just as easily.

Photos are also, of course, super shareable, have a look at any social media page, people share millions of photos each and every day. So, if you take the time to create some stunning, insightful or interesting snapshots, they’re going to make the rounds.

Don’t have the exact photo you need? Check out this article for 74 free stock photo sites for stunning images like this one from Unsplash.

If you’re creating a large amount of visuals for social media, set up templates to make the process as quick and easy as possible. The more painless it is for you to create the graphics, the more you’ll have for your fans to share.

Use templates to maximise your workflow

4. Tap into visual trends

Are you afraid that your visual content won’t look hip enough? Here’s my secret: Pinterest research. Pinterest is my favorite place to search for visual trends because it’s a visual medium. It has everything from quote cards to infographics. You can also use Pinterest to discover what graphics are resonating with the audience by its number of re­pins.

Of course, you should never copy the visual content exactly. Instead, think of what exactly appeals to you about the image and what common elements all of the most pinned items have.

Take a look at this example I pulled from Pinterest:

Which quote are you drawn to? What stands out the most? Is it the font, the background image? Do you like the colors?

Notice how the middle pin has almost 18,000 repins. It’s simple black and white, with no background image, and it works because of the message is about not sugar coating. Also take note that “but never” is visually emphasized.

Remember graphics don’t need to be complicated to be impactful. In fact, the simpler the better. The current trend is to strip away any elements that compete with your message.

So, if you keep your finger on the pulse of visual trends by using networks like Pinterest to deconstruct these trends, you’ll be creating trendy, attention­ grabbing and super shareable content in no time at all.

5. Brand your graphics

The point of creating highly shareable social media graphics is to drive people back to your site. Unfortunately, I come across untraceable graphics all the time. There’s nothing worse than finding an informative graphic, and wanting to get more information from the publisher, but not knowing where it came from.

Don’t let this happen to you.

Make sure that you always, without a doubt, add a watermark to your graphics. And no, it doesn’t have to be an obnoxious, full color logo sticker. A simple link to your website towards the bottom of your graphic will answer the need for branding.

Also, don’t forget about templates. No matter if you’re using quotes, infographics, photographs, or other elements, be sure to create a template for the sake of consistency. When you follow a graphic template, your followers will instantly know it’s you without having to see your name (but you should still add your name anyway).

Consider using the same font type and size, the same emotional message (happiness, silliness, charity), and similar filters for all of your visual content. With a template, you won’t forget what font you used, and you’ll have a stronger visual impression with your audience.

Here’s a few examples to consider when developing your visual branding template:

Color Palettes: What is your brand about? Is it young and friendly? Consider vibrant colors like orange or yellow. Is it about trust and dependability? Make blue your stand out color.

Define and use these colors in your fonts and your image borders. Here’s a few color palettes to inspire you:

Font Combinations: Take two or three fonts and mix them up for visual interest. There’s no right or wrong font combination, unless you use Comic Sans (which is always wrong), but try to go with a combination of Serif and Sans Serif fonts. Here’s what I’m talking about:

Filters: If your color is wonky or you just want to add a romantic flair to your photos, filters can enhance and elevate. Adding some carefully selected filters can highlight and add a nice touch to your original images, making them twice as appealing and shareable. Take a look at what we’re able to do with one photo using four filters:

Filters are also a great way to create consistency with your branding. Creating and applying your own filters to all of your graphics gives you more control over the images for a more defined brand personality.

It’s your turn.

Which one of these design hacks will you try in your social media campaign? Come on, it’s so easy, you’ve got to try at least one. Let us know in the comments below.

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The state of PPC conferences in Europe

I have just come back from Heroconf London, the PPC event held by Hanapin Marketing in Europe and Marketing Festival in Ostrava (Czech Republic), the digital marketing event organized by Jindrich Fáborský. On February 1st was at PPC Masters in Berlin and on April 1st organized myself ADworld Experience in Bologna (Italy).

This puts me in the position to have a comprehensive point of view of all the main European events focused, at least partially, on Pay Per Click: ADworld Experience and PPC Masters having around 350 participants attending each event, Heroconf was around 250 and Marketing Festival (not only on PPC) about 1500.

In all these conferences I found some interesting cues and established useful relations with some of the best professionals in the online advertising (and this besides the fact that I am searching for speakers for the next edition of my own conference, of course).

Heroconf London

Unfortunately I could attend only to the first day and therefore I cannot say so much about the second day, but I was impressed by the opening keynote by Sophie Newton (Brainlab), who gave interesting insight of what Google potentially could offer to advertisers in the future. The extreme synthesis is: automation, automation and automation… Automation in ad copywriting using word vectors, automation in bids optimization with genetic algorithms and automation in images recognition for better display effectiveness with neural networks (using aggregated human captioning activities to better understand what is represented in images).

The presentation by Larry Kim (Wordstream) was really interesting, namely on how to give branding advertising a central role in PPC campaigns, scaling them with the help of RLSA, demographic targeting and affinity audiences.

Dave Walker (Segmatic) made me think about the fact that A/B Testing is much more complex than CTR and Conversion Rate Optimization. He showed us a use-case of a campaign in the gambling industry where a specific Call To Action attracted more customers, but with wrong demographics (and much lower lifetime value) than another one with apparently worse conversion metrics. He showed use-cases of winning CTAs turning to be false positives in the long run (when given enough time to experiment, even if numbers would have justified testers to stop the trial).

The final keynote of the first day was Jon Dorio (Google) explaining that the Quality Score we all see in our accounts is only an average approximation of the real one, which is changing in every auction in relation with the likelihood that it would bring on the advertisers’ site users really interested to what it is promoting (this being measured by an algorithm using several different metrics).  His suggestion has been not to consider QS as a KPI itself, but to focus on the best way to intercept user intents connected to the campaign goals. Excellent QS will come if we succeed in doing this the right way.

Marketing Festival in Ostrava

I was captured by the presentation by Jim Banks (Gotgroove), who showed several successful cases of PPC campaigns managed by his team in the last 10 years, starting from ringtones to football team battle hymns, passing by merchandising and other really remunerative gadgets. The red line linking all of them is the ability to find “unicorn keywords” in profitable niches before they really express all their potential.

I found the presentation by Kevin Hillstrom (Minethatdata) really useful, in which he paralleled sport events to online buying experience.  In the US special offers are regularly planned according to events calendar but the main focus is on the experience not on the offer itself. They get new fans because they are offering something new or different or new occasion to gather. Ecommerce retailers should focus on the products, especially new merchandise, and offers should be a consequence of that, not the center of all efforts. His final suggestion is to focus on what pushes customers towards your shop, not on advertising. Offer something special and you will get new customers almost naturally (advertising will only accelerate the process).

The panel moderated by David Spinar (Milton) was interesting about RTB/programmatic. Real Time Bidding is developing really quickly in the US market (there are provisional data that credit it for over 60% of digital ad spending in 2017), but it is also increasing in Europe (other polls see it rising to almost half of the total online ad spending in Germany next year).  This is something all PPC professionals will have to face in the near future, if they want to keep offering a good service.

Frederick Vallaeys (Optmyzr) showed some interesting data about Expanded Text Ads performances, from which emerged the still undisclosed potential of this new ad format in comparison to legacy ads. When advertisers really realize how to set them effectively for their own campaigns, numbers tend to skyrocket (at Google they agree with him, that is why they postponed deadline to sunset legacy ads to 2017).  He also debunked some myths about Quality Score, substantially overlapping it to a weighted CTR. On the latter, I do not quite agree with him, but his argument definitely made sense and in my opinion he still remains one of the smartest PPC professionals in the world.

There were also several case stories reported during the 2 days of the conference. One by Andrej Puncik (Represent), who presented a case of Facebook ads automation linked to the process of creating and selling custom merchandise through his startup’s site.  In my opinion, besides the case itself, his presentation was an example of how live screen video recording can sometimes explain in seconds what a complex project does and how it works, saving a lot of abstract speaking.

I was finally impressed also by the presentation by Michael Aagaard (Unbounce), who showed his personal CRO odyssey in a site selling an online service and showed also some good/bad examples of Customer Experiences.  Besides the fact that he did not really give immediately actionable insights, it was presentation worth the trip to Ostrava.

Final thoughts

Concluding my report I can definitely say that ADworld Experience (Bologna), HeroConf (London), PPCMasters (Berlin), Festival of Marketing (Ostrava) and the bi-monthly PPC Chat Live events organized by Brainlabs in London (which several professionals confirmed me to be interesting) are the ones not to miss, if you want to know who is who in PPC in the old continent.

Post from Gianpaolo Lorusso

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Knowledge Panels in Site Audits

At this year’s Pubcon 2016, my presentation was about how I had added Knowledge panels, Sitelinks, Featured Snippets and information from the Google Search API into client’s Site Audits.

I had been doing this because Search Results at Google and at Bing have started showing off information about businesses and site that includes knowledge panel information and richer snippets. I thought it made sense to capture information that Google might be showing off that represented sites, and provide some recommendations that might help improve how those looked at what kind of information they contained. The presentation is:

Knowledge Panels, Rich Snippets and Semantic Markup from Bill Slawski

Knowledge panels may be enhanced because of a verified Google MyBusiness listing, a Wikipedia Entry, a Freebase Entry (now terminated by Google), a Wikidata Entry. This Google Developers page provides more details:

https://developers.google.com/search/docs/guides/enhance-site

Adding Markup vocabulary on your site can result in a knowledge panel showing links to social profiles for a business, as described here:

https://developers.google.com/search/docs/data-types/social-profile-links

A knowledge panel based upon a Google MyBusiness listing can show off Reviews that people have submitted to Google+ for a site, “Reviews from the Web” from sources such as Facebook, Tripadvisor, Consumer Affairs, and others; and may also show off critical reviews. If there are enough reviews from Google+, the knowledge panel may also show off sentiment rich snippets from those reviews as well.

Search results are a lot more colorful and richer these days, and Knowing how to make your business and site stand out may bring you more traffic and customers as you are represented better in search results.


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Shopping on Instagram: Get the Complete Details and What it Means for Businesses Like Yours

This year alone, Instagram has released business profiles and features like Stories and Zoom. Lucky for us, Instagram has something new to share again:

Shopping is coming to Instagram!

Starting this week, Instagram is testing a new way for users to learn more about products they discover in the app and to purchase those products if they wish to. The entire e-commerce flow from discovery to purchase is contained within Instagram, which may potentially help solve one of the biggest Instagram questions (and social media questions) for businesses everywhere: How can I get ROI and sales from what I share?

Fresh on the heels of the announcement, I’d love to share more details on what Instagram shopping might look like and what it means for you and your business. It’d be great to have your thoughts in the comments, too!

Why is Instagram building a shopping experience in the app?

The potential opportunity for businesses on Instagram is huge. According to Instagram’s announcement:

More than 84% of smartphone users in the U.S. browse, research, or compare products via a web browser or mobile app.

That is in line with the behavior Instagram users exhibit in the app. While speaking to James Quarles, Instagram’s VP of monetization, TechCrunch found that:

According to a study run by Instagram, 60% of Instagrammers say they learn about products and services on the app, while 75% say they take actions like visiting sites, searching, or telling a friend after being influenced by a post on Instagram.

While Instagram is a great platform for discovering new products, it can be a little challenging at the moment to find out more information or to find and purchase those products online, particularly with the limited use of links within updates and on profile pages. With the Instagram shopping announcement, it feels like Instagram is looking to make the experience much smoother.

With that, let’s take a look at this upcoming feature!

Overview: How Instagram is building shopping into the app

As shopping is introduced into the app, the primary feed experience won’t change at all. Shopping will simply be an added function to individual updates.

Instagrammed photos that include products or e-commerce experiences will have a tiny “Tap to view products” label at the bottom left corner of the photo. It’s possible that Instagram might simplify this into a symbol once users are used to this interface, just like they did for photos tagged with users.

Once the “Tap to view products” label is tapped, it brings up a tag for each product that has been tagged in the photo, showcasing up to five tags and the respective prices. It appears the tags for the products are initially hidden to not clutter up the photo, maintaining the clean and beautiful user experience.

When a tag is selected, more information about the product will be shown within the Instagram app itself so that users do not have to leave the app. From the video demo, it seems that users will also be able to scroll between the tagged products by swiping left and right.

   

If the user wishes to purchase the product, tapping the “Shop Now” link brings up the product on the business’s website. From there, the user will be able to place an order for the product.

This will also be within the Instagram app itself. A key advantage I see is a much faster shopping experience. Having all these steps happen within the app itself would likely make the experience much faster than the traditional approach of switching to a browser and letting the page load (and switching back to Instagram to continue browsing).

Here’s a short video of how this feature looks like:

What will it cost businesses? Incredibly, nothing

According to TechCrunch’s report, Instagram isn’t taking a cut from the transactions:

Instagram won’t take a cut of purchases, and instead plans to monetize the product by later allowing brands to pay to show their shoppable photos to people who don’t follow them, says Instagram’s VP of monetization James Quarles.

Instagram has teamed up with 20 U.S.-based retail brands including Kate Spade, JackThreads, and Warby Parker for this test feature. For its initial testing phase, Instagram will be rolling this out to only a group of iOS users in the U.S.

Future plans for shopping on Instagram

While it looks really impressive already, Instagram has more ambitious plans for this feature:

As we roll out further, we’ll explore product recommendations, ways products are showcased to shoppers, global expansion and the ability to save content so Instagrammers can take an action later. We want to understand how to deliver the most seamless shopping experience for consumers and businesses on Instagram, and ultimately mobile.

Instagram’s VP of monetization, James Quarles, also shared with TechCrunch how they are looking to expand on the shoppable tags:

Quarles tells me shoppable tags will eventually expand to video posts, photo carousels, and other countries.

How exciting!

Shopping on Instagram: What Opportunities Are There for Businesses?

To me, this feels like a huge leap for the Instagram experience and a very attractive proposition to businesses. Here are some opportunities I think this feature will bring to businesses:

1. Higher retail sales and tracking ability

As URLs in captions are not linked, businesses are currently resorting to using the link in their bio or platforms like Like2Buy and Have2Have.it to direct their followers to their product pages. With this feature, businesses can provide a more direct option for their followers — yay!

I believe this feature will help to boost sales for businesses — maybe more for those with physical products than those offering services or digital products. Businesses will be able to better track sales from Instagram and perhaps even track referrals as it’s common for Instagram users to tag their friends in their comments to share about a product.

2. Enhanced influencer marketing

While I’m not sure if this feature will be available to non-business Instagram users, this feels like a great opportunity for influencer marketing, which is already very prevalent on Instagram. Influencers can tag the sponsored products, allowing their followers to learn more and even buy those products immediately within the Instagram app.

3. More sales through user-generated content

Another opportunity I see for this feature is through user-generated content. It is a common strategy used by businesses on Instagram nowadays. We used it to increase our Instagram following by 60% and are still using it today.

User-generated photos help to add social proof to the products and feel more authentic than photos by businesses themselves. By tagging the user-generated photos, businesses could possibly drive more sales through Instagram.

4. Additional layer of engagement

Having more options of action to take means more opportunities for engagement. I imagine a business could ask a question about the product such as “How many colors do you think this bag comes in?” As it’s easier to find the answer with this feature, followers might be more inclined to search for it. This could be a way to encourage followers to click through and check out the product too.

5. More creative captions

With the additional product information page in Instagram, businesses can choose not to describe the products in the photo caption. This will allow for more creativity for the captions, without having to worry that followers might not understand what the product is about.

How will you use this feature?

I imagine many of you are as excited as I am about this potential feature. I’d love to hear from you what opportunities this might present to you and your business.

P.S. If you are thinking of diving into Instagram marketing for your business now, here’s our complete guide to Instagram marketing!

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Do’s & Don’ts of Repurposing Your Existing Content (Correctly)

You want to bring in new clicks and clients, right?

“Hello, Captain Obvious, that’s why I’m reading this blog.”

That’s great! And guess what, I have some excellent tips to help you create an awesome content presence. The idea is actually quite simple.

What is it?

Repurposed content.

Let’s take a look at why you should repurpose content, when and where you should, and some excellent do’s and don’ts to make sure you have an effective strategy.

A Bigger Reach: Why You Should Repurpose Your Existing Content

Repurposing your content is a great way to re-share your old content, getting the most mileage possible from it. This doesn’t just refer to re-sharing on social media, either.

You can repurpose your content by creating a number of things including whitepapers, Slide Shares, videos, podcasts, and more. This will help get your content out in multiple places in different formats, helping you reach a wider audience. You’ll be quite amazed by just how much traction you can get when you repurpose.

When and Where Should You Republish Your Content?

When you go to share repurposed content, you have a wide range of times and locations for posting.

You will want to share your content on the main platforms for the format such as YouTube for videos, iTunes for podcasts, and Slide Share for slideshows.

Once you publish on these channels, then it is time to get those content links out onto your other social media platforms. Don’t post a high volume of posts to Facebook or G+. Instead, utilize Twitter for most of your repurposed content.

Set up a schedule that can get your blogs and content out there when you publish, a few hours later, throughout the week, and then over the next few months.

According to Belle Beth Cooper from Buffer, the more your content is shared on social media, the more traffic, re-tweets, and engagements you will get.

7 Excellent Do’s and Don’ts that Will Help Your Repurposed Content Be Stellar

Repurposing content is great because of how much it can help your website and business. But just how can you make sure you’re repurposing content correctly?

Here is a great list of do’s and don’ts you should be following.

1) DO Share Your Older Content

Sharing older content is a great way to get excellent traction. This works really well if you have excellent evergreen content that will still be fresh years from now.

Don’t just take my word for it, though. A leading content marketer, Jeff Bullas, is tweeting his old blog posts from two years ago. If a leader in the content industry thinks this is a good idea, then you should definitely follow his lead.

2) DON’T Share Outdated Content

However, when you share your older content, make sure you avoid sharing content that is outdated. Review the content first and make sure it doesn’t contain anything that could make you look out of touch.

While this might seem to take some of your time up, it’ll be great in the long run.

If you have a great blog you want to share that is outdated, simply make a few changes and you’re done.

3) DO Tailor the Content for Your Audience and Where You Share It

Knowing your audience and the platform you share it on is a great way to make sure you get the most out of repurposing content.

If you don’t tailor your content for your audience and where they’re at, you’ll lose views rather quickly and not get the traction you could and should. Once you’ve made these changes, you are well on your way to getting some awesome traffic from a wider audience base.

4) DON’T Pretend Repurposed Content is New Content

Clients are smart – they will see the date stamp. Don’t pretend you just wrote it; make sure people know it is repurposed and that you feel this blog still has sway in the industry.

You can do simple things by saying, “This is just as true today as it was when we posted it.” That can help people realize it isn’t new and also realize that you are a great source and one to trust.

5) DO Start Creating Evergreen Content that Can be Repurposed

Do you want to have clients read something that applies to their lives no matter when they read? The answer should be yes!

What is evergreen content? It is something that your clients will find useful after the trends have faded. And clients will definitely enjoy seeing content that can be helpful to them no matter what is currently going on within your industry.

In addition to clients enjoying evergreen content, it is also easy to repurpose throughout videos, podcasts, and to share months, even years later.

Kevan Lee from Buffer suggests that a great way to know if you’re creating evergreen content is to ask, “Will this help clients a year from now?” If the answer is yes, it’s evergreen!

6) DON’T Focus Solely on Repurposing Existing Content

If your sole focus for content creation is to repurpose what you have, you can quickly lose clients. You need to be consistently creating new content to keep your site fresh and updated.

Not only will customers appreciate that you are creating new, original content, but you will also appease the Google gods.

It will take some testing and tweaking to find the best mix for your business, but when you find the repurposing sweet spot, you’ll begin to see awesome results.

7) DO Repurpose Content in Different Content Formats

When it comes to repurposing content, many people focus simply on sharing the content multiple times on social media.

However, you can (and should) repurpose your content into different formats. I’ve touched on this a few times throughout this piece because this is absolutely important to repurposed content.

You might not realize right now just how much leverage you can get out of that one blog post you wrote. It can be made into an infographic, a video, podcast, or even be a great introduction into an ebook.

Repurpose Your Content and You’ll be Dancing in the Rain of Clicks

Repurposing content leads to a lot of awesome benefits. When you start to do this, you will notice you are getting more clicks and engagement. And the more clicks to your site, the better, right?

Take a look at the content you have and figure out just what you want to repurpose. When you re-share content, always make sure it is absolutely strong and a great representation of your business and content quality.

Have you seen a bigger reach and more opportunities from your repurposed content? Let me know in the comments!

The post Do’s & Don’ts of Repurposing Your Existing Content (Correctly) appeared first on socialmouths.

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How Black Friday can lead to valuable organic search opportunities

Black Friday can be a great commercial opportunity for brands, but how can you create a successful strategy for the big day?

Black Friday is a perfect retail opportunity, but it still requires the proper analysis of data to create a strategy that will lead to desired results.

According to Adobe Digital Index, US online sales on Black Friday increased by 14.3% in 2015, while The Guardian reports that shoppers spent £1.1bn online in the UK on Black Friday in 2015.

The Pi Datametrics Gamma report offers interesting insights on what makes a successful Black Friday strategy and how US and UK brands react to it.

What makes Black Friday so appealing and what’s the first step towards an effective strategy?

The PIRP strategy

The first step is to create an effective plan to organise your actions. Pi Datametrics introduces the PIRP strategy:

Plan early
Influence at the right time
Peak at the right time
Repeat – utilise last year’s page

Every step is important and you can’t be prepared for a seasonal event without the right strategy. Therefore, it’s important to organise the content, plan how you will use it, analyse your audience, make the necessary consumer research and reach the peak purchase with a greater certainty on how your brand can stand out and boost sales.

Your Black Friday strategy should focus on capitalising the increased traffic, using it for future campaigns (Cyber Monday, Christmas, etc.)

Identifying the most valuable organic opportunities

A valuable search term is one that may lead to the desired conversion, going beyond the traffic. This means that a brand shouldn’t always focus on the most popular choice, but rather the most useful one.

For example, the term “Black Friday” may have the highest search volume, but it’s the only the fourth most valuable search term on the day in the UK and the seventh most valuable term in the US.

On the contrary, the term “Black Friday deals” seems to be the most valuable organic opportunity, both for the UK and US searches. A closer look at the two tables indicates how longer-tail keywords with higher relevance can become more valuable, offering bigger chances of conversion. It may even help a brand beat the competition, or reach a new audience by thinking outside the box.

The rise of the term “deal”

Searches that include the word “deal” seem to be on the rise and most of them are specific enough to add value to the user.

Every year the number of searches for “deals” increases, which may help a brand understand its consumers and focus on the most useful terms.

How US brands reach UK users

It’s interesting to note that US brands dominate Google UK, especially when it comes to the term “Black Friday”. Seven out of the top 9 sites in Google UK for “Black Friday” are US-based, which shows that UK retailers need to improve their optimisation.

The top five UK performers for “Black Friday deals” are Argos, Amazon UK, Currys, Tesco, and HotUKdeals, with many of them aiming at a consistent presence throughout the year. This allows them to implement the PIPR strategy and enjoy the results during the peak period.

Argos reaches #1 on SERPs for “Black Friday deals” and it seems to be consistent during the year, with its landing page ensuring that it doesn’t miss its focus.

How can retailers benefit from Black Friday?

Black Friday may be a great retail opportunity, but not all retailers benefit from it.

Moreover, it’s not just a day that will bring to your site a traffic boost and sales, but rather a carefully planned strategy which may run throughout the entire year.

Here are the key tips to remember:

Black Friday is not just about one day (plan ahead, think of future opportunities)
Right after Black Friday, your business should use the momentum to plan for Cyber Monday, but also Christmas. How about linking them all together to your strategy?
Don’t focus on generic terms, find the best ones that work for your audience
Keep in mind how consumers prefer online and mobile purchases and plan accordingly. It might even require a shift of focus towards Cyber Monday
Not every business benefits from Black Friday, don’t be obliged to join if it’s not bringing you the planned ROI.
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Five tools to help you build a content-focused SEO campaign

While SEO has become an involuntary function of marketing for all sorts of businesses, ranging from professional service firms to enterprise solutions providers, a lot of companies today are still struggling to integrate SEO successfully into their digital marketing efforts.

Over the past decade, SEO has become an extremely viable marketing outlet that results in more qualified leads and ultimately, more customers.

It has been widely reported that SEO leads have a 14.6% close rate while traditional or outbound marketing efforts such as print advertising and direct mail, only have a close rate of 1.7%.

Image: Online Marketing Coach

So what does it take to put together a strong SEO campaign?

It’s by no means a walk in the park, but it’s also not rocket science. Many small businesses are afraid that SEO will take up a lot of time and money without leading to quality outcomes.

While you most likely will not see big results overnight, there are many resources out there to push you in the right direction.

The biggest selling point in favor of the case for a consistent, all-out SEO campaign is the availability of SaaS tools that take care of almost every nuance and actionable component of SEO or related digital marketing tasks.

Let’s take a look at five tools that will help make your SEO investment a fruitful one. Certain tools in this list might be “suites” and have a great number of handy features, but I’m going to show you how they can be used for one specific function at a time.

Ahrefs – Keyword research

The foundation of any marketing campaign should begin with quality research on the goals and desires of your target audience.

The outcome of every SEO campaign begins in the search box – with a written or a spoken word. To get high returns down the line, you must put time into keyword research.

This is a make-or-break part of the campaign, no matter how much Google hides, groups or consolidates its keywords. Consider your industry’s keyword demand and determine which phrases or specific terms to target with your strategy. During this process, you will also learn a good deal about your customer base.

Ahrefs has a revamped Keywords Explorer tool (which tracks a base of 2.8 billion keywords) to help you gain these valuable insights:

The keywords explorer function on this platform lets you brainstorm a large number of possible terms or phrases that your company could rank for.

It provides a difficulty score of 1-100 based on how hard it would be for a specific entry to rank. Ahrefs also gives you thousands of keyword suggestions for your campaign which you can analyze by:

Monthly search volume
Top countries where the keyword is searched
Cost per click
Number of search results
Number of words in a keyword
Clicks per search result
How often people search for the keyword again
Traffic share per domain

In addition, Ahrefs also gives you an snapshot (current and historical) of the SERPs for your chosen search term.

Keyword research is one of the basic building blocks of an SEO campaign. With small details about how, when and where people are using them, you can predict shifts in demand, trends and buyer behavior.

SEMrush – Competitor analysis

Proper competitor analysis is a crucial part of marketing in general. Chances are, your competitors are researching your brand as you read this.

With a quality analysis of your competitor’s presence, promotions and messaging, you can gain an understanding of which channels to target and how to tweak your strategy in a way that maximizes conversion rates.

SEMrush is arguably the strongest competitor analysis tool out there when it comes to SEO.

SEMrush can give you real time, updated figures for potentially any of 74 million domains. It lets you gain insight into your competitors’ ongoing tactics by examining their:

Organic keyword positions
Top performing content
Advertising copy, costs and history
Display and video advertising analytics
Channel wise spend strategy
Backlinks
Traffic sources

SEMrush makes it simple to gather all the data you need and allowing you to organize it into customized PDFs or spreadsheets, as well as design your own reports. SEMrush also give you great insights into the kind of content you need to create and promote, in order to gain a competitive edge.

Brandwatch – Social media monitoring

Digital marketing is by no means a one size fits all entity. The truth of the matter is that consumer behaviors are constantly changing. When you start brainstorming ideas for compelling content to drive your SEO campaign, you need to know what exactly makes consumers tick.

And any one channel won’t tell you what makes consumers tick. However, there’s one place where conversations are constantly taking place: social media.

Brandwatch is a handy tool that lets you burrow into sources of consumer opinions across the social web. Keeping a critical eye on customer feedback and intent in the digital landscape is critical in planning your next move.

On the back of the huge “social” index that Brandwatch has built up, it can provide a breakdown of:

What trends impact your industry at the moment
Topics on which influencers are currently writing
The demographics of your audience
Audience activity, engagement and sentiment on various channels
Brand reach and visibility

With these insights, content creation for the foreseeable future becomes much easier for most brands, which can target the masses’ sentiments in their quest for a higher ROI on marketing.

Outbrain – Content amplification

Now that you’ve done all this research and gained critical insight, it’s time to release compelling content. The harsh reality is that putting together quality content for SEO requires a lot of time and resources. And that just gets you started – it’s even more difficult to get your audience to consume it, trust it, and act on it.

At the end of the day, content is the driving force that will get you leads, sales and loyalty. However, regardless of how great the content you produce is, it will be practically useless if it’s not promoted correctly.

That’s where Outbrain comes in. Outbrain works by recommending more content by relevance to blogs being read all over the internet at any given moment.

Outbrain shows some 200 billion recommendations a month to a global audience of 557 million, and is used by brands such as McDonalds, Huggies, and Fleishman Hillard. Some of its features that can help you “storify” your content are:

Multiple, adaptable content formats
Story sequencing
Personalized and contextual targeting
Retargeting to custom audiences
Performance benchmarking by industry or geography

Some of the largest media properties on the web that can serve as promotional channels for your content via the Outbrain platform include The Washington Post, People, CNN, and ESPN.

No matter how big or small your business is, Outbrain can provide measurable means of promoting your content to an ever-expanding audience.

Buzzsumo – Content analytics

You’ve created awesome content and distributed it to the masses, but how exactly did it resonate with the audience? An SEO campaign should be a constant work in progress, if your content is to get you rankings, views and leads. Content insights are critical in learning how to properly optimize your conversion efforts.

Buzzsumo specializes in providing content analysis for SEO campaigns by finding the most shared content on a topic and the best influencers to promote it on the web.

When you enter a topic or query, the tool starts by running reports on specific topics to reveal data such as the total articles written and platform-wise shares per article. Thereafter, you can discover:

Great content ideas for posts
The networks on which the content is getting the best reception
What type of content is generating the most shares and segment it by format and length
The most popular headlines that are grabbing attention
Which days of the week see the most shares
The most influential curators and aggregators within any niche
More insights by exporting raw data to spreadsheets

Such insights are key to the optimization process and provide direction to your content marketing strategy as your campaign progresses.

Final words

93% of online experiences begin with a search, Forrester Research found. This alone should be an indicator that SEO is here to stay.

Brands in the digital age should be sure to recognize its significance in marketing strategies for years to come and do their best to create, execute and constantly fine tune the approach that works best for them. There is no excuse for them not giving it their best.

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The Future of Social Media (And How to Prepare For It): The State of Social Media 2016 Report

Imagine being able to predict the next big thing on social media, knowing what social media will look like in 2017 and beyond and how will brands use social platforms to connect with their audience.

As someone who works with social media every day, this information would be invaluable.

At Buffer, we’re always eager to dig up new research into social media marketing — things like how marketers are using social media and what they’re excited about heading into 2017.

To better understand how social media marketing is changing, we collected data from over 1,200 marketers to create the State of Social Media 2016 report. The report shows us how marketers, from businesses of all sizes are approaching social media marketing.

Check out our data-packed report on the State of Social Media below, and join the conversation using #StateOfSocial16.

A handy guide to navigating what’s coming up next in the social media world.

Key takeaways
Objectives and challenges
Essential insights for marketers
The evolution of social media roles
About the data
Your thoughts

3 Key Social Media Takeaways to Guide Your Marketing in 2017

1. Video is about to hit the peak! Now’s the time to get on. 

Eighty-three percent of marketers said they’d like to create more video content if they didn’t have restraints such as time and resources. We also found that 30 percent of marketers are looking to spend more time focused on Facebook video in 2017, with 28 percent also looking to add YouTube to their marketing stack.

The takeaway: Marketers want to be making more video but can’t.

If you can find a way to create video content easily, you might be able to beat the rush!

Right now, video is hot and is standing out in the Facebook News Feed. But that won’t always be the way. As video creeps up in popularity and more and more brands and individuals are sharing it, it’ll be harder to get noticed. Eventually, brands may have to pay for video reach, just as many do already for sponsored posts and ads.

It’s possible that 2017 could be a great time to jump on and grab some attention before the video crush hits.

2. No one has left Facebook! Almost every marketer is using Facebook (93%) and Facebook ads (91%).  

Our report found that 93 percent of marketers use Facebook for their business and 91 percent have also invested in Facebook Ads. Despite the drop in organic reach on Facebook, 72 percent of respondents said their use of Facebook has stayed the same or increased over the past 12 months.

The takeaway: Facebook is worth figuring out. 

Do you have a bit of budget? With the huge potential audience, marketers are keen to put money behind their Facebook content.

And if you’re going the free route: What can you do to stand out? At Buffer, we try our best to follow folks who are doing incredible, unusual things on social, hoping some of their inspiration rubs off. Here’s a good list to start with.

3. Only 1 in 5 respondents use social media for customer support

One of the most surprising pieces of information we found from the survey is that just 21 percent of businesses listed customer support as a reason they use social media.

The takeaway: Delight your customers by using social for support. You’ll be ahead of the game!

With more and more customers turning to social media channels for support issues, it feels like there’s still great opportunity for businesses, individuals and solopreneurs to stand out and build advocacy by providing outstanding support on social. At Buffer, we believe in the power of great customer support, no matter where the customer is, which is why we’ve launched Respond as a social media customer service tool. There are other great options out there as well: Twitter’s native customer service features, Facebook page messages, and more.

About the State of Social Media survey and data

For this report, we surveyed over 1,200 marketers (1,252 to be precise) from businesses of all sizes. You can view a more detailed breakdown on the data at the bottom of this post.

The Key Social Media Objectives and Challenges for 2017



Over the past half-decade, social media marketing has become incredibly important for businesses of all sizes. But why are marketers using social media? In this section of the report, we’d love to share how marketers might answer that question.

Objective: Businesses are on social media primarily for brand awareness.

Surprisingly, only 1 in 5 businesses (21%) said they use social media for customer support.

The most popular reason for using social media among those surveyed was brand awareness (85%), followed by community engagement (71%). Among all the great reasons to be on social media — awareness, community, distribution, lead-gen — customer support was the only factor that was chosen by fewer than 50 percent of brands. And it was significantly less!

Here’s the full breakdown:

Challenge: More than half of marketers are keen to figure out how to drive traffic from social media.

Fifty-eight percent of marketers said that driving traffic to their website was one of their main social media challenges, followed by generating leads (49%).

Measurement and ROI continue to present problems for a large percentage of marketers, too, with 42% of our respondents listing it as a challenge they’re facing.

How marketers are using social media platforms: 10 insights you need to know

1. Facebook is still the leading platform for marketers (93% of businesses use Facebook)

Facebook is the leading platform for marketers with 93% saying their business is actively using it. Twitter was close behind with 89% of respondents saying they use the platform for their business.

Other channels respondents use include – Google+ (42%), Pinterest (35%), Facebook video (29%), Messaging Apps (16%), Snapchat (12%), Medium (10%), Quora (5%), Vine (3%).

2. Marketers are beginning to abandon Google+ (27% said they’ll use Google+ less in 2017)

Our survey results show that Google+ is the channel most marketers feel they will invest less time in over the next 12 months (27% of respondents). Twitter followed up in second with 23%.

Other channels respondents said they’ll move away from in 2017 include – Instagram (11%), Snapchat (9%), YouTube (9%), Messaging Apps (8%), Facebook video (6%), Quora (6%), Medium(6%).

3. Facebook video is a priority for marketers in 2017 (30% of marketers want to invest more in Facebook video)

Multimedia content appears to be top of mind for many marketers as they look ahead to 2017, with many marketers believing video will help them win in the future.

Facebook video came out top of the pile here, with 30% of respondents saying it’s on their radar for 2017, closely followed by YouTube (28%), Instagram (26%), and Snapchat (22%). All four of these platforms focus on video and visual content, which seems to point at marketers focused on more multimedia content in 2017. The inclusion of YouTube so prominently in these results is telling also, as it doesn’t get mentioned as often in the discussion of up-and-coming video options (though is clearly top-of-mind for a lot of marketers).

Other channels respondents plan to add to their marketing strategy include – Pinterest (15%), LinkedIn (14%), Twitter (13%), Messaging Apps (11%), Medium (11%), Google+ (10%), Quora (6%).

4. Facebook’s decline in organic reach isn’t scaring away marketers (72% of marketers use Facebook the same amount or more that the previous 12 months)

Despite Facebook organic reach continuing to drop over the past year, the majority of businesses are still actively using the platform: 46% of respondents said that their use of Facebook has stayed the same, with 26% saying they now share more content despite the drop in reach and 28% said they now post less.

5. Businesses are adapting to Facebook as a pay-to-play channel (91% of marketers have invested in Facebook ads)

Facebook appears to be the leader when it comes to paid marketing spend. From the survey, 91% of respondents said investing in ads on the platform — way ahead of Twitter, which finished second with 34% of respondents saying they’d used Twitter ads.

6. Social media spend is stable (only 7% of companies are decreasing their social media marketing budgets) 

Social media marketing seems to have become a staple of marketing budgets at the majority of businesses. In 2016, 42% of respondents saw an increase in spend compared to 2015, with only 7% of companies decreasing their social media marketing budgets. The majority of respondents, 51%, saw their budget stay the same as the previous year.

7. If there were no obstacles like time, resources, and budget … 83% of marketers would like to create more video content

This data appears to again highlight that marketers are accounting for the rise in popularity of video content.

If there were no obstacles (time, resources, budget), 83% of marketers said they’d create more video content.  Interestingly, live video was third with 42% of marketers choosing this option. Blog posts finished second (57%).

8. Time restraints are holding marketers back from creating video (73% say time is the main reason they don’t create more video)

From the survey, 73% of marketers attribute a lack of time to be the reason they’re yet to create video content. The perceived cost of creating video was also a key reason why many are yet to experiment, with 41% of respondents saying cost was the reason they don’t create more videos.

(Perhaps these resources could help?)

9. Live video is yet to hit mass adoption (Only 26% of marketers have created live video content)

Despite the excitement around live video during 2016, the majority of marketers (74%) have yet to begin experimenting with live video content:

For those who have created live video, Facebook Live was the number one platform of choice, ahead of Periscope and YouTube:

10. Marketers are still figuring out Snapchat and Instagram stories (Only 29% of marketers have created stories)

It seems that marketers are excited about the potential of Instagram and Snapchat, with 26% and 22% of marketers saying they’re looking to add the platforms to their marketing channels in the next 12 months. Despite this, 71% of marketers are yet to create stories on either platform.

Looking ahead to 2017, 37% of respondents said they won’t be looking to create stories on either Snapchat or Instagram, with 34% looking to create stories on Instagram and 27% looking to use stories on both platforms.

The evolution of social media marketing roles

Social media marketing roles are changing (Only 15% of respondents work full-time on social media)

Of our respondents, only 15% worked full time on social media, with 80% of respondents agreeing with the statement “social media is only a part of my role.”

This feels like a really interesting trend to keep an eye on during 2017. Are we beginning to see a shift in social media marketing roles? It feels like the lines between social media and other forms of brand communications are blurring a little.

What other areas do social media marketers work on? (84% of social media marketers also work on content marketing)

To dig a little deeper into the structure of social media and marketing roles, we asked the respondents who said social media was only a part of their role to share what other areas they worked on within the business.

84% also do content marketing alongside social media
68% also do email marketing alongside social media
62% combine social media with community focused projects

With so much of social media success relying on stand-out content, it makes sense that social media marketers would combine their social media role with content marketing.

With email marketing being the second most popular answer, this could also point to social media roles transitioning more into brand communication roles, where social media managers take on responsibility for the tone, voice, and content of all public-facing messaging.

The data: Who took part in the survey?


For this report, we surveyed over 1,200 marketers from businesses of all sizes. The majority of respondents are B2B or B2C marketers in small businesses, with 55% of our respondents working at businesses with 1-10 employees. At the other of the scale, 7% of respondents work at companies with over 200 employees.

⬆️ Back to the top.

Company size

Over half (54%) of the people who took our survey work at companies with fewer than 10 full-time staff. A further 20% work at companies with between 11-50 full-time team members. Here’s the full breakdown:

54%: Fewer than 10 people
12%: 11-25 people
8%: 26-50 people
7%: 1,001+ people
7%: 51-100 people
5%: 101-200 people
4%: 201-500 people
3%: 501-1,000 people

Marketing team size

The majority of respondents in our survey work closely with a small number of colleagues in their marketing teams or act as the sole marketer at their company:

46% of respondents were the only marketer at their company
39% of people worked in marketing teams of between 2-5 colleagues
8% of people work in marketing teams larger than 11 people
7% of people work in marketing teams of between 6-10

Industry breakdown

Twenty-one percent of those who took the survey work at organizations in the marketing, PR, and advertising space. Other industries include: Media and Publishing (10%); Education (10%); Non-Profit (8%); IT & Services (7%); Consumer Products (7%); Software (5%); E-commerce (4%); Medical & Healthcare (3%); Travel & Tourism (3%); Financial Services (2%); Government (2%); Law & Legal Services (1%); Financial (1%); Other (15%).

Over to you


Thanks so much for checking out our State of Social 2016 report. We hope you enjoyed the data and discovered some useful takeaways for your business.

We’d love to continue the conversation and hear your thoughts – feel free to share in the comments or join the conversation on Twitter using #StateofSocial16.

P.S. We’ve made the data open and available to anyone in this Google Sheet (feel free to make a copy and interrogate in any way you’d like – we’d love to hear what you might find).

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5 Surprising Reasons To Reconsider Google+ (That You Can Act On Today)

I’ve personally always been a huge fan of Google+, but it’s been several years since I’ve been consistently active: It simply became too difficult to keep up with posting.

Has the same been true for you?

I’ve always known that Google+ is good for SEO reasons, personal branding, and content sharing; I just found myself moving more naturally toward Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook — networks that I could use Buffer to manage all of my posts and share similar content. Sharing to Google+ natively was too much of a stretch from my regular routine of scheduling everything in one place.

Well, I’m excited to share some good news and some helpful G+ tips. Now, you can connect a Google+ account to Buffer, which we hope will make your Google+ brand even stronger. And if you’re still on the fence about the future of Google+ or its value to marketers today, I’d love to share five reasons why Google+ could be interesting for you to try.

To make Google+ marketing as easy as possible for you, we’re proud to say that starting today you can connect your personal Google+ profile to Buffer, along with any of your Google+ pages, and fully manage your Google+ presence alongside Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest all from the Buffer dashboard.

Now, onto the five good reasons to make time for Google+ posting.

1. Google+ content gets indexed immediately and shows up in search results

You’ve likely heard that Google+ pages and profiles can greatly help your SEO, and it’s true!

Google+ is a powerful search engine marketing tool for companies, influencers, and your own personal branding. Sharing blog posts on Google+ in particular is an excellent way to …

  1. Rank for keyword terms that you might otherwise not be able to
  2. Drive search traffic to your Google+ profile and then back to your blog and website

Sometimes it happens without even realizing it. Such was the case for Patrick Antinozzi of Rapid Web Launch who ended up in the search results for Pokemon Go thanks to his Google+ post.

  

How does this Google+ ranking boost happen?

Well, rumor has it that Google crawls and indexes content posted to Google+ almost immediately. Here’s what Moz found:

If you share new content on Google+, chances are that Google will index the page very quickly.

Rumor has it that new URLs are crawled almost instantly. This makes complete sense as part of the purpose of Google+ was to replace Twitter when creating Google’s Realtime Search.

In the old days, if you wanted a website indexed you filled out a webform and waited several weeks. Today, it’s as simple as pressing a +1 button.

Content that you post to Google+ is far more likely to show up in search results than other pages, websites, articles, and content posted to other social networks because Google ranks their own social network higher and they crawl it faster. The added benefit is that Google even previews certain Google+ posts with rich snippets (profile picture, media, etc.), giving them even more real estate in a search!

As Laura Donovan shared in her Business2Community article on Google+:

While our company Google Plus page does not have a lot of followers, it does seem to give us a boost when it comes to how visible our blog posts are in Google searches.

Is there a catch?

Well, you do need to build a network on Google+ using Google+ Circles. The more people you add to circles and the more people who add you to their circles, the more likely you are to show up in search results for your network. Imagine if every person you emailed got added to a Google+ circle? You’d have a list of friends, family, colleagues, prospective leads, business partners, and much more who would see your content first! The broader your network on Google+ the more likely you are to show up in search results.

How can you take advantage of this? It’s pretty simple!

1. Make sure your Google+ personal profile and/or your Google+ page is fully complete.

Why bother? Well, Google indexes this information. This is an ideal place to make sure that Google knows who you are (and for those who find you on Google+ to know where to click to learn more).

In order to fill this out completely, you can:

Head to your Google+ personal profile, hit “Edit Profile” then click the “I” icon to go to your About Me page.
From there you can add your introduction and use words that relate to your brand in your tagline and about section
If you hit the + at the bottom of the page, you can add relevant sites and include links to your website or blog
Double check that the privacy for your introduction and sites is set to “Public” or whatever you are most comfortable with

2. Grab your custom URL with your full name or business name

After you claim your custom URL (you can follow the instructions here for desktop and mobile), it’ll be even easier to extend your branding into the search results since Google indexes the URLs, too.

3. Stay active on Google+

Make sure all of your recent blog content is being shared there, plus any relevant curated articles you wish to share. (It’s as simple as Buffering it now!)

4. Share your own blog posts, using the blog post title, immediately after they’re published

This is the fastest way to get your URL indexed and crawled to rank on Google search. Take care when sharing to Google+ to include the full title of post and even a small description to make ranking even more likely to be indexed and ranked.

5. Keep building your circles

The more people you have in your circles, the more likely you are to show up in search results! One idea: You could add everyone you email to a Google+ circle.

2. Everyone You Email Can See Your Google+ Profile

One billion people use Gmail every month. Are you one of them? If you aren’t, you’re probably emailing with a bunch of them!

And here’s the great benefit of Google+ and Gmail: Your Google+ profile appears in every one of the emails you send, for whoever opens your email in Gmail on desktop.

It’s this information, right here:

Have you ever tried clicking on someone’s photo in an email and had it take you to their Google+ profile?

I’ve done that quite a few times when I’m looking to find out more about someone, and it’s always awesome when their bio is filled out and from there I can find their website, other social handles, or just generally learn more about them.

How can you optimize this?

Add a photo to your Google+ profile
Optimize your Google+ profile by including:

Links
Bio
Workplace
Anything else you’d like to tell people

This way if your profile gets clicked, it contains all of the relevant information someone might be looking for and is a strong start to making sure your profile and content shows up in search.

Bonus: Maintaining an active presence on Google+ will also give people more content to click through and more context to learn about you.

3. There’s a Very Specific, Engaged Demographic on Google+ (Maybe Your Target Audience!)

It’s hard to pin down exactly how many people are using Google+, recent numbers say 375 million monthly users, whereas other places mentions between 4 – 6 million active users and in total there are 2.2 billion profiles since every new Gmail account ends up creating a Google+ profile as well.

It looks more likely that people enjoy using Google+ to host their photos, with 1.5 billion photos uploaded every week. I’ve done this myself as not all of my friends and family are on Facebook or Instagram, but they all have Gmail and can view the photos that way.

Regardless of how many people are using Google+, they are an active bunch. Google Communities in particular now average 1.2 million new joins per day!

What I found most interesting is the key demographics from those active Google+ users.

It’s common to hear that Google+ is great for reaching people in tech and it could be true based on these demographics.

This beautiful infographic from Sprout Social explains a bit more what demographics look like for other social networks:

Based on these there are a few things to note:

Google+ has the highest ratio for men on social media at 73%
And in particular, men in the United States with that as the location for 55% of users
Based on stats describing the top occupations, it’s likely 78% of Google+ users work in a role related to tech.

If that’s your target audience, then you’ll definitely have a higher likelihood of reaching them. Even if it isn’t, Google+ still has millions of active monthly users, who’s to say they won’t be interested in your brand or company?

4. Google+ Communities are Powerful (and Popular)

Google recently released the numbers for communities on Google+ as having 1.2 million daily new community joins.

So what is a community on Google+? According to Google:

Communities can have more than one owner and moderator, and other people can join that community
When you’re a member of a community, you can post to that community. Members of that community may see your posts in their home stream.

If you’re still starting out on Google+ and don’t quite have a following yet, posting content to communities is a great way to build an audience. Some workplaces also use Google+ communities as an internal social network for employees.

There are tons of active Google+ communities, here are just a few examples:

Landscape Photography, with nearly 1 million members

SEO and Internet Marketing, with over 150,000 members

Social Media for Entrepreneurs, with over 135,000 members

Funny Videos and Pictures, with over 2.5 million members

Body Building, with over 440,000 members

5. These 10 Major Brands and Influencers Are Seeing Success on Google+

Scrolling through Google+, I easily came across many brands and influencers who have enormous followings. NASA and National Geographic use Google+ to share stunning photos, the Dalai Lama shares his message with nearly 7.5 million followers and gets great engagement, Evernote has a colorful profile with popular, active collections and communities on their page.

Google+ is a great space to build a following with a lot less competition and noise than some other social networks. The added benefits from SEO ranking and visibility in Gmail, make it all the more attractive.

Here are 10 brands and influencers doing well on Google+ to serve as inspiration:

  1. National Geographic 
  2. Evernote
  3. NASA
  4. Dalai Lama
  5. Arianna Huffington
  6. Van Gogh Museum
  7. Globe and Mail 
  8. H & M 
  9. BMW
  10. PlayStation

Plus, It’s Never Been Easier To Share Your Content to Google+

We’re excited to announce that you can now connect your Google+ personal profiles with your Buffer account! It’ll only take a click to add the content you’re already sharing on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram or Pinterest and send it out to Google+ as well.

Connect your Google+ personal profile with your Buffer account here.

I’ve been making sure to share everything that goes on LinkedIn (since that’s where I do thought leadership) on Google+ as well as to start getting the SEO benefits. It’s also super easy to connect a Google+ page to your Buffer account if you haven’t had a chance to yet!

More reads on Google+: 

10 Smart Tips to Leverage Google+ for Increased Web Traffic
How to Boost Your Local SEO Rankings with Google+
Using Google+ to Appear in the Top Results Every Time – Whiteboard Friday
Twelve Things You Should Do on Your Personal Google+ Account Right Now

Over to You 

Thanks so much for reading! I hope you found this article helpful, I’d love to hear how all of this feels to you:

Do you use Google+? Does your company or brand?
Do you think you might find your target audience on Google+?
If you haven’t been posting to Google+, I’d love to know a bit more about why if you’re up for sharing!

I’d love to hear what’s working for you and any thoughts you may have in the comments below. Excited to keep the conversation going.

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