This is the transcript from last night’s Google Hangout from +Dumb SEO Questions.
+Dumb SEO Questions is a Google+ Community that Shopsafe Media is a member of.
Why Your Business should Integrate Google+
Hello and welcome, we’re here to discuss the benefits of small business integration with Google+. We’ll be talking about why you should consider Google+, but not how. By the way, when you’re ready to know how, the best thing you could do is to take advantage of the great set of articles put together by Martin Shervington on G+. But if you’re not on Google+ yet, just Google for “Guy Kawasaki free ebook” – Just like the motorbike. I read this book myself the other day, it’s valuable – and once you’re logged onto G+, once you’ve read the book and know what to do, look for Martin Shervington.
I guess you might be wondering “What happens if I never join Google+?”, and the answer is unclear. I’m sure you’ll hear more here tonight. Your search engine results should be largely unaffected, but I’ll listen to the advice given here. However there are many other reasons and benefits that flow from being on Google+ and integrating your business there.
With us tonight are:
- Andy Wigglesworth: he’s a leading website architect for Design By Human in the UK
- Dan Petrovic: CEO of the multinational SEO firm that bears his name – Dejan SEO, Australias leading online content publicists. Amongst the cream of Australia’s online world, Dan has helped many national and multinational companies such as Virgin, PayPal, Fuji, Xerox and Groupon.
- David Amerland: Advises Blue Chip companies internationally on social media strategy, and SEO of course, involving internal corporate restructuring to mesh with social media. Some of David’s clients include Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer.
- Rob Maas: An Adwords Aficionado and CEO of web-marketing specialists, MarketBizz in the Netherlands
- Tim Capper: An online reputation specialist based in the UK. Tim is head of the SEO firm: Online Ownership.
Well, that was pretty bad Dan, I’m sure you can do better. Can you kick off please mate?
Thanks Jim, so what I’d like to do is give a little bit of an overview. As somebody who’s put all his time and energy in Google+ as a social platform, and sacrificed 99% of the time that I spend on other social platforms including Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook etc.
So from the start of Google+ in June-July 2011, I was like everyone else, like all the early adopters, curious about the platform. I decided to investigate it and after a little bit of play-around, decided that it was a comfortable efficient platform for my social interaction.
So that was the first premise, the second was the fact that this was built by Google, and for a very good reason.
So what I’d like to do is perhaps open up the fact that Google is serious about Google+ and serious to the point that they have cut down so many other services that they normally experimented with, and this is very much tied in with Eric Schmidt giving his place to the original owners and creators of Google, to be CEOs – Larry Page and Sergey Brin
Their mission is to create one beautiful, unified, cohesive product: Google.
So by adding Plus, they have integrated the social network, and everything that Google is, into one product essentially.
So Google is very serious about Google Plus, and that means that I should be serious about Google Plus. There are many carrots behind using it.
I’d like to open up the discussion with some points that I want to bring up, and that is that there are many reasons for Google+ to be your preferred social platform. And some obvious ones are the fact that Google results are now being customised. So if I’m in your circles and david is in your circles, we will all see slightly shifted results in favour of our own content. So apart from pure personalisation, Google+ also will act as a stonger and stronger signal in the future as google figures out what to do with it, so it will be impacting the organic search.
One very, very important segment about Google+’s existence and purpose is Authorship.
Google+ is very, very serious about having real persons and real entities. So when somebody joins Google+ first they might be surprised that ‘Oh, I can’t use a Nickname’. So ‘DanTheMan2011’ – that’s not going to work. So I have to be Dan Petrovic, and I don’t have to give them my location, but Google stipulates. Real people, real entities, real individuals. There’s no more nicknames, such as on Twitter.
So that tells us how serious they are about the whole thing. And part of that is seeing Authorship in your results. When you write something, when Authors write something, you can see a little thumbnail now. That’s part of being on Google+
Hangouts – We are in a hangout right now. We’re not only discussing and debating things, but we are also producing video content that other audiences on Youtube, another ownership of Google, can later on see as a broadcast.
Next point is Business Pages, and how they funnel all the +1’s from a variety of places, whether they be off social networks or within. We’ve got content distribution possibilities, we’ve got user engagement, we’ve got local maps and reviews integrated, we’ve got event management now so we can run our events as part of Google+.
So Google has been very serious about it, and we’ve seen this because they keep encouraging us: “Put more data into Google+, give us more, stay signed in, switch on your alerts.”
They’re even allowing us give Google custom data about a particular user. So for example if I want to add David’s personal phone number in Google+, I can do that, and it will only be visible to me.
So they’re crowdsourcing and feeding the data into Google more and more and they’re very, very serious about it.
So I think given enough points there for debate and discussion so I’ll stop talking now and hand over to David who I know has much opinion about the subject.
Thankyou Dan, that’s quite an introduction actually. And I think Dan made some very important points. And he mentioned carrots in the Google+ discussion, and carrots never go without sticks somewhere. The carrots-and-stick approach has always been a Google standard. And if you opt-out, and you can always choose to opt-out of Google+, you will find yourself out in the dark. Singing in your own closed place where nobody will be able to find you.
Let me quantify this, because this is exactly the whole point of the Google+ experience. Dan mentioned that basically what google is doing with Google plus is in effect collating data. Data is crucial online, and why is it crucial? Because if you’re online, what you really need to do is actually be found. That’s why you’re online. If you don’t want to be found, go to a desert island with no internet, no supermarkets and nobody will know who you are and you can do whatever you want by yourself there.
Now, if you really need to be found and you’re serious about it, what Google really needs to know is who you are, and what you do. And then they need some way of actually assessing this, quantifying it, measuring it against everybody else and deciding that ‘Hey, this exactly how valid your presence is, and this is exactly how you should be ranking’
So in a sense it is creating an online meritocracy, where your site and presence will almost automatically rise exactly where it should be and be found by exactly the people looking for you.
It’s a tall order to be sure and it’s tied to Google+. The question about why you should be on it, has to start with what it is. What it is, is particularly a means of authenticating your online presence and it’s a means of establishing your online identity. So if we were to examine what it is in a very sort of strict sense of the word, it’s a digital identity service with that that implies. It can sound a little bit scary and I suppose in a way it is. Because for the first time you can’t really hide yourself online, you can see that data and information is cross-referenced, not by just what you do, but who you interact with and what they do. And Dan mentioned that he can put in my phone number and other details about me and only he can see them, and obviously Google, and Google will cross reference these to see exactly how valid I am as a person and what authority I have.
Now the plusses to all of this, of course, are that essentially, we’re going away from a world which was basically capable of being gamed by professionals. And I think as SEO professionals, we were sometimes part of the problem, as well as part of the solution. We’re moving to a world where suddenly you’re a lot more authoritative, a lot more authentic and a lot more valid in the way that you actually present yourself. In many ways it’s a more transparent, more social media minded, more open world.
So the bottom line of this, and it all begins with Google+, is that if you haven’t got a presence on it, then you are handicapping yourself in terms of your online brand, and your online marketing.
A presence on Google+ has not become a strong ranking signal in search, but it is beginning to. Because essentially Google is using the social signal increasingly to understand who you are, what you do, and how you should be ranked in terms of search queries. So if you’re not there right now, and you’re serious about being found online, well this is where you are missing out on a very important chunk.
Absolutely cool, I loved meritocracy, I’ll have to get Dan to explain that to me one night. Rob, did you have anything to contribute here?
Well a lot has been said already, but I think it’s important, especially for small business owners, Small-Medium Business owners (SMBs). It also opens a good way to watch your clients and your new clients, in being with Google+, being able to setup Google Local within Google Plus, which is going to replace Google Places. So it’s a very smart and simple way to interact with clients and new clients, and it makes it easier for you to be found within Google, just by being in Google Plus and using Google Local.
So that alone should be a reason to join it also.
Cool, so in terms of online reputation management, Tim, Can you see plusses in Google Plus?
Tim Capper: Yeah, absolutely certainly. But like any social media, you can also shoot yourself in the foot, so it depends and it’s just assumed that nobody’s going to tweet something a bit bizarre here, or you know, if you post something crazy on Google+ of course there are ramifications. So putting that aside, and it all ties in with what Dan and David and Rob said, this is about you putting your brand and your product and everything revolving around yourself. In a sense, pushing yourself forward as the author of your particular content or the author of your brand or product. And it’s a fantastic way, let alone just for Authorship with your face appearing, it’s a fantastic way of raising awareness of who you are and building that personal touch with your product.
In terms of reputation, of course you can manage it far easier by having your authorship appearing with more positive articles, more positive messages appearing with your brand, product or yourself.
We’ve obviously had this experience for example with a situation that we’ve been dealing with. So it’s not as easy as that, but it definitely helps. And it definitely helps you in the search result for yourself, your product and your brand.
Brilliant, Mate. Andy, did you want to add something to that?
I can’t really compete with what the other guys have said to be honest, but from a small business perspective it’s been great to join in debates with clients and connect with clients from a small business perspective. So the more clients I can get on Google+, the better.
Cool mate, David or Dan, if we were to sum up the crucial reason why a business shouldn’t be lagging behind with integrating with Google+. Have we really covered the community aspect of Google+ and so on.
We haven’t yet, and this is part of functionality. Daniel already mentioned the fact that Google+ allows you the opportunity to create content in a relatively easy way. Case in point, hangout.
Now here’s the thing. As a content creation tool, I mean we call Google+ a community and it’s not really, that’s a misnomer. There are communities, like we are in terms of connections, but it’s not a social network, it’s a set of social tools which allows us as web users to interact in a community sense in the wider web in many ways. So in terms of that, what it allows you to do is create content in ways which you wouldn’t have been able to before. And also make connections in ways that you wouldn’t have been able to before. So as a business for instance, you can have a presence which allows you to centrally connect with your customers across the globe if you’re so inclined, but also allows you the opportunity to create specific content for them in ways which perhaps your website wouldn’t have been able to handle very easily and then it dresses everything up with real time interaction, like we have here, or asynchronous interaction like Gmail or perhaps a website contact.
So in terms of what a small business has access to, is a set of tools, that if we were to put a monetary value on, maybe take it back 18 months or so, would have cost thousands of dollars to set up. And now it’s free and it’s freely available and it’s easy to use. So it’s a massive win in terms of the business arsenal and it tends to, in my direct experience is, it tends to promote better customer service because it creates that immediacy, that immediate response, the interaction that comes with it and the richness in terms of information.
Dan do you have anything to add to this?
Yeah I think we’ve covered a lot of points here in such a short hangout. We’ve had 30 minutes according to Jim. And it’s good that it’s short and snappy because rather than talking and listening about Google+, you should get in and start doing things. There are no ifs and buts; it’s not whether you should be using, but when you should be using. Otherwise you will not be on Google’s radar.
So I guess in my summary is, Why use Google+?
Well as David eloquently put: It’s a means of authenticating your online presence.
Google+ is your online identity, there’s already people printing out little Google+ cards, kinda like what they did with Facebook. But like I said before, Google will never trust Facebook’s data like they do their own. So being on Google+ means Google knows your identity and that’s not just personal identity that’s corporate identity as well. You can set up your page on Google+ and Google will know that this entity exists. You can integrate with your business page and maps.
And I think an important point that we’ve covered is, of course this goes with Authorship, user profiles and business pages, but overall I think Google+ is yes, a set of tools and utilities: local, events, communities, hangouts, video sharing (we can join in this hangout and watch YouTube videos together)
So yes it’s a collection of tools but it’s also a smooth engaging platform. I find that posting without limits, and twitter is limited to a certain number of characters and that doesn’t work for me, so you can write as much as you like or as little as you can. It’s a media storage platform. You can store you imagery and you video material, and it’s a content publishing and distribution platform as well. So overall it’s one integrated and unified product that is of high priority to Google itself, and it should be high priority to you.
So that’s the wrap-up from me, I’ll see if Jim has anything else to add, and I think overall we’ve covered most of the important points.
I have to confess that I forgot to take note of the time, so I’ve got absolutely no clue how close we are to 30 minutes. But I did take note of the time at about 8:37, but I think we’re about 7 minutes in, but it doesn’t matter if we’re less. But I think in a nutshell we’ve covered it, but Andy or Robert of Tim, did you have anything to finish us off with?
I think for me, the crux, if somebody had to say ‘Why Google+?’, If the CEO of Google says “Google is Google+”. If somebody wants to compete or wants to be found in Google, that should be enough to convince anyone to start using it.
And I think people shouldn’t be overwhelmed by the possibilities now mentioned. It’s all quite easy, just start with it, and look for some people that you might know and add them to your circles and grow with it, not too fast by using all of it at once. And you can see Google+ as a combination of all other known social platforms, including twitter and facebook. It’s a very good combination and it’s much more orientated to the professionals rather than to the individual persons, so there are great opportunities for small business owners, medium business owners, large companies, but all take it with baby steps.
But don’t forget, it’s going to replace Google Places, or Places is already largely integrated with it. Most of the small businesses are already in Google Places and Google+ within Places is getting you much more opportunities.
Brilliant. From my point of view, I’ve been building sort-of websites on the web since, well, last century, and I can’t remember a time when the engagement, I mean for argument sake, Dumb SEO Questions, we wouldn’t be talking now if it wasn’t for Dumb SEO Questions. That’s the community we have on Google+ and we have a regular weekly Hangout and we talk about SEO questions for hour after endless hour. But that certainly wouldn’t have come about. It came about after a chance remark in one of Dan’s Hangouts, Dan’s SEO Hangout Panel. And all of a sudden we have a community of Google+ of 700 people. I don’t think I’ve had a website that had 700 visitors.
But it’s just amazing and it’s just a matter of recognising the opportunity. There is just so much opportunity and so much potential for synergy on Google+. Who knows who you might be talking to. You might be a garden supplier, and you might be talking to someone from America, and you might collaborate to take a shipment from China. With Google+ it’s like Vegas, there are no clocks. It’s a family, and that’s the way I see it anyway. I’m absolutely amazed by Google+ and I’ve been amazed from the day that it started.
To finish off, David, I know that you think quickly and you certainly do speak quickly. I want a one-liner to finish this broadcast.
I think you nailed it pretty much when you said that it’s basically a community, and here we’re going away from the functionality to the human element, which I find absolutely amazing.
The inherent value of anything we do is the connections we make. If we leave it to ourselves, we are just dumb people locked inside our heads, no matter how clever we think we are, we won’t get any further. The moment we connect with someone else, that’s when the real value of who we are actually becomes realised and it becomes unleashed. And I think Google+ is actually making this happen. Case in point is Hangout, and those that will watch it, and that should be enough for anybody.
Excellent. Alright, look I think I’ve covered everything. This clip is going out in a set of articles put out by Martin Shervington on Google+. Look for them, I’m sure they’ll be good. Probably ours will be best, but I’m sure the other 50 articles will be good. Ok, thank-you very much for watching.