Archive for the ‘Google+’ Category

Eight Experts Explain (Almost) Everything You Need to Know about Google Authorship and Author Rank

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

Over the past decade and a half, Google has continually updated its core search ranking algorithm to incorporate an increasingly complex set of “quality signals” and indicators of subject-matter authority.

At first, it was just links. Then it was links from certain types of websites. Then links from certain types of websites with specific anchor text. Now it’s links from certain types of websites, but not others, with specific anchor text, but not too many with anchor text that is too similar, along with other trust signals like domain age, domain registration length, bounce rate, and—starting around the middle of 2011 (or so it is speculated)—page authorship. Simple, really.

Expert Guides to Google Authorship and Author RankGoogle figures that if authorship of a web page can be ascribed to a real person, with a real Google+ profile, then that makes a statement about its quality (though precisely what kind of statement relies on the particular individual).

So, how exactly does Google Authorship work? How does one implement it? How does Authorship relate to Author Rank? Does Author Rank even exist? What impact does Authorship (or Author Rank, if it’s real) have on search rankings?

Find the answers to these questions and more in these articles and blog posts from eight experts.

Rel=author: The basics explained [infographic] by iMedia Connection

Deborah BatesThough there’s been no shortage of blog posts about Google’s authorship tag, Deborah Bates notes that many of them are “a little too [ITALICS] in-depth…All we need to know is what it is, why it’s useful and how to implement it.” And that’s just what she shares here in a compact but useful infographic.

WordPress SEO: The Easy Way to Set Up Google Authorship by Social Media Today

Craig FitfieldCraig Fifield explains how to configure the WordPress SEO by Yoast plugin “for a single author blog since all blogs need those settings” and progresses to “the specifics for businesses and multi-author blogs, both of which have specific configuration options.”

Can We Build Our Trust With Google Plus by newraycom

Ray HiltzReporting that “A Forrester Research study revealed that 70% of consumers trust brand recommendations from friends, only 10% trust advertising,” Ray Hiltz notes that still, “the majority of companies remain in their Mad Men rut and give no serious attention to building relationships with their market.” He then explores how authorship and Google+ features like Hangouts can be used to build trust.

Want to Rank in Google? Build Your Author Rank Now by Search Engine Watch

Eric EngeEric Enge explores half a dozen factors Google can potentially use in calculating author rank, including average article velocity (“the tweets, +1s, shares, Likes per day, per hour, or even per minute…consider the concept that search engines can track your average performance in this area over time”) and authority of publishing sites, and concludes that content teams need a subject-matter expert “on whatever your topic matter is – passionate about it, and personable. Your content won’t sell without this.”

Google+ Identifies Experts in Google’s Search Engine Result Pages by Relevanza

Birgit Pauli-HaackIn this short but very helpful post, Birgit Pauli-Haack provides “details on how to connect your Google+ profile with your blog/website, claim authorship and appear on relevant Key word searches,” complete with essential links, useful examples, and technical instructions.

Google AuthorRank: Fact or Fiction? by Social Media Today

Mike AltonMike Alton steps through what Google Author Rank is, how one gets authorship credit, why it’s important, and how it differs from search personalization: “as a verified author, your content can rise to the top of a search result without having any connection to the individual doing the searching.”

How Google Author Rank could change content marketing… and journalism by PandoDaily

Erin GriffithExplaining that “Google is using Google+ to influence search results in a big way, and…Author Rank could have an even bigger effect on search results…it’s clearly the way forward for Google results,” Erin Griffith delves into how author rank works, and how it affect search results and click-throughs, concluding “With Author Rank, (Google is) outsmarting SEO spammers while forcing content producers to use Google+.”

How To Get Your Picture In Google Search Results by Mannix Marketing

Bill BouchardNo theory, no eloquent digressions on the impacts and implications of Google Authorship, just a concise how-to post from Bill Bouchard on “putting a name and face with content” in three steps, including two options for linking your content to your Google+ profile.

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18 Expert Guides to Using Google+ for Business

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

Despite the reputation Google+ has in some circles for being the social network that everyone has joined but no one uses, marketers are increasing viewing it as a vital platform for branding and engagement.

After all, Google+ is now the second-largest social network; it’s more business-oriented (and less about sharing pictures of friends and grandkids) than Facebook, and more flexible than Twitter; it’s important for SEO (though not in the way you may think–see below); and it’s connected to everything else Google (Gmail, YouTube, Maps, News, etc.), making it a critical component in an overall web visibility strategy.

Best Guides to Google Plus for BusinessAs further evidence of the network’s increasing importance, as noted below, 60% of Google+ users log in every day (compared to 50% on Twitter); sites linked on Google+ tend to be indexed in search quickly; Google+ is aiming to become the “social platform of the future,” for example, by using its technology to replace other services like Yammer, Skype, and EventBrite; and it may well become the dominant source of business ratings (not good news for sites like Yelp and Epinions).

So what are the best practices for posting and sharing content on Google+? Building an audience and networking? Using Hangouts? What are the secrets to making your posts stand out? What are the best tools for analyzing Google+ activity and results? And how exactly does Google+ impact search results?

Find the answers to these questions and many others here in 18 Google+ marketing tips and guides from more than a dozen experts.

Effective Content Marketing on Google Plus: 5 Tools to Measure Success by Content Marketing Institute

Brittany KlontzBritt Klontz specifies nine key metrics “that really matter when it comes to understanding how effective your content marketing presence on G+ is,” then reviews five tools to help track those metrics, including All My + Statistics, which she says “may just be Google+ Nirvana for marketers who want to understand how their content, as well as that of their competitors, is being received on Google+.” And it’s free.

Are You Pumping Up Your Google Plus Strategy in 2014? by SteamFeed

Ray HiltzNoting that “In just over two years, Google Plus has become the second most widely used social network with approximately 350 million active users,” Ray Hiltz (who is to Google+ what Rebekah Radice is to Pinterest) states “2014 is the year to take the Google+ plunge if you haven’t already,” then delves into strategies for producing content, using new features in Hangouts, and networking on Google+.

Beginner’s Guide to Understanding Google Plus by ScottBuehler.com
***** 5 STARS

Scott BuehlerFor those who are new to Google+ (or who struggle to see results with it), Scott Buehler provides an excellent 10-step guide to understanding circles, generating activity, formatting posts, using hashtags, hosting hangouts, creating company pages and more.

5 Big Reasons Why You Should Consider Google Plus Marketing by Jeffbullas’s Blog

Allison RiceGuest author Allison Rice contends that “Google+ is quickly becoming a significant player in the social media marketing world because it has one thing going for it that no other social site has: Google,” and backs that up with five specific reasons, including “the coveted right hand space…Google search is constantly updating with new information, and the most recent and relevant information posted in Google+ that’s related to your search is likely to appear in that right hand space. If you’re regularly posting on topics relevant to your industry and your Google+ site shows consistent updated content, then your Google+ page — and articles you’ve posted that are relevant to someone’s search — are much more likely to appear in that space.”

Google+ Launches Embeds, Starts To Highlight WordPress.com And TypePad Authors Who Sign In With Google+ In Search Results by TechCrunch

Frederic LardinoisFrederic Lardinois reports on the details and impact of two announcements regarding Google+: the embed feature (“millions of people already produce lots of content on Google+. Until now, that content was locked up in the platform, however. The embed feature will…be available on public posts”) and authorship results through WordPress and TypePad connections (“the select number of sites that currently support this will automatically assign the right kind of markup to authors on their service, and Google will highlight their Google+ profiles on search results that include their posts”).

The Anatomy of a Perfect Google+ Post by dustn.tv
***** 5 STARS

Dustin W. StoutDustin W. Stout shares a number of unique and helpful tips here for making your Google+ posts stand out, such as using and asterisk before and after your post title to make it bold; writing a meaty summary (“This isn’t Twitter, so don’t worry about it being less than 140 characters. Google+ers like substance”); and using hashtags (three or less, directly relevant to the post).

7 Point Checklist to Dominate Your Personal Brand Using Google Plus by Rebekah Radice

Rebekah RadiceCalling Google+ “a key component to your marketing strategy,” Rebekah Radice offers seven tips for optimizing results there, from making the most of your profile (“Do you know what search terms people are using when looking for your business? Google is eager to tell your story, but without your keywords you could create a situation where consumers have to hunt and peck to find you”) and creating great content to joining niche communities and paying attention to your ripples.

9 Tips for Getting Started on Google+ by NewRayCom

Ray Hiltz (again) lays out “the basics along with some tips to optimize your Google+ experience,” starting with identifying your goals (SEO, building brand authority, generating leads, etc.) and progressing through setting up your profile, engaging, organizing your circles, and using Hangouts.

Infographic: Google+ for Business by Chris Brogan

Chris BroganChris Brogan shares an infographic stuffed with “all kinds of factoids and thoughts” about Google+ and its value for business, such as that 60% of Google+ users log in every day (compared to 50% on Twitter); sites linked on Google+ tend to be indexed quickly; and one key to success is approaching your Google+ presence as creating a magazine.

The 2013 Google+ Marketing Guide by KISSmetrics
***** 5 STARS

Kristi HinesThe insightful and prolific Kristi Hines presents “everything you need in order to have a successful Google+ experience,” from setting up your profile in an optimal fashion to building authorship authority (“You do this by linking your Google+ personal profile to the content you create throughout the web, from your own site to other blogs and online media outlets”) to planning your content strategy, building an audience, “hanging out,” analyzing results and more.

Google+: It’s Bigger On the Inside by SteamFeed

Like Doctor Who’s TARDIS, Google+ is “bigger on inside” according to Ray Hiltz (yet again), who details both the SEO benefits (“Search and influence is increasingly being affected by ‘authority.’ It’s the quality of friends and not the number that count. Just like in real life.”) and the social networking opportunities afforded by Google’s social platform.

4 Steps To Improve Your Google Plus Profile for Business by Small Business Trends

Timothy CarterTimothy Carter outlines “four easy changes to your Google Plus profile” that will lead to “better local search engine rankings and…more action on your site.,” starting with the obvious (professional photo, strong tagline) and progressing through getting your visibility settings right, as “Google Plus more emphasis on protecting personal privacy than Facebook and some of the other social networking sites. The defaults are private and you have to manually set them as public.”

Finally…the mainstream starts to catch on to GooglePlus! by Relevanza

Steve HartSteve Hart makes the case that Google+ will be the “social platform of the future,” for example, by using its technology to replace other services like Yammer, Skype, and EventBrite; by becoming the dominant source of business ratings (not good news for Yelp); and through Google Hangouts, which he says “may be the most powerful tool, yet.”

How to Use Google Plus Ripples to Build Momentum by New England Multimedia

Ed KingPhotographer Ed King shares his strategy for using Google Plus “Ripples” to recognize brand advocates, starting with what Ripples are (a little-known feature of Google’s social network) and how they work, and proceeding through a detailed yet easy to follow six-minute video tutorial.

3 Reasons to Dust Off Your Google Plus Business Page by SteamFeed

Writing that he’s “now paying serious attention to my Google Plus page and here’s 3 reasons why you should too,” Ray Hiltz (one more time) details developments that make Google+ a more attractive and productive platform for businesses, such as that “Google+ Pages are people too. Unlike Facebook, Google+ Brand Pages will have the ability to interact and engage with any  Google+ user. This will open up more engagement opportunities and increase chances that users will add business pages to their Circles.”

Google+ and SEO

Matt Cutts: Google +1s Don’t Lead to Higher Ranking by Search Engine Watch

Jennifer SleggJennifer Slegg reports that while it isn’t often “Matt Cutts comes right out to debunk a highly publicized blog post regarding something to do with ranking in Google,” the head of Google’s Webspam team did so in response to post on the SEOmoz blog which claimed that “Google +1s had a direct correlation with higher search rankings in Google – and that it was higher than any other ranking factor.” According to Matt, “If you make compelling content, people will link to it, like it, share it on Facebook, +1 it, etc. But that doesn’t mean that Google is using those signals in our ranking…+1s and rankings are not related.” Hmm. Maybe.

Direct Measurement of Google Plus Impact on Search Rankings by Stone Temple Consulting

Eric EngeEric Enge details the results of an exhaustive study of the causation–not just correlation–of Google+ shares on search ranking. So does his research jibe with the statements from Matt Cutts reported above? Pretty much. After extensive study, Eric concludes that while Google + shares do drive discovery, and “probably” drive indexing as well, “We saw no evidence of Google+ shares driving ranking.”

Using Google+ to Appear in the Top Results Every Time – Whiteboard Friday by The Moz Blog

Rand FishkinWell…it turns out that while Google+ shares may not boost search rankings universally, a person’s (or brand’s) following on Google+ can certainly affect personalized search results. Rand Fishkin walks through several examples of how the search results one sees when logged in can differ dramatically from general results, even for short, high-volume, head-type search phrases like “data science,” “Patrick Stewart” and “happy Halloween,” based on which brands and individuals that person follows in Google+.

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102 Compelling Social Media and Online Marketing Stats and Facts for 2012 (and 2013)

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013

With 92% of companies now incorporating social media into their marketing efforts, it’s no longer sufficient to just “be there” on social networks. Today’s most effective marketers are optimizing content across channels, coordinating search and social marketing activities with traditional PR, and measuring their web presence and performance with sophistication.

Social Media and Online Marketing StatisitcsThe first step to improving digital marketing results is to understand the emerging trends and best practices. This post, along with 79 Remarkable Social Media Marketing Facts and Statistics for 2012 and 87 More Vital Social Media Marketing Facts and Stats for 2012 previously published here, provide a solid foundation for that understanding.

What do buyers really want from social media marketers? What’s the key to generating more inbound marketing leads? What is the source of the largest share of social traffic to websites? (It’s not what you almost certainly think.)

Find the answers to these questions and many, many more here in over 100 engaging and intriguing social, search, content, inbound, email,  mobile and other marketing stats and facts from the past few months.

25 Social Media Facts and Statistics

1. While 76% of marketers believe “they know what their consumers want” in terms of social media content and interaction, only 34% have actually asked those buyers. (e-Strategy Trends)

2. At least on the B2C side, there is a disconnect between what marketers think consumers think is important and what consumers actually value. Marketers believe the highest consumer priorities on social media are insights for buying decisions (59%) and customer service (58%). Consumers actually place the highest value on deals and promotions (83%) and rewards programs (70%). (e-Strategy Trends)

3. B2B buyers are most likely to share useful vendor content via email (79%), followed by LinkedIn (53%), Twitter (39%) and Facebook (18%). (Earnest Agency)

4. While three-quarters of marketers consider measurement of social media impact important, 70% say that measuring those results is difficult. (Marketing Charts)

5. 79% of marketers measure website traffic from social media, and 68% track engagement metrics on social networks, but just 26% measure the relationship of social media activity to leads and sales. (Marketing Charts)

6. Just 4% of marketers said their companies were “very effective” at measuring social marketing in 2012. While 47% felt somewhat good at social measurement in 2011, just 38% said the same in 2012. “Nearly half of respondents (47%) feel they or their companies are either not very good at social marketing measurement, or do not measure well at all.” (Marketing Charts)

7. Ever feel frustrated and less productive than you’d like to be at work, even though you’re working hard and putting in a ton of hours? There’s a reason for that! Interruptions (like email and social media) are messing us up. Consider:

  • • The typical worker is interrupted once every 28 minutes on average.
  • • 28% of the average work day is spent on interruptions and recovery time.
  • • 45% of workers believe they are expected to work on too many things at once.
  • • And tasks done in parallel take on average 30% longer to complete than those performed in a sequence.

(Visual.ly)

8. Everyone knows women vastly outnumber men on Pinterest, but how about on other social networks? Women make up the larger share of users on Facebook (58% to 42%) and are a slightly larger share on Twitter (52% to 48%) while men are the predominate users of LinkedIn (63% to 37%) and Google+ (71% to 29%). Furthermore, half of all Google+ users are under 25 years old. (iMedia Connection)

9. Social CRM is still confusing. Only 16% of companies say they currently have a social CRM system in place. 21% plan to implement such a system in the coming year, but another 17% “don’t know what a social CRM system is and why businesses need it.” (Convince & Convert)

10. Only a quarter of all U.S. small businesses (20-99 employees) and a third of midsized companies say they use social media “to engage with customers and prospects in a strategic and structured way.” Another 20% of both groups say they use social media, but in an ad hoc manner. (eMarketer)

11. Despite growing interest in the concept of social business, less than 20% of U.S. companies have integrated social media with their customer service, sales, or product development processes. (eMarketer)

12. Worldwide, 86% of companies have a presence on Facebook and Twitter, while just over half use YouTube and Linked and only slightly more than a third have a presence on Pinterest and/or Google+. (eMarketer)

13. More than 80% of small to midsized businesses (SMBs) plan to increase their use of social media in 2013. Not suprising, considering that 87% of SMBs say that social media has helped them either somewhat or a great deal in th past year. Of those using this channel, social media accounts for 32% of SMB marketing activities. (Marketing Charts)

14. Okay, so most marketers have now embraced social media. But why? 84% of marketers say they use social media to “reach customers at multiple touchpoints,” while 62% want to reach customers where they spend time and 56% say that “customers expect them to be on social media.” (Marketing Charts)

15. Still, not every small business should be using social media—or at least not using it as they are currently. 79% of small business owners on Twitter post just once per day or even less frequently, yet one out of three want to spend less time on social media. These business owners would be best advised to either spend their time on other tactics or hire someone who knows and enjoys social media to interact on their businesses’ behalf. No deposit, no return. (Leaders West)

16. Social media may be good for 99 things, but lead generation ain’t one of them. According to research from MarketingSherpa, just 12% of marketers rate social media as “very effective” for lead gen while 27% say it is “not effective.” The only tactic that fares worse is print advertising (9% very effective vs. 30% not effective). (B2B Lead Blog)

17. Which social network sends the largest share of website traffic? The answer is…unknown. Literally. The well-known social networks like Facebook, Twitter and Reddit account for, combined, on average, less than half of all social traffic. The majority (as much as 70%) is “dark social”—links shared through email or instant messaging that generally get lumped in with “direct” traffic in analytics programs like Google Analytics. (The Atlantic)

18. The most popular social media sites for distributing B2B content are LinkedIn (used by 83% of B2B marketers), Twitter (80%) and Facebook (also 80%). After that, it falls off sharply; 61% use YouTube, 39% are on Google+, 26% utilize Pinterest (really?) and 23% share content on SlideShare. (MarketingProfs)

19. Using social media boosts website traffic: companies gain a 185% lift in Web traffic after achieving 1,000 Facebook likes, and businesses with 51 to 100 Twitter followers generate 106% more traffic than those with 25 or fewer followers. (MarketingProfs)

20. 92% of U.S. companies now use social media in their marketing efforts. (Heidi Cohen)

21. Different social media channels serve different purposes. Blogging is generally seen as most valuable for SEO, YouTube for content marketing, and social networks like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn most helpful for branding and engagement. (Heidi Cohen)

22. Globally, eight different social networks have now reached the 100 million user mark. Three of those (Weibo, the fourth-largest social nework, RenRen at #5 and Badoo at #7) are primarily used by non-English speakers. (WordPress Hosting SEO)

23. The average user spends nearly seven hours per month on Facebook, but just 21 minutes on Twitter, 17 on LinkedIn, and only three minutes on Google+. (WordPress Hosting SEO)

24. Social media now accounts for 18% of all time spent online, and the average American spends 6.9 hours per month on social networking. But we are spending less time on the phone, sending/reading email, and watching TV than we did just a few years ago. (WordPress Hosting SEO)

25. One-third of CEOs fail to consider their compananies’ social media reputation when making business decisions. (The Backup List)

12 WPO, Inbound and Content Marketing Stats

26. Leads from inbound marketing cost on average 61% less ($135 vs. $346) than outbound marketing leads. (Earnest Agency)

27. Though it varies across industries, of course, 24% of overall marketing spending last year was on digital/online marketing. Social media and SEO together account for 70% of that spending. (iMedia Connection)

28. Blogging generally gets the largest share of inbound marketing budgets, followed by social media, SEO (if calculated separately from blogging) and PPC advertising. Most outbound marketing spend is on telemarketing, followed by direct mail and trade shows. (iMedia Connection)

29. 57% of companies say they generated sales through their blogs, and an identical share have closed business through LinkedIn. 48% have generated customers through Twitter and 42% through Facebook. (iMedia Connection)

30. Why web presence optimization metrics are vital: half of marketers say tightening integration between social media and traditional marketing is a key goal for 2013, yet nearly a third identify that as one of their top social marketing challenges, and a whopping 57% way measuring social ROI is a challenge. (Convince & Convert)

31. 9 out of 10 marketers say they measure social presence (e.g., number of followers and fans) and social media-driven website traffic, but only about half measure share of voice and sentiment. (Convince & Convert)

32. Need more evidence that measuring social media ROI is hard? While about 90% of all companies do some form of social media marketing, just one out of eight measure the revenue impact directly from social media. (eMarketer)

33. The two biggest challenges faced by B2B content marketers are producing enough content (cited by 29% of marketers) and producing the kind of content that engages (18). Only 2% of marketers say that finding trained content marketing professionals is a big challenge. (MarketingProfs)

34. More content = more leads. On average, companies “with 51-100 web pages generate 48% more traffic than companies with 1-50 pages.” What’s interesting though is the differential is larges for very small companies (those with less than 10 employees), likely because larger companies make greater use of lead gen tactics like tradeshows, webinars and video. (Polaris B)

35. Lots more content = lots more leads. Companies with 101-200 web pages generate 2.5x more leads than those with 50 or fewer pages. More landing pages and more blog posts also mean more leads. On average, companies that have published 200 or more total blog posts generate 5X as much traffic as those with 10 posts or fewer. (Polaris B)

36. Inbound marketing leads cost on average 62% less than outbound-generated leads, and the “big three” inbound channels—blogs, social media and SEO—all cost less on average than any outbound channel. (Polaris B)

37. The financial services (75%), insurance (50%) and software (50%) industries are the most advanced when it comes to having separate content marketing strategies for each channel through which they distribute content. Companies in these industries are also the most likely to have formal content marketing editorial calendars. The automotive (14%) and banking sectors (14%) were the least likely to have separate strategies in place. (MediaPost)

8 SEO Stats and Facts

38. SEO has the biggest impact on lead generation for B2B companies. 59% of B2B marketers say SEO has the biggest impact on their lead gen goals, followed by social media (21%) and pay per click (20%). Not surprisingly, 98% of B2B marketers plan to maintain or increase SEO budgets next year. (Marketing Charts)

39. SEO also has the biggest impact on B2C lead gen. 49% of B2C marketers rank SEO tops for impact on lead generation, followed by pay per click (26%) and social media (25%). (Marketing Charts)

40. Agencies do SEO better. 21% of marketers who work with agencies on SEO report being highly satisfied with their program performance, compared with 11% of those who do SEO in-house. (Marketing Charts)

41. 78% of Internet users say they use the web for product research, and almost half (46%) of all searches on the average day for information on products and services (iMedia Connection)

42. Search is as popular as ever, but the percentage of searches actually done on search engines declined slightly in 2012 (by about 1%). More searches are taking place on websites (e.g. Twitter, Facebook, and on Amazon.com, which is the top destination for product search). Still, organic search on search engines drive 50% of all referring traffic, compared to less than 8% for social media. (MediaPost)

43. SEO is rated as the most effective lead generation tactic, with 34% of marketers calling it “very effective” while just 7% say it is not effective. The next-most-effective lead gen tactics are paid search (32% vs. 9%) and webinars (30% to 6%). (B2B Lead Blog)

44. Demand for SEO skills has never been greater. SEO job postings on job board indeed.com increased 1900% last year and people with ‘SEO’ in their LinkedIn profile have increased by 112%. Still, few SEO jobs pay six figures. (Conductor Blog)

45. The largest number of SEO job openings are in New York and San Francisco, with Boston at #5, Austin at #11 and my own Minneapolis at #12. (Conductor Blog)

3 SEM Facts

46. Think AdWords isn’t important? For “commercial” searches on Google, actual organic links can take up less than 20% of the screen real estate and links. (Founder’s Blog)

47. Agencies do SEM better. 20% of respondents working with agencies for PPC report being highly satisfied with their program’s performance, compared to 15% who manage pay-per-click programs in-house. (Marketing Charts).

48. Search (paid and organic) is a leading driver of new customer sales, while email matters most for repeat business. Social media isn’t a significant driver of either type of sale, though of course it is vital for support SEO, brand image (which leads to higher PPC click-through rates) and customer service. (Marketing Pilgrim)

3 Email Marketing Stats

49. There are 62 billion emails sent every day. The average worker receives 112 emails and spends 28 of his or her time on email each day. (Visual.ly)

50. Email is the most common lead gen tactic, used by 81% of marketers. (MarketingSherpa)

51. SEO drives traffic, but email drives conversions. While 43% of marketers say that organic search drives the greatest volume of traffic to their websites, only 29% say that traffic converts at the highest rate. On the other hand, though just 22% cite email as their largest web traffic generator, 25% say those visits convert at the highest rate. (MarketingSherpa)

7 Business Blogging Stats and Facts

52. Just 139 of the Fortune 500 corporations maintain public-facing blogs, only 29 more than in 2009. (e-Strategy Trends)

53. Only 185 of the Inc. 500 (fastest-growing companies) had a blog in 2011, down from 250 firms in 2010, despite the fact that 92% of all companies with blogs say it has been successful for their business. (e-Strategy Trends)

54. Meanwhile, 55% of small businesses have a blog. (Leaders West)

55. On average, companies that publish 15 or more blog articles per month generate five times more Web traffic than companies that don’t blog at all, and those that blog 9-15 times per month generate three times more traffic than companies that don’t maintain blogs. (MarketingProfs)

56. Companies that publish new blog posts just 1-2 times per month generate 70% more leads than companies that don’t blog at all. (MarketingProfs)

57. 57% of companies that blog have acquired a customer through their blogs. (Polaris B)

58. Blogs are the core of social media marketing. Among companies that use social media in their marketing efforts, 59% rank their company blog as critical or important to their business, higher than any other social sharing site or network. (Heidi Cohen)

8 Facebook Facts and Statistics

59. There are one billion posts per day made on Facebook. The average user spends nearly 7 hours per month on the social networking site, and one out of every five pageviews on the Internet is on…Facebook. (Visual.ly)

60. Three out of four American moms use Facebook. (iMedia Connection)

61. Facebook accounts for one out of every five pageviews on the Internet. It’s used by more than half of all people in North America, more than a third of all citizens in Australia and New Zealand, and more than a quarter of the population in Europe. (iMedia Connection)

62. Of Facebook’s one billion-plus users, 57% access the site at least occasionally from mobile devices. The most popular operating systems for mobile Facebook access are iOS (26%) and Android (21%). (Jeff Bullas)

63. Among Facebook marketers, 64% have used Facebook Events to inform fans about online or offline events, making this a far more widespread tool than display ads and targeted posts. (Marketing Charts)

64. 90% of small businesses are on Facebook, and roughly two-thirds post more than once per week. (Leaders West)

65. All of the Ad Age Top 100 Advertisers have now established Facebook pages for their brands. (WordPress Hosting SEO)

66. Facebook grew 18% in 2012 and accounted for more than half of all social content sharing. (AddThis Blog)

6 Twitter Stats

67. There are 400 million tweets per day on Twitter. A million new Twitter accounts are opened each day. The average user spends nearly and hour and a half on the site each month. (Visual.ly)

68. Twitter now has more than 500 million users worldwide, including more than 100 million in the U.S. Twitter’s second-largest user base is in Brazil. (Jeff Bullas)

69. Almost two-thirds (64%) of Twitter access is via Twitter.com (web access), while 16% of use is mobile and 10% is via Twitter clients like HootSuite and TweetDeck. (Jeff Bullas)

70. What’s the most popular marketing tactic on Twitter? 30% of marketers report using hashtags tied to specific campaigns, while 26% use Promoted Tweets. (Marketing Charts)

71. Twitter grew 55% in 2012 and accounted for 15% of all social content sharing. (AddThis Blog)

72. 42% of companies have acquired at least one customer through Twitter. (Polaris B)

6 LinkedIn Facts

73. LinkedIn has more than 150 million users, but less than 20% have reached the level of having 500 or more first-degree connections, and only 8% are using the paid premium version. (Jeff Bullas)

74. Also, only 51% of LinkedIn users have “complete” profiles, and just 52% spend two hours or more per week on the site. (Jeff Bullas)

75. The most popular use of LinkedIn is for researching people and companies (77%). Other popular uses include building relationships with industry influencers (50%), finding job opportunities (38%) and increasing brand recognition in the marketplace (37%). Just 28% of companies say they have generated identifiable business opportunities on the site. (Jeff Bullas)

76. The most popular marketing tactics on LinkedIn are the use of LinkedIn groups (cited by 33% of marketers) followed distantly by InMail messaging (14%), LinkedIn Events (13%) and LinkedIn ads (10%). (Marketing Charts)

77. LinkedIn is the most powerful social site for driving B2B sales. Pinterest is most valuable for driving B2C business. (Heidi Cohen)

78. Want to connect with top-level executives? 26% of Fortune 500 CEOs are on LinkedIn. Less than 8% are on Facebook. o% use Pinterest. (Heidi Cohen)

3 Google+ Statistics

79. Google+ has more than 400 million users, with 100 million accessing the site each month. The typical user is a male in his late 20s with a technical position or background. (Jeff Bullas)

80. Google+ users tend to be more technical than Facebook users. The top three brands on Google+ are Android, Mashable, and Chrome; on Facebook, the three most popular brands are Coca-Cola, Disney, and Starbucks. (Jeff Bullas)

81. 12 of the top 15 interest categories on Pinterest are related to commerce, including jewelry and accessories (#1), flowers and gifts (#2), food (#4), books (#7), travel (#8), apparel (#11), home furnishings (#14) and toys (#15). (Jeff Bullas)

3 Pinterest Facts

82. Mothers are 61% more likely to use Pinterest than the average American. Pinterest ranks as the #1 “family and lifestyle site” for moms – ahead of Disney Online. (iMedia Connection)

83. Pinterest’s user base is 79% female, and Apple-centric. The iPad is the most device for mobile access (55%), while an additional 17% of mobile access is through the iPhone. (Jeff Bullas)

84. Pinterest grew an astounding 379,599% in 2012. The biggest driver of growth was pins of food photos. (AddThis Blog)

6 B2B Marketing Facts and Stats

85. 9 out of 10 B2B buyers say when they are ready to make a purchase, they will find a vendor. 81% use search, 59% look for peer recommendations, and 41% read content from “thought leaders.” (Earnest Agency)

86. For purchases over $10,000, 70% of buyers review four or more pieces of content before making a decision. (That actually sounds quite low, doesn’t it?) The most popular type of content: white papers, read by 88% of buyers. (Earnest Agency)

87. Traditional marketing tactics are not dead. 74% of B2B marketers rate direct mail as very effective, while 72% say the same about live events and 71% call email marketing critical. (Earnest Agency)

88. 75% of B2B marketers use SEO for lead generation. 72% utilize social media, and 54% have embraced content marketing, while just 15% of marketers say they are using mobile marketing. (MarketingSherpa)

89. B2B marketers are spending more on content marketing. “On average, B2B content marketers are spending 33% of their marketing budgets on content marketing (in 2012), up from 26% (in 2011, and) 54% plan to increase content marketing spending next year.” (MarketingProfs)

90. The most popular B2B content marketing tactics are the use of social media other than blogs (used by 87% of B2B marketers), articles on their own websites (83%), eNewsletters (78%) and blogs (77%), followed by case studies, videos and externally published articles, all at about 70%. On the other end of the scale is gamification, used by just 11% of B2B marketers. (MarketingProfs)

3 Video Marketing Statistics

91. 75% of senior executives watch videos on business sites every week. 65% go on to visit a vendor’s website after watching a video. (Earnest Agency)

92. 71% of American Internet users watch online videos; 28% do so on a daily basis. (iMedia Connection)

93. YouTube is the world’s second largest social media site, with 800 million unique monthly visitors, and the second largest search engine. (Heidi Cohen)

6 Mobile Marketing Stats and Facts

94. Of the four billion mobile phones in use globally, more than a quarter (27%) are smartphones. Half of all local searches are performed on mobile devices. (iMedia Connection)

95. The top online uses of mobile phones are gaming (61% of users do this), checking the weather (55%), maps and search (50%) and social networking (49%). (iMedia Connection)

96. Despite the growing popularity of local mobile search and social activity, only 3% of U.S. small businesses use geolocation services. (eMarketer)

97. Mobile marketing is “becoming mainstream” for small to midsized businesses (SMBs). 18% said they were “very likely” and 31% “somewhat likely” to incorporate mobile elements in their advertising and marketing efforts to reach potential customers in the coming year. Meanwhile, 7 in 10 plan to either maintain or increase spending in this area (Marketing Charts)

98. Is mobile marketing effective for lead generation? The jury is still out. In a recent survey, 15% of marketers rated mobile marketing as “very effective” for lead gen while an identical share said mobile is not effective. (B2B Lead Blog)

99. 30% of all the time spent on mobile device use is on social networks. (MediaPost)

And Finally, 3 Other Miscellaneous Online Marketing Stats

100. While 45% of all B2B businesses have now implemented some type of marketing automation software, less than 20% of SMBs have done so. However, smaller companies that have embraced marketing process automation are nearly 50% more likely to report revenue growth above plan than those that haven’t. (MediaPost)

101. Half of all employed people in the U.S. have been with their current employer for less than five years. The average tenure for all employees is 4.6 years. Professionals in architecture and engineering (7 years) and management (6.3 years) tend to have the longest tenures, while occupations with the shortest tenures include food service (2.3 years) and sales (3.4 years). (westXdesigns)

102. Social media crisis management in crisis? More than 10% of companies report they will not take any action to respond to a damaging article or social media post. Worse, less than two-thirds of B2C executives and just 43% of B2B leaders even believe their companies could respond to a negative post within 24 hours. (The Backup List)

 

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24 of the Best Google+ Guides, Tips, Rants and Raves of 2012

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

Will Google+ be a “Facebook killer” or just Google’s next failed social network? It’s certainly gaining traction, with over 500 million users now on board, already half of Facebook’s total. Then again, the average Facebook user spends nearly seven hours per month on the site—compared to just three minutes for the average Google+user.

Best Google+ Guides, Tips and Rants of 2012Many of this year’s best posts about Google’s newest social platform were written early in the year. Since then, though the user base has continued to grow, enthusiasm seems to have waned. While Marty Weintraub offers a more provocative metaphor below, it almost seems like Google+ is becoming the colonoscopy of social networks: everyone agrees it’s vitally important, but few people really want to talk about it or spend any more time on it than absolutely necessary.

“Ghost town” or not, many experts agree that Google+ is here to stay, and it’s valuable for b2b marketing, SEO, personal branding, and reputation management. So what makes Google+ special? What are the best practices for business use of the platform? How can an individual or organization most efficiently grow a following there? And will Google+ end Facebook’s domination of social networking—or will it “break the Internet”?

Find those answers and more here in two dozen of the best Google+ guides, tips, rants and raves of the past year.

Google+ Guides and Tips

5 Things Google+ Offers Brands That Facebook Doesn’t by Sprout Insights

Susan GuneliusSusan Gunelius outlines five social networking features unique to Google+, including circles (which enable you to “separate your customers from your colleagues and online influencers from your business partners”) and hangouts (which can be “used for things like small-group webinars, question and answer sessions, and more”).

Why brands will lose if they ignore Google+ by iMedia Connection

Though he calls Google+ a “half-baked invention,” Daniel Flamberg nevertheless advises that “savvy marketers should use Google+ these five ways,” including experimenting with hangouts, expanding social assets and audiences, and optimizing branded search: “Link owned digital assets to Google+. Use the +1 and encourage your followers to do the same. Plant +1 badges on all your assets to take advantage of the Direct Connect tool that automatically brings customers and prospects searching in your category to your page.”

6 Steps to Getting Started With Google+ by Social Media Examiner

Marc PitmanFor marketers who are either still on the fence about Google+ or just haven’t done much with it, Marc Pitman provides an excellent guide to the basics like filling up your links “While you’re editing your ‘about’ page, be sure to pay attention to the ‘other profiles’ section…(consider adding) links to other social media networks, links to your business sites (and) links to special pages on your website.”

The First 5 Things You Should Do With Your Google+ Business Page by WindMill Networking

Mark TraphagenOnce you’ve finished with Marc Pitman’s post above, Mark Traphagen presents a five-step process for taking your business presence on Google+ to the next level, starting with 1 four-item list on optimizing your page for SEO followed by upgraded the visual appearance of your page and filling your stream with quality content.

3 reasons Google+ is not a social network by iMedia Connection

Lauren FriedmanLauren Friedman explains why she thinks Google+ is not a social network but brands should be there anyway–for example, for SEO purposes: “The best way brands can take advantage of Google+ is to amp-up their SEO. Each time a user clicks the +1 button, it helps with that brand’s SEO and the content getting served to users above other content. Search results are personalized based on the +1s of those in your circles, and as a marketer, that changes the game. Search results are still based on Google’s proprietary algorithms, but sites with more +1s will appear to be more relevant and thus ranked higher.”

3 Successful Google+ Pages and Why They Work by Social Media Examiner

Lisa PeytonLisa Peyton highlights three examples of successful Google+ brand pages such as the NASA page, where “The active space and science community on Google+ may support speculation that platform users are mostly tech-savvy early adopters. This finding contradicts the fact that the TOP Google+ profile belongs to pop star Britney spears. However, her page garners less engagement based upon the number of followers than the top brands outlined in this article.”

Google+ for SEO? Don’t Focus on Your Brand Page! by B2B Digital Marketing

Eric WittlakeContradicting popular wisdom, Eric Wittlake argues that “Google+ Brand Pages are not the ticket to SEO success. In fact, if you focus your Google+ efforts on your new brand page, you will miss the most important search benefits of Google+.” He then outline three strategies he says are designed to improve search rank and traffic.

6 Reasons Why Adding Google+ to Your Web Presence & SEO Strategy is a Good Idea by iMedia Connection

Krista LaRiviereKrista LaRiviere of web presence optimization software vendor gShift Labs offers six reasons for brands to embrace Google+, among them fresh content (“Google+ is just one more place to publish your press releases, blogs, testimonials, case studies and news. The difference with Google+ is that your content, if found, will be listed at the top of Google personal results mixed in with traditional search results”) and the fact that Google+ produces social signals which factor into Google’s ranking algorithm.

32 Totally Free Google “Search Plus Your World” #SEO Resources by aimClear Blog
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Marty WeintraubFrequent best-of honoree Marty Weintraub compares Google+ to a dominatrix (it makes sense the way he writes it), offering short-term pleasure (search rank improvement) at the expense of long-term frustration. Still, he thinks it’s worth the effort to chase the temporary bump and so shares an excellent list of nearly three dozen how-to articles from writers like Lisa Barone, Matt McGee and Stephanie Cain.

Reputation Management: How Google+ Can Be Your Best Friend or Your Worst Enemy by Business2Community

Danny DeMicheleContending that “PageRank, Google’s ranking scoring system, is profoundly impacted by these (Google +1) votes,” Danny DeMichele provides a simple four-step process for using Google+ as part of a broader reputation (personal or brand) strategy.

20 Google+ Terms and Definitions You Need to Know by Sprout Insights

Susan Gunelius (again) presents helpful definitions of basic (e.g., “Chat: Using the Chat feature, you can notify people in your Google+ Circles that you’re online and available for an online chat from within Google+”) and advanced Google+ terms (such as “Data Liberation: Use this feature to download and backup the content in your Google+ Account, which is available through the Google+ Settings option [the gear icon in the upper-right corner of your screen when you’re logged into your Google+ account"]).

How Google’s +1 Button Affects SEO by Mashable

Keith KaplanKeith Kaplan explains that although “The +1 has an indirect effect on your site’s search rank. This does not mean the more +1’s a link has, the higher rank it achieves in traditional search results,” it can indirectly help with SEO by making a piece of content more likely to be clicked on and shared on other social networks—which does actually affect rank.

How to Effectively Create a Google+ Following of 10,000 Engaged Fans by Search Engine Watch

Eric SiuEric Siu shares advice from Fraser Cain, publisher of the Universe Today space and astronomy news website, on how to build, maintain and engage a large following on Google+. Eric contends that Fraser’s success, based on unique content and active network, belies the notion promoted by some (such as Austin Carr, below) that Google+ is a “ghost town.”

Build Your Google Plus Page Following with Topical Pages by WindMill Networking
***** 5 STARS

This tip from guest blogger Mark Traphagen (again) is almost too good to share. “What if you could create opt-in subscription lists on Google+? You can! Here’s the wonderful secret: you can create a Google+ page about virtually anything, including a topic. It doesn’t necessarily have to be connected with a brand name.” He then details a “simple strategy for using Pages to create opt-in subscription lists about specific topics.”

Quick Tricks to Make Your Google Plus Business Page Sparkle by ZD Design Blog

Donnie BryantAgain arguing against the “Google+ is a ghost town” thesis, Donnie Bryant here provides a handful of helpful tips for getting more performance out of a Google+ business page, from creating a short URL and maximizing the use of photos and video to encouraging sharing.

The Marketer’s Guide to Google Plus by KISSmetrics

Zach BulygoZach Bulygo offers a highly detailed and richly illustrated guide to marketing on Google+, from the basics of business page setup and getting a verified name to optimizing your tagline, use of photos. Google+ author tag and the +1 sharing button.

How to Use Google Plus for Personal Branding and Establishing Author Rank by WindMill Networking

Neal SchafferNeal Schaffer quotes Mark Traphagen (one last time), who calls Google+ a “powerhouse” because of its “tight integration into Google search. Google+ posts are easily indexed by Google search, and unlike tweets or Facebook posts, are treated much like regular web pages. That means a well-constructed G+ post (with a main keyword in the first sentence/title and a good amount of engagement) can rank well in Google search and, unlike other social media status posts, actually stay ranked for a long time,” and explains why Google authorship is important and how to set it up.

Google+ Rants and Raves

Google+ Is Going To Mess Up The Internet by ReadWrite

Jon MitchellJon Mitchell is not a fan of Google’s latest social network and isn’t afraid to say so. He writes, “Google tools used to enhance the Internet. But as Google ships ‘the Google part’ of its new Google+ identity, it’s breaking the Web it once helped build,” and then offers half a dozen specific reasons why.

“Don’t Be Evil” Tool — Backed By Facebook & Twitter — Shows Google’s “Search Plus Your World” Can Go Beyond Google+ by Search Engine Land

Danny SullivanDanny Sullivan details the use and results from the “Don’t be Evil” browser bookmarklet, stating that “The companies behind the tool feel Google’s hasn’t focused on what’s best for its users with Search Plus Your World. They have a good point. But the tool makes this point better than all the debates that have happened so far around Search Plus Your Word, because it shows what Google could have done to better serve searchers, if it had wanted to.” He also explains how some features of Google+ are part of the problem.

How Google+ Is Encircling Your Brand by MediaPost

Though he believes “Google+ is emerging as a great way for brands to connect directly with consumers,” Gavin O’Malley also notes that a disproportionate share of interaction is driven by a few aggressive, early adopting brands on the platform, and points out “Google+ still has less than 1/100th the number of total consumers interacting with the top 100 brands that Facebook has achieved.”

Exclusive: New Google+ Study Reveals Minimal Social Activity, Weak User Engagement by Fast Company

Austin CarrAustin Carr reports on the findings of a study which paints “very poor picture of the search giant’s social network–a picture of waning interest, weak user engagement, and minimal social activity.” Among te research findings from RJ Metrics, “Roughly 30% of users who make a public post never make a second one” and “Even after making five public posts, there is a 15% chance that a user will not post publicly again.” The author concludes that Google+ “might indeed just be a ‘virtual ghost town,’ as some have argued.”

Think You Don’t Need Google+ in Your Business? Think Again! by Rebekah Radice

Rebekah RadiceWhile acknowledging that Google+ has its shortcomings and that many marketers remain (not entirely unreasonably) skeptical about the platform, Rebekah Radice nevertheless offers half a dozen reasons to embrace Google’s social network, such as the circles and hangouts features and the B2B networking value.

With Google+ Communities, Google launches its own version of Facebook Groups by VentureBeat

Tom CheredarTom Cheredar explains how Google+ Communities work and how this capability compares with Facebook groups: “There are a few notable (notable differences between Google+ Communities and Facebook Groups), including the ability to start a Google Hangout video chat with the community and sharing things specifically with G+ communities from any +1 button. That’s pretty cool, and something that might actually attract people to use it over Facebook.”

Google+ becomes the world’s social platform…with Community by Relevanza

Steve HartWriting that “While Google announced Google+ reached 500 million users, the bigger announcement by far was the roll out of Google+ Communities,” Steve Hart explains what Communities are, how they work, what they can be used for, and why they are “a BFD.”

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34 (of the) Best Google+ Tips, Tactics and Guides of 2011

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

Google+ (or Google Plus) is many different things, depending on who you ask. It’s the fastest-growing social network ever. It’s the tool Google will use to beat Facebook. It will fundamentally change SEO. It’s a pain in the arse because it’s yet another social network to join. It’s Google’s latest attempt at social media, and they finally got it right. It’s mostly a playground for engineers and marketers. It’s appealing, but too late. It’s “the linchpin of Google’s plan to own the entire internet” (see below for the source of that quote).

Simon Cowell Approves of Google+

Image credit: SEOmoz

Most likely, it’s some combination of those things. What it’s clearly not, however, is a venue that businesses can afford to ignore.

So what do organizations need to know about Google’s latest foray into social media? How can they get the most out of it? What impact is it likely to have? What are Google’s future plans for the platform?

Learn all of that and more here in almost three dozen of the best Google+ reports, guides and insights of the past year.

Google Plus Tips, Tactics and How-To Guides

Getting Your Small Business Ready for Google+ by Blue Focus Marketing

Mark BurgessMark Burgess explains how small business can build trust and creatively use circles on Google+ (“This insight [that people prefer to share specific information with specific groups of friends or followers] led to the creation of Google+ circles, a major differentiator between Google+ and Facebook.  Circles enable you to ‘narrowcast’ messages…Suddenly, Google+ can enable micro-targeting via circles.”).

Google+ Pro Tips Round-Up: Week 1 by Business Insider

Simon LaustsenSimon Laustsen provides a Google+ “cheat sheet” for getting started with the network, covering account setup, tagging, commenting, managing your circles, finding hangouts, rejecting spammers, inviting people and more.

How to Migrate from Facebook to Google+ by How-To Geek

Justin Garrison details tools that can be used “to migrate pictures, videos, and friends” from Facebook to Google+ (assuming you want to connect with the same people on Google+). He walks through the migration process, including helpful screenshots to illustrate each step.

10 Simple Techniques for Google Profile Optimisation for Google+ and Beyond by SEOptimise

Tad ChefTad Chef details the most important considerations in optimizing your Google+ profile, from your profile image (“Make sure you use a bigger image than just the tiny thumb you’ll see elsewhere on Google+ (or) on your profile it will look awful. Google simply scales it up. It needs to be 200 x 200 pixels or bigger.”) to proper use of the “Other names” and “nicknames” fields.

HOW TO: Integrate Google+ Into Your WordPress Site by Mashable Tech

Kelli ShaverKelli Shaver shows how to display your Google+ profile information on a WordPress site/blog, add the +1 button, and even use a Google+-inspired WordPress theme, with details about and illustrations of three examples.

25 Google Plus Resources, Articles, and Reviews to Help You Get Started by Pamorama

Pam DyerFrequent best-of honoree Pam Dyer explores a bit of what’s behind the Google+ “project” then shares more than two dozen resources for getting started on and using the network, from using circles and hangouts to its impact on SEO, and from tips small businesses need to know to feature comparisons to Facebook.

There’s no need to wait for brand pages to do business communication on Google+ by Holtz Communication + Technology

Shel HoltzThe brilliant Shel Holtz explains how organizations can tap into the power of Google+ circles for content marketing, completely apart from brand pages, noting “I’m skeptical about brand pages, since research indicates most people connect with Facebook’s version only to learn about coupons, discounts and special offers.”

Google+ Tips, Tricks and Tidbits by The Search Agents

Erik FreemanErik Freeman compiles a list of posts featuring Google+ tips and tricks, guidance on inviting friends to circle you, an amazing use of video on Google+, the effort by Matthew Epstein to get hired using the social network, and notes about Google’s privacy policy (though of course this has changed, dramatically, recently).

The Ultimate Google+ Cheat Sheet by HubSpot Blog
***** 5 STARS

Kipp BodnarFrequent best-of honoree Kipp Bodnar shares all the basics you need to know about Google+, from the social network’s unique vocabulary (hangouts, circles, sparks) to shortcuts, user demographics, configuring privacy settings and more.

Who to follow on Google Plus? Google+ Suggested Users
***** 5 STARS

In one of the first, if not THE first, Google+ directories, you can find people to follow and add to your circles across a broad range of topic areas from bloggers, journalists and tech entrepreneurs to scientists, filmmakers and foodies.

Google Plus Tips & Best Practices by webbROI

Amit BanerjeeAmit Banerjee explains why you should sign up for yet another social network (“You use Gmail/Google Apps as your email provider, don’t you? You use Google as your search engine, Chrome as your browser, YouTube to watch videos, and Google Reader to read blogs. Plus, what about Google Maps, Google Translate and a plethora of other Google products?”), what’s behind circles and sharing attributes, how Google+ differs from Facebook (“No walls here!”) and more in this informative post.

12 Google+ Marketing Tips From the Pros by Social Media Examiner

Cindy KingCindy King shares tips for getting the most out of Google+ from 12 social media pros, including Mari Smith (“Craft an eye-catching mini-bio for your hovercard”), Kristi Hines (on optimizing your profile), Debbie Hemley (on promoting your Google+ page) and Jeff Korhan (on how to create a suggested circles list).

5 Top Google+ Plugins by Kim Garst

Kim GarstWriting that “Having fun with any new kind of social media like Google+ means you get to make it your own, and playing with the different plugins available can help you do just that,” Kim Garst reviews five of her favorite Google+ plugins for the Chrome browser, such as Helper for Google+, a multi-purpose plugin with functionality for notifications, translation and bookmarking.

SEO and the Google +1 Button

Google Explores Re-Ranking Search Results Using +1 Button Data by Wired Magazine

Ryan Singel takes a close look at how Google may use +1 data in search result rankings, and shares some interesting observations: “Google would love to get at its (Facebook’s) data — the way that Bing is already — but the two companies go together like toothpaste and orange juice. Facebook will likely never let Google anywhere near its data stream, which meant that Google had to build in its own social network. But therein lies the rub. If Google’s search results become heavily dependent on social signals from Google+, then there’s going to be heavy pressure on the net’s websites to embed the Google+ button. And depending on where you work — say, Facebook or the Justice Department — that could look like Google is unfairly using its search engine might to boost its Facebook alternative.”

How to Implement Google +1 Button for Social Sharing by Search Engine People

Joydeep DebJoydeep Deb explains how to add and customize a Google+1 sharing button on any website, as well as how to modify +Snippets “to customize the Title, Thumbnail Image and Description that appear when your content is shared.”

Google+ Brand Pages

Google+ Pages for Business: What You Need to Know by MediaPost Search Insider

Janet Driscoll MillerJanet Driscoll Miller points out that the main reason for businesses to create yet another social profile page, this time on Google+, is that “Profiles help your brand SEO and help your online reputation management (ORM) efforts.” She then steps through the process of how to create one.

13 Cool Examples of Google+ Brand Pages by DreamGrow Social Media

Mart PröömMart Prööm presents more than a dozen examples of cool, and pioneering, Google+ brand pages from companies like Pepsi, Toyota, Fox News, Yahoo! and Angry Birds. And that’s possibly the first time those five brands have been mentioned together in a single sentence.

Google+ Pages: The power of search is the game-changer by ZDNet

Sam DiazThis may be what Google+ is all about. Sam Diaz notes of brand pages that “On the surface, the new feature feels like Google’s version of Facebook fan pages, a place where companies, celebrities and other ‘brands’ can interact with their customers and followers by sharing news or engaging in discussions. But Google brings something extra, something that Facebook and Twitter can’t offer – the power of open Web search.”

Test Driving Google+ Brand Pages by iMedia Connection

The always insightful but socially oblivious Daniel Flamberg writes about what the Google+ platform is, what it means to marketers, how consumers are reacting (e.g. “Google+ has attracted almost 50 million users since launch (as of mid-November); 68% of Google+ users are men; The single biggest occupation is software engineer; Biggest company affiliations are IBM and Google; It looks like a technology-focused, early adopter crowd”) and predicts how professional marketers will react to the platform in the near term.

How to set up your Google+ Brand Page right by Biznology

Chris AbrahamChris Abraham walks readers through the process of “setting up your brand page right away in the right way. If you follow these steps, you’ll be as well-placed as possible,” from selecting a category and uploading an image through adding friends and optimizing your profile.

10 Guaranteed Ways to Get More Google+ Page Followers by HubSpot Blog

Pamela VaughanContending that “without an ample following, all the time and effort you put into your presence is ultimately a waste,” Pamela Vaughan provides 10 tactics to grow your following, such as promoting your Google+ page in other social networks, writing a blog post about your new page, and making yourself eligible for Direct Connect.

10 strategic benefits of Google+ brand pages by iMedia Connection

Tom EdwardsTom Edwards examines the similarities and differences between Google+ and Facebook company pages, and the benefits of Google+ brand pages for businesses, including search integration (“Google currently owns 68 percent of search market share. The fact that the Google +1 icon is now a part of every Google search result shows a glimpse of the level of integration Google has in store for users and brands alike”), using circles for audience segmentation, hangouts, and social gaming among others.

How to Create a Google+ Business Page by Practical eCommerce

Paul ChaneyPaul Chaney outlines how to create, use, and build a following for your Google+ business page. He concludes that “The features for Google+ business pages fall short of those available on Facebook, not the least of which is the ability to add custom apps. Google likely will add more features in time. Until then, the social network may serve as a second-tier channel through which you can build some brand equity and…improve search returns.”

11 Best Practices for Your Google+ Brand Page by Sexy Social Media

An excellent post outlining “ten things you should keep in mind when putting up your Google+ Business Page” such as looking at what’s working (and what’s not) for major brands already there; crafting a creative (and keyword rich, for web presence optimization purposes) tagline; and being “chatty, but never spammy.”

Google’s Holiday Gift to You: Google+ Adds Multiple Page Administrators Capability by MediaPost Search Insider

Janet Driscoll Miller (again) reports on Google’s decision to enable pages to have multiple administrators, why this functionality is important (e.g., “Allow multiple individuals to make updates…(and) Maintain personal account security”), and how to invite others to be administrators.

Google Plus Strategy, News and Commentary

What You Should Know About Google+ (Plus) by WP Blog Talk

Rob CubbonRob Cubbon reviews the basics of Google’s latest attempt at a social network, starting with Circles (a feature that sets Google+ apart from most other networks) and posting (along with helpful shortcuts) and moving through hangouts, the +1 button, privacy, Google’s philosophy behind Plus, and new features likely to be added in the not-too-distant future.

Google+ Creates Data Gold Mine For Advertisers by MediaPost Online Media Daily

Laurie SullivanLaurie Sullivan outlines the value of Google+ for advertisers (“‘”For advertisers, one of the biggest benefits from Google+ will become the user data they don’t have access to from Facebook,’” according to Debra Aho Williamson), the network’s rapid growth (“Google+ has become became the fastest-growing social site — hitting nearly 25 million visitors worldwide as of July 24, just four weeks after launch…It took MySpace 23 months, Twitter 33 months; and Facebook 37 months”) and its user demographics (“About 63% of Google+ users are male, compared with 37% female…the highest percentage of users falls between the ages of 25 and 34″).

Stop Calling Google+ a Facebook Killer by iMedia Connection

Jon ElvekrigJon Elvekrog expounds upon the unique strengths and drawbacks of Google+ as a social network, its benefits to brands and advertisers, and why he believes it is much more likely to coexist with Twitter and Facebook than to supplant either one.

Social Relevance: Google+’s Algorithmic Implications On Networks by MediaPost Search Insider

Rob GarnerRob Garner counters skeptics, demonstrating how Google+ may help the search giant not just catch up to but leapfrog Facebook and Twitter, who, Garner believes, are far behind “in terms of applying algorithmic relevancy to the social experience.” He recommends that organizations treat Google+ as a “primary top-tier social network” and notes the importance of creating content and sharing it through Google+ for search success.

Google+ – Too little, too late by Inside a Marketing Mind

Gareth CaseGareth Case likes Google+ and understands its appeal, he just thinks that Google may have “missed the boat… By about 5 years” in terms of building a viable social network. His post includes an excellent graphic illustrating the distribution of social media traffic across the major networks.

Can Google+ succeed among the common people? by iMedia Connection

Alejandro-Rivas-MicoudAlejandro Rivas-Micoud reports on results of a focus group test with Facebook users in various age groups test-driving Google Plus and providing feedback. These users liked the concept of circles, but found other aspects of Google’s social network confusing, and weren’t sure it offered any compelling differentiation or reason to switch from Facebook. The conclusion was that “simply improving upon the Facebook experience is probably not enough. Instead, to gain a meaningful market position…Google+ (needs) to either carve out a specific, complementary niche to Facebook” or just be flat-out better.

What Brands Need To Know About Google+ AdWords Social Extensions by Search Engine Land

Kelly GilleaseKelly Gillease explains what social extensions are, why they matter (“The main advantage for in-house marketers implementing the new Social Extension is to boost their +1 counts all around, AdWords ads and Google+ pages will receive boosts from each other’s increasing +1’s”), how they impact AdWords ads, and what companies need to do to complete the verification process with Google.

9 Facts About Google+ You Need To Know by Agile Marketing

Jim EwelJim Ewel presents “9 facts about Google+ that may help convince you that you need to add Google+ to your social media marketing in 2012,” among them that Google+ will affect search results, that it helps people to find your business, and that activities there are easy to track.

How Google+ Is Changing the Web, Even Though No One Wants It To by HubSpot Blog

Kipp Bodnar (again) contends that “Google+ isn’t about changing social networking. Google+ is the linchpin of Google’s plan to own the entire internet. The company with the platform that can give internet users EVERYTHING they want will win. This is why you’ve seen Facebook partnering with music providers, launching its own email service, and allowing users to make images and updates public to improve Facebook Search. These two internet giants are locked into the early stages of the business equivalent of a death match.” The logic is hard to argue with, but Google’s strength has always been that it’s not a walled garden (like Facebook now, or AOL before it). Going down that path would leave a clear opening for someone to become what Google was on its way to becoming before it decided it just wanted to be the next Facebook.

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