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How to Use Google Authorship for Better Online Marketing

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Google is on a mission to discover the best content on the web that’s been created by true subject matter authorities. Brands can leverage content marketing to increase brand recognition in online search, delivering the right content, at the right time, to the right customer. One possible solution for this is Google Authorship.

What exactly is Google Authorship? It’s more than a byline; it’s one of the fastest ways for companies to increase traffic to their site, increase click-thru rates, build brand awareness, and improve lead generation. It’s also part of Google’s ongoing push to eliminate duplicate or spam content while pushing its search algorithm to become more social media oriented. Google Authorship increases credibility, which is key to landing more clicks. In fact, Google Authorship can increase click-thru-rates from 30% to a whopping 150%, according to Internet Marketing Incorporated.

While 65% of companies say they are actively incorporating Google Authorship into their current content marketing strategy – according to CopyPress – many of these same companies are unsure how to go about using the service to its full potential. Here’s are our suggestions:

#1: Google Authorship is your “digital signature.”

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Google Authorship is a way for Google to show the author of the content in question next to his/her content in search results. Rather than just showing the article title, the search results will also show the author’s name and link to his or her Google+ profile. Google used to also display photos, but they’ve recently done away with this. Google Authorship also includes the number of G+ circles the author is in along with a link to more search results for the Author.

Knowing this, you should be utilizing your Google+ profile, if only to boost your credibility. While it may not seem like a good use of your time to interact on here when you could be reaching more users on Facebook and Twitter, keep in mind that Google+ is the fifth most popular social media site at present, and the benefits related to Google Authorship are worth a little bit of time each week. At the very least, make sure your profile is up-to-date, including your most recent information, and showcases you as a professional.

#2: Your Author Rank may impact the placement of your content in search results.

While Google has yet to formally make a statement on the specific role of Author Rank, we know that the more social activity your articles receive (i.e., the more re-shares, clicks and +1s), the more of an authority you will be seen as. Other factors that can impact Author Rank may include engagement on G+, authority on other platforms, comments, and inbound links. Most critically, Author Rank allows Google to remember the authority and credibility that you have built as an author, which is separate from the authority of a personal blog or company website.

Bottom line: Google Authorship can help your business supercharge its content marketing strategy. To do this, remember that Google Authorship is all about building credibility through relationships. Become a thought leader by harnessing your company’s internal knowledge and putting a face and a name to this knowledge.

5 Ways to Write For Your Audience

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Humans resonate with, respond to, and act based on the emotions they feel. When someone visits your website, you’ll want them to be able to answer the following questions in the affirmative:

  • Do I feel a connection to this business?
  • Do I see or hear another person there?
  • Do I connect with the user experience?
  • Do I know, at first glance, that my needs are being met?

Visitors make quick decisions as to whether to stay on the site, or to continue through their search results. Your website’s look and feel should offer them what they want in an easy-to-navigate and attractive package. Google knows this, and has evolved to the point where they can start to determine whether the content has been written for a person, or simply to rank high by an algorithm’s standards.

How do you make your website both Google AND user-friendly? Here are five tips to create content that your audience connects with, and that is optimized for search.

1. Use their language

If you look at keyword research, you’ll notice that the phrases people type in search engines often sound unnatural. Instead of attempting to use this exact language in your content in order to rank high for those searches, use them as guidelines. These are the topics people are searching for, and you should write your content as if you were sitting across a coffee table chatting with your customer face-to-face. In other words: don’t stuff or inject a keyword or phrase if it doesn’t seem natural.

2. Be conversational

In that same vein, make your website conversational and easy to read. People buy from other people, not from machines. Start the conversation naturally on your website to make people want to click further and learn more about what you do. As a bonus, when they click further, search engines will notice and will reward you for keeping the interest of your visitors. Just as there is a natural progression from one topic to another in your verbal conversations, so should there be from one blog post to another on your website.

3. Solve your customer’s problem

This is Sales 101. People don’t like to be sold to, but they love to find out how they can work with people like you to solve a problem. Again, starting a conversation will show how you can be helpful, and why you should be in their life. They’ll be more likely to buy from you when they can visualize how you’ll make their life better. Offer solutions by giving examples they can relate to, and by connecting with your customers.

4. Answer questions

As any skilled salesperson will tell you, questions are just objections to buying. On your website, you can’t be there to answer their objections in the same way you can be in person. In addition to an FAQ, you can use your content to answer questions you may anticipate your audience asking. Should industry changes arise, or important news occur, this is something you’ll want to address. An example might be if you were an internet security company, you would address the recent Heartbleed bug with a post that gives your users answers regarding what Heartbleed is, what they should do to protect their information, and how you can help them.

5. Show a little personality

When writing, let your personality shine through in your first draft, and then go back through and edit out any fluff. Stop worrying about whether that unnatural keyword is incorporated into your heading, sub-heading, and copy. Instead, write with spunk and give your audience something enjoyable to read. Think about what you would want to read if you were searching for information on the subject, and have someone else look at it to make sure that there aren’t any gaps in your information. Speak freely and naturally, and your readers will connect with you on a personal level.

The best way to write for both your audience and search engines is to ignore that algorithms and machines exist. Keep your content on point with a message your audience wants to hear, and search traffic will naturally follow.

 

7 Search Results In Google Will Help Brands

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For years, search engine optimization companies, online marketing professionals and small business owners have worked to figure out exactly how to get the best rankings within Google search engine results. And for the longest time, people have been used to receive 10 organic results in Google search engine result pages, or SERPs, per keyword.  Last week, that number has dropped down to 7 results in Google SERPs and it appears that along with this change, it has become easier for one site to crowd the results, according to Search Engine Land.  7 results are mostly showing for brand name related searches at this point, which should delight those that have been hurt by negative reviews showing up in SERPs when doing a search for their name.

Notable Changes in SERPs in August 2012

  • The changes appear to have happened on or around August 16, when online chatter about the changes boosted dramatically. According to Search Engine Land, a simple search for eBay now brought up seven results instead of the traditional 10 SERPs.
  • Dr. Pete at SEOMoz has been tracking fluctuations in Google SERPs and upon hearing word of the changes, did a data sampling of many different SERPs. His findings concluded that about 20 percent of SERPs were below 10 results. The number had previously been 3-4 percent, and spiked dramatically the week of August 16.
  • It has not been determined if the SERP changes will be restricted to brands, as some SERPs of non-brand items and generic search terms are also displaying only 7 results. Search Engine Land noted that it does appear to be directly related to sitelinks, or the number of expanded links from one site that appear underneath a listing on the search result page.
  • Search Engine Land also notes that as the SERPs have decreased down to 7 results on the first page, there seems to be a simultaneous rise in all of those results coming from the same website. SEL states that it does appear to be related to the change, although they could not confirm it.

Google has previously stated that it intends to work on search results related to site links and site clustering, so one might assume that this change is related to those statements. Search Engine Land did contact Google for a response to the obvious data changes and appearance changes in regards to the SERPs. Google administrators said that it was indeed working on tweaking the way searchers see results, stating that the search engine giant is constantly looking for ways to improve results for viewers. Sometimes this means giving them a variety of different websites about a given topic, while other times it might mean giving searchers a deeper look into the specific topic they are looking at.

7 organic results for a brand search is a cleaner experience when Google can decipher the intent is indeed for that brand.  It doesn’t appear to have helped searches for those who have an exact match keyword domain name. We’ll see how this plays out.

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Google Unleashes the Page Layout Update

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Google Update LogoYesterday, Matt Cutts, head of Google’s webspam team, confirmed on the Inside Search blog (and webmaster central blog) the algorithm change he forewarned us all about in November.

For all of you who may not have attended Pubcon 2011 in Las Vegas or missed the post on Search Engine Land, Cutts warned:

“If you have ads obscuring your content, you might want to think about it.”

Well, yesterday Google started rolling out the algorithm change that could affect websites that don’t have much content “above-the-fold” which intern may prevent these types of pages/sites from ranking highly in Google’s SERPs. The algorithm update affects less than 1 percent of global searches so you may or may have not noticed this update yet.

I Have Ads Above-The-Fold. Should I Be Concerned?

If you have ads above-the-fold you don’t need to freak out. Google understands the monetization of websites BUT, if your content on the webpage is currently being pushed down below the fold by large, fugly ad blocks, you should probably consider a webpage layout change, especially if notice your organic ranks begin to slip.

Think Your Website Has Been Affected?

If you feel your websites has taken a hit by the new page layout algorithm update, you might want to consider your current page layout and monetization strategy. Google Labs has a nifty little browser size tool you can use to see how people are actually viewing your pages. If you notice that only a small percentage of Internet users can see your content without having to scroll, you may have a problem.

I’ve Updated My Pages, Now What?

After you’ve made the necessary changes to your pages, Cutts stated it can take “several weeks” on a typical website as Google re-crawls and processes the changes you’ve made. However, depending on the size of your website it could take even longer.

For more information on the page layout algorithm change, visit Google’s Inside Search blog.

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