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08/19/2017

What if 90% of What You’ve Been Told About Marketing on G+ Is Wrong

Gplus MarketingThere was an interesting discussion over the weekend about the value of Real Estate agents posting their house listings on Google Plus.  Some people absolutely hate the idea of other real estate agents posting their listings on Google Plus citing it has no value and serves no good. Other’s go on to say that it contributes nothing to the much sought after social signals that someday might be a contributing factor to Google Authorship and Authorship Rankings.

I’ve been studying this closely for the last several weeks and wasn’t going to talk about it until I was closer to finishing a course on the same subject, but I can’t contain myself any longer.  In my estimation much of we we’ve been told about marketing with Google Plus and authorship may not be exactly so.

Let’s start with the question of the value of real estate agents posting their listings on Google Plus.  Believe it or not, in the early days I was just as much opposed to this practice as some people still are but for a different reason. At the time I was enthralled with the idea that any real estate agent can get a G+ Post on the first page of the search results that could be seen by everybody who had them in a circle.  While I was studying this process I came across those few agents that would dump up to 10 house listings at the time onto Google Plus. I would often check how many people they had in their circles and would discover that many had less than a couple hundred people and most of those people were other real estate agents.  No real buyers.

I thought what a waste of time because my experience at the time was that only the people who had them in a circle would see those listings in the search results, if these listings made it into the search results at all because most of them were keyword deficient. As part of my research I occasionally verify that the listings were indeed not in the search results by searching “house for sale” and the name of the city attached to the listings.

Then one day, I was checking out the search results for an agent that consistently posted listing for their houses for sale and to my surprise I saw their listings also on the first page of the search results, along with their Google Authorship photo.  This seemed to contradict some elements of my theory so I dug deeper.  I checked out their personal profile and 95 percent of their posts were houses for sale.

One aspect that was compatible with my thoughts was that all of the posts were keyword rich.  They either matched my exact search phrase, house for sale, or they were about the community.  This real estate agent had created a profile and body of work that was all about “houses for sale” and the specific community the agent worked in. If there is Google Authorship and Author Ranking and if Google was indexing the content of writers, this person clearly was about houses for sale in their community.

However, some of the other stuff we hear about Author Ranking was lacking.  This agent only had minimal social interaction on their posts.  I wouldn’t say it was non existent, but it was certainly minimal.

One might argue that it was other traditional SEO signals that was landing this agent’s content on the first page of the search results.  So I continued my research.  I honed in on other real estate agents that primarily posted their house listings on G+.  I quickly found 5 other agents who were getting the same type of results.  And to be thorough, there were a few agents that predominantly posted listings for houses who didn’t get first page results. But this could easily be explained.  These agents weren’t effectively using keywords.

I then expanded my research beyond the real estate community.  I noticed that in other disciplines the people that were having the best results in Google’s search results were the people that posted exclusively about one or two things.

Looking at this through my SEO lens I started to see Google Authors as living websites.  When we optimize a website, basic SEO still works.  Keywords and keyword density still matter.  But instead of www.something.com, it was now the author as the umbrella website and everything he wrote was the content of that website.  If a writer consistently writes about a specific topic, the writer, like a website will rank high for that topic.  

Another factor is also at work.  Each post links to the agents real estate website.  Each post is a powerful inbound link functioning like anchor text and contributing to the appearance of the agents content on the first page of the search results.

Still this might not be enough evidence for some that the Google Plus posts of house listings do have value and are contributing to the first page organic rankings.  After all, these agents are also using other established SEO techniques.  And to those people, I lay down a challenge.  Show me real estate agents who have implemented Google Authorship, are not posting their listings on Google Plus, and are appearing on the first page of Google’s search results for the keywords, “house for sale + their city”.  Because bottom line, this is what most people search when they are looking for a house.

 

Facebook Contests vs. Google Plus Contest

Facebook Contests vs Google Plus ContestsContest on Facebook are quite the rage whereas they are practically non-existent on Google Plus and I wondered why.  I had read a few blog posts that said Google rules prohibit contest and decided to dig deeper because I was interested in creating a contest to promote my Google Plus page.

I first checked Google’s Policies and Principles and item 15, the very last rule, stated:

Do not run contests, sweepstakes, daily deals, coupons or other such promotions directly on Google+. For additional details about this policy, visit the Contests and Promotions Policy page.

There it was.  It did say, do not run contests directly on Google+.  But it also had a link to additional details on the Contest and Promotions Policy Page so I thought maybe there was still a chance.  I checked out the Contest Policy Page.

There it stated:
You may not run contests, sweepstakes, daily deals, coupons or other such promotions (“Promotion”) directly on Google+. You may display a link on Google+ to a separate site where your Promotion is hosted…

That sounded encouraging.  You could have a contest as long as it wasn’t on Google and you could even promote it from Google+ with a link to the off site page.

However, it also went on to say:
Your Promotion must not be run or conducted in a way which conflicts with the Buttons PolicyPrivacy Policyor Google+ Pages Additional Terms of Service and cannot use Google+ features or functionality as a required part of the Promotion.

There it was, the show stopper. It said you can not use Google+ features or functionality as a required part of the promotion.  I could understand that Google wouldn’t want a contest based on +1′s or sharing a post because that might throw a curve to some algorithm that one day might be used to determine the quality of web content and the author who wrote it.  But all I wanted to do was ask people to circle my page as a requirement for winning the prize.  It seemed reasonable.  That’s how Facebook does it.  Many Facebook contests require a person to like a page.  In fact, that’s the main reason people at Facebook have contests, to get more people to like their page.

So I decided to look at Facebook to see what their contest rules said.  And I was quite surprised.  Facebook had a rule that stated:

You must not use Facebook features or functionality, such as the Like button, as a voting mechanism for a promotion.

This in essence was the same rule Google had.  That you couldn’t use features or functionality as part of the contest process.  And yet Facebook has contests that require a person to click the “Like” button on a fan page to get started.  This is so common that there is a term for the procedure called Fan-gate.  It sure sounds like you are using Facebook functionality as a part of the contest.

Or is it OK, because it isn’t a factor in determining the winner, it’s just a requirement to enter the contest.  Maybe asking people to circle “follow” a page is ok because it isn’t a requirement to win the contest, just a requirement to get information about the contest.

But again, Google says the contest must be completely staged on a different site.  And the penalties are quite steep, termination of service, tantamount to death for a marketer in today’s world.

 

 

Rebel Mouse

 

Compilation of All Your Social Media Post

Rebel Mouse

Would you like to see content from all of your different social media Networks on one webpage?  Well now you can.  Rebel Mouse is a new start up that allows you aggregate content from Facebook and Twitter on one site in a Pinterest looking format.

A picture is worth a thousand words and here is my actual
Rebel Mouse site for Al La Carte Training.

And here is my Rebel Mouse site for
my personal FB page.

Granted it looks a little busy for many people but you get used to it.  I included the personal page because I think it looks a little better to give you a better example of what you might be able to do with this.

However, busy or not, I think there is a lot of potential here.  Rebel Mouse gives you and your audience a quick overview of your recent social media posts.  And you have a great deal of control on how your content appears.  You can select which recent posts appear on the page and in what order.  You can lock a post so it doesn’t get pushed off the page.

Right now Rebel Mouse is in its embryonic state so it’s hard to say how social it will get or even if it will succeed.  And a lot of people are saying it looks neat, but what can you use it for.

One really good use is that you can embed your Rebel Mouse site in your web page or blog like I have done here.  People can click on it and easily see a portfolio of your posts and tweets and decide if they would like to subscribe to your Facebook page or follow you on Twitter.

If you would like to set up a Rebel Mouse account you can go here.