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Social Frosting, Google Plus, and SEO – a Conversation

Authors: Eric Schwartzman Eric Schwartzman
Posted Under: Social Media
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This is a recent podcast about Google Plus by Eric Schwartzman @EricSchwartzman who provides online social media training, social media strategy and social media policy governance. His new book “Social Marketing to the Business Customer” with Paul Gillin about B2B social media marketing is available now. 

Social media and content strategist and President of Convince and Convert Jay Baer (@jaybaer), talks about Google’s new social web offering and tells you why to join the 10 million other who are currently figuring out how to use Google Plus.


Why use Google+ when there’s always a new social network? What are the benefits of using Google Plus?  What are the advantages of using G+?  And how, if at all, will Google+ impact Google search, if it’s successful?

Think about it.  Over the last 7 years, online conversations have moved from blogs to social networks. The most engaging status updates, tweets and shares generate conversations, edging them up to the top of the stream.

On the other hand web pages are ranked largely by inbound links. While these published, referring links are no less useful than they once were, there are also fewer of them today for Google to count.

Comments, likes and shares aren’t inbound links, but they have become important measures of influence.  It’s possible that if Google can’t figure out a way to integrate these signals into search, some day its ability to effectively rank online content could become obsolete.

Does Google+ potentially give Google search the social signals it needs to stay relevant?  Is the introduction of G+ Circles siginificant?  Should businesses be thinking about how to use Google+ in their social media outreach strategy?  Or are we essential just trading the measure of influence for the measure of popularity?

Show Notes

1:55 – Online content has gotten smaller, with an activity stream of what’s happening now constantly changing. Are Facebook status updates, wall posts, tweets and shares the future of the web? Jay explains how Google+ could help Google stay relevant through the shift from pages to streams.

4:17 – With content creation moving away from page views to short, microbursts of information, Page Rank is becoming less useful. Jay talks about how the Google page rank algorithm has been the fundamental premise of SEO for years and the potential downfall of the page rank formula in the new world of social object oriented content.

5:53 – Who has more influence online: content creators or content curators?  Have we gone too far in the other direction by exchanging the more measured, foundation principle of Page Rank for the impulsivity of likes and comments? Jay cites Matt Riding, who mentions the pendulum swing where it may be the status updaters who receive a disproportionate amount of attention, rather than the writers of original content.  Jay explains how Google+ gives the search giant a way to bake social signals into its search algorithm.

7:48 – In a recent blog post about Google+, Jay says that Google swallowed it’s “we can do things different pride” and out the best of Facebook, Twitter and FourSquare in G+. The result: using Google+ may be better than other social media tools because it does less; it has a concise set of features and doesn’t try to bake a cacophony of features into a single interface.

12:11 – Jay talks about how to use Google+ Circles.  With the new drag and drop interface, using Google+ Circles gives you the chance for a “do over” to get your friends lists right. Eric mentions a recent episode of  Media Hacks #262 with Mitch Joel (@mitchjoel), Chris Brogan (@chrisbrogan), and Hugh McGuire (@hughmcguire)  where they discussed this new feature ad nauseum.

18:34 – Jay calls Google an algorithmic cake trying to add social frosting, while Facebook is a social cake trying to add an algorithmic frosting. The algorithmically based Google adds a social layer with Google+; while socially based Facebook tries to go algorithmic with Edgerank.

19:53 – Google already has a plethora of ancillary online services, like Gmail, Google Maps and YouTube.  Google+ gives it a chance to vertically integrate these services with a social wrapper and use them in a way that enhances the overall user experience.

22:48 – The nasty little secrets of black hat SEO and the question “Is Google Broken?” Jay discusses the shared characteristics of “Search” and shares ideas for shutting down the content farms and improving local search.

25:39 – Google, Adwords and G+.

27:56 – How should business take into account new social network when developing a social media strategy? Jay points out that you need to be clear that your business strategy is simply not about collecting “likes” or “fans”, but that you see a resulting behavior change – like buying the products.  If your strategic plan is how to use a tool, you will always be playing catch up. How should business use Google+ to support their social media strategy?

31:30 – What is happening to the trends of referral traffic? Jay’s blog has already seen more traffic from Google+ than Facebook.

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This podcast was optimized for search by Phyllis Cohn.

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