What is SEO?
In this post I’m going to look at the connections between Google Plus, SEO and PageRank.
From conversations I’ve had with small business owners it’s apparent that the majority DO know that SEO is Search Engine Optimisation. However, equally, I come across business websites that are stuck in the 1990s and their chances of actually being found by a search engine are minimal.
But what exactly do we mean by Search Engine Optimisation? Broadly speaking, it refers to the process of optimising a website so that it is more likely to appear near the top of search results pages (SERPs) for specific keywords or keyphrases relevant to the business.
There are 2 main aspects to SEO: on-page and off-page.
Without going into intricate detail (there are plenty of articles about SEO out there), on-page SEO refers to the process of optimising your page’s HTML code – as well as the actual copy – to make it as easy as possible for Google (or any other search engine) to see your page as highly relevant to the term entered in the search box. Off-page SEO refers to processes that take place off your website – the most important being “backlinks” i.e. links from other, relevant sites back to yours. The more of these the better – although all backlinks are not equal, and the “authority” of a link is also a very important factor.
I don’t claim to be a SEO expert but what I know about PageRank is this:
- It does not mean search engine ranking
- It is thought to have been named after Larry Page (former Google CEO)
- It is a measure of a web page’s “authority”
- Authority depends upon the quality and relevance of other pages linking to the page in question
- PageRank has a numerical value from 0 (lowest) to 10 (highest)
- Facebook has a PageRank of 10
- The available tools for checking PageRank are not totally accurate
You might like to check the Wikipedia definition of PageRank.
This article may also be helpful.
Google Plus, SEO and PageRank
Firstly, what is Google Plus? Most would say it’s a social network….. and dismiss it as yet another task they don’t have time for. However, Google has repeatedly said that it is NOT a social network, instead it is the “social layer” between each and every one of their products. It is also a “recommendation engine” (via the +1 feature)
You’re probably still wondering what all this has to do with SEO and PageRank. It has recently been discovered that Google Plus profiles, communities, and pages have PageRank. (the linked article gave me a real lightbulb moment, and I now realise just how important Google+ is for my business)
What does this mean? It means that you need to get active on Google+! By that I mean not just a “hit and run” approach where you post an update once a month and never visit in the interim; you need to go in daily, or at least 5 times per week, to post useful content (others’ as well as your own), interact and share. In other words, do what you would on any other social network (please tell me that IS what you do on Facebook and/or Twitter??)
You must also optimise your profile. Since I’ve been active on Google+ I’ve looked at scores of profiles (I always check them out before circling someone, or if they’ve circled me) – and it’s incredible that so many have absolutely nothing beyond the bare minimum of information. Nor do many users bother to add a worthwhile cover image – a pity, considering how much “real estate” Google now gives you (with no guidelines on what you can and cannot include).
Aim to build new connections, especially with high ranking profiles. If you’re smart you will sometimes come across active G+ users sharing circles of “influencers” – I recently took advantage of this and over a couple of days added around 50 worthwhile contacts to my circles. Learn to identify the influencers in your niche and aim to establish good relationships with them.
Set up Google Authorship – absolutely essential in order to build your authority and have your articles/blog posts stand out (because your profile picture appears next to them) in search results. But beware – there are many articles on setting up Authorship and some are incomplete or give wrong information. It is a 3 step process involving linking your website/blog to your G+ profile. This article by Mark Traphagen is one of the best I’ve found describing the process.
In summary, establishing yourself on Google+ is probably your best chance yet of getting found in search results by people both within and outside your own network. Worth a try?
[hr] Need help setting up or managing Google+ for your business? I enjoy working with businesses to achieve more from social media and I’d love to hear from you – get in touch now on 01777 249075 or email me firstname.lastname@example.org
“SEO” Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net