At the end of December it was reported that Google+ now has 62 million users Worldwide (2.7 million UK). While this may not seem particularly impressive compared with Facebook’s 800 million, what is shocking is the rate of growth. It has been calculated that if it continues at the same level, by the end of 2012, Google+ will have 293 million users which is certainly significant.
There have been many updates and features added since launch and the integration with Google’s other services will only generate more usage. Another great advantage is that, as well as your personal profile, you can also have a G+ Business Page, with business link. Here’s an informative post detailing how to optimise your + profile.
As a freelance web content writer or marketer you cannot afford to ignore this. If you’re not convinced by the figures, it has been implied on many occasions – that if you’re snubbing G+, you’re snubbing Google. It is evident that social signals are an important ranking factor and this is only going to get bigger in 2012.
“The social signal, the people you ‘hang with’ is actually a ranking signal.” Eric Schmidt, Google
If having a + account ticks an extra box and facilitates your web content visibility in the SERPS, then it’s certainly worth joining. So, if you don’t yet have an account, create one! – Aside from this, you’ll need it to implement authorship mark-up……
2. Author Credibility
Google announced its execution of author mark up last June. To put it simply, this links you as an author, to your Google Profile. Therefore, confirming the authenticity and credibility of the content. When you’ve been verified, a + profile and picture will appear next to your content in the SERPS, as below.
For detailed instructions on how to implement this go to http://support.google.com/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=1229920
“We know that great content comes from great authors, and we’re looking closely at ways this mark up could help us highlight authors and rank search results.” – Othar Hansson, Software Engineer, Google.
It is clear from Hansson’s statement that they’re serious about turning this into a significant ranking factor in the future. Further evidence of its importance came at the end of December when they introduced Author Stats in Webmaster Tools. Authors can now see how many impressions and clicks their content generated. Authorship has also been added to GoogleNews.
3. Year of the Panda
While many have dubbed 2011 the year of the panda, there’s a definite feeling that we’re to see much more from it in 2012. At the very least, updates will continue in the same manner, effecting millions of search queries and businesses. While the Panda reigns superior content = higher rankings and more visibility.
SEO will focus more on the creation and distribution of user-orientated content. In fact, many experts predict significantly less emphasis on number of back links as a ranking factor this will leave some SEO companies reeling. Of course, backlinks will still count but unless they’re from pages that satisfy the Pandas requirements, you may as well not bother. Old School approaches will simply no longer cut the mustard. A valuable backlink will come from a page with high quality content and no ads. Don’t forget, there’ll be extra juice if the link comes from a web content writer who is a recognised Google author.
If you’d like some help with your 2012 strategy, feel free to email me with any questions.
Happy New Year.
Written by Heather Griffiths