Facebook likes. Twitter re-tweets…yeah, I’m with you. I do silent tagging too. Check.
Meta tags. Robots and spiders…yep, even though it’s a pain sometimes, I add a description to my photos, label my blog posts, and those dang spiders crawl my website. Check.
Stumble Upon, Tumblr, Pin It, Google +1 it…yes, yes on it, pin the heck out of it, um…Google +1? Am I supposed to know about Google +1? Hmm, no bueno.
OK, grab your coffee and put your thinking cap on for a second, because this post is going to get nerdy. If you are like me, you know that SEO (search engine optimization) is important. It’s how a website or blog gets ‘up’ in the rankings on search engines. And we have all heard that statistic…no consumer is going to go to page 12 after they search for “baby photographer near Happy Place, NJ” and find you and book a session. But with such a saturated market, how do you get to Page 1? I mean, without paying to put yourself there? SEO baby…
While there are quite a few different search engines out there – Bing, Yahoo, etc. by far the most popular search engine used by more people all over the world with hundreds of millions search queries every single day is Google. And this year, Google introduced something that is starting to pick up in popularity, and that is the Google +1. Google +1 is the ‘like’ of Google +. Google + is a community like Facebook for gmail users…you can put friends into circles, chat, and share things that you like. But it also combines the power of the Google search engine. When a gmail user is logged in and does a search on Google, the resulting public websites can be +1ed. Take a gander at my example below, see the little +1? You have to hover to see it, but then it appears…MAGIC. By doing this, you are sharing and recommending this site to your circle of friends…almost identical to ‘liking’ a page on Facebook. Yes Google, I think I will tell my friends I recommend this…signed addicted and proud chai tea lover.
But how will this help my rank on Google? I’m sure a lot of us can look at our website analytics and see how social media is helping drive traffic to our websites and blogs. The top two referral sites on mine are Facebook and Pinterest. How does this happen? Because when we share content, clients and interested people click on it, which drives up our traffic, and increases our rankings. And since Google +1 is a Google product, the long and involved formula that they use to determine SEO rankings will definitely pay attention to it. Does your head hurt like mine yet?
I’m not saying that this will replace meta tags, page linking, keywords or any other proven, good old-fashioned SEO strategy, because it won’t. But I do know that Google has stated that the +1 will impact the relevance of a result on their search engine: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2011/03/1s-right-recommendations-right-when-you.html#!/2011/03/1s-right-recommendations-right-when-you.html.
Say it loud and proud right along with me…I’m relevant! And I want potential clients to know I am too…don’t we all want to be relevant???? When you +1 a site you are in effect recommending it to those in your social circle. It’s an internet word of mouth referral!! So when I +1’d “chai tea latte addicts in NJ”, and one of my Google+ or gmail contacts searched for “chai tea latte addicts NJ,” (seriously peeps, if you do that, we have to hang OUT) a site with the +1 might appear higher in search results than it would have otherwise! So it’s easy to see how having a lot of +1’s can boost your organic search rankings in a network of people.
OK, the nerdiness is almost over, I promise. I just want to clue you in on how to get start getting +1 happy.
- Put the +1 on every page of your site or every post of your blog. Blogger does this automatically because it is a Google product. This link might help you for all other sites: http://www.google.com/webmasters/+1/button/. You can see an example at the end of every post on my blog as well, http://www.photographyjendavis.blogspot.com. If you stop by, be sure to +1 me! Please and thank you ♥.
- If you have a gmail account, get on Google + and link up with friends. The latest Google estimate put their Google + users count at 40 million in the US alone, that is a lot of untapped clientele. If you post on Google +, people can +1 your page right from their news feed.
- Let your clients and followers on Facebook and Twitter know that you’ve installed the +1 button on your page and that you’d appreciate it if they +1’d you.
- It’s another good way to network with other photographers, we can help each other out!
It isn’t hard to install the button and it costs nothing…I mean, really. How often can you say that? I can tell you that it has personally helped my blog’s ranking in Google. I will be creating a +1 Photographer’s Networking circle on Google+. If you would like to be added please comment below by adding your gmail address. This will be an easy way to post blog entries, websites, etc. We can all help drive traffic to our sites by +1ing each other. There is also a photographer’s blog resource group on Facebook. Every day, blog entries get posted and members go and +1 and leave comments on the entries…all in the spirit of SEO! If you would like to be added, please contact me.
Thanks for hanging with me on this topic. The way I view SEO and building rank is kind of like how I view going to the dentist. I put it off, it’s not fun… a necessary evil even, but when it’s done I feel better.
Ok, you can remove your pocket protector now.
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