Tuesday, 17 September 2013

How Important is Your Google+ Profile?

In late 2013 the overall state of search engine results are starting to point to different factors when determining who ranks first for their results.  Instead of ranking a page simply on what content it contains and the pages that link to it, there is another factor involved: Authorship.

It's not simply what you know now, it's also who you know... mirroring our existence in the offline world.  In the past you could get away with writing some good content and making sure you build links to that page.  Now times are changing in the SEO world, Google has implemented and continues to strengthen their results based on Author Rank(or the old term of Agent Rank).

More and more you're starting to see a picture of an author alongside the content you search for.  This gives the benefit of visual appeal as well as author credibility to a piece of content.  Google uses a variety of factors to determine the credibility of an author and patented this technology as far back as 2009.  This basically means that a piece of content written with almost the same details will rank differently depending on who the author is.

So how does this all tie into your Google+ Profile?  Well your Google profile is basically your author bio.  This is where those pictures next to the results are coming from.  If you asked me I'd say this is going to be one of the most important factors when determining search in the near future.

As a few polls have indicated, the under 30 crowd is using social search like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube to get to what they're looking for.  It's now about social recommendation, rather than just traditional search.

In order to stay relevant Google HAS to use a new method and is leading the way in many of these areas.  So how important is your Google+ profile?  Very very important.

This is true not only for search results, but also for those using Google+ as a social network.  The way in which you fill out your details is going to determine who follows you and what kind of social connections you get.

If you haven't filled out your profile yet, it's time you did... so let's go over some of the basics that can help you gain more followers and improve your author rank.

Google+ Profile Basics


Your Picture

Probably the most important factor for using the Google+ social network is your picture.  People will be looking at this first when they see something you post.  Our eye is naturally drawn to the visual rather than the content of a piece.  This is also what's going to show up in the search results next to your webpages.

Keep in mind that people want to see you, not your cat, your dog, or the funny looking picture you found online somewhere.  This is also true of Google itself.  With facial recognition technologies increasing, you will notice that when mousing over your photo in Google+ you can tag your face.

So make sure you choose a picture that you find represents yourself in the manner you want others to perceive you.  If you're a comedian it may be appropriate to have a quirky looking smile.. but if you're dealing in a profession that people want to feel confident of your authority, you may find a more serious approach is necessary.  It all depends on you though, everyone is different and this rule of thumb is only a basic guideline.

Tagline 

The second most important factor has to be your tagline.  This is a short phrase that describes who you are and/or what you do.  I'm noticing that a lot of people fail to realize how important this is.

When you mouse over a person's picture, this bit of info shows up directly underneath their name.  I use this to help me put a person into a circle I've created, especially when I'm in the middle of doing something else and I get a notification that someone has added me.  If you put something that tells me what you do for a living, or what information you like to post on, I can very easily add you to the most appropriate circle.

Try to keep this short enough that it doesn't truncate but informative enough to help people categorize you in their circles.

Occupation

Again, another piece of info that will help people know what you are going to be interested in and post about.  This shows up as well when you mouse over a person's photo, directly below the tagline.  Try and keep it short enough to not truncate and make sure it describes what you do rather than a blank statement like "employee"


You should fill out these 3 fields as best you can as a bare minimum, but better still if you fill in your skills and a short description of who you are.  People who click on your About section are going to want to see more details about you.  Don't forget that you can link to all your other networks and websites from your profile as well.  Another pretty important factor.  Maybe I'll write a more in-depth post on filling out all the sections in the future, but for now I'll list some further reading on the matter:

Further Resources: