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Google Authorship

How to Verify Google Authorship is Working

By | Google Authorship, Google Plus | No Comments

How to Verify Google Authorship by Scott Gombar

Recently I have come across a few people who are not sure if Google Authorship is set up properly.   It seems it’s not always easy to tell for a few reasons.  Even if it is set up sometimes you cannot easily recognize that it is.

Connecticut Google Authorship Set Up

First Google may choose not to use your image even if it meets Google’s requirements.  Your profile picture should be a clear head-shot of you and not include anyone else in the picture.   Even if you are following all of the requirements Google may choose not to use your image..as is the case for this site.

Google Authorship of ScottGombar.com

 

As you can see my site is connected to Google+ but my image does not show up.  I have used the same image with a different account and it does show up.  This also leads me to another theory which I will discuss shortly.

Second, even though Google has stated that setting up Authorship will improve your search results (and it does), they have also stated that they will not discount all sites that are not using Authorship.  What that means is even though a site may not be using Google Authorship, that does not necessarily mean it will be pushed down in the Google SERP.

When I search CT Internet Marketing the first few results are not set up with Google Authorship (Shame on them).   While this is bound to happen due to other search algorithm factors that should not dissuade you from using Authorship, especially if your site is newer.   The site that shows up as number one for the search of CT Internet Marketing was launched in 1996.  Age of the site is another factor in Google’s search results.

How to Verify Google Authorship

It’s actually quite simple.  Visit the Google Structured Data Testing Tool  and add your site to the input box.   The results will tell you whether or not your website is set up for Google Authorship.  The tool also does the following:

  • Verify your email is connected to your Google+ account
  • Verify markup language is set up properly
  • Verify data feeds (RSS, ATOM) are set up properly

Google Authorship Verification

 

What is Google Authorship?

If you have never heard of Google Authorship you will want to read my previous post on Authorship.  Essentially Authorship is Google’s way for site and blog owners to claim ownership of content, and as a result become the authority of that content.  Matt Cutts (Google SPAM Assassin) has stated that Authorship will improve search results although it seems they backed off of it slightly because of sites that don’t use it and still qualify based on Google’s algorithm factors.

What About This Theory?

Originally I started this company as Next Level Group, llc.  I then decided to brand it simply as Scott Gombar (I do a lot of reading, you should read “The Brand Called You”).  I left the old site up to include it in my portfolio and in doing so also left up the Google+ and Authorship information.  I have had some trouble improving ranking on Google’s SERP, and displaying Google Authorship information with scottgombar.com.

On 4/13/15 I removed the Google+ account for Next Level Group so now we wait and see if in fact having 2 similar accounts can impact your search results on Google, and your Authorship settings.  A follow up post will come!

 

Need help with Google Authorship or Google in general?  I am Connecticut’s Google Expert.  Contact me using the Schedule Appointment button on the bottom right.

Google makes it easier for small businesses

By | Google Authorship, Google Plus, Google+, Local Search | No Comments

Google Helps Small Businesses

Google for Local BusinessIt’s true, if you read between the lines

In recent years Google has implemented several major updates to it’s search algorithm, much to the dismay of many digital marketers and business owners alike.  With all the Pandas and Penguins running around people may be lost in the updates or unsure of what to do and where to start.  Perhaps you just don’t have the time to keep up with the updates, after-all, you are running a business.  There is no need to fret.  If you were doing things the right way all along and not using Black Hat SEO methods you are probably already seeing the positive results.

To build on that, In recent years Google has added features that help improve local listings.  The problem is many small business owners and entrepreneurs, as well as ill advised internet marketers may not know any better.  We are going to discuss some of these tools today, and show you that Google really does want you to succeed using their product.

Pandas, Penguins and Updates-Oh My

The primary focus of the changes to Google’s search algorithm is to eliminate web spam.  As we discussed in previous posts Matt Cutts’ job is to squash those who use less than ethical methods of improving search results.  Some of those methods include:

    •  Backlinking from irrelevant resources (link farming)
    •  Keyword Stuffing
    •  Hidden Content
    •  Gateway Pages (Fake Pages)

The updates to Google’s search algorithm have made these methods, as well as others, extraneous.  What this means is sites that were using these methods as their dominant internet marketing plan have suffered in the Google Search Results.  Google has even shut down some of the companies who were selling link farming as a service.

Meanwhile sites that used methods that Google has always asked website owners to use are now moving up in the search results.  As long as you have been and continue to use what Google has always suggested you use then you will move up in search rank.  Some of the methods include:

    •  Develop Original Content
    •  Effective Keyword Usage using Tags and Markup
    •  Proper Titles and Descriptions
    •  Proper Markup (Code)
    •  Strong Website Structure

The above is obviously not everything to consider but will make for a good foundation and you will be able to build off of these suggestions.

You mentioned tools?

I did as a matter of fact, and Google has a wide variety of tools specifically for local businesses.  The obvious tool is Google Analytics but we are going to leave that for another post.  Three of the resources I strongly encourage using for local search are:

    •  Google Places
    •  Google Authorship
    •  Google Alerts

Google Places

Google places allows you to add your business to their local maps search results and track metrics related to those listings.  The example below is a computer repair shop in Meriden, CT.  If someone searching for Computer Repair shops in the general area (which will default to local results if Google is able to detect where you are located) then this and other local shops show up instead of the big box computer repair chains.

Google Places TechsRUs

That’s one resource any local business can definitely appreciate.   This allows you to have a stronger presence within the search results and if set up properly you will see positive growth in website traffic and sales.

Google Authorship

Google Authorship is set up through Google+ (Which you should also set up).  Authorship allows you to claim ownership of your original content.   This allows you to localize your content and in turn would place you closer to the top of the Google SERP.   Google has stated that content developers who have Google Authorship set up will achieve better search results than those who don’t.

Google Plus in Connecticut

 

That’s two things working for you as a small business owner.  That means tying original content and Google Authorship together will help generate more visitors to your site, and if your site is optimized properly those visitors turn into conversions.  To learn more about how to set up Google Authorship click here.

Google Alerts

Another topic we discussed in a previous post is Google Alerts.  Using this free tool you can have alerts sent to your email.  The alerts can be whatever you want them to be.  We have found that having alerts set up for keywords used on your web presence allows you to see what people are talking about and what the competition is doing.

Imagine having Google do the research for you, all you have to do is read.  That’s a powerful utility you cannot afford to pass on, and it doesn’t cost you anything except the few minutes it takes to set up.

The time is now

The time to optimize and improve your web presence is now.  Google has made it easier than ever to compete with those who have invested heavily in unethical Search Engine Optimization.  Using their resources, most of which are free, and your own original content you can achieve the ROI your business or brand has always looked to gain from using the internet.

Let’s face it, you cannot afford not to use these free resources, or ignore the updates that Google has made to it’s Algorithm.

 Looking to learn how to implement these and other best practices to improve your local search marketing in CT?  Start by clicking here

Why content matters-10 tips for content development.

By | content marketing, Google Authorship | No Comments

Why Content Matters

What is content marketing?

Content Development in Connecticut

Your ultimate goal is to drive people to your website.  There are numerous avenues to do this.  You can use email marketing, social media, business cards, links and word of mouth to accomplish getting people to your site.  But what do all of those avenues have in common?  What is going to get the attention of your audience to persuade them to take the next step of clicking through to your site?

It’s all about content.  Content marketing is about developing material to attract people to your online presence, and keep them there with the goal of conversion.  The conversion may be in the form of a sale, signing up for a mailing list/membership or following you on one or more social platforms.

The materials can be in the form of blogging, documents, images or video.   For example this blog post.  A single blog post can contain video and images as well.  It is best to create blog posts relevant to your site, especially if you are trying to sell a product or service.

Why Content Matters

The internet marketing game is evolving.  What was a chess match of who can get the most links and stuff the most keywords is now about what the audience wants to see.  The audience wants nuggets.  A nugget in this context is a piece of information.  Someone visiting your site is looking to get some information about who you are, what you do, how you do it, whether or not you are an expert and many times they are looking for pro-tips.

Different people prefer different methods of content delivery.  I myself prefer reading and the occasional video if I am not grasping something as I read it.  Others might be more inclined to view a video or image, or even an infographic.  Your content should try to include all of the aforementioned to attract as many people as possible.  If you are not doing everything you can to attract people then you will either not get anyone to your site, or they will come and not stay.

Think of it as a house party with no music, no food and nothing to do.  Is anyone going to stay long?  Probably only your closest family and friends, but they are likely using your services or products already anyway.  If there is nothing to keep your audience’s attention then don’t expect to maintain an audience.

Today’s internet is about information.  If someone is searching for your product or service they want information, and you want a conversion.  Information is and always will be in the form of content.  Without information your visitors will search elsewhere, and most likely that will be your competition.

10 tips to keep their attention

Content Marketing Tips

 

1. Promote your content-Another extremely important part of your internet marketing plan is Social Media.  Whenever you create content you should be sharing it on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Google+.  Those three are the biggest social media platforms today but if you are comfortable on those sites I would also expand to other platforms like LinkedIn, Pinterest and Instagram.

It’s not enough to just update that you have a new blog post.  You will want to make that update interesting enough for your audience to click through.  For example, for this blog post I may update with something along the lines of “Learn how to increase website visits in 10 simple steps”.   You have to be creative with your posts but don’t lie about it.  Your post should encourage them to click through and your content should engage them so they stay a while, with the end result ultimately being a conversion.

2.  Use different formats for content.  While the written word is great, remember a picture is worth a thousand words.  A video might be worth 100,000 words.  Infographics are an invaluable resource for your audience but make sure when creating an infographic that the facts are accurate and up to date.   If you choose to use someone else’s infographic make sure that it also accurate, and that you credit the source.

Here is a list of different types of content you should use on your blog or site:

    • Written
    • Pictures
    • Infographic
    • Video
    • Lists
    • Downloads (PDF)
    • Meme

HootSuite Most Interesting Man

 

3.  Long posts-You should strive to make your blog entries as long as possible.  The longer the update the more attention Google will give it.  Some say that posts longer than 2000 words get more attention from Google than those that have less than 2000 words.

While a 2000 word post may not always be possible or efficient, it certainly can’t hurt.  Keep in mind people like to digest information in small pieces so break the entry up into chunks wherever possible.  Include some of the other content suggestions above to appeal to as many people as possible.

I can tell you that I have blog entries that are less than 1000 words that show up on the first page of Google Search using the keywords that I wanted to be found with.  So part of the math will depend on how much competition you have for the content you are writing.  I would avoid Twitter size updates as part of your content and suggest that all posts be at least 300 words, keeping the audience in mind because that is really who the post is for, not Google or any other search engine.

4.  Consistent Blog Entries-Not offering your audience fresh content on a consistent basis will cause a decline in interaction.  It may be difficult at times to come up with topics so here are a few suggestions to help with topic development:

    • Read old blog posts on your blog for possible updates/new ideas
    • Keep a list of ideas, whenever one pops in your head write it down
    • Review trade publications for possible topics
    • Review tools of the trade that you are currently or have used in the past
    • Review your Social Media updates for possible ideas
    • Give yourself some quiet time daily to brainstorm, even if it’s just for a few minutes.

Without consistent updates you could potentially see a double digit decrease in traffic; percentage wise.  You worked really hard to develop your audience, it would be a shame to lose them due to a lack of attention to your own website/blog.

5.  Don’t get discouraged-you should not expect an immediate return on investment (ROI).  It can take time before you truly see an impact from your content marketing plan.  Don’t expect a post today to increase your sales volume tomorrow, it’s not realistic.

Realistically it could take up to a year before you start to see any real results so it will take time and persistence.  The most important aspect of your content marketing is sticktoitness.  That’s right, I just invented a word.  But you get the idea, you have to settle in for the long haul and not get discouraged by lack of immediate results.  And if for some reason you notice a decline in traffic that just means you need to refine (optimize) something.

It’s best to get a third party to review your blog at that point, one that is impartial.  There may be something that you are overlooking that is causing readership to decline.  Some of those things include:

    • Poor grammar/spelling
    • Poor formatting
    • Lack of variety in content
    • Lack of consistent updates
    • Inaccurate Facts
    • Posts are not relevant to website

6.  Google Authorship-It has never been more important than now.  If you have not set up Google Authorship you need to today.  If you want your content to rank high in Google Search results you have to ensure that your Google Authorship profile links to your content and vice-versa.  For more information on this click here.  

Google Plus Logo

Once set up properly Google Authorship makes you the authority on a subject.  When you post something you are given priority over others who do not have a profile set up.   Google has gone so far as to tell everyone that this is what will happen.   It is really simple to set up and definitely worth the effort and time investment.  It is an extension of your Google+ profile.  The requirements for Google Authorship are:

    • A blog
    • An email address on the same domain as the blog (an alternative exists)
    • A byline on the blog
    • A Google account
    • A link back to your Google+ account in the byline
    • A link to your blog from your Google+ account
    • Clear head-shot to be included on your Google+ profile

Authorship Results

 

7.  Respond to comments-So many times I have seen comments on blog posts that go unanswered.  That means there is no engagement on behalf of the author.  No engagement means you are likely losing your audience.  If you are losing you are audience then traffic drops, and well…I think you get the picture.

By interacting with those commenting on your blog entries you are not only engaging your audience but you also help build a relationship and a community.  You also potentially create a lasting impression, and shouldn’t one of your goals be brand development and recognition?  Even negative comments should be replied to respectfully, be careful not to create a scenario that makes you look like a bad guy.  Negative and argumentative reactions on your part can easily turn your audience off and may severely impact your conversion rate.

8.  Avoid Duplicate Content-Google does not like duplicate content.   While duplicate content does not get punished per-say, it can impact one or more of the articles that are duplicated.  Google wants the writer of content to be the authority on the subject.  If content is duplicated then Google may have a hard time confirming who the authority is.

When this happens then one or more of the articles may not rank in Google’s search engine at all, and Google decides which one it is.  So while your goal may be to get your content in front of as many people as possible, you are actually hurting your chances of getting your material ranked on Google’s search engine result page.

You should not duplicate your own, or even worse, someone else’s content for any reason.  The later is very unethical at best and both will cost you in the eyes of Google.

9.  Link to Other Authorities-Don’t be afraid to share the wealth.  If someone else is an expert on something you are writing about, or they have further details relevant to your content then by all means link to them.  Even if they are a competitor it is best to give credit where credit is due.  There is nothing wrong with paying respect to others who are also considered experts.

As a matter of fact it could lead to a partnership down the road.  I have personally developed partnerships with competitors in the past simply by giving them credit, or referring to them as the expert on a matter.   The partnerships led to growth for both parties involved helping everyone to become more successful.   Who wouldn’t want that?

I touched on it earlier but taking ownership of something that is not yours is at the very least unethical, and in some cases illegal.  If someone else did the leg work then give them the respect they deserve for putting in the time and research.

10.  Titles Matter-A title should be short but meaningful.  The title should also relate to the body of the blog entry.   I am writing a blog entry about content marketing, my title should not be something like “How to throw a curve ball”.

The title should indicate what the reader will encounter in the blog post, maybe even a punchline if you can keep it under 60-70 characters.  In this blog post I titled it “Why content Matters-10 tips for content development”.  Instantly you know this article will tell you why content is so important in your marketing plan, and that you will receive 10 tips on how to develop content.

The End

In short you are the expert on what your product or service is.  You work in it everyday, you know the tools you use, you understand what the clients are looking for, you are the professional.  Tell the world what you know.  Write about your passion and let everyone know that you love what you do.  Tell the world what makes you the expert and why.  Give them tips on simple solutions and starting points.

Have fun with it, make it interesting and spruce it up with images and video.  Make your blog all about your audience, because without an audience you are only writing for yourself.

One last note, make sure you proof read your blog entries before posting.  I had to learn the hard way myself.  Even if you are 100% sure that you did not make any mistakes read it over for grammar, formatting and spelling.

Now go develop some content.

Authorship. What is it?

By | Google Authorship, Google Plus, Google+ | 3 Comments

Authorship Defined

Google AuthorshipAuthorship is defined as the identity of the author or authors, meaning the original composer of material whether it be written, audio or video.

If you wrote it then it is yours.  If someone else wrote it then it belongs to them and you should not take credit for it.   Authorship is simply ownership of content.  It’s really that simple.

What’s the buzz all about?

Google started something called Google Authorship.  Google Authorship is a way to verify content ownership on the internet.  Setting up and verifying content as yours using Google Authorship provides benefits to you as the original content owner.

Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt has said that Google will rank content tied to Google Authorship higher in search results.
Read more at http://www.business2community.com/seo/google-authorship-101-0509426#l37PHQtCr6WATWux.99.

That means you cannot rely on the “Black Hat SEO” methods of copying content or posting content on multiple sites to improve search results.  It also means that Link Stuffing and Web Spamming will hurt your search results.

The good news is if you are someone who creates original content for the web you can reap the rewards of your hard work.  Setting up Google Authorship is quite simple.  Here’s what you need:

Google Plus

 

    • A Google+ Account with a clear head shot picture on your profile
    • A website or blog with original content
    • An email address at that website or blog (there is an alternate way)
    • A byline on each page of your content, the name on your byline must match your name on Google+
    • A link back to the website or blog from your Google+ profile indicating you are a contributor

You can visit Google Authorship for a step by step walk through of setting this up.

Big Deal…who cares?  Facebook rules the social media world anyway!

It is true that Facebook rules the Social Media world but what many don’t realize, or maybe don’t want to realize, is Google+ has quietly crept up to the number 2 spot for active social media users.  That’s right, Twitter is no longer number 2 and Google+ is.

Even more importantly is that Google is tying all of their properties together in an effort (a successful one) to improve upon their search results even more.  Google still controls about 70% of the search queries to date.  In March 2013 there were over 2.3 billion searches performed.  That is the biggest month ever for search queries.  Can you really afford to ignore those facts?

As anyone working with marketing their brand or product on the internet, you ultimately want to rank higher on Google.  If setting up and using Google Authorship means you will rank higher than those that don’t, isn’t it worth the 30 minutes you might spend setting it up?

Want more information about setting up Authorship or Google+…give us a shout!

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