Ep#9: Google+ in the Search Results

What is Google+, why you should use it, how it effects the search results in an interview with Tony McCreath

Episode 9 features the second part of a four part series where I speak to Tony McCreath from Web Site Advantage about various search engine related topics. In part 1 (Episode 7) we talked about Panda and Penguin, two of Google’s recent algorithm updates and in this episode we talk about Google+ and how it effects the search results.

In this episode;

  • What is Google+ (G+)?
  • Why should business owners care about G+?
  • How does G+ compare with facebook and twitter?
  • How does G+ manifest in/effect the organic search results?
  • What can people do to take advantage of this?
  • What is Google+ Local? How is it effecting local search?


This week’s featured photo is 30 second exposure of the main street of Gawler taken by Allen Shubin. Enjoy!

Gawler Allen Shubin


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Nick: Welcome to Episode 9 of the Web Marketing Adelaide Podcast. I hope everyone’s had a great week since Episode 8 last week. This week, we’ve got the second part of a 4 part series where I talked with Tony McCreath from Website Advantage. Tony is an SEO expert from Adelaide and in Part 1, we talked about the Panda and Penguin updates, which are 2 of Google’s recent algorithm updates.

This week we’re talking about Google Plus, which is Google’s social network. I just read actually today on [inaudible 00:00:50] that they’ve reached 400 million users with a 100 million active users. So it’s actually becoming quite a large social network out there, certainly something you should pay attention to.

So this episode, we’ll get into the bits and pieces on how to get onto Google Plus and why it’s a great idea for your business.

Once again, Tony’s website is www.websiteadvantage.com.au. If you want to go check out some more stuff about him and he’s got some great articles and tools up there on the website, where you can learn about search engine optimization and the stuff that he does. So let’s go the interview now.

Welcome back to Web Marketing Adelaide. I’m your host, Nick Morris and I’m here again with Tony McCreath. Tony, welcome back to the show.

Tony: Thanks very much.

Nick: Great, good to be back. Google Plus in the search results is the topic for this week’s talk. So, let’s just get straight into it and what is Google Plus?

Tony: Google Plus is Google’s attempt at social networking like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn. It’s kind of match of them feature wise but it’s big benefit, but it’s actually part of your Google account system, so if you ever logged into anything to do with Google, you will be on Google Plus. So, it’s more than social, it also becomes part of your search.

Nick: Right, and they’re unifying all of their existing properties like YouTube and Blogger and the various properties, all into Google Plus.

Tony: So for example, if you’ve got a YouTube account, you’ve got a Google Plus account. You are all integrated, so things you do on YouTube becomes part of your social network with Google in the big eco-system they have.

Nick: Right [Inaudible 00:02:50] been to really get a hold on reviews really easily and really quickly today on social network?

Tony: Yeah and in fact, it’s more than YouTube. Things like web developers have all got accounts and need to do things and they are automatically pulled into the Google Plus. For a while, they actually forced you to have a Google Plus account, and now they’ve backed off a bit. And they even actually like to remove it, but this is Google’s aim. They’re going to get you on it whatever direction you come from.

Nick: Right, and why should business owners be concerned about Google Plus?

Tony: It’s early days for the businesses, like any business, you might as well promote it in any form that you can, so there’s no harm in putting yourself on there and it’s going to grow. Google is the biggest thing and Google Plus is part of Google, so there are more and more people coming on it.

On a side line thing, it’s such, if you’ve got a reason to be, medium large business to actually do your business with your employees on it. There’s a thing called Google Apps and so you can run your email account, you can have meetings all via the Google Plus system. So, there’s a kind of internal management thing, or even working with your clients, it can be a good system for that.

Nick: And one of their most popular features of Google Plus Hangout of course, which …

Tony: Yeah, which also it being a bit more active and that can be a great way to do, I’ve mentioned earlier, training sessions, meeting with your employees if you’re international. Google is actually themselves making, they’re quite active on the Hangout, so you can actually chat with Googler’s, people who actually do the algorithms and work on Google Plus and next Friday, which depending on the date when this comes out, probably last Friday, I’m actually going on one and asking a few questions directly to Googler’s. So, it’s a great opportunity to interact with people.

Nick: Yep. Just a, if anyone doesn’t know, the Google Plus Hangout is a video chat platform and you can have a group chat with up to 9 people…

Tony: All on one video show. You can all chat, you can share screens and a recent feature is it can actually be recorded live so people can actually watch you live doing it, and then afterwards, they can watch you on YouTube. So, it’s a great way to actually get something public out there. So it’s a great tool for business.

Nick: Yeah, more on the business side at the moment. In fact, the whole Google Plus seems to be more for businesses, working with businesses, seems to work better. It’s not really from social because why leave Facebook with your friends? Right, yeah. So, I think I found the same. I think I found that it’s a good way of following different topics you might be interested in. I know, I’m interested in skepticism for instance, there’s a product community there and there’s quite a big photography community on Google Plus, as well I’ve noticed.

Tony: I don’t know about skepticism. Yeah, a good thing about Google Plus is what they call circle, and segregate your interests. I actually have different circles, one I call Essential, one I call Okay and one I call Really Bad and basically I monitor the essential people, the Okay one’s I’ll scan through, and the Really Bad ones, sorry mate.

Nick: I hope I’m not in that one. Alright, well with business owners using Google Plus, would it be a similar sort of strategy to say Facebook and Twitter or are there differences?

Tony: It can be, you have a business page and you can talk on it. The dynamics are slightly different and there are a lot of things you can do on Google Plus that you can’t on … In fact, Facebook is starting to steal Google Plus features now. Yeah, events, so it’s obviously got some good features there that Facebook think it’s good. So, it can be a good one for setting up your business and doing things like that.

Nick: And how does Google Plus affect or manifest in the search results?

Tony: Well, this is something very unique that Google has, because they basically own the biggest search engine in the world, so they can actually integrate their social network with the search network. In the past they’ve tried it with Facebook and Twitter but disagreements means, they have a very low profile in Google search results now, whereas with the Google Plus, when you’re searching, Google knows who you are. They know your Google Plus accounts, they know who your friends are, they know what you interact with. So, Google can actually alter your search results based on what your friends like.

So, for example, you often see, because we’re friends, or circles with each other, you often see a result in Google that has my little mug shot in it, saying I plus on this and not only do you see that it was endorsed by me, it also gets pushed up higher in the search result. So, that’s a key way it’s actually starting to influence how your results are being presented to you.

Another related one is the Authorship marker. Now, you need a Google Plus account, to become an author and once you’ve done that, you can get your mug shot in the search results. It’s part of the rich snippets system. So, that’s another way that your Google Plus influences how your own system website looks in search results. There’s a lot of power there.

Nick: Yep, and just the authorship marker, that’s where you can get your photo appear next to your website in the search results, and that can encourage people to click through a bit more, sort of stands out a bit more . Is that the idea?

Tony: Yeah, it makes you stand out and depending on how good your photo is, make sure you look better not worse. I’ve seen a few articles on people saying it actually had a negative effect.

Nick: So, if you’re good looking, or if you have a good looking staff member in your business …

Tony: And technically it has to be a mug shot, it has to be a head shot, but it does make you stand out. This integration is going to get more, for example, it shows how popular you are on Google Plus as well as your picture. People have the chance to click into your profile and then find out what else you do, so it becomes a new avenue rather than just than just going to your website, because people will find your Google Plus page and learn more about you. So, it’s quite an influential one.

Nick: Great, and what are some tips you can give to business owners who are just wanting to get started with Google Plus. What can they start to do?

Tony: They’re probably already on in, they don’t realize it. If you have a Gmail account, or YouTube, all these things, create an account and go through and create your personal profile. Now, a lot of people may not want their personal profile to represent them in the business, so what you want to do then is create a Google page for your business and the good thing about that is, apart from you managing it, your personal profile is completely anonymous. There’s no official link to it for other people.

Yes, you should create a business page and have that represent your business, pictures, videos. Another good move is you can link your business page with your website. Get you website developer to put the link in and what this means is Google will know that that website is officially your business website and your social plus one and all that is linked. So, if someone says they like your business page on Google, that also gets credited to your website and vice versa, if they plus one your website and it also helps Google understand and verify who you really are.

So, that’s a good move to do, set up that association, as I think the term they use is a publisher. So, the Google Plus page can be the publisher of your website.

Nick: Yeah, that kind of trends nicely into Google Plus Local. Previously, we’ve had Google Local, the Place pages, and now it’s sort of changed into Google Plus as well. Can you just explain that?

Tony: Before it was called Google Places. It was also called Google for business or something but probably, what people are more familiar with is Google Places, and this is when you get search results that include a map and the little red markers. These are people who’ve registered their business with Google under their Google Places system. So, you can actually go in there and claim or register your business and fill in all the details.

Now, with Google Plus, they have got Google Local, which is moving this Places thing into Google local, and it all is in part of a social network. At this time, your Google business page is separate to your Places page but you can actually request them to be merged. So, at the moment, Google Places is what is dominant on search results, your business page doesn’t do much.

Places lets people do reviews and see your details, whereas your business page lets people interact in a chat. Recently, I actually requested mine get merged. I wouldn’t recommend it yet because it’s a very new feature and a couple of days ago, I got an email and mine are merged as if they’re one entity. So, my business page on Google is my Places page and vice versa. So, it has reviews and interaction, very new features and I’m going to see how it pans out.

But that’s the direction, it’s all going to become this Google Local. Your business page will be your one stop place to define your business to Google and it will start showing in search results.

Nick: Great, well thanks for all those tips on Google Plus Tony and I guess we’ll talk to you again in a few weeks. Thanks for coming on the show.

Tony: Cheers.


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