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Google Plus and the New Google Algorithm in 2013

« I don’t need to be on Google Plus because none of my customers use it! »

Time to think again.

Google Plus is being advanced to motor the Google algorithm and will be responsible for changing search engine listings forever. If you are not on Google Plus, it is time to give us a call or read, print, forward, tweet, share like or even +1 the following few paragraphs. Rumble Romagnoli, Head of Search at Relevance Web Marketing explores how Google Plus is already changing the Google Algorithm and will soon be the main democracy behind a new and more human Google Search Engine in 2013.

Social SEO – connections between Google Plus and the future of search.

Introduction to Google Plus and the Google Algorithm

Search engine rankings are decided by the Google algorithm, which is essentially a computer program. The Google Algorithm works pretty well, but Google would love this search engine to be more fair, and as « human » as possible. Google would like to implicitly understand what should and shouldn’t rank as a real person might do. Google’s main goal is a perfect search engine, so more people use it, and Google can sell more advertising. Rumble Romagnoli explores the issues with the present Google algorithm, how it may be changing in 2013, and what Relevance as an SEO agency can do to help our clients to still rank well.

The Google Algorithm until 2012

Up until recently the Google algorithm worked in quite a simple way: on-page SEO and links. Your SEO company would first optimize your website: work on keyword research finding out which keywords people were searching for, discover what the competition is doing, devise a SEO strategy, assign keywords to pages and mark-up the website copy and architecture. Once the on-page SEO is done, your SEO company would acquire links to the website pages building up popularity to the site. Google robots would scan the internet, work out which sites were relevant for which terms, and would calculate the quality and the relevance of links coming to the site and rank them according to 100s of different calculations. Yes 100s: age, link, link power, social media links, meta data etc.

Over the last year there has been several updates to the algorithm especially the Panda update which punished duplicate and spammy content and the Penguin update which punished spammy link building. However, the algorithm has always worked in the same way per se.

Problems with the Link-driven Algorithm Model

1) Sample Bias

Google feels that the link-driven algorithm model, even though it works pretty well is not truly representative of the population. Not everyone has a website and even the small group of people who own websites often leave it up to developers and web companies to do their link building. The subset is specific and has a particular demographic that is not representative of internet users.

There are many more people, however, who have social media accounts so Google sees this as the future of the algorithm and search as we know it. A social-driven algorithm model is far more representative of the population. People can share, like, +1 websites, and Google will get a much better idea about how relevant they are.

2) Problems with author recommendation power

Another issue with the link-driven algorithm model is the power that comes from certain links. Even though a strong PR5 website about France will pass fantastic link juice and help the linked company on search engines, the link might not be so relevant to a site about Paris for example. Presently, links from more reputable sites are given more power by Google overall but are not calculated by author.

Google Plus – The answer to Google’s problems + author rank – Google Algorithm 2013

The future of off-site SEO HAS to use social shares. It is already part of the Algorithm and Google are doing everything to create a more democratic way to judge a web page or a website. Websites that are shared socially should be ranked better and the share from a more authoritative author should be given more priority. Google Plus will identify authors and rank authors individually. We already see Google Plus posts within the rankings, and Google Plus has been syncronised perfectly with Google Analytics and Adwords.

Google Plus is very different from Facebook. Google are going to use Google Plus to help improve the search engine not necessarily to create a social site. Obviously one will lead to the other. Google wants to diversify the number of people who can influence the search engine. Therefore it is not important G+ isn’t as widespread as Facebook. Even with 20% market share the algorithm will be much more representative than at the moment.

Social shares create an increase in links so it is doubtful that links will be removed. The link-driven algorithm model already works and there is a lot of historical data. So Relevance believes links will stay but social shares and the links that arise from these shares will become much more important.

So what can Relevance advise to help companies keep rankings

  1. Understand the importance of Google Plus in marketing strategies
  2. Build up relevant communities on Google +
  3. Mark-up content with author information – rel author
  4. Distribute and create excellent content – including images, video, written
  5. 
Optimise that content
  6. Promote that content

Summary

Google Plus is must and the whole social side of digital marketing is vital for SEO. 
The argument that ‘my customers’ don’t use Google Plus is no good.
 Not only will search and shares become an increasingly important part of the way Google ranks websites, but Google Plus posts are already featuring in Google rankings. Ask Relevance to manage your social media and we will make sure Google + is a very big part of your strategy.

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