Social Search Engine Optimization imageIn the past couple of years Search Engine Optimization may well have gone through a transformation. Since the launch of Google Plus people are talking more and more about Social SEO. As such, I would suggest this has as much to do with psychology as it does with hyperlinks…

This article will explore how you can best use Google Plus for perfectly natural, organic search engine results – including exploring the more technical considerations in interviews with Mark Traphagen and Joshua Berg.


It doesn’t matter whether you are a beer and wine blogger, a global business, a consultant or a hobbyist collector you cannot ignore ‘Google Search’. Since the launch of Google in 1998, our lives have been transformed with increasingly relevant information available at our fingertips. But in the past few years, things have been changing – now it is personalized.

Tailored results based upon our own personal search history, locations, and potentially the people to whom we relate. We are not, however, just information consumers – we are creators and curators of content; with Google Plus we increasingly have the opportunity to be influencers as well.

Google Search is often where this influence will be displayed and from a Google Plus perspective we see a new emerging form of (SEO), Social Search Engine Optimization.

(For those not familiar with Google+, check out the video below…Google+ is Google)

What is this new form of Search Engine Optimization all about?

There is a great SEO industry joke from ‘The Next Web’ that goes: A SEO expert walks into a bar, bars, pub, public house, Irish pub, drinks, beer, wine, liquor, grey goose, cristal…

This kind of keyword stuffing is probably more a cliche than reality, but as you will read, there would appear increasingly to be new way – the social way – of search results appearing on Google.

Please note: the approach I take in this article does not mean in any way that ‘traditional’ SEO has gone; it just means the game may well have changed.

So how then, are people getting results in Search without using ‘traditional’ SEO techniques? Well, that is where the social bit comes in…

From this perspective, Social SEO is simply this:

You create content that people relate to, then engage with (e.g. ‘share’) and depending upon the nature of the connections, you may well find that the content appears in search results.

It would appear, however, the nature of the people (e.g. how much authority they have on the subject to which they engaged) will determine the results. Check out this introductory video to get a better idea…

Could it really be that the more people know and rate your approach on a subject, the more they ‘sponsor’ that content into their network through ‘sharing’ the more engagement there is more generally (e.g.  ‘social signals’ – numbers of +1, comments, share etc.), the more ‘authority’ you already have in a particular area then the more likely your content will appear in search? Well, it would seem that the new form of SEO is actually back to the old form of social – if people in authority say you are an authority and your content is ‘good stuff’ then it gets more presence in Google Search than without that ‘sponsoring’, which makes sense.

But this is not how people have seen Search Engine Optimization – until now it was not about ‘people’ and ‘social skills’. How did this happen?

Introducing Google Plus – ‘Google+ is Google’

Vic Gundotra, Google’s Senior Vice President, Engineering in his fireside chat with Guy Kawasaki at SXSW in 2012 described Google+ as a ‘social layer’ over Google’s products and services. This phrase, ‘a social layer’ is a new concept – it means that everything Google does is not socialized i.e. ‘social’ will now apply to everything they do.

And social means you and me.

So, whether it is the who sees your content on Google+, the social destination, or whether it is your video setting on YouTube which determine who can see that content, or your contacts within GMail, Google+ goes throughout it all.

Here is a video overview of Google Plus – by the end of it you will understand how the social layer is a totally new concept. It is the new ‘Google’.

How does this relate to Google Search?

Have you noticed how many search results now have a ‘little face’ of a person next to them?

Well, if you haven’t yet you will. This can only happen if the person has a Google+ account (see authorship below) and as such, the social layer has really shown its presence within Google Search.

Search Plus Your World – these are personalised results, including being based on ‘who’ you have in your circles on Google+

Search Plus Your World switched off – these are not based on who you have in circles but are still personalised e.g. based upon historic searches

Incognito Window search – these are no longer personalised but can still show up based on e.g. the country of your IP address

Proxy server – these show results not based on anything to do with your own computer or searches (from my understanding)

Next let us look how that ‘little face’ appear alongside search results i.e. Google authorship.

What is Google Authorship and can you get it set up?

When I interviewed Mark Traphagen recently, we discussed the background to Google Authorship as well as the ways in which it can be set up. Also check out his site for much more on this subject: Google Authorship, AuthorRank and Social SEO

In the meantime, this video gives you much of the key information you need to get to grips with this area.

So, to recap, you can see an image appear next to result in Google Search when:

1. a person has authored a post on Google Plus

2. a person has shared someone else’s post on Google Plus but they have got a search result for their share, or

3. a person has authored a post on from a website itself

So, why does this matter? Well, people’s image next to content would appear to be giving it a higher click through rate (CTR) than for content without (as mentioned in the video.) i.e. more people click on the link and see that content.


Here are some resources you will find useful: Authorship page on Google will tell you how to get ‘set up’ and then the Rich Snippets Testing Tool to check if your Authorship is working, and also Rich Snippets Testing Tool Bookmarklet by AJ Kohn gives you one click check any web page for Authorship

Check out the full article from myself and Mark on this subject, including Google Authorship.


Also check your settings as well to ensure your profile can be found in Google Search by going to, scroll down and ensure the tab is checked “Help others discover my profile in search results.”  Mine happened to get unchecked recently and I am not sure how!

What then is the relationship between Google+ and SEO?

Now that we are starting to flow with the idea of SEO a little more, let us now consider the role of Google Plus…

What Google Plus content can appear in Google Search?

This is a key aspect to grasping Google Plus, especially when it comes to search engine optimization. The world has really changed and Google Search will increasingly reflect your own connections’ content. If for instance, you share content with a group of people in a circle e.g. 100, then for those people it would be possible for them to find that post in Google Search itself, not just Google+, i.e. when they are using ‘Search Plus Your World’.

In other words, it is worth noting how Google Plus posts themselves can appear in Google Search as results dependent upon who has the ‘rights’ of access (i.e. with whom that content has been shared.) This is because each post is a ‘page’ with its own URL. Also, worth noting that when these pages are shared i.e. the posts are shared, they are ‘flowing’ links from the original post/page.

So in this way, everything being shared has the potential of ending up in Google Search.

Google+ is Google.

Key points:

  • Any post, when shared publicly, can appear for anyone in Google Search
  • If you don’t share publicly you are reducing your reach, but you may be optimizing your Google Search results for a small audience when they have ‘Search Plus Your World” switched on.
  • The more people ‘who have you in circles’, the more you will influence their personalized search results
  • Your search results will be influenced by ‘who you have in circles’ (when personalized search results)
  • Who you are connected with i.e. the nature and authority they may have, may well influence search results when they share people’s content (see below)
  • Growing an appropriate network for you will make a huge difference.

Next let us consider one of the factors many believe is influencing (but only one of many factors) whose content is appearing in Google Search…

What is PageRank?

In the world of SEO many people put a lot of weight on the concept of PageRank.

When interviewing Mark Traphagen he gave a great introduction to PageRank and mentions how Joshua Berg re-discovered that it may well still apply…

This area takes a while to grasp so it may well be worth spending some time hearing it from difference people on Google Plus. As such, I thought you may enjoy the follow up interview I did with Joshua Berg.

New: Listen to the podcast…

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Here is a tool for you to check out PageRank as well here.

I know that readers of the article could well be at many different levels, and as such, I want to try to cover as many bases as possible…

What are ‘Google Keywords’?

Just in case you didn’t know, you can easily find out ‘how many people’ searched for ‘what’ as well as ‘where’ in the world.

Using Google Keyword Tool we can quickly get an idea of the popularity of keywords and phrases that people are putting into Google.

As an individual with no traditional SEO experience, through applying the principles of Social SEO you may well find that you can rank for keywords which would have previously been out of reach. Do your keyword research, create create and share great content and have fun seeing what happens in ‘Search’.

What is the difference between sharing a Google Plus post with or without an ’embedded link’?

When you share a post on Google Plus you have many options. One of the main ones to consider is whether you, Option B ’embed’ the link into the post – and here you usually will see the ‘thumbnail’ appear with some text alongside it – or Option A you could drop in an image and not embed the link.

From an SEO perspective there may well be consequences to this decision. It is difficult as Option A could give you greater engagement there and then, but Option B may well give you more SEO ‘juice’  if you want it going back to your website.

Check out the video to understand the mechanism of the links themselves, inparticular in relation to Option B, the embedded links.

Tip: if people are sharing your posts with embedded links (i.e. with thumbnail images), great! If not, think about increasing your engagement with other people first, then use unembedded ‘attractive’ posts with large images and then return to embedded once people relate and engage more with your content.

How does everything flow about when people share content on Google Plus?

I thought that running some scenarios past Joshua Berg and Mark Traphagen would help to explain this a little further from a technical perspective.

For those wanting to get to grips with terminology, then here is the Wikipedia definition of ‘nofollow’…

“Nofollow is a value that can be assigned to the rel attribute of an HTML a element to instruct some search engines that a hyperlink should not influence the link target’s ranking in the search engine’s index. It is intended to reduce the effectiveness of certain types of search engine spam, thereby improving the quality of search engine results and preventing spamdexing from occurring.”

Lyndon NA has very kindly provided this cheat sheet to understand the nature of the links in Google+ a little more. Thank you for this. Check out his blog for more: HERE

gplusprofilelinkcheatsheet1I  thought I would run a through scenarios with Joshua Berg to help clarify further…

Scenario 1: I initiate a post (sending it ‘public’), Alan shares it publicly – does that flow PageRank to me?

Scenario 2: I initiate a post, Alan shares it, and then Brian shares it (hat tipping Alan) – does that flow PageRank to me, Alan gets a little bit from the h/t and, as the Brian is the new author, anyone who shares after him will flow PR back to him?

Joshua: “There’s quite a few different types of links in a single post, I will break down a full shared post to give you an example of which ones do, or do not pass PageRank.

Also, we’re basing our assumptions of the PR passing links based on which ones are labelled as either follow, or nofollow, which is a pretty safe bet. Remember though, we’re kind of reverse engineering (or analyzing) all this, as we do not have access to G+’s algorithms. And that’s what most of the SEO industry is anyway. Though with most of the theories we’ve put together & tested, we feel pretty comfortable with our conclusions.

Let’s take this share that I made of your post on The Ultimate YouTube Channel Guide.

This particular shared post is a great example, because it contains all of the various types of links used in a G+ shared post.

To be honest with you, I had some trouble at first understanding how the shared post gave PR back to its original author, since the original author’s link becomes no follow in all the shared posts. I kind of assumed it worked, because it just seemed right. Then after you grilled me on this question during our live hangout (thanks!), I got to thinking and put some other pieces together that I was finally pleased with. So here’s the answer…

The PageRank we collect comes not only direct to our root profile (our canonical URL), but also back from our shared posts, which get their PR from other profiles by way of being shared around.

While the original authors link is nofollow (serving Google’s somewhat muddling principle of the “sharing user becomes the author”) the original post’s link is follow and does pass PR directly back to that post.

This means that each individual post (which is actually a page) collects its own PR based on how many times it is shared & also referenced outside of G+. Specific posts/pages could therefore have high PR and others low, or none.

Now, if we go back to that original post that has collected PR by being shared, we see the original author’s link there, which is receiving PR (not all of it) back from that post. This is much the same way most websites distribute PR within themselves, or blogs with popular guest bloggers. The root blogging site may actually receive most of its PR back from the guest blogs, that receive their citations directly from other websites, or blogs referring to them.

In conclusion the answers to both scenario 1 and 2 would be, yes, you do receive some additional PR from every share.”

I thought I would ask a few more questions to Joshua Berg as the running scenarios really seems to help work through all the possibilities!

QUESTION “In the last scenario, does the PR of onwards shares always flow back to the initiator (when shared publicly) whether embedded link or not?”

The answer to this question again is, it always flows back to that post & by doing so, also back to the original author.

QUESTION “If I am sharing website’s embedded links that I don’t author (i.e. don’t have authorship on but may initiate as a post), does PR therefore accumulate (flow) back to me when I choose ‘good stuff’ on an area i.e. as a curator can I get good PR?”

The answer to this question is, yes. The shared post actually becomes an entirely new page with its own links and link structure, therefore that new post passes PR back to others based on what is in that post. By looking at the link structure in each individual post as a page, we can see then that PR is distributed to most of the links within it.

QUESTION “If I am sharing my own links from website content I author (embedded of course) then what is the optimal scenario for me? Is it for people to simply share that content? Or is there something else?”

“Yes, the optimal scenario for you, would be for other people (profiles, pages, communities) to share that content. Your embedded links receive good PR from every share, but not only that….The more exposure your posts get, the more likely other people will not only share that post, but also other posts directly from your blog. Your citations (mentions) will also increase, both in G+ and external to it.

Having said all that, now I can quickly explain rest of the links in that post example: All of the tag mentions within that post (to profiles, or pages), as well as the embedded link and the original author’s post will share in the PR from that post. So in each one of these shared posts we can see that there is PR being passed around to just about everyone involved by way of it being a new page.”

How does an embedded link’s +1s on a post relate to the +1 on a website?

Let’s say you share a link from your website e.g. a page of a blog.

You drop the link into the ‘link section’ (dropping a single link into body of the Google+ post will do the same) and a thumbnail and text appear for that website page.

Firstly, check out this quick video to show how that Google+ post is linked to the original content on the website, where of course there is the social button (+1) added.


Let’s now say that people share that same Google+ post from your original one:

The plus ones on those posts are ‘their +1s’

They become the author (i.e. the authorship link becomes non-follow)

This enable the new sharer’s picture (if they have authorship) to appear, and even outrank you in Google Search!

Please note this: for an embed a link from your website, you get +1s accumulated on the web blog page from this activity. So when you go to your site, all of the +1s a blog post has accumulated will come from all of the posts from which it has been shared.

Setting up your website with the Google +1 button

With search engine optimization for your website you will, of course, need your website to be set up ‘correctly’ for the search engines to index your site properly.

Also, having the Google +1 button available on posts and pages so people can a) +1, but also b) share the content is extremely important.

As this article is focused on SEO and Google+, I will assume this is all already in place but here is information from Google on how to get it set up: Setting up your +1 button

What is the role of +1s in SEO?

This area is a hotbed of discussion and speculation!

I thought I would start to get to grips with it in this session with Joshua Berg…


From there, I asked Mark Traphagen of the value of the +1s in particular in the following exclusive Q&A sesson:

Question: On a Page/Website – the +1s add to social proof, sometimes with people’s name (which makes sense) but what about the +1s on:

1. A G+ post

2. A website with e.g.  existing ‘weight’ of +1s on an associated topic on other blogs pages

Is it only ‘shares’ that help with ranking in Search, or is it Shares, +1s and comments. If so, is the weight of a +1 on your post as the initiator (e.g. a embedded link from one’s own website) more than that on the reshared version of it – or does the weight of +1s on an onward shared post lead to increased chance of that person’s (now authored) share ranking? etc. etc.

Answer: “If anyone claims at all to “know” what the value of a+1 is, back away quickly and run for the nearest exit.

The thing is that being able to isolate down to that level (the level of the effect of one particular signal among the great many Google may be using) is next to impossible, especially given that we have no internal analytics for Google+ (yet). The only thing I’ve seen about a +1 that has carried any weight with me is that +1’ing a new web page can help get it indexed faster.

That being said, I doubt it has no effect at all. Google is busily aggregating and displaying those numbers. But I keep in mind the statement by Matt Cutts last year that they had removed the ability to +1 search results after testing showed it to be a “very weak signal.” In other words, just +1’ing something is too easy, and conveys no accurate information about why the user did it.

But…I suspect (and this is pure speculation) that +1’ing may figure into things like “freshness” and “hotness.” For certain kinds of queries, Google values, at least for a brief time, content that is getting a lot of rapid attention. So a sudden flurry of +1’s on a piece of content may get it to have ranking potential for a “hot” item, but whether that ranking will last is probably dependent upon it gaining enough of the more stable and meaningful signals, such as authoritative links.”

It seems likely that ‘shares’ are given the highest value given.

Recap: What then, is the big deal about sharing?

Sharing a post on Google+, or from a website’s +1 and share button, also enables several things to happen:

it spreads that content into a wider network i.e. the person’s who shared it

this could lead to further ‘onward shares’ from that person

And we can assume Google think sharing to be very important as well.

Afte rall, Google Ripples only show people’s shares, not the additional +1s or comment levels.

You can see this process in this brief video on ‘ripplerank’

Sharing also creates a psychological bond between the person from whom your shared, and in particular with the originator (assuming they are aware of this). 

When you know the system you can see that it extends even further as the new sharer picks up the ball and becomes the new author of that content – if they have Google authorship set up, their face could appear in Google Search next to that shared post – i.e. they almost co-author that search result where the originator’s post can even be outranked.

This new author can take your content into search for you. Now that is powerful!

The Power of Engagement on Google Plus for SEO

Since I joined Google Plus, it has been the whole concept of engagement which has me captivated.

Sharing is really a high level of engagement – not only do people like it themselves, they want to share that content with other people.

Why do certain people, certain posts and certain pages have higher engagement that others?


So, the 30 second version of Social SEO using Google Plus would be:

You engage with people, when they relate to your content they start to engage with you too.

The more you relate, the more your engage and the more your connect. This in turn builds strong bold between you and could well share authority within those networked ties.

This is why I consider that Social SEO is now as much about people and psychology as it is about understanding the system itself. When you get both, the mix really can change your view.

The role of Google Plus Psychology

So then, I believe that understanding Google Plus requires a multitude of perspectives. We need to appreciate the constraints and creative opporunities which can be applied within the structure of the Google+ system itself. Then we can consider the cultures and sub-cultures that emerge through the interplay of people with both the platform, other people and with the learning and engaging experience itself. Then we may like to to consider each individual as unique, with their own skills, their own desire, their own dreams, their own ability to capture and channel attention, and so on. All of this together leads to a complex internalised model of ‘how Google+ works’ and each model will be different to the next. This then is where Google Plus psychology can help as it considers principle.

The main principles seem to pivot around the concepts of relating, engaging and connecting. Through the mechanism of sharing – sharing content, sharing experiences in hangouts, sharing circles etc – we are able to strengthen the felt experience of connection.

It is also true that without the mechanism of sharing content, the information within the network simply cannot flow. ‘Social’ enables people to extend their reach of influence. And just as I said above, through sharing people’s content that content may well appear in search as being authored by the new sharer as their authority takes that content to a wider audience.

Here is a video that will introduce you to the idea of sharing within a network a little more on how to apply the psychology of sharing on Google+


Also, if you would like increase engagement yourself, then this next video will provide you with some great tips. It is through engagement on a regular basis that often leads to people connecting and for more natural, obvious, organic sharing to simple occur.

Please note: 1) I would suggest for search engine optimization that you use a good, keyword focused, heading on a post  and 2) the example here is for maximizing engagement within the platform and does not use the example of an embedded link – I would suggest using a mix of both, dependant upon the outcome of any particular post and fitting into your overall strategy.

Check out this video on how to dramatically increase engagement on Google+

Also, it is very important for me to stress that building quality relationships on Google Plus is at the heart of it all.

Bringing people together with circles

Building circles on Google Plus can really make a difference the level of engagement on your own content. Circles bring people together both figuratively and literally, especially when you share them.

Check out this video with some processes that will help you connect further with people to whom you relate as well.


When you next apply ‘Permission Marketing’, or ‘CircleCentric Marketing’ as it has become, you can ask people would they ‘like to receive notifications for certain content’. Building such ‘opt in lists’ will then enable you to e.g. notify/email people within the circle and it be very likely to be warmly received. This in turn, I have found, considerably increases engagement i.e. +1s, comments and shares.

More on how you can do the same in an article HERE.

Over time on Google Plus connections build and people start to work in formal or informal teams. I know people may have been wondering why I’ve been talking about commoogling for the last 8 months, well this is it. Within the Google+ community (hence ‘commoogling’) when people come together, relating, engaging, connecting and sharing content they are really make a difference to what information people will receive, including in Google Search. I really must stress this point – people not only influence what content is shared into their network, but also are ‘voting’ for that content to appear in Google Search at the various levels we discussed earlier. ‘We’, you and I, are influencing through our time on Google+ increasingly what other people, not even directly connected to us or even active, will see in Google Search.

For those interested in going further into this area, here is an article on Google Plus and creating teams and here is an article on how people embracing the Google tools for collaboration can make the world of difference as well.


The connections people make are the foundation of social SEO – we are the ‘social bit’ and the results are purely expressed as evidence in Google Search. So, ‘who’ you spend you time with really matters.

Here is an article on How to Build Your Personalized Global Network with Google Plus with a load of tips.

Once you start to connect, you will naturally start building your authority…

How to build authority using Google Plus

Mark Traphagen is an authority on ‘Google authorship’, to name but one area.

But how can you become an authority in your own areas? Well, in this brief video, he will show you how.

Also, there is a great article here from Demian Farnworth on how to become an authority as well.

How can you ‘channel’ more Page Rank to your Google Plus Profile?

Next, I thought you may like to have a little more content from Joshua Berg on how we can channel and increase the flow of PageRank. He says the following:

“Incoming PageRank to your G+ profile can come from many different links throughout the web, social networks & Google. For the most part any follow links that are on public pages, or networks indexable by Google can pass PR. These can include the following:

1. Your authorship links throughout the web pointing to your profile

2. Links from any public social media networks that are follow & indexable. Note: Some social networks use nofollow links, others contain both follow & nofollow, so it depends on the type of links.

3. Links from other Google services, including YouTube, Blogger, etc.

4. Citations from other people (blogs, websites, etc) throughout the web, citing your profile, or your content.

5. Review sites, directory & statistic sites (ie. CircleCount, Klout), etc.

6. Citations (tags, or mentions) from other G+ posts, pages & communities, shares by other profiles, pages, of your content.

7. Links from within G+ Communities, such as content posted there, the new Links section edited by moderators.”

Then there’s channeling your earned PR to your business page, website, or particular content, depending on what your priorities are. Considering a good strategy can be key to maximizing efforts, as the focus, or techniques will not be the same for everyone.

1. A profile’s about section, under Links, is going to be the most important for channeling both PR and keyword relevant text, as it is one of the few places you can use a good key phrase relevant strategy.

Note that outbound ‘Contributor-to’ links & ‘Other profiles’ are nofollow.

2. All embedded links from your own posts to your own website, or targeted content. If the content is interesting and of a quality to others, then shares of those embedded content posts are going to be high value PR channels.

3. Posts to communities that include your content, but note that most moderators will be purging low quality content. So if targeting these areas it would be very important to have high quality posts, with community relevant content.

4. If your website, or blog has high value content, then other G+ users could well be posting high value embedded links to it from their profiles, pages & communities.

5. Regarding business pages, there are other ways they might be cited throughout G+, in either your personal posts, shares of your posts, or posts from other profiles & pages.

How does this relate to ‘Google Plus Pages’ specifically?

I asked Mark Traphagen some questions on this subject as I thought you may appreciate even more depth when it comes to Pages…

Question: If you have a Google+ Page and it is not linked to a website when you attach it to a website does it add value e.g. if has already got 10,000 +1s,  it comes to search engine optimization

Yes. Although we don’t know all the possible value Google attaches to this, a few of the things we do know:

1) Google will aggregate the +1’s that occur across the Page, the linked official site, and the number of members in any communities owned by the Page (in other words, each member of the community becomes a +1 for the page). This pumps up your displayed +1 number both on your Page and your site (if you display a Google+ Badge), and if its displayed with your brand in a Google Search Knowledge Graph result, which is a nice trust mark.

2) It is necessary to have an attached and verified site for a Page to qualify to generate a Knowledge Graph result in search.

(BTW, brand Pages that think they have gained a “sufficient following” — Google speak whatever the heck that means! — you can apply for verification here) 3) There may be some SEO benefit to a verified connection, but we can’t prove that. But I think it’s conceivable that Google either presently or at some point in the future would view an authoritative, well-engaged, brand page as a positive signal for ranking authority for the site to which it has a verified connection. I keep thinking there has to be some reason Google wants us to connect our pages and sites beyond just +1’s.

Question: can you transfer a Google+ Page linking to another website? Does it enable any value to be transferred with it? Would it have to be ‘of a similar nature’ in terms of keywords etc?

Answer: Yes, you can transfer. But if you had verified the connection with the former domain, you will lose verification and will have to apply again. But once you’ve made the two-way link with the new site, whatever +1’s each has should aggregate with the other.

Question: can you have multiple Google Plus Pages attached to a website? Can they be in totally different subject areas? Will this add value? Should the most ‘important one’ be linked to the home Page?

Answer: No, not in respect to the rel=”publisher” verified connection anyway. Google allows only one official site to have this relationship with a brand page and vice versa. But if you have micro sites, you might want to create and connect a brand page for each one.

Question: if you have a Page linked to a website but it is not active, does that detract? (i.e. would it be better not to have it)


Answer: I don’t know of any negative consequences; it just isn’t adding any value. And if there are SEO benefits as I speculated above, you’re certainly not getting any from an inactive page.

Question: I notice people are posting in the following way from Google+ Pages. Some posts have their ‘’ link in the top part of the post with a picture attached (that link is ‘no follow’ from what you’ve said) BUT they get a load of +1s on that post – does this add any ‘juice’ to their website (assuming the post is relevant), and when the post an embedded link they may only get one or two plus ones, how much juice does this give them? Are they doing the other just for the +1s on the embedded linked post?

Answer: There may indeed be some authority passed on by a no-followed link.

Here I’m relying on some general testing that’s gone on out in the SEO community, not specifically about G+ posts, but still relevant I think because it appears more and more clear that Google treats G+ profile and pages very much like “regular” web pages, and therefore G+ posts very much like regular blog posts from such pages.

There have been some pretty convincing demonstrations that in certain cases, even if a link is marked “NoFollow” Google may follow it and pass authority through it anyway, if their algorithm decides it has real value. In addition, there is growing speculation based on a certain amount of evidence (but admittedly hard to isolate and prove) that Google is utilizing what some call “co-citation.” Co-citation is the idea that Google can look at the context around a mention of a known brand (which could be a no-followed link or just a text mention of the name), and if the context of that mention has relevance, count it as an authority signal toward the brand’s site, even if there is no followed link. Whether that would apply to G+ posts I can’t say, but it’s an intriguing idea.

I would also move away from the idea of obsessing too much about the number of +1’s of comments on any individual post. Building the kind of search authority that Joshua and I have been talking about is much bigger picture than that. And with Joshua, I still think real links to your profiles and its posts from other authoritative sites, pages and profiles, are where the biggest bang is (including +mentions of your profile or page among those links).

Is there now a ‘social hat’ in town?

In the arena of traditional SEO  (and not exclusively) people often talk about ‘white hat’ and ‘black hat’ methods of getting a website up the search rankings (with varying degrees of cleanness).

The truth is, I still know next to nothing about this area. What I have discovered through using Google Plus is how there is a new hat in town – the ‘social hat’, or for those that want to take it even further the ‘party hat’.

All I know is that when a good of likeminded people get together, with a little direction and intent, things start to flow – and if those people have or become an authority on a topic, then Google Search seems to increasingly show the results of that activity. Over the coming months I hope to show the real power of SEO is actually ‘us’ – not just ‘you’ and not just ‘me’. It is us together that determines the results in Google Search. That is very exciting indeed.

Update: Podcast with Mark Traphagen about Social SEO, including Google Authorship

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Quotes and extra tips from Google Plus community members on the subject:

Jaana Nyström “Google+ has an extraordinary search engine in its own right. We usually haven’t used serious searches on FB or Twitter because – well. They just don’t work. On Google+ you can use hashtags, sentences or key words. Type the word, click on search and start narrowing the results. Search in Communities, look for knowledgeable people or pages, see if any Hangouts will help you with more information. Businesses can use #hashtags  and keywords on their profile’s “About” tabs to help people find them also in Google search. Have you tried searching anything on Google with the “Google+”? The “+” is ignored. Why? Perhaps because soon Google+ = Google. Integration.”

Thomas Morffew “My top tip for Google+ SEO? Be on Google+ and use it.

Just by being on Google+ and “using it properly” you’re already miles ahead of the competition. Fill out your profile page, build a business page, hook up “rel=author” and “rel=publisher”, create your own content, comment on and +1 other people’s content, join a community, manage your circles, connect with others via Hangouts. Develop a “Google+ Habit” and profit. Simple isn’t it?”

AJ Kohn “Make your Google+ posts readable to encourage engagement. Any stream based platform creates an auction on attention. So getting noticed is important. To do this, create a title for each post by using the * mark-up and select a great photo (with the right dimensions) to catch the user’s eye.”

David Amerland “In the semantic web clarity of associations and connections is the easiest way to gain visibility in search relevant to what you do. Google+ is by far the easiest way to achieve that clarity and provide a boost to SEO ranking.”

Rand Wilson “One of the biggest areas is Authorship.  Although there is no clear data that Authorship will currently help with SEO today, it has been shown that your authorship image in a search result can increase click through to your website.  So if for no other reason than that (and, there will be more reasons in the future) I think it’s important to add your Authorship tags to all of your websites.

Regardless of no-follow links in Google Plus posts, Page Rank of your Google Plus profile, etc, I think the biggest value and greatest power of Google Plus is in building an audience of interested potential website visitors.  Using Google Plus to keep those potential visitors engaged, entertained, and informed is the best way to drive traffic to your website and add value to those potential visitors.  Any other SEO benefits from Google Plus that may come in the future are just icing on the cake.”

Elaine Lindsay “Another valuable SEO benefit comes from Google’s integration of search and social based on your Google+ activity. Social SERP’s use ‘social signals’ including the quantity of tweets or +1 shares of content to display the ‘personalized’ results deemed as most relevant to your social connections. By putting out great content, including your keywords in your posts, and being consistent, you will organically add to your outreach (search engine optimization).

Alfredo Torres “The first sentence of your Google+ publications becomes part of the title tag. Choose your keywords carefully and always use bold font. Also this sentence will be the first thing most people see in your post.”

Don Sturgill “Only those who are concerned about ranking higher on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) should be concerned about Google+. More than just another social media platform, Google+ is “the next version of Google,” according to a Google Senior VP. It is designed to become the fabric that will unify Google’s mission of “organizing the world’s information” and Google’s other platforms (including Google Search) together seamlessly. Ignore Google+ if you wish, but you’ll miss out on a whole lot of groundbreaking fun and potentially huge lessons about the SERP if you do.”

Lyndon NA “G+ has many Direct and Indirect benefits. Increased CTRs in the SERPs from Authorship. The Knowledge Graph may show your Profile (personal or Brand).  Additional content in the SERPs from G+ posts. G+ Share/Link Posts and parts of G+ Profile pages have PR passing Links. Then there is Social Promotion, targeted traffic, increasing influence and reach, networking and reputation opportunities etc. All of that, and no mention of “AuthorRank” 😀

If G+ is not part of your SEO / SEM … you’re missing out!”

Terry Simmonds “It doesn’t matter how well you have Google Authorship set up if you’re not interesting, active and engaging on Google+”

Colin Walker “A consistent, integrated identity is key to continued SEO success as the web shifts from links and pages to relationships and people – Google+ provides that consistency and integration between search and social.”

Nishu Kakkar “We have had people suffering from identity crisis in personal lives. But with confirmed authorship at G+, one surely gets a face at work, helps you grow with the network of successful people. It’s like your online portfolio that is friendly with search engine.”

Joseph Ned “Google Plus offers the best kind of SEO: natural SEO through connecting people with specific passions that have a desire to share great content. It’s not just keywords and code anymore. It’s about content from a trusted source. When Mark Traphagen posts something about content marketing, I know its going to be valuable and I’m ready to share it before I even finish reading. Becoming a trusted source for any topic is difficult, but that is what search engines are ultimately deciding. Google Plus is the platform that gives you the best tools to make it happen.”


“We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.” – T. S. Eliot

This whole exploration of Google Plus from this perspective has been a real journey for me. My patient and knowledgeable guides, and brilliant mentors being Mark and Joshua, to name but two.

The truth is, nothing has changed for me about Google Plus – the central principles of engaging, relating and connecting are still as strong as ever; with the flow of posts through sharing is still the enabling force of flow through the Plus. Nothing has changed yet everything is different.

When you grasp the concept of Google Plus, a lightbulb will ‘ping’ and you will simply get it.

The world has changed; the online world is now has a Plus.

Full Transcript: ‘How Does Our Activity on Google+ Influence Search Engine Results?’ interview with Joshua Berg

MS: Hi. This Martin Shervington, and today we are here with Joshua Berg. And we are going to be looking at how our activity on Google+ might well relate to Search Engine Optimization and search results generally. So welcome Joshua.

JB: Hi. Thanks for having me.

MS: No, and thanks for making the time. Now I know there’s a lot of people that are going to watch this and enjoy it live, but also we are going to have it on YouTube and accessible for the future as well.

And what I want to do is, because we’ve got a wide range of skills and experience in this whole area, I’m going to start with the most dumb questions I can think of and little by little, over the next 40 minutes to 1 hour layer upon, hopefully my understanding, other peoples’ understanding that are watching. But it does require me to ask these dumb questions.

Before we kick off, would you like to introduce yourself?

JB: I am Joshua Berg. You can find me in any search on Google+. I wrote a popular series called PageRank in Google+. It’s only been a little over a month now since I started and wrote this series. I think there was a fair amount of some ground breaking observations and research involved in that.

I won’t take credit for all of that because I got into it and started doing a lot of research, and then a lot of other people started adding their ideas and comments and things within, as I was going along with the articles. So it all just kind of came together. And then I wrote it all out in these articles. So if you want to find out more about this and go a lot more in-depth, then there’s that series.

Right now there are parts 1-6 on PageRank in Google+.

Joshua’s Article series:

Pt 1: Is Google+ Page Rank the culprit behind the current

Pt 2: How PageRank in Google+ is Earned. G+ Link Myths

Pt 3: Why PR in G+ Matters To You & Your Connections

Pt 4: PR in G+ – PageRank is Still Guts of Google Search

Pt 5: PageRank, Link Juice & SEO for Google+ Communities

Pt 6: Balance Returns to PageRank. Avoid The Dark Side 

Update: HOA PageRank – Executive Summary video.


And that is basically how we got into the conversation of search optimization within Google+ and the power of Google+ to affect search, not just the search in Google+ but Google’s search itself. And it became very important. I realized how important it was and so that’s why I wrote that series.

What is Search Engine Optimization?

MS: Ok. So the first thing I want to have a look at is….what is Search Engine Optimization?

JB: All right. It is the concept that we would like our website within any of the search engines – Often we are referring to Google, but we could be referring to any of the search engines – to rank in a findable location within the search engine. So often we might think of it as we are trying to get into higher place or the top position. And that’s really what the goal is of that. But with optimization, usually you are not always going to get up there, but even onto the first page. Most people want a goal of trying to get onto the first page in any of their targeted search engines. So we call that Search Engine Optimization and then there are several levels of it.

There’s first, just making sure your site.

MS: Before we get the levels, I’m going to drill down on this bit. So Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the principle. Historically, looking primarily at a website, if that’s right, of how that website gets into search engines. And we are talking, as you just said, the first page, maybe the second page, maybe the third page. But if people go beyond that, if your site is beyond those first few pages, not a lot of people are going to find that information. So the idea of Search Engine Optimization is to make your website so attractive to the search engine that it appears in those first few pages. Just a quick recap.

JB: Oh, it’s even more than that. I mean the first page is going to receive 80% to 80-90% of all the traffic and then the first place may receive 70% of all the traffic of the first page, and thereon down.

MS: There are so many Search Engine Optimization or SEO companies that are out there that are paid a lot in order to help companies optimize their websites in order to achieve these search results.

So this is a big industry we are talking about here. But when we are talking about Google+, in relation to Google+ and the people that are watching, many of them know, you from Google+ and the work that you’ve done. I haven’t even done a proper intro. I am sorry. Do you want to explain how we ended up getting here?

Google Plus – the social layer

MS: Google Plus has a description, if we listen to Google – they have put a ‘social layer’ across Google’s products and services. This is what Vic Gundotra said to Guy Kawasaki at SXSW in 2012. Now when I heard this, Joshua, I went this sounds pretty cool. I don’t get it though. Because I saw Google+ very much as this sort of social destination, not the social destination AND this whole social layer.

So you and I have been talking around search engines, but it’s probably worthwhile us exploring just a little bit more how Google+ relates to search. And you mentioned those 4 levels. Shall we dive in there and explain what those 4 levels are when you are looking at a search engine in terms of the content that you get?

What we are looking at is so the first thing is that you can – if you have Search Plus Your World switched on (have I got this right?) then that’s the first level of content that you receive, which is very much people from within your circles and people who are connected to you. That’s the Search Plus Your World. Yes?

JB: Yes.

MS: And then the next level down is when you click out of that button, which is the little person. And this is only It’s not all around the world yet. I don’t know – it’s certainly not at the time that we speak. But the next level down is it’s not personalized. Yes? I’ll speak this bit –

JB: Yes. It’s not personalized, but it is localized.

MS: So it’s annexed from your cache, isn’t it? It still means that your cache is involved in the content that is being delivered.

JB: Well that depends on your settings as well.

MS: Oh, that’s interesting. Ok.

JB: You can have settings that will change that as well.

MS: But it’s still local then?

JB: When people talk about being incognito, or whatever, they are not always are necessarily seeing what everyone else is seeing because there’s the localization.

MS: Ok. Well, you’ve just got onto the 3rd one. So we’ve got the first one which is Search Plus Your World, which is very much personalized. The next one is you log out of Search Plus Your World, or you don’t log out. You just click across to not Search Plus Your World which is the little globe button next to the little person button on, if you have a Google+ account. And then the 3rd level down is when you open up the incognito window that you mentioned there. So what happens then? What’s the difference there?

JB: So then you are seeing searches from your location that Google feels are important from the location that you are at, and you will be seeing those searches but they are not specialized to what your specific Google search account. But, for example, you are in the UK you are going to see a lot of results related to UK websites and other content. Whereas if you are in the States or in a different place you are going to see a lot of local content. So Google can see that from the servers that you are accessing the internet from.

MS: Ok. So that’s great. So that’s the 3rd one down. So the first one was Search Plus Your World, personalized settings. The second one you log out of that and you just have the settings as they appear in gap local. Third one, incognito window but still a little bit of a trace of where you are. And the 4th one you introduced to me too is?

JB: Ok. Proxies. We use P-R-O-X-Y, if you want to research that more. Proxy Server.

So you can find these proxy servers on the internet and they’re a server that you can search through for different areas. You can find a proxy server, say if you are in the UK and you want to see what kind of results people are seeing over in Houston, then you can use find a Houston proxy server, and use that to look in at Google, and then type in and see what kind of results they are going to get there. And they are going to be very different.

So you can use a couple of different servers and often will use a server for a target audience or area that we are more specifically interested in. So those proxies now, and before anyone jumps in to them too much, they are getting any information that you put in. So I use proxies like that for search, but I wouldn’t use them to access important personal information. Just so you know that. Because that can be a security problem. If you go searching the internet for random proxy servers.

MS: Ok.

JB: As far as doing searches, those are great for that and you can get – you are going to see different results all over the place. That you can get a lot more general idea of the average searches, what people are finding. It’ll match up much better with your numbers on, say, Webmaster Tools.

MS: Ok. Great. We’ll come on to that after. So we’ve got the starting point is that either your website or we are starting to now look at your activity within Google+. When it appears, for the sake of this, we can say 2 things. Either it’s personalized, or it’s not personalized. For this particular hangout. Let’s run with it that way, because the personalized. This is where we start looking at Google+. So the personalized results – what is going to determine the content that you see in Search, when you look at the personalized?

JB: The people that you are connected to, and then more so especially the people who you have +1, or you know, liked their content. Those people, those results are going to come up higher in your searches.

And so if you are connected with a lot of people, you know thousands of people, and they are more your target audience for whatever it is that you are interested in marketing, then that can be tremendously affective and important. Whereas for someone that their target audience is not necessarily any of the people they connect with in Google+, then the Search Plus Your World may not be so effective.

MS: Let’s go into that. So why – let’s explain the process. Let’s go into that a bit. Why is that? So who you connect with, who you +1, the likelihood of that, because you are connected with them and maybe shared their content and things, that they come up in Search.

So how does that, when we are look at marketing. Because when you look for something then they come up. So therefore if people are +1’ing your stuff and re-sharing your stuff, you are more likely to be coming up for them, in their search. Is that the right phrase? I told you there’d be some dumb questions, but I just wanted to make sure.

JB: Yes. Whomever it is that has +1’d your content, those individuals are going to see your content appearing higher in their searches. And especially whichever content they have already +1’d.

But not just that. It’s not just going to be in Search only, but you’ll notice it even in the news. You are going to see people that you are connect with, if you are watching. If you are looking at the Google News Channel people that you are connected with in Google+ or have read more of their articles and content. You are going to see those appear higher as well. So it does have a fairly broad spectrum effect.

And so because those people – more people are clicking on that content, so that can also improve your search in a secondary way, by the click through rate. We call that (CTR). That means more people recognize you so they click through on your content and that also helps your numbers to increase and raise.

Google authorship

MS: Let’s go back to the foundations just a second, because in order for an individuals’ image to come up in Google Search, that person needs to have authorship for that particular content.

So in order to have authorship they need to have a picture (especially a head shot), recognizable of themselves on their Google+ profile and have themselves tagged in that. And you can tell if you’ve been tagged. Just to find out. If you hover over your cover image when you’ve clicked it, the little image, when you click in, you hover over it, it will say tagged and will have a surround on it. If that has happened, then you have authorship set up within your Google profile itself that will allow (it doesn’t mean it’s going to happen), but it means you are then able for your image to come up in search alongside content that you author. Is that right?

JB: Yes. That’s correct. And the face also is important that the picture meets the requirements, because Google+ does use a recognition system. That if you are going to put up a cartoon face, or something like that, then chances are it will not appear very much. Because it’s required to use a correct picture of your face and then it needs to meet some basic size dimensions etc.

MS: Yes. So this now takes us. So what this means is when you are in Google+ itself and you are sharing your posts, each one of those posts (and I know that there’s a lot for you to say on this), but each one of those posts is essentially a micro-blog. And you are authoring a micro-blog every time you send a post out. Yes?

JB: That’s one of your posts is like a page.

MS: A page, right. Ok. So that’s about it. So each one is a page.

JB: If we were to compare it with websites, for example.

MS: Well that’s great. So each one is a page. Now let’s now click in to comparison to a website page and those that then appear in search are called SERPs. Search Engine Result pages. Is that right?

JB: Yes.

MS: So the search.

JB: Also Search Engine Ranking Positions.

MS: Oh, is it? I didn’t even get that right. See. This is why you are here. Search Engine Ranking Positions.

JB: Yes.

MS: Right. This is good. The website page, and because each one of these micro-blogs is a page, essentially. It’s got its own URL, and if you have authorship connected on your Google+ profile and if you have authorship set up on your website (which I’ve covered on – there’ll be a link that we’ll come up to, or will take you to an article on that from Mark Traphagen that we did). If you compare, essentially they start to behave in a similar way when it comes to – is this right? – when it comes to personalized search? Or is that the wrong way round?

JB: The website?

MS: Authorship.

JB: Or the page that is connected to your authorship, then yes. Effectively, or when it is done correctly and all of the requirements have been met, then your Google+ profile will appear in search, in Google search, next to your website or whatever content you connected that to. There are some cases where it may not appear next to it, and the details of that is another conversation as far as when the authorship is working or isn’t.

MS: Yes.

JB: But yes. When it is set up right, then that has important ramifications in search, and just by having a face or they are in the search, it’s supposed to increase the CTR.

MS: That’s the bit.

JB: If sent or something like that. So that’s an improvement right there. But then we have a whole other set of factors that we can get from Google+ and that’s PageRank.

MS:  So if you have your authorship set up, essentially you are authoring each of the posts which is like a page. The same if you have your website set up with authorship and it’s linked back to your Google+ profile and you have the image and that’s all part of it. Then that content can appear with your little image in search at personalized settings. It’s going to be potentially if people have connected to you, that content is going to come up for them when they have the personalized settings switched on. If they log out of the personalized settings, then that content can still appear as authored content because it’s the most relevant content that’s been given to those people, even if it’s not personalized settings. Is that right?

JB: Yes. It’s all correct.

MS: In essence, it means that the activity that you do on Google+ when it comes to this idea of SEO or Search Engine Optimization, you will find that the results that you are getting you are naturally doing this thing called SEO or Search Engine Optimization. By simply posting, there is the opportunity of it appearing in search directly. Yes?

JB: Yes.

Google Plus connections

MS: Ok. So now the next level down is let’s have a look at – let’s look at the people side of this, and you talked about connections and who you are connected to. What makes a connection on Google+?

JB: Ok. When you Circle another person for profiles. Profile is a person on Google+. When you Circle them, then you click the button that says Add to your circle. You put them in one of your circles. Then that means you are going to start seeing their content. You have a one-way connection.

That person will also be notified that you have circled them. They can choose to circle you back. So if they do circle you back, then you are both connected to each other through that profile, but if they don’t circle you back then only you will receive their content in your stream. But they are not going to be seeing your content unless it’s in something. You know, hot post or within a community etc. There are other ways that they might see.

MS: Now this was a bit of a realization for me, because we are talking about Google+ and we are talking about posts and we are talking about the streams. Of things flowing through the streams, and that’s very much the social media side of it.

However, if you look at this from a search perspective, if we are connected in that way. I have you in Circles and you have me in Circles, when you go to search or when I go to search, because I’ve connected to you because I’ve Circled you and most Circle me back, what you – let’s do it this way. I’ve Circled you, therefore I go to search – Google Search – and my search results are potentially going to be influenced by that fact that I’ve Circled you. Is that right?

JB: Yes.

MS: This is the amazing thing. And this is what, because we’ve been talking about streams of content and I’ve been talking about this as well. It’s like you manage the stream, but actually the act of having a person in the Circle influences what you get in search.

JB: Yes. In Search Plus Your World, that is correct.

MS: In Search Plus Your World.

JB: Yes.

MS: So it’s an in-twisting side from the Search Engine Optimization point of view because we are talking about, or rather from a ranking point of view because if you are connected. If people have Circled you back, you are influencing the search results in Search Plus Your World.

JB: Yes. That is correct

MS: Amazing.

JB: And how much you’re influencing them depends on how much your profile has influence.

Google and PageRank

MS: Well this is the perfect lead in. So now we’ve got this idea of connects. So we’ve got the connections. So if we are not connected, it doesn’t influence in Search Plus Your World. Now you mentioned PageRank. What is PageRank, and let’s begin exploring this one.

JB: Ok. PageRank is basically it was the algorithm that Google was built on, and there’s something else we call the PR Toolbar, which is a number 1 through 10. And that shows a representation of that PageRank. But more importantly when we talk about PageRank we are talking about the overall algorithm which the entire Google+ system was originally built on and it is foundational to the search results structure.

So Larry Page and PageRank is often confused with being a rank of the page. But PageRank was actually named after Larry Page in Stanford University. He chose to do this project for his dissertation, and he came up with this thing called PageRank. And it was a principle of citation where someone suggests this link is an important link, and then another person says this is an important link. And you get a few people say this is an important link, and then it increases the importance of that link.

MS: And when you say the link, we are actually now talking about, for instance, a web page. Somewhere that people are pointing to. They are citing that page as being important.

JB: Yes. And this was still fairly early stages of the web, comparatively. But the web was still all connected by a hyperlinks and hyperlinks are also referred to as backlinks. Backlink would be a link from someone else’s content to your content. So Larry Page started on this project, and Sergey Brin joined him on it. And they put together this algorithm at Stanford. This became the basis of a system that they built, and later they patented and called it – and started the company called Google Inc.

MS: Ok.

JB: The start of that was the PageRank system. So the PageRank system is a principle built on citation and that citation within the digital structure of the internet is represented by a link with some content pointing to something. And they determined that if someone links to something, it means they like or find something importance with that. And so if a lot of people link to something, then its importance goes up, so it may have an importance of 6 or 7, if many, many people link.

Then if that link on that webpage links to another piece of content and says it thinks this piece of content is very important, then that page may immediately get a rank of 5 because the high rank becomes a very important influence factor.

MS: Ok.

JB: So it can get lots of – and then we start talking about the PR Toolbar, and there’s PR1, and it goes up through PR10. And so a PR1 is the first level of what we would call PageRank 1. The representation of PageRank 1. And to get there, you do not need a little more than a handful of backlinks. Less than 50. But then to get to the next one, you need a lot more, and then each level you go up it goes over many times over. Several fold over.

MS: So is it an exponential growth between that 1 to 7?

JB: Yes. So some people think oh, well I’ve got a PR2. How soon can I get a PR3 or I have a PR4. Well the difference is very big and you may include on this a link to a PR map. You can see that structure that has PR1 = how many links of, and for a website to get a PR1 how many links of a PR1 do you need. And then for a website to get a PR5, how many links of a 4, 3, 2 or a 1.

MS: From a traditional Search Engine Optimization point of view people often wanted more backlinks, more of these links, pointing at their sites because it would improve the importance in that part, that aspect, of the algorithm. Google is then deciding where to put them in the search engine results. Is that roughly right?

JB: Yes.

MS: So there was quite a lot going on.

JB: In the beginning it worked very well. But some years later, people started to really yearn after getting more of those backlinks, and then they started all these games. Buying backlinks. Paying for backlinks. There’s different software that’s written that would just spam thousands and tens of thousands of forms, putting backlinks out there automatically with a piece of software. And so it created a pile of garbage links, that really affected the structure of PR, and started to make it kind of a joke.

MS: Yes. And it’s only one aspect of what the ultimate algorithm sees anyway. There’s lots of other factors. It’s looking at the page in totality and so on. I mean, without going into the

JB: Then it became important to have the clean-up factors. And that’s one thing that Google has done very well over the last couple of years. They introduced Panda, Penguin, and those were a series of updates, not just a single update. But Panda, and then they have updates to those algorithms coming out all the time. And what those did was they started to target all of these – they called them link farms in different areas that had a lot of irrelevant content. Junk content.

MS: Because that was gaming the system in a way, which it wasn’t –

JB: It was really gaming the systems

MS: -it wasn’t necessarily the content.

JB: The links that were being bought.

MS: Yes.

JB: Etc. So these algorithms really targeted those, especially Panda, to eliminate and those would bring the rank down. So if you are found to be using. And then we’ve got bad neighborhoods. So they are called bad neighborhoods or areas if you were all over the place in these, they had link circles and whole websites. Many websites. It just became so common that there was almost no way you could get a good rank if you weren’t interlinked with many of these link farms. They were just links.

MS: So this is the dirty end of SEO that we are talking about here. Which is why. Let’s just call it that.

JB: And there was a couple of years ago, but now all of those sites just  – they went downhill, and so then the PageRank got purified much more and became much, much better. And then the next higher level after that was when Google came out with authorship. So with authorship we have Google+ and then it’s not just a link but it’s actually a link from identifiable people. So those became so much more important because they are links from identifiable people.

MS: And this is what we can see.

JB: They became a lot more difficult to game and this is what we are now seeing within Google+ and why Google+ is so important to the PageRank system. The nowadays PageRank system in 2013, because Google+ has all these authors, verifiable authors, and content. Not just authorship but websites, pages. Pages are connected to websites in another way, as a publisher. A business.

MS: So we have authors. We are an author if we have our authorship set up on Google+. And what you’ve found is that there is PageRank for profiles, there’s PageRank for communities, and there’s PageRank for Google+ pages as well.

Google Plus and PageRank – the history

So the principle that’s been applied to websites, historically, you also found out that you could apply a similar principle using a similar tool to test to profiles, communities and pages. That’s a great description.

JB: I didn’t solely find that out myself. In the beginning, you could see PageRank in Google+. It was available for everyone to see. You could see that there was a PageRank on different profiles, pages and whatever, and of course it was the early stages. So there wasn’t that much PR between the pages because it takes a considerable time to update.

MS: And this isn’t 2011. Is that right? That was in 2011.

JB: Yes.

MS: Yes.

JB: So right from the beginning. But in 2012, about a year ago, everyone said it looks like the PageRank has disappeared. And it was assumed that the PageRank was taken out of Google+ because of the fears of the system gaming, targeted for spam too much.

MS: Ok.

JB: However it was not exactly gone. It was just difficult to find. Difficult to see, because they had changed the URL structure. The URL is what we see at the top when you type in  HYPERLINK “” or someone’s profile. That’s called the URL.

MS: It’s the numbers, isn’t it, on the profile that people can see.

JB: The numbers are what showed the PageRank.

MS: Yes.

JB: So some people. Not very many at this point, but people who were early adopters of Google+ and were also popular and got verified accounts. And they may have a name plus and their name in that URL. But for the most part, those are not showing PageRank.

MS: Right. I’m just going to dive in on that, so we are tight. So if you click on somebody’s name and it goes to their profile on Google+, then you will see the URL and it’s got this 21 digit number. It’s that number that makes it a unique. That’s your profile number essentially.

JB: Yes.

MS: But if you hover over a name, if somebody hasn’t got – if it’s actually like + the name after Google, which some people have a verified profile. If you hover over the name and you select Link, then that will actually still have the code in it. So everyone’s still got this code. This 21 digit code that’s there. So people can see – it still applies.

JB: That’s why Google calls those names Vanity URLs, because that is what they are. They are vanity. They are not the route URL, and if this is where I should explain. They are not the canonical URL, which is the route URL for each profile.

So each profile has the route URL and that is just a + and the Google and the number together. So from those we are able to see the PageRank. And now there are a few people, some of different profiles that we can actually see PageRank appearing on the PR toolbars more frequently, even with the different URL structures, and recently that has become more common.

And I believe possibly after the next PR update that we are going to see a lot more of that to where it’ll be really easy to see everyone’s PageRank immediately.

MS: Ok. So I’ve got my links here.

JB: Maybe we should mention here how people are seeing or not seeing this PR because there’s a PR toolbar but in order to see it you must have either a plugin for your web browser. If you are using Firefox, you would need an extension that shows the PR toolbar. Or if you are using Chrome, you would need an associated extension for that. Otherwise there are websites and Martin will include a link there where you can go to and look up those numbers.

MS: Yes. Right. So let’s go into Google+. If you’ve got this idea that profiles, that communities. We are not going to go into the communities too much, and pages as well. If they’ve all got this idea of PageRank, and it’s between 1 and 7 let’s say. What does that mean when it comes to search?

JB: The higher the PageRank, the more likely that site, that profile, will appear where their content will appear higher in search. That’s in Google search. Their posts. Their content will appear much higher.  So here I’ll mention.

MS: This is dependent upon many other factors, I should probably point out.

JB: Dependent on a number of – quite a number of other factors. And traditionally within websites, webpages, there are many different factors that must be considered.

PageRank is a very important and strong factor all along, but there was many other factors to be considered. However when we have an environment like Google+ where the entire structure of it is identical. All profiles, pages are identical in the technical structure. The coating. The speed. The servers. All these factors that do have an effect in search. Then it makes PageRanks stand out as a far more important factor as far as any content written from Google+ and posts within Google+.

Those posts all rank within Google search, so their ranking gets much better, depending on PageRank and it becomes so much more important because, all things being equal, that you have within Google+.

MS: Ok. I think that’s a key thing, isn’t it? It is because it’s within this same structure within this platform.

Scenario A – a Google Plus post without and embedded link

Let’s say  I initiate or create a post. Yes? And I send it out. And on that post, scenario A, is that I have an image and I’ve dropped the image. And I have a link to my website above which is in the body text at the top.

And I have a heading on it. And maybe I mention somebody’s name and I send that out. So this is going to be the first scenario that we are going to work with. So like heading, plus person’s name, my website and then the

JB: Image.

MS: The image. So let’s talk about that to start with. What does that mean from my point of view. Let’s say nobody shares it to start with. Let’s begin with that. And nobody even +1s it. So I just send this particular thing out. What does that mean in relation to search?

JB: How it appears in search will then depend very much upon your profiles already accumulated PR. PageRank. So if you have a high PageRank already, because in the past people have always shared or frequently shared your content or mentioned your name, which is a kind of citation within Google+, or other websites linking to your profile. They have all made your profile within Google+ be very high. Have a high PR. So like a 4 or a 5. Then whatever you’ve put out it doesn’t matter if nobody comments on it or says anything on it. It will appear very high and outrank many other peoples’ content.

MS: Perfect. Right. So that’s great. I love it. So let’s now say – let’s take it up a level. Let’s say exactly the same post but it gets a bit of interaction, and it gets a few +1s and let’s say that you share it, yes? And it goes into your network. What does this mean in terms of authorship? Let’s say, because I authored it originally, and then it goes to you.

JB: Ok. Whomever shared it, they become the new author of their post that they have shared. So then their own PageRank becomes the important factor. So this is why people with high PageRank profile – popular profiles from users who. They’ve had a lot of people sharing and plussing them and giving them mentions and citations throughout the internet for a long time. When they share somebody else’s content, they will – without fail – outrank those individuals for their own content. If they –

MS: – and when you say outrank, you are talking about rank.

JB: Their own rank. PR

MS: Yes. So when you say outrank, you are talking about rank in search as well, yes?

JB: Yes.

MS: So let me just recap, because then we are starting to get into the nitty-gritty bit now. So I shared the post. Sorry, I’ve initiated, I’ve created the post and send it out. You share it. If you have a higher PageRank than I do, you take up authorship of that post at that point and you can appear in search, in Google Search, with your image (if you have authorship set up) as if you’ve authored that original post.

JB: Yes.

MS: That’s right? Right. Let’s go for another one.

JB: And also, if I’ve written something. Added a little something as well

MS: That’s the next bit.

JB: And especially if I’ve included some important keywords. So I found someone’s content. Maybe they are new. They have a PR1 in Google+. And then I found their content and I have a high PageRank, then if I share their content. You know, I write a few words, and I include a few keywords when I write that. Then that content will appear high for those keywords as though it were my content.

MS: Right. I’m going to pause you there, because there’s so much that I want to get into now. Now we are really rolling.

So I said that I shared the post. Let’s look at first, I shared it with the image in it, and I put the URL at the top. Is that URL (and it’s my website address) of use? Or not? And I know we are going to get into this follow/non-follow link stuff. So if you could explain what all that’s about.

JB: Ok. Those – the URLs – that appear within a Google+ post are no follow. All of the URLs that are to external websites within a Google+ post are no follow. No follow means that Google search does not index the content from those no follow links as though they were important towards PageRank. Those are not given a citation. In most cases or as far as most cases are concerned.

MS: What does that

JB: They are not posts have embedded links.

MS: Oh, no. Don’t do that one yet. Not yet. Don’t go there yet. Let’s stick with this one. What does it mean then? So if I put that link in. Obviously people can click it and they can go to my website from there, and it’s obviously just a hyperlink. But it doesn’t transfer any value to the site? Is that the way it goes with that? What does it mean that it’s a non-follow?

JB: According to Google, it is not supposed to transfer PageRank. It is not supposed to give PR to those websites. In other words Google+s spider that’s indexing content are however they chose to index their content, is not supposed to continue following that link through. That’s why it’s called a no follow as though it was giving authority to those links.

MS: This is the key bit.

JB: So when we have follow links, follow links are links that are passing PR. So the whole follow/no follow concept came about a couple of years ago, and that became important because of all the gaming that was going on within the internet at large. And that started long before Google+.

MS: Let me dive in, because this is the nitty-gritty now. We are in it. So I’ve got a PR – whatever that might be – and I’ve shared this post, and I’ve got a website. And what we are saying is that my PR that I’ve built up within Google+ by having that link there, which is in the body text, which is just in – it says the www. It’s nowhere else. That doesn’t transfer from my PR to that website. Correct?

JB: By sharing it within a post.

MS: Within a post. So it doesn’t, yes?

JB: Correct.

MS: That’s correct. Right. Now the next thing, before we get to the embedded links which I know you are ready to go. But if I plus a person’s name in the top of the post and I say hey I know that euro maestro will love this because he is the expert in this area and then I send it. How does that – does that transfer? Is that a follow link in the top of the post?

JB: Yes. All internal links to Google+, and we also call them tags, all of the tags or mentions within Google+ are all Follow. So when you tag someone, you are going to get a personal profile or their business page. Those are all follow links and those act as a kind of citation that can transfer PR to whomever they are given to.

MS: Ok. And we are talking small amounts of PR aren’t we? These are very small amounts. But they all, I guess, add up. But the idea is that…

JB: They can be very big if someone with a high PR mentions you. For example if someone has a PR5 or a PR6, and they mention your name, then that’s going to be actually several – in the order of several thousand times more powerful than people with 1 or 0 PR.

MS: Right. Fantastic.

JB: So that becomes very important, and people with just a little PR will only transfer a small amount.

MS: Yes. Ok. That’s great. So let’s now say – still on the same post. Scenario A where we +1 person’s name. Let’s say we now +10 people’s names. And let’s say this is from somebody with a high PR. How does that work? Is it shared out between the people?

JB: Yes. Divided. Within that post, that post we could call that like 1 website page and it is divided that the PR will be divided between everyone within that particular post.

MS: Ok.

JB: So, you know, if it’s got 10 or 20 people in it, and there’s not a lot of PR passing. And it’s also depends on how high it appears within that post.

MS: Within the actual physical area. So I’m assuming.

JB: Yes, if you have more than 1 person, if you have number of tags then the higher up ones are going to receive more PR than the lower ones. So links have always been like that within the websites so we are just applying well known PageRank principles, which is what I have done with a lot of my research and observations. Is to take well known PageRank principles and then apply them to understand how the structure works.

So the hierarchical structure, where the highest links are going to receive – on the page – more. And then it’s going to be divided between the links on the page.

MS: Ok. Fantastic. So let’s do one more on that same scenario. It wouldn’t matter re this scenario. Let’s say that you share that and you give me a little h/t because a hap tip because. Well, no. Let’s take it another way. Normally, you’d say thanks to me. Let’s just say. You say thanks. That essentially gives a little bit of PR back then to me.

JB: Yes it does.

MS: By doing that.

JB: Because if I write a post and then you thank – well this is really neat, and then you share that post. Then when you share it my name tagged within that post becomes no follow. So you become the author and my tag becomes no follow.

So I’m not actually receiving PageRank there. However, if you said h/t Joshua Berg and it’s near the top, then you are giving back considerable PageRank and to that person. So whomever you mention, then you are giving them PageRank. So it’s traditionally been a nice thing to do and a polite thing to do. But in reality, you are actually giving something important back to those people.

MS: And this, when we talked about this the other day.

JB: More people are going to want to see that happening.

MS: Yes. We should really research this other day when we were chatting about it and we just went it’s genius. And we didn’t know if it’s intended in that way, but it’s kind of like that’s a really lovely reciprocation.

JB: It is, because if we go back to Stanford before Google Inc and the principle of PageRank was citation. You don’t mention someone’s name unless you want to give them some kind of authority. When you say someone’s name, then it gives authority to that person and that is the principle of PageRank.

So a lot of people have explored different aspects of different types of links within the Google structure, and that’s another story there because there are different types of links and I have generally tried to bring it back to the principles of PageRank and what it was designed for. So you’ve got the Google+ structure and anything that’s automated by that Google+ structure, such as the appearance of faces on a page, have in Circles, your Circles, and the different people that you’ve Circled. That’s all a part of the Google+ structure.

So even though some of those – they are a type of link. Many of them may not or are most likely not passing. It wouldn’t seem reasonable to assume that every kind of link you see on a page is actually passing PageRank. So what Google has in mind and what the PageRank system is designed for is based on citation.

So you are specifically saying someone’s name. And when you mention someone’s name, you are also giving some of your reputation and authority in that. And that’s where we go back to the whole question of if you Circle someone or don’t Circle someone, does that pass PageRank? Does getting lots of people in your PageRank?

MS: So we are still on Scenario A. So let’s say that I share it. I get no +1s on my post. And I get 1 share, and it’s you. It goes into your network and everybody loves it. And you get a load of +1s and you get a load of shares on that. What does that actually mean – what do the +1s mean? Ok. What do the +1s mean? What do the shares mean?

And then, let’s say there’s loads of comments and people are saying your name – +Joshua Berg – and people may even be saying my name. Oh this is a nice article by Martin Sherrington. It’s all within your profile essentially, because you shared it. What does that lot mean?

JB: Ok. There are a couple of different factors there. There are mentions and comments, and when you look at the hierarchical structure of PageRank distribution from a page or a profile, then you got to realize that comments appear very low down on that page. So there are certain things we do not know specifically about PageRank. Exactly how much within Google+, exactly how much PR is given, that you can count in numbers, like we can from certain types of websites.

So exactly how much PR is given from within a comment? However those appear low down in the pages and they would have some value as I mentioned, as a citation. They are all follow. All of the names you mention, they are follow. And some people ask, you know, what if I just keep mentioning myself in comments? But it doesn’t work like that because you don’t give yourself PageRank.

MS: Ok. Let’s me dive in there, Joshua, on this.

JB: Giving your PageRank away.

MS: So there’s a few things – oh, so you are giving your own PageRank away if you mention your own name.

JB: Back to yourself.

MS: Back to yourself.

JB: It’s redundant.

MS: Ok. So first there’s a few things there. The first idea is that you can actually give your PageRank away. That’s thing. So if you don’t get any PageRank back from people then you are going to be losing it.

JB: That is an important principle to understand and that I’m afraid most new people coming into Google+ are not understanding why they are not having good success with their search results. And I see mostly what they are doing is they are coming into Google+ and giving all their PageRank away.

MS: Because they keep on mentioning other peoples’ names, keeps on shouting out to them all the time. Is that why? And then they have

JB: Mostly by posting lots of content with embedded links to websites all over, and news articles all over. Some of the most boring, irrelevant content that you can imagine. And every one of those embedded links are a follow. And they are giving away good PageRank. And some people will post it, you know, in lots of communities and all over the place.

MS: You

JB: It’s not interacting. So you’ve got to be interacting with other people.

MS: So

JB: Getting citations back in order to be improving your PageRank.

MS: So that’s the key bit, and this is where the engagement comes from. So when people are +mentioning your name, you are getting the flow into your profile essentially of PageRank.

JB: Yes.

MS: And the more that person has a higher level of PageRank already, when they mention your name the more that they effectively are giving you.

JB: Yes.

MS: So keep with this scenario. I know we’ve got more to say.

JB: You know, the type of people you engage with and finding quality people, experts within your own field to engage with, are all very good and important factors also to consider because they are authorities in their field, in their subject. And they do transfer a lot of authority when they engage with you in Google+.

MS: So that is a key point. So who you are connecting with and what they are an authority in, let’s say. That potentially, a bit of it, can be transferred to you through the interactions that you have with them. So really good note that there.

JB: It matters in the way that if you just seek out all of the top people to connect with that have the highest PageRank, if you only want to communicate with everyone who’s a PR5. Chances are they are not going to be that interested in engaging with you within Google+ if you are not in some way relatable to them.

MS: And that’s the whole process.

JB: Personally,

MS: The relationship that’s there.

JB: Personally or within that field. You know, your field of expertise. And it very much comes back to natural networking that you see in real life. It’s not what you know, who you know, and just knowing a few really important key people can be so much more important than knowing thousands of people that are not in a position of significance and importance to your particular area of expertise. That you are seeking authority in.

MS: Perfect. Right. So we are almost there. We are almost ready for the next bit. But just to recap, so we are still in Scenario A. The post had been shared. I didn’t get any interaction on it. You got a lot of interaction on it.

Now we are talking about the + mentions, so that gives you flow, if the + mention Joshua Berg. It would give me a bit if the mentioning +Martin Sherrington there. If you’ve hat-tipped me or said thank you to me, that gives me a little bit back. But what about the +1s? And what about the shares?

JB: Ok. When people share your content, then by getting more people to share your content then it can give PageRank back and if you are only sharing everyone else’s content and never getting any of your own things shared, then you are only going to be giving away PageRank.

Now how much is shared within that share? How much PR is given within that share depends on another factor as to how that post was structured. If I write a post and I’ve written certain things into that post a certain way, whereas I’ve either included references to certain pages that I think you should be interested in. Look, I’ve found this car page to this website, and different mentions on these things and somebody else shares that, then it does give PageRank back. Every one of the tags within the post are all follow. So it depends. It can depend very much on, and then if they are an embedded link, that also.

MS: Right. Just before you get there. So stick with the – I didn’t understand that bit. So if there are links within the post that are referring to Wikipedia, or somebody’s website and that is being shared onwards, but I initiate. I structured it that way, that gives PageRank potentially back to the person that wrote it that way? Is that what you are saying?

JB: No. The external links do not give PageRank back.

MS: Ok.

JB: If I have a business page that I want to-

MS: Oh, so within Google+-

JB: That I want to get referred to-

MS: Right.

JB: Then I may include references to my business page within that post.

MS: Within Google+.

JB: Whomever shares it, not only when you share it but whomever shares it from you, and on and on. The chain reaction. All of those can be citations back. So it really depends on the structure of that original post as well.

MS: But citations back to you as the profile? Or to your page because that link is moving on?

JB: Depending on what I put in that page.

MS: Ok.

JB: If I put different businesses or content that I thought was important, that’s not external links, then those can pass PageRank.

MS: Ok.

JB: As far as whether just your natural share without any citations can give PageRank back, then we can assume that it would give some, but there’s not necessarily a clear mechanism for whether or not or how much that does give.

MS: But what sharing does.

JB: But what we can ensure is depending on how we have structured that original post as far as what it gives back or doesn’t. And then plusses. That’s the next story.

MS: That’s the next story, but just before we get to the next one (which we are almost there). So the shares really are a way of spreading that content beyond your network, beyond somebody else’s network and so on. And that means that the new author takes up on each upon those shares and based upon their PageRank. Let’s say and all of the other factors  that will determine then what gets seen in search.

JB: Yes.

MS: So –

JB: If that’s something important from your website that’s embedded or from some important content that you have, and it’s structured with follow content then everyone who shares that content is giving PageRank back to it.

MS: Well let’s go to that one next. Let’s go Scenario B, yes? So Scenario B instead of – what I’m going to do is to drop a link in to the long link section which imbeds the link into the Google+ post. And I then just put a relevant content using the right keywords at the top of that post and I share it. And then the same scenario happens. You share it on. Now that’s a totally different scenario in terms of the link, isn’t it?

JB: Yes. Everyone who is sharing that content on is passing good follow links back to that content, and that’s what we would consider the highest and best kind of link because not only is it a link back to that content on the website, not only is it follow, but it’s hyperlinked text.

So it contains all of the keywords and that’s the only real way that we can pass hyperlink text within the Google+ structure. Is through those embedded links. And the hyperlink text means the link lights up with the words and those would be the keywords to that content.

MS: Ok. So this is the key thing for people to understand then, is that if you do this. If you put that link in and you have your website. Let’s search your work. It’s a link from your website, and you have your website with your +1 button on that particular post. Let’s say it’s a blog post.

And that then gets shared, and there’s going to be a little video that you can watch for how the +1s matter. If somebody +1s my post, then the +1 on that web page goes up 1. So it’s a direct link from that particular Google+ post to that web page +1. Yes?

Scenario B – Google Plus using embedded links

JB: Well we were talking about the embedded links, then the +1s. That’s a different subject.

MS: Ok.

JB: As far as the embedded links go, everyone who shares that post or that content with those embedded links. Every time that it’s shared and depending on whom shares it, how much PR they have, they will all give back PR to that embedded link.

MS: So that is the most kind of powerful way of doing it. Great. You are absolutely right. I mean that’s

JB: That is the most important and we should look at that as being many times over more important than +1 or any other kind of content sharing, because those pass PR directly back to the embedded link. Having said that, if your joining Google+. New to Google+ and all you are doing is every day posting 20 embedded links, then you are going below 0 PR because you are not getting any citations back to yourself, and what that’s doing effectively is if we look at your profile like this, and going out of it as a graph, then we will see lots of links coming out of your profile and no links coming in.

MS: Cool.

JB: So you can actually go so far down below PR 0 that there’s not numbers calculable for it. But before you were to start making good PR back on that profile, you need to go back and delete a lot of garbage content. All those. Because you can create a kind of mini-link farm like that, and that’s never a good thing.

And it happens  unknowingly in many ways, and people can be spreading that kind of content throughout communities and all over the place. So you need to think about engagement. And that’s the important factor that we are talking about.

So if you went into Google+ and you are looking for the power of Google+ or the Google link juice. Google Juice. Then all that comes through engagement with other people within Google+ and it all happens naturally, just by way of them mentioning your name or sharing your content.

Google Plus as a social experience

MS: And this is the brilliance behind it. It is a social experience. Isn’t it? And who you are connected with and who you relate to and who you are interacting with. And the more positive those flows, the more likely it is that your content then gains weight or then if they are sharing it, they will then more likely get that content into search. So this is natural. Totally organic.

JB: Look back at it in the real world type of situation in the network. If you want to call it soap box posting, which a lot of newer people come to Google+ they do. They just post lots of embedded links in the soap box. If you were to go to a network meeting and just stand there rattling off stuff by yourself, then you really wouldn’t get any engagement and network with other people. You need to have a give and take relationship.

When you go to a real life network meeting, you talk to people and you show interest in them. You ask them questions. You show an interest in them and the same thing happens within Google+. When I share someone else’s content, I show an interest in them. When I talk about someone else, I’m showing an interest in them. And it gives them and makes them feel like they would like to produce so back with me. And it creates that network amongst everyone who you do share that content or mentions.

Whatever it is, you create that network and in the real world it’s just a lot of words going back and forth. But in the digital world, it’s actual, traceable links that represent numbers and this all means something, and the authority means something, and the quantity means something, and the content means something. It’s all significant within the digital world.

MS: Fantastic. So I mean I’ve just got a few more questions, if we are all right for another 5 minutes or so. I just mentioned about the +1s. So just because it’s a technical thing. If I have embedded the link and I send out that post and I get +1s on my post. They are my +1s, and it doesn’t really matter whoever is getting the +1s on their content, they are their +1s, yes?

JB: If you are giving yourself.

MS: No. If other people are coming to my profile, essentially, and +1ing my content, that’s all within my profile. But if you shared my content, then you are getting the +1s on your version of my original content, yes?

JB: Yes.

MS: So this then would count

JB: And that depends on whether it’s an embedded link.

MS: If it’s an embedded link (let’s say). What is the importance of that? What’s the relevance of those +1s?

JB: For starters, +1s and how much value they have and don’t have. In the beginning it was assumed, and also seen, that earliest days of Google+ that +1s were very important to had a large effect. Mostly what we are seeing nowadays are that +1s have nominal to little effect. There is a way that they have effect, and that is because when someone +1s your content, if they have on their profile a public +1 page and you can create a backlink on that public +1 page.

Having said that, most peoples +1 page on Google+ tends to be not public. At least that I have been seeing and whether that will change or not. So any content that’s not public, either within Google+ or any other social network that is not public is not indexable by Google’s search. It does not pass PageRank. It does not pass PR. So you could have a Google+ profile, if it’s not public it does not pass PageRank.

MS: And that’s the thing with posts.

JB: It could pass some PageRank, depending on whether the individual giving you that +1 has a public +1 page. Number 1. Number 2, whether they have a good PageRank, but more importantly number 3, it’s going to be divided between all of the content. Chances are they have +1’d so much content that their +1 page is full of many links and I go back to divided between the people on that page, will be divided between. So if you look at an algorithmically, then it would seem in most cases to have little if any affect.

MS: Ok. I’m going to stick with this.

JB: There are some rare situation where it could have a big effect.

MS: Like, for instance, if somebody with a high PageRank who doesn’t +1 much stuff, has it public then that’s going to transfer potentially a significant signal.

JB: All the right scenarios. They never +1 anything so their +1 page is almost empty. They +1 your content. They have a high PR. Chances are if they’ve been on Google+ for a long time, they’ve +1’d a lot of content though. So you are looking at not the norm. And then there’s different kinds of +1s.

We are also seeing if a business page is the owner of a community, that community will give a +1 for every follower to that business page. So that business page could have thousands of +1s by way of owning a community that has many people in it, although they didn’t actually click +1 on that business page. We don’t see any mechanism or structure by which PR is passed in that. So again, you would see business pages like this. They may have thousands of +1s but there’s no link structure that can pass that link.

When we talk about PageRank, I go back to – because there are so many different theories going around and that have been discussed. I myself included having theorized. But go back to the basic principles of PageRank and that is it is a link based algorithm. So if there’s no link exchanged, if there is no link passed, then it does not pass PR. It does not pass PageRank.

MS: Ok. Let me dive in. We are just going to do the last 10 minutes or so at max, and I’ve got a few more questions. But I’m determined to do just this explanation on if the embedded link passes and then it gets shared. And it has lots of +1s on lots of different peoples’ posts, then it accumulates the +1s on that website post. So this is why the numbers go up. And I’m going to put a link in just to show you just a quick example.

JB: Honestly, I couldn’t tell you if that would have much of any

MS: No. It’s more just a technical explanation that that’s why a post gets more +1s there.

JB: Can I ask like a logical effect.

MS: Yes.

JB: And that has a way

MS: But it might have something on search –

JB: Affecting search as well.

MS: Yes.

JB: Because that can affect CTR (the Click Through Rate), the psychological effect, seeing someone that has. And in that aspect someone with 20K followers. If we see them in search next to someone with 3 followers. Who are we going to click on? So

MS: It’s interesting.

JB: That brings up their Click Through Rate which does affect their search. So by way of other mechanisms, not the PageRank, but other ways, it can have some significant effects.

MS: Yes. So ok. So that’s into the followers bit, the numbers and the trust there. Now what – where are we? God, there’s so much to this. In terms of – let’s go into tips then. And I mean we are talking about SEO, Search Engine Optimization.

We’ve gone through, and we’ve spent probably 30 minutes/40 minutes explaining more of the nitty-gritty. What happens with the post. Who shares it. The value of the connectivity. The relatable content.

What tips would you have for people in order for them to improve their search engine results with all of this in mind? So those who have watched to the end, you are going to get the real tips now. What do you think they should do?

JB: Ok. If your interest with using Google+ and Google+ Authorship is primarily to improve your search ranking of an external blog or website, then understanding how all this works is important and will make that so much more effective. We haven’t even discussed all of the different ways which you can channel PR within Google+.

So I don’t want to leave out this one because each profile has an About page. And that About page has a number of different links that can be put in there. There’s the Google Authorship links which are contributor too, and then there’s the links below it. So understanding which direction the links all go and how you want to channel that PageRank is important if you want to be most effective in it.

So those Authorship links, the way Google+ has currently set up. Those ‘contributor to’ links are no follow going out of Google+. That means everywhere that you have an Authorship link on the web, on any web page, those can be giving PR back to your Google+ profile or to the Google+ page. However, there are not going the other direction with the ‘contributor to’.

And I think that’s quite ingenuous way to do it because otherwise Google would be forcing people to give away all your PR to all of the ‘contributor to’, which may be many different websites and blogs that really are not yours. However, the way it’s set up is that you can channel that. So all that PR can come in to your Google+ profile.

MS: So if you are writing for those sites and you have authorship for those sites, then it means that that can flow back to you. That’s the way the link is.

JB: Yes. And that can give strong PR.

MS: Yes.  Because the site could have a high PR rating and therefore you get a little bit off that. Is that right?

JB: Yes. And you can get very strong PR from that, and then that PR can be channeled back out. Let’s look at links on your About page. Those are all follow. So that’s where we would take all this Google Juice. That’s where when you pour the lemonade is in those links.

And the other very important factor is that those are all text links, hyperlinks with text, so they will contain your keywords and you don’t want to go keyword stuffing here. You want to use real sentences, but all of those hyperlinks that you can put in there back to your content are important. And those are going to be more important than in posts within Google+. What appears in your About page, because it stays stationary and it’s always there on your Google+ profile. Then that becomes very important. Whereas the posts – they have a way of moving around, but the PR is changing. That’s a flowing. There’s a good deal of fluidity in that.

So on your About page is where you would want to put your most important links to your website, such as, or your blog. If you need to get a certain keywords then you would put those in. You would use natural sounding sentences and make sure you have your keywords in those natural sounding sentences and you would be linking back out to that.

Now can that be the same content that you’ve authored in your Authorship? As in ‘contributor to’? Well, sure. Why not? Your ‘contributor to’ give links bring you PR into your profile, but linking back out you are not passing any key word relevance so when you would put those links back in. And when you understand how the structure works, that’s really special about the way that it’s built, is you can make if flow very well so that you are able to give back a good deal to that content and those important links that you want to give PageRank to. And you will see those improving significantly by way of that.

MS: Awesome. Ok. Last minute or 2. So any – I mean this has been an enormous exploration. So thank you Josh. I know it’s a huge area and you’ve spent so much time studying it. If anyone wants to see the articles, then click the Annotation and I’ll have those all available. My head is spinning.

But I mean in terms of advice for people on Google+, I mean I’ve said that the 3 words that I’ve said that I think that the behaviors, it’s about creating – no, it’s about engaging. That’s the first big thing. I think you and I, Joshua, we’ve said you have got to engage with people. And if you are doing that, we can now see how these links are setting up. When people + the names, you have this flow between peoples’ profiles.

The next thing is looking at whom you want to connect, and deciding who are the appropriate people for you based upon your own interests. If you are looking to get search results. Because the more you connect with them, the more likely for the third thing, that they relate to your content. And when they relate to  your content and you are already connected to them and you’ve engaged with them, they are going to start to share your content.

Now this is where the power really comes in, Joshua, is that then by sharing the content because you are connected. This starts to flow your content through and gives you (particularly if you use an embedded links) a lot of this PR coming back into your profile, which means that when you share your content and you’ve linked it back to your website and you have your ‘contributor to’ there and you have your authorship set up so you are appearing or ability to be a little picture to appear in search. That it is far more likely that you are going to come up, or that the people that are sharing the content are going to come up in search, having taken this authorship on from your original content. So this is the beauty of the system, isn’t it.

JB: That is powerful.

Conclusions on Google Plus for Social SEO

MS: It’s so powerful.

JB: The understanding of it, and channeling everything the right way.

MS: Yes.

JB: You give a PageRank out in the way that you need to and the way that you designed to, and understanding the principle of citation. You know, even not just looking at it as a numbers game or something that we need to trick, to make it work. But it is the principle of citation. You think something is good so you refer to it. When you write or create, you make good content. If you create interesting content that people like, that they want to share, that they want to talk about, then your PageRank will naturally go up. And you won’t have to even worry about it or think about it. You are going to see the power of that in search.

You have good content and good networking. You need both. And I’d like to go back and look at the real world. We say, you know, if you want to be rich hang out with the rich people. And if you don’t get around then, well what if we could say just by way of hanging out with them and talking to them, you could naturally become rich. Well we all go well, yes. Sure. I want to go to the cocktail party with the millionaires.

Well in Google+ it’s actually quite like that. If you can create some engagement and bonding with people of significance within your fields, then that can be so important and it rubs off on you in all directions within the network. And people that have a good understanding of this are going to have much better networks, and they are going to have higher authority because they understand how it works.

MS: I think that’s a great example. And this is natural Search Engine Optimization. This is organic Search Engine Optimization. And now this is social SEO. And this is why, I mean, I get so excited about it because it’s like you create great content, you connect with good people you engage, and it’s genuine. And this is

JB: Social SEO all the way, because say something about someone else and that’s what I like so much about the way Google has – they didn’t even from the beginning. They’ve changed the follow/no follow structure, but the way they have it now is really quite neat. You can put in a lot of external links and those are not giving away no follows. But when you mention someone’s name or their business you are giving that citation. Or when you embed content. So you have a choice – to give it or not give it, depending on how you understand the work.

MS: And you’ve got to understand it. This is the thing, that unless you understand this is the process that’s going on, then you are kind of missing a little bit. So thank you so much to everybody that’s been watching. I mean it is a huge area. Joshua, you’ve got some knowledge there. Absolutely fantastic, so thank you for your time. I mean we’ve had a very good session here. Look forward to seeing you again. We are going to have the Annotations on. Click the link. You can get in touch with Joshua on Google+. Also I have links near the video so you can get in touch with him there as well. So on that note, I’m going to go and rest my head and thanks a lot for watching. Joshua – incredible. So thank you.

JB: Thanks. I had fun.

MS: Good. We’ll speak more again. We’ll go into the next level next time.

JB: Oh yes. Lots of levels.

MS: Take care everybody.