[To enlarge image: http://i.imgur.com/3AZqwo8.jpg]
What do the higher-ranking sites in the top positions in Google have in common and what differentiates them from those ranking behind?
To investigate this question the folks at have analyzed the search results for 10,000 keywords according to the existence and extent of certain properties. And the result is the infographic below.
A key takeaway is:
"Good rankings are based on many factors, (like number of social media share, backlinks, site speed etc.) but the study revealed that nothing is more important to optimal SEO as high quality, relevant content. Whether that means providing more on-page material, extending keywords into entire phrases on pertinent topics or keeping your technology up-to-date, without compelling content, you can kiss SEO goodbye."
Take a look at this infographic that will serve as your guide to survive and thrive in a constantly changed SEO world.
Pin it: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/381539399655454533/
Full infographic source: http://www.searchmetrics.com/en/knowledge-base/ranking-factors/infographic/
#seo #socialmedia #infographic
I wrote a post about #startup life, after a particularly difficult week last week. Laughter is the best medicine, right :)
Collaborative work reshared for the #blogsofaugust initiative. See bottom for credits
Brandeis and Columbia professor and psychologist Abraham Maslow created the concept of a pyramidal hierarchy of needs to explain how human needs are stacked from fundamental to higher level needs. These stages of growth seem to also apply to individuals as they build an online existence through social media just as they do in real life. We are all trying to find where we belong in life, what our goals are and where our support networks exist. Social media excels at helping us find the groups where we belong.
A business looking to implement a successful social media strategy will benefit from understanding the developmental psychology factors they seek to address. A business benefits immensely from a community of users and from having access to information mavens relevant to their topics. Government agencies, companies and non-profit organizations need to build up networks around their products, services and brands. They need to gather a digital tribe.
Maslow’s pyramid explained
The base of Maslow’s hierarchy includes physical needs from breathing & eating to sleeping. Only when these needs are covered to at least a rudimentary level can a human being move to the safety category. This next level includes body safety, our means to ensure a living, and health. The next step on the pyramid is belonging to a group, a sense of being loved, and building friendships with people with whom to share our lives. After this comes esteem, which includes things such as respect from others and by others. It is at this level where the feelings of achievement and confidence occur. The top of the pyramid is called self actualization and includes creativity, problem solving and higher moral values.
In Google+ the most basic physiological & physical needs include having a computer, internet access, an e-mail and a Google+ account. There are other elements of Google+ that need to be in place in order to be accepted by the social community and have other people follow you.
The first step is having a profile. This about page is best filled out with interesting information. Your audience needs to know who you are and what you are about. Having relevant public pictures is a great way to let others know who you are, what values you hold dear and summarizes your “message.” Using a conversational style and talking about things you'd like other people to know about you will take you a long way. We are all individuals, so give your page its own flavor. You don’t need to give away any personal information. Nobody needs to know your Bragging Rights if you don't wish to share them. One of my favorites is “I can skate backwards.”
Without this information, a profile appears less attractive to others and no followers will gather. Some might argue that they have an empty profile because they only wish to have a passive existence on Google plus by simply following others and reading their posts & insights. We believe that engaging others on Google+ simply makes the entire system much more enjoyable. The same applies to any business profiles you use, although the best practice is to use Google Pages instead of a user profile.
Users of a social media framework have to feel safe using it. While safety means many things to many people, it has at least three cornerstones:
1) Identity protection,
2) Tools to block or ignore users, and report any content that engages in mobbing and stalking activities, and
3) Be able to edit and remove any content you post, and keep the rights to it.
Having identity based profiles reduces the amount of trolling seen in non-regulated systems. People whose comments do not conform to the norms of society run the risk of being blocked and removed from the system. Having said that, It is also important that a social platform allows users to post content under a pseudonym. This protects users that might fear a retaliation from either an authority, or family members. Everybody has the right to a secure channel to express their ideas. There is another school of thought that transparency promotes honest dialogue. This is supported by the profile feature I’ve recommended. However, there is an amazing opportunity for individuals in countries with government oppression to share their experiences and ideas with the rest of the globe.
A platform must have mechanisms in place that allow us to protect our access with secure log-ins, ensure no eavesdropping can take place on our communications, and that allows us to keep our private communications private. It should also have systems in place that allow us to regain access to our accounts in case they are taken over by somebody else.
Just as in the real world, there will always be bullies in the online world. A good social platform should allow us to block users that do not behave according to the social standards we expect. It should also give us ways to report misuse we encounter in the platform. After all, the more we take care that the environment is free of spammers and other elements with antisocial attitudes, the better the platform is.
We also want to own the content we post, and have the right to change or remove it when we see fit. People change with time, and a comment or photographs taken during one party might not be what we want others to see when we are trying to land a dream job.
Maslow's next stage is possibly the most social of all - feelings of belonging-ness. The need to love and be loved. The first mechanism for this in Google+ is creating your own circles. Straight from the get-go, Google knew immediately that we were going to want to have default circles for family, acquaintances and friends. Our sense of belonging in the real world starts out from this focus point.
On top of that, on Google+ we have an unlimited ability to expand our circles of friends (well, up to a limit of 5,000 at the present time), acquaintances and colleagues. Simply by doing a search on a subject we are passionate about, we will find posts by individuals providing feedback, advice and insight. We can then add these people to a specific subject named circle that we get to name.
Over time, our sense of belonging to these groups grows as we interact with others, establish common interests, gain advice and learning from others and stay informed. It can be compared to conversations around the water cooler. We find ourselves starting to belong to a tribe of like-minded people.
The second element in Google+ on the belonging level is its +1 button.This is our way of giving a bit of appreciation to the author. It is important to notice that there is no such thing as minus one button. In my view, this would go against the fabric of social media since negative reinforcement is only detrimental. On Google+ you'll either have varying levels of love (+1s) for your posts and articles, or no reaction at all. If you have external websites then one key element is having +1 buttons on your own website. This provides a channel for positive reinforcement of your work outside the social network.
But as anyone who's been in love knows, it's a game of give and take. You need to join in and show some appreciation for others work, sharing posts you find intriguing and putting your own spin and insights into events. This provides positive feedback for the original author and shows empathy for the concepts being shared.
Sharing your circles with others is a key part of making others feel they belong in the social world. The one proviso here is really to be selective in how you share your circles. Passing on a circle that you have curated yourself shows care and attention. Successfully curating a circle requires lots of effort. A circle put together in a hurry is the equivalent in real life of sticking one of your lifelong friends with a bunch of strangers you don't know. A social no-no down at the pub is also true on Google+.
For a business to establish this sense of belonging is difficult. The level of engagement required to show your user base that you wish to interact with them in social conversations can become unwieldy once your number of followers increases. The ability to still have the common touch becomes all the more difficult. Users appreciate genuine interactions. Just spinning plates with terse/automated/canned replies will not do it. In fact, the opposite result will occur; you will be ignored. A business needs to personally engage, engage, engage.
For celebrities especially, social media can easily become a medium for sharing information about themselves without really reacting to the feedback. There are good examples on how to use social media for their advantage like Daria Musk who has made interaction a badge of honor on Google+. Another example is 50 Cent who has previously made use of his own web forum for gaining feedback about tracks he leaks to the public.
So how can businesses build up a sense of belonging? Many firms choose to have large numbers of staff available on social networks engaging with key users of their products. The prime example of this is Google itself where Matt Cutts and a range of other employees can be contacted directly via Google plus. They may not always reply but most are generally conducive to open discussions about elements of their business.
It makes sense to do this. By doing so, you put down a larger number of roots within the social community, putting less pressure on one individual to be the social interaction point for the company. Richard Branson has taken the opposite approach and really is the figurehead for the Virgin enterprises. His online personality defines the business itself. However, he has limited time and there are not many truly valuable engagements made within Google plus, certainly, to the extent that there is a sense of belonging going both ways.
Finally, there are hangouts. Face-to-face communication is richer compared to simply verbal or written forms. Elements of a discussion are easier to understand and the additional messages obtained through body language are transmitted along. In the true sense, hangouts are the most social element of Google+. They replicate the dialogue you can have in real world with almost no barriers.
Esteem is rooted in the human desire to be accepted and valued by our group. Google+ has several mechanisms to cover this need. The ability to take part in ongoing discussions through comments is one of them. Good interactors in Google+ always comment back on sensible input left by people in their stream. Great anchors like +Guy Kawasaki, +Mike Elgan or +Robert Scoble will cross comment on their posts in the next minutes after they put them online. This allows many of their followers to get a feeling of appreciation, and also provides them with valuable feedback to fine-tune future posts.
Resharing content posted by someone is a way of telling the world that we agree with the original ideas of the creator. This also applies if the content is not original but a link to an article or a photo on the Internet. In this case we are saying, “Look at the cool stuff that X found.” Resharing has its own rules, since Google+ will remove the intermediate sharer’s info after the third level reshare. Thus most people would include a “via” or “hat tip to” (h/t) comment in the reshare.
If a post is reshared a large amount of times it might make it into the “whats hot” list and go viral. Having a post go viral is the writer’s version of musicians listening to their song in the radio. Reaching this tipping point gives also seasoned Google+ members a kick. It basically means that a lot of people agree with your idea and the way you presented it.
To be successful in the resharing game you need to have a group of followers that will help you amplify your message. Resharing is a 2 way street. You will be more likely to reshare content published by someone who has reshared your content. And this also means that you would have found your “birds of same feather” groups.
Circles come back at this level when we start creating “inner group circles.” We usually put in there people whose post we like, whose interactions we appreciate and whom we might have spoken at a hangout. This close knitted group are the people we would invite for dinner or would go visit if we ever happen to be where they live. Due to the global nature of Google+, these groups include people from all over the place.
Maslow’s theory says that the last stage is when a person discovers her full potential, where she becomes more of what she is. It is were we are everything that we are capable of becoming. We all have different goals and objectives, dreams and desires about what our full potential would be. It could be to start selling your own music online, gain positive peer feedback for your photography, start your own business, become financially independent, help others, learn, teach, etc.
You need to know yourself and your goals before you can achieve your full potential within your online life. You need to have a consistent message to get results out of your social media relationship. How you can feed it and how it will nourish you. If you simply want to follow others then joining circles and reading about what's going on the world may feel sufficient to you. Think of it like finding your own tribe. You are defining yourself by those you hang out with, your peers.
Others like to lead and to set trends. Malcolm Gladwell referred to these individuals as information mavens. They are at the crossroads of the information superhighway directing the traffic and building a tribe around them.
Where most of the interesting developments in self-actualization using social media occurs is in the creative arts. Writers, artists, photographers and musicians are able to discover their own tribe. This tribe discovery is slightly nuanced from the other two user types. While these artists may not aggressively seek out followers, the nature and quality of their work will provide them with positive feedback channels and leads to a great many followers. Great content attracts peers and fans alike.
Maslow did make one proviso however. He felt that the individual must master the needs in the previous four stages before they could self-actualize. In social media this means providing great content and becoming a valued member of the social community. Having a good level of engagement with others, providing comments on posts and being insightful with your views are the secrets of social media titans.
The person who hits +1 on a post will be remembered for moments. Those who comment with some insights, personal account or level of appreciation show extra effort which the post's author will take on board. Re-shares are the social media equivalent of a high five. They are essential for popular posts to go viral. Even a basic share forward with no additional comment is appreciated for the potential this has of turning a simple post into something viral. However, a re-share that includes some personal comment, perception or opinion really does show the person has gone the extra mile. At the very least it shows they read your article and got something out of it. These are valued readers who appreciate your work and want to see you achieve a wider readership.
Business leaders look at social media and ask - “How are we going to make any money out of this? Self-actualization is all very well and good but if we have resources working on this then I want to see a return on investment.”
The truth is if you're in business and engaging in social media then your goal is to discover and build a tribe. You will not get direct economic profit off of your online presence. It is about customer loyalty and retention. This is the reason why super markets have loyalty cards and customer feedback loops. Why? Because your tribe can:
- Give feedback
- Engage users with other users forming a collaborative learning network
- Build awareness of new offers, new features and benefits of your product or service, and
- A loyal customer is more likely to come back and purchase again and again. Getting a sale from an existing customer is easier than hitting up someone who has never used your brand.
Remember that social engagement is people engagement. It’s putting down roots in user communities to open feedback channels and foster further growth. Put the technology in place. Hook up your sites. Get involved. Go discover YOUR tribe.
In the spirit of the #blogsofaugust intiative I am reprinting a crowd sourced article that was published a while ago. posted the original image. discovered and reshared it on his stream. An interesting conversation ensued in the thread where suggested that we croudsorce it. We used Google docs to edit the draft and , and helped review it. The collective work is an example of the kind of collaboration that Google plus makes possible. The original article was then reshared by .
I am going to start my own company, I don't have very much faith that these perceptions can change for professional women unless we create our own space in the workforce. I want the future generations of women to be held accountable to their capabilities, not their gender.
I am an animal lover, yoga junkie and social media enthusiast. I currently work for the Minneapolis start up, RedCurrent. I am an open networker, feel free to add me to your circles and share as you wish. Also, if you ever want to chat about Social, hit me up, I'm always down for great discussion. Opinions expressed are my own.
- University of Lifepresent