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Community Guidelines ►  - 
 
These Community Guidelines Can Help Your G+ Optimization.

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The goal of these guidelines is to challenge you to not only improve the quality of your community posts, but to excel in and master Social Media. A few minutes reading this may be one of the best things you've done for your business on Google+.
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Do you want to increase your…
    G+ Authority to improve ranking in Google Search?
    Google+ followers, +1’s and engagement? 
    business' exposure & reputation in social media?

If your answer is yes, continue reading this whole post to learn how to supercharge your Social SEO & your SMO (Social Media Optimization).


First Here's Our abbreviated Community Guidelines...
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➀ Do not embed hyperlinks, unless Mod approved.
➁ Do not post your own blog links & news stories.
➂ No self promotions, or any kind of advertising.
➃ No listings & local notices, we're not local.
➄ Direct post in community, do not G+ Share into.
➅ In principle give to the group more than taking, this is the key to good social.
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These guidelines have been written to benefit community members overall, by providing more quality content & posts that encourage discussions.

Please continue to the Full Community Guidelines below.
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Soapbox posting is a total social media fail:
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The most common annoyance we are seeing in G+ Communities is “soapbox” posting. People feeling they need to post their links, blogs and news articles, that teach, or inform everyone else. Most of these posts do not receive any comments, or engagement by the thousands of community members, because they are boring, uninteresting and no one reads them.

Here’s what “soapbox” posting does to your business…

It does not increase your followers, or your networks.
It does not improve your Google search rankings.
It drains PageRank, wastes time & makes you look naïve.

While many posts are not actually “spam”, self-promotional, or breaking specific guidelines, they may also fail to achieve the writer’s objectives, because of the soapbox posting style and thin content in which they’re written. It’s just human nature to treat written statements as announcements that do not require further comment. Whereas posts written either as questions, or invitations, are perceived as inviting discussion and comments, mostly so if the topic is interesting.


What do you really want to get out of Google+?
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If you’re just here to fill Google+ with lots of words, then soapbox posting is a good start. But if you are here to network with real people and, or, increase the power of your rankings in Google Search, that can only be accomplished by actual engagement with other G+ users.

To explain the power of Google+ on search rankings, I have written a very detailed series called PageRank in Google+, about the real power of SEO & SMO with Google+ and why engagement, commenting, sharing is required to improve search ranking through G+.


The real power of Authorship and Social SEO in G+.
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If you’re brave enough to go the distance, there’s an incredible amount of powerful SEO knowledge in this series.

For beginners to intermediate, there’s this comprehensive course, put together by Martin Shervington, with Mark Traphagen & myself:

Social SEO - The Complete Guide to SEO with Google Plus.
http://goo.gl/8PbYl (Uniquely powerful for SEO & SMO)

Here's my intermediate to advanced series, PageRank in Google+:

Pt 2: How PageRank in Google+ is Earned. G+ Link Myths...
http://goo.gl/0YcDp

Pt 3: Why PR in G+ Matters To You & Your Connections.
http://goo.gl/zHKhx

Pt 4: PR in G+ - PageRank is Still Guts of Google Search.
http://goo.gl/uMcuo

Pt 5: PageRank, Link Juice & SEO for Google+ Communities.
http://goo.gl/ViToc

Pt 6: Balance Returns to PageRank. Avoid The Dark Side.
http://goo.gl/N0xhD

Hangout On Air: PageRank in Google+ - Executive Summary video.
http://goo.gl/vOUhE (Joshua Berg, Mark Traphagen & Ronnie Bincer)


The power of real people social networking.
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Are you talking to the Internet, or to real people?

Many of the same people that appear to lack basic social media networking skills are in fact great at socializing in real life situations, such as meetings, conferences, sales, or even phone conversations. Understanding that successful social networking online is very much the same as in real life, can itself improve your social networking skills and success tremendously.

When you meet a client, coworker, or people in a networking meeting, would you walk up to them quite expressionless and say, “This is my blog, I hope you like it. Bye.” Then turn and walk away? Of course you don’t, because you’d look like an android & they probably wouldn’t want to talk to you again. Bam! Networking fail! Well it is just as much of a social networking fail as well.


Specific tips for improving social networking & rankings.
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All successful community posts result in comments, or discussion. If you don’t get a reply, or shares your post is a fail, so read on for solutions.

Your priority when posting to a community should be encouraging a discussion, or even a reply. That's why we call it a "community" and NOT a bulletin board, or a newspaper.

As a community moderator I am too often asked,
    "Well is it ok to post this?"
    "I hope this is not spam, but I..."
    "Can I post links to my blog, or post the whole article?"
    "Will it be spam if I post news links with my promotion?”


WAIT... STOP!!! These are all the wrong questions.

If your posts fail not just once, but repeatedly to engage the communities you're posting in, then - I hate to break it to you but - you are not social networking. It's now time to start asking yourself the tough questions, "if thousands of people are in this community, why aren't any of them commenting on it?" Next I would suggest you make a point of reading all the ones that people are, that's where you'll learn successful social networking.

ARE YOU COMMENTING & ENGAGING OTHERS ON THEIR POSTS? Chances are that's the next biggest problem, users engage back with users who engage with them. If you do not receive any comments on your posts, you probably aren't commenting on anyone else’s either.


Here's some key posting questions you should ask yourself before posting:
① Is this just “useful content”, or will it actually encourage discussion & be of real interest to individual people in this community?
② Have I written this post in a way that invites & encourages discussion?
③ Is this post just typical information members here probably already know?
④ Is this just a link to my blog, or uninteresting article no one will discuss?
⑤ Have I explained why I think this will be of great interest to others?
⑥ Have I read & understood the Communities Guidelines?
⑦ Have I chosen the appropriate community & category for this post?


Now here's our full Community Guidelines...
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Google+ Communities now has many new users who are not familiar with common posting rules and etiquette. Although most spammers will not even notice the rules & get instantly banned, I've created these guidelines mostly for those not familiar with community posting.

So far I've also been a little modest about moderation enforcement to let the newbies get their feet wet. For seasoned posters though it is probably irritating to have to wade through so much useless content that's left up. So now we're going to find the balance.

Number  ➅ pretty much encompasses all of these rules & is also the key to successful Social Media Networking.

➀ Do not embed hyperlinks, unless Mod approved.
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Embedded links are created automatically at the bottom of a new G+ post when you include the first link. I call these “lazy links” that auto-populate content from the external link, adding the title, description & small image. If however you’ve added a picture to your post first, then any links added will not be embedded. Because the majority of embedded links we have been seeing in communities consist of link dumping (users lazily dumping their link to a blog, or some other worthless content they want to promote) and seldom ever contain engaging and interesting content to our community, I have decided they are mostly not useful here.
Removal of the embedded link from your post is easy, by clicking on the small X on the top Right corner of it. You may add as many relevant links as you like within your post as long as they are not embedded, you may then add one, or more images to the post as well. 
Remember, we are looking for quality posts and I will say, we do not even want your “useful content”, only engaging & interesting content. If your posts do not engage users to discussion, we just don’t want them. Please do not waste moderators time whining about how your boring post is “useful”.


➁ Do not post your own blog links & news stories.
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It all goes back to rule #6 below and since we're learning about "marketing" the best promotions are not overt. For example, you may be offering your readers high quality and useful content, "and by the way..." look at my site if you're interested in seeing more about what I do.
Link dumping from your blogs are not welcome here, these kind of links are mostly boring & unengaging. If you have something worth saying to our thousands of users, say it right here in the community, do not dump it from your blog.


➂ No self promotions, or any kind of advertising.
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This one should be pretty obvious. Spam has to do with quite overt advertising, plain links, irrelevant content, useless duplicate content, etc. Most spammers are not shy about it and will be immediately removed. Posters that are more borderline may get some comments, or suggestions on improving the quality of their post.


➃ No listings & local notices, we're not local.
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While very useful to someone this information is not useful in a group like this to 99.9% of users. I'm sure you have a lovely house for sale & your neighbor has the greatest lobster restaurant in town, but most of us could care less. There are actually local communities springing up for this sort of thing and you’re also welcome to start your own. By the same token we cannot accept content not written in English for everyone here. 


➄ Direct post into community, do not reshare G+ posts into.
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Please create and post your discussions directly into the community & do not reshare G+ Posts from other pages, or especially from other communities into this community (except for rare & high quality post exceptions). We do not want posts from other communities reshared into this one, so if it's a worthwhile post, please post it directly.

Exceptions to this might be if the post is more like a long blog post specifically written & with all G+ formatting & meets all other quality guidelines to be shared here. Then it may be reshared to here from your page, or profile, but never from another community.


➅ In principle give to the group more than taking, this is the key to good social.
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This one pretty much incorporates the entire list of rules above. The idea of successful social networking, is that you're always giving away more useful content & knowledge than the favors you're asking back. So as I mentioned on overt advertising, not only do people not like it, but you're shooting yourself in the foot, it's a plain waste of time. On the other hand, if you're a community contributor, you've posted often, or commented, or shared posts and invitations from the community, then no one's likely to mind a subtle offer in an intelligent way, once in a long while.

Also, regarding introductions, you may introduce yourself to the group and say thanks for the invitation, but how much better to do it with something interesting for everyone in the community. Some groups have instituted a no hello's policy and that is possibly what we'll end up doing. Back to clever marketing, it's a whole lot better to "introduce" yourself with a worthy introduction enclosed with some interesting, funny, or engaging content. Do you want people to remember you, or not?


#communityseo   #gplusseo   #socialmediaoptimization  
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10 comments
 
Without a doubt, I do believe that taking the time to read this post was absolutely worth. I've jumped into google+ for the company I work for and will only continue to manage it if I continue to do it correctly. I've read that first 'Guide to SEO/Google+' and although I am a beginner here, I will continue reading parts 2 to 6. I can always reread them as I begin to understand and utilize what I learn. Thank you very much for this, +Joshua Berg.
 
You're welcome. After moderating communities for a while, I realized what people really need is not more rules, but to be shown how to optimize their social media experience much better. If people follow these blueprints to SMO here, I believe their social media success can grow 100 fold and more. I know mine has here in G+.
 
Thanks +Mortgage Capital Associates, Inc. , but it doesn't feel like the Wild West where I hang out, because G+ has terrific tools that I use regularly. They're called Block, Ban & Mute. Thanks to G+.
 
Thank you Joshua, I am new to all of this social media and I am trying to learn how to do it right without having to break bad habits and your advice is helping me to accomplish my objectives.  If I learn it right from the gate there will be no bad habits to break.
 
What a great resource! Thanks for sharing +Joshua Berg! I will be going through all of the articles you referred to in the next few days.
 
This is so interesting! I have only had G+ for a few months now, and after reading this post, have realised every single one of my posts are NOT what i was aiming for. Thanks for the insight +Joshua Berg :)
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