PageRank, Link Juice & SEO for Google+ Communities.
Can PageRank save G+ Communities becoming FB link farms?

① G+ Communities have PageRank, another Aha! Moment.
② Is PR in communities a good thing, or is it a bad thing?
③ Automated posts are the perfect recipe for ZERO PageRank.
④ Why didn't G make all links in Communities nofollow?
⑤ Are embedded links the scourge of G+ Communities?
⑥ Most of the best community posts are not embedded.
⑦ Community link structures analyzed & PR speculating.
⑧ Pages get a +1 per every member of their community.
⑨ Google+ PageRank Hangout On Air coming Tuesday.
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Part 5, of my Google+ PageRank (G+PR) series.
If new to this series I suggest you read Part 1-4 at the bottom.
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If this series helps you please share it! As I explain why teaching your network about PR & Quality content helps improves yours.
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① G+ Communities have PR was another Aha! Moment.
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    Quality & engagement is something I covered previously as important to acquiring good PageRank. Nowhere is this more apparent & applicable than when we start talking about Communities.

    While analyzing some Google search results (a favorite pass time of mine, or a bad habit, I don't know which) I noticed a link I had shared of the PageRank Part 3, article that outranked my own post and realized that was only possible if the community had PageRank. In other words, if I share my own post (all other things be equal, which they would), my own share should not outrank the same post unless it is getting Google juice from somewhere. 

    Turns out that was exactly right. The community I shared it in, Google Authorship & AuthorRank had a PR3. Realizing this and the implications it could have on posting in communities was quite an, Aha! Moment. Well, why shouldn't they have it? Forums and many other public social groups have PR as well.

    You might wonder if they can give PR as well, or bleed it. Well sure, they would have to be able to, based on basic PR principles. If they can get PR, they also have to give it. Or else you'd just have communities collecting & collecting PR forever till they outrank everything. No, that wouldn't work.


② Is PR in communities a good thing, or is it a bad thing?
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The next question though, "is that a good thing, or a bad thing?"

Won't it just attract more spammers and link dumpers?
Doesn't that raise red flags to come raid communities for juice?
And what if G+ Communities turned into Facebook groups?

Now that would be just awful! I just pulled up an article that said there was 600 million FB groups back in 2010, there are probably billions now. No doubt producing many billions of automated spam posts that nobody reads.

I still have one of them with a few thousand people that a handful of users just dump automated posts into everyday with HootSuite, or some such nasty spam apps. :-D Ok!--Can somebody please, please, help me out here?! I need to understand exactly, what is the purpose of that???

"Hello? Anybody in there? Think, McFly! Think!"

    Granted, they're not all bad. I also have good Facebook groups that are regularly used for quality discussions, but in order to achieve that I had to be very proactive about removing spammers & usually just not letting them in, in the first place. I found that if it was a local group, pretty much anyone requesting to join from outside of that area, or anyone with a new, or blocked profile, or anyone with promotions posted all over their wall, were just requesting to link dump. "Thank you, but there are restrooms for that."

    I think PageRanking G+ Communities is pure GENIUS. Imagine, in one fell swoop, <click><PageRank Active> Google has solved the spam problems that could otherwise cost billions of dollars in man power & not to mention wasted bandwidth, hardware storage space & the list goes on...


③ Automated posts, perfect recipe for ZERO PageRank.
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    While we're talking about automated posts, let me emphasis this specific point for everyone's benefit. Of one thing you can be sure, from everything we know about Google+ and PageRank, it is quite clear that any kind of automated & uninvolved posting of embedded links would be the perfect recipe for draining your PR to below ZERO.

    Now I'm NOT referring to all unattended posting, for example it could be useful to schedule a post of something important if you're trying to get it out at that perfect time of day when most people are active on G+, but you're going to be in a meeting, or travelling in a different time zone, etc. But these should certainly be the exception & not the rule.

    There could even be people who are very active engaging in the social networks, but still use it and then later come back and answer all the replies. So I'm NOT talking about these people. I'm talking very specifically about the millions of people who use it, because they don't have time to social network & they think that will replace it.

    So do yourself a favor here!-- Don't do it for me, don't do it for the Communities, don't do it for all the people you're annoying with them & don't do it to stop the epidemic level of social media pollution. -- Stop Using Automated Posts for your selfish self. ;-) <shh...pulling a little psychology here...he, he, he.>

    Truth is, "the king has no clothes" & you might be the last to see it, because everyone almost immediately recognizes the automated posts & few people, if any at all, will comment & discuss on them, because they quickly realize no one's home. FB is at least been clever enough to label them as being from Hootsuite, or whichever App. and that's become one of the clearest spam flags to date.


④ Why didn't G make all links in Communities nofollow?
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    After seeing the disaster that was Facebook Groups, some people might reasonably wonder, "Why didn't Google just make all the links in Communities nofollow?"
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nofollow

    Well, they did even better than that. They very cleverly gave moderators a choice & that specific choice is, whether to allow embedded links.

    I believe PageRank in communities is an ingenious idea, that once realized will cause community moderators to prevent their communities from turning into worthless link farms & instead make them useful, quality, original content, discussion groups. Frankly from the standpoint of quality & discussions, PR in G+ Communities seems to be the best thing that could have ever been added to them.

     *I'll go even further than that & say, PR in Communities could well become the biggest single factor that will prevent G+ Communities from turning into automated Facebook Link Farms.*

    Remember, Google hates link farms! Nobody uses, or likes them, they plague the natural positive citation concept for which PageRank was invented, the waste volumes of Internet resources & more.


⑤ Are embedded links the scourge of G+ Communities?
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    IMHO, embedded links have been the scourge of G+ Communities since they started. From my personal observation, I'd guess about 70% of them are posted by users (we could almost call them bots) who do not even post an accompanying discussion, or introduction & seldom get involved in anyone else's discussions. "No, I wasn't talking about you." There are of course some really engaging quality content providers that do it & they use them right, but they are more the exception than the rule.

    I can see some people out there screaming while reading this. "How could our beloved +Joshua Berg spearhead a campaign to reduce posting of embedded links in Communities when they're the best thing that's ever happened to SEO in G+?" After all, SEOMOZ says that's the best way to SEO your posts to your blog, among others. http://www.seomoz.org/blog/tips-to-use-google-for-seo

    Well, I'm not and certainly I would not mind them occasionally in my own communities, only by engaging users who regularly give back to it as well. But for users who just embed the same links again & again in many different Communities, with no accompanying discussion, or engagement, well that's just littering. So let's get this clear here, OK? "Joshua" is talking about link littering, link dumping & some of the best ways to prevent it. While at the same time we know that, as moderators it can be quite difficult to enforce rules unevenly & sometimes we just have to make decisions across the board for the sake of simplicity. Those will be decisions they'll have to make.

    Of course let's not forget video, YouTube posts, etc. Those have to be embedded, or they won't work period. So embedding links absolutely has many positive aspects.

    Yes, embedded links are good for SEO, that's the whole idea. They provide you the one opportunity to use that precious PageRank juice you've been saving up & send it to your website. Of course everyone can still do it all they want in their own streams (own profile), but in my communities I'm gonna say I'd rather you not do it unless you've earned the privilege through quality engagement & contributions. Certainly not on your first post in!

    I know, some of you are asking, "What are embedded links? When you put a link (any URL) in a post, Google automatically formats (some use the term populates) it & then you see the image of that link and the title and sub-title from that link's Meta Tags, at the bottom of your post.

    There are other ways to make those posts. You can post a picture instead & use the link in your post, but not embedded. It will be nofollow.


⑥ Most of the best community posts are not embedded.
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    Think of all the most useful & interesting posts that you've seen in Google+ and chances are, most of them were posted with a nice big eye catching picture & not an embedded link. With this series of PageRank articles for example I've posted all of them with pictures, except for the second part that just linked to the first article.

    And why? Well pictures in a post are far more attractive & attention getting and I don't doubt have a higher reader ratio, or what we might call CTR (Click Through Rate).

    What are G+ Communities for anyway? Well, they're for discussion. Am I right? At least that's what I thought. If people want to post embedded posts & their daily blog of animals, or their favorite business statistics, or daily interest rates, stock prices, etc, well they have their own streams they can do that in all day. Then everyone that just loves those kind of posts, can add them to their "BFF Circles".

    Do you think some people actually don't realize that 7 links over from the words Google+ is the word News, where I can instantly see 2,342 articles of the exact topic that's just been proudly announced?


⑦ Community link structures analyzed & PR speculating.
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    Of course this article would not be complete with out me doing a little analyzing & speculating. It's easy to see how Communities could give away their PR, but where do they get it from? That was a question I poured over quite a bit. Since we know that PageRank is a link based algorithm, the first place we have to start looking is the links.

    While looking at the link structure of the posts, I was surprised by some very interesting observations. I think this is another one of those eye opening moments, but maybe I'm just the last one to realize it. ;-)

    Ready? Dum-ta-da-dum... You don't post in the Community, you're posting in your own stream & there's a kind of link back specifically to the community category it was posted in. Sure we could say that a few different ways & that's not exactly accurate, but what I'm talking about here is the URL (link) structure & also the way the posts show up later in Google Search still addressed specifically to that poster's profile.

    So now we're going to analyze a post of mine posted in a specific community. This post was made to the Google Authorship & AuthorRank community,* which by the way has very good PR. Not just because it is well moderated and has lots of great engagement, but we can also deduce that it's because many high PR users post there. Hmm... Interesting! <eyes light up>

    As we're analyzing this from a search optimizing perspective, I'm starting with how all of the parts show up in Google Search. For example, when we search for the community, "Google Authorship...", the main community link shows up like below. When we search for a specific category, we get what is labeled in the URL as a "stream". When we search for that specific post that went in that community, it shows up as that specific poster's URL.


First there is a single Community Link that looks like this:
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https://plus.google.com/communities/104474428845467390263
Header: [Google Authorship & Author Rank - Google+]


Then there are Category Links that are called streams:
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https://plus.google.com/communities/104474428845467390263/stream/f6a897a4-219f-46a8-ac7c-fa6b1189a343
Header: [Google Authorship & Author Rank - Authorship How Tos - Google+]

Notice how when the category appears in Google Search, it is titled with the communities name first - then the category title - then Google+. This means the name of each category also has very big implications for the SEO of your community & their topics.

Do you see how in the example here, several words appear repeatedly, at some point you could also be overdoing that. You probably wouldn't want to name a community, Overused Keyword & then it's category Overused Keyword & then your post, Overused Keyword. So you can see how community category names could be quite keyword important, but you also don't want to end up stuffing.

This is also relevant because the default community category starts as General Discussion: Now imagine how many billions of posts with the irrelevant words General Discussion there probably are, or going to be.

Hmm. I predict we're mysteriously going to see a lot of renaming in Communities after this. Not that I've started any other fads that have been going around lately. LOL.

I also speculate that categories appear to have their own PR by the way they rank differently, which they would. Every post, like every page on the wider Web, also has it's own PR. It's just that the PR Toolbar blanks them out in PR Toolbar so far & only shows PR by the Profile, Page, or Community.

Then there are the community's Posts:
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https://plus.google.com/110133760398936676625/posts/fbcBNk49w26
Header: [Google Authorship & Author Rank - General Discussion - Google+]

Each post is URL identified by the poster, not the community, but contains a kind of back link to the individual stream:
https://plus.google.com/communities/104474428845467390263/stream/0e81855a-8f47-4378-883f-da0df90f65d6

*Note: These URL's however are not labeled the same as all other links.

This is where I speculate the Community gets it's PR (or Google juice) from. So every time a user puts up a post in a community, they're giving a little of their own PR to that community. This is how the whole principle of PR works, given & received.

However (this is me speculating again), when a user posts an embedded link with that post in that category's stream, they may be giving away some of the PR from that stream (in other words community) & presumably from their own profile as well. Because in PR links proportionality divide the PR of any page they're posted in. So they'd be spreading the PR of that post between 3, instead of 2.

In conclusion: Those are just theories and some interested SEO guys will probably want to get more into that, analyzing the link structure & the way PR is passed between them. I think it's safe to say though, those are certainly some of the ingredients in the pudding.


⑧ Pages get a +1 per every member of their community.
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    While we're analyzing Communities, here's some other interesting details.

    When a business page is made owner of a community, the business page receives a new +1 per every member added to that specific community. But what else could they get? Can they receive Google juice?

    I have not seen any perceivable ranking benefit for a page to get more +1's like this from their community, though it's certainly a great promotion for the business page to appear at the top of a community where everyone can see it.

[ Update: Perhaps I did not clarify this point clearly enough, so I would like to emphasize it again. Having your business page own a community does not appear to have any specific ranking benefit in search. The main advantage is just that it becomes more visible to community members. ]


⑨ Google+ PageRank Hangout On Air coming Tues.
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Stay tuned for cool stuff in Part 6 coming soon... While writing this I had so much additional interesting stuff, that I decided to start putting it into another post instead. So Part 6 of this G+ PageRank series is on the way.

People have been asking about a HOA on this where everyone can get a visual of us discussing these things. So Ronnie Bincer has invited Mark Traphagen and I, to do a live event this coming Tues.

The event details are here: https://plus.google.com/events/cfd9087kp7ottm13g87q0h8fhq4


★★★★★ Lastly & importantly, please SHARE this post!
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There's just too much good stuff here to keep to yourself.

Those that share this series, will also be added to my top circle that I fondly call, My Favorite Sharers & Engagers. From time to time I'll be sharing & promoting this circle of my favorite engaging users as well.


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Pt 1: Is Google+ Page Rank the culprit behind the current ... http://goo.gl/R4TZM

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 (is the short url for this one).
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My disclaimers...
Some things I write (ie. PR) are facts well known among SEO experts, others are just ideas & opposing theories are all welcome below.
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#pagerank #googlepagerank   #communities   #gpluscommunties   #communityseo   #Gplusseo   #seotips   #googleplusseo more marketing tips at +HousesFast
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