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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Google for Visibility: TalkFloor Social Media Marketing Series

Google for Visibility: TalkFloor Social Media Marketing Series
Dave Foster from TalkFloor.com and I connected recently to continue our conversation about social media marketing.  This time we discussed Google for Visibility.

He described the three-part interview on Google for visibility as follows:

Christine Whittemore, Simple Marketing Now, on the Opportunities Available on Google

Christine Whittemore, Simple Marketing Now, in an ongoing series on social networking looks at the opportunities available on Google looking to enhance a company’s visibility, looking at various tools on Google including Google Alerts, Google Profiles and Google Places along with the benefits of website optimization.

As usual, we had a blast and even managed to touch on geolocation / location based marketing tools!

You can access the three interview segments by clicking on this link to Christine Whittemore on the Opportunities Available on Google. Each segment is approximately 12 minutes long.

My show notes for Google for Visibility.


My theory is – if you can’t be found online, you don’t exist. Extreme, but increasingly true when 97% of local consumers use online media to research businesses in their community** BIA/Kelsey research. People start at a search engine to start any kind of research. Majority of the time, that search engine is Google.

Being found can be an issue for people working at the same organization for a long time, for businesses used to doing business in person. That means it’s important for all of us to be paying attention to our digital visibility – for ourselves individually and for our companies.

Step 1: Google yourself


Check out your “google juice”. What do you see? Do you show up? Is it positive? Negative? Irrelevant?  You want to pay attention to the results on the first 3 pages; ideally, the majority of those 30 entries are about you and positive.

This is your opportunity to start managing your social reputation.

Step 2: Set up Google alerts


Everyone should set up Google alerts. Set them up for your name in quotes, for your company name, for your company URL, for products terms, even competitors.

I still meet people who don’t take advantage of Google alerts. They are free. You can set them up so you receive email notifications; you can even have them flow into Google reader where you can further organize them into relevant folders.

Google alerts allow you to monitor any new entries about you. For example, if someone writes about you in a blog or reviews your company. You’ll know about it and can say thanks.

Note: you’ll need to set up a gmail account for yourself.

Google alerts search tips: [not included in the interview recording]

+ You can create an alert with up to 32 words
+ Add a “+” sign in front of your alert term to force Google to search for exactly the word you want [blocks stemming]
+ Add a “~” sign in front of your alert term to generate synonyms for your search terms
+ Use quotes for exact searches
+ Exclude words using the minus sign in front of your alert term.
+ Add OR uppercase to search for any words in a list
+ Use AND uppercase to search for all terms
+ Wildcard: * [e.g., favorite * store]

Experiment with these in a search window and fine tune your query based on how relevant your results are. Check out this marvelous Google Guide for Selecting Search Terms which includes lots more details!

Step 3: Become more visible


If, when you Google yourself, you don’t find much that’s relevant to you, you need to take some steps to become more visible. More specifically:

+ Create and complete your LinkedIn profile and create one for your company [See How Do I Make the Most of LinkedIn]
+ Create a Twitter profile [See How Do I Do Twitter]
+ Create a Google profile
+ Claim your business listing on Google Places – particularly valuable for a retailer

Google Profiles: Allows you to gather all of your digital presences in one place: LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, websites, SlideShare presentations, Flickr photos… You can add specific photos to your profile. You have unlimited space for telling your story. It complements your LinkedIn profile. A great example is Glenn Raines [google.com/profiles/rainesmaker]. Mine is google.com/profiles/cbwhittemore.

Google Places: A Places page is the listing that shows up when you search for a business geographically and you notice several options to choose from from a map. Google allows you to claim such a listing for your business. Every business should do so, especially ones with physical locations. You can add coupons and special offers, visitors can rate and review you [which means you should be encouraging your customers to add reviews so you build up a positive track record consistently online rather than have to panic and react when you get your first negative review.]

Good reason to pay attention to Places is that Google has just released Google Hotpot, a location-based recommendation engine for places. It has a social element and integrates with mobile smartphones.

Note: you had better be paying attention to mobile for all of these digital tools.

BTW, also be aware that Yahoo offers local listings. A basic free listing lets you include phone/address/website, store hours, products.

Step 4: Optimizing your website to maximize your visibility


With this topic, we are getting into SEO or search engine optimization. Since we’re talking Google, it’s important to be aware of what Google pays attention to for digital visibility particularly as it relates to your business website.

I wrote a post titled SEO Primer: Nurturing Your Online Digital Visibility in which I list a few tips:

1. Review each page of your website paying attention to the META data – e.g, Page title, description, keywords

2. Review the content on each of your website pages making sure it is unique

3. Pay attention to your keywords

4. Static vs. dynamic content or websites vs. blogs.

Google has issued a Search Engine Optimization Starter guide that I recommend you read.

That SEO Primer post started with another article I wrote titled 10 tips for being found online:
  • Beware of Flash
  • Focus on Content
  • Consistent Keywords
  • Post frequently, consistently, relevantly on a blog
  • Create unique content
  • Listen. Listen more
  • Banish the Hard Sell!
  • What do your physical & digital retail experiences communicate? Are they fresh?
  • Promote your digital presence offline & your physical presence online
  • Invite visitors to opt-in for memorable email communications

Summary and Assignment:

  • Set up Google alerts.
  • Complete your LinkedIn and Twitter profiles. Participate in those networks.
  • Create a Google profile.
  • Claim your Google places listing
  • Read the Google SEO Starter Guide.

Next: Google the Search Engine
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