For webmasters: Google+, +1 button, and Search

Hi. I’m Maile Ohye. I work as a programs developer tech lead at Google with our Search and our Webmaster Tools teams. Recently, I’ve heard a lot of questions from our Webmaster community about Google+ and the plus one button and how do they relate to one another. So, I’d like to share my own perspective on these products and how they interact. And whether you run your personal website or you represent a large brand or organization, if you’re interested in Google+, I hope you can find some of this information useful. But let me start by re-introducing myself through my Google+ profile.

As you can see from my profile, since my family is from Hawaii, we enjoy the beach. And that’s why my feet are in the sand. And I also enjoy spending time with my girlfriends as well as my nieces. But the big thing to know about Google+ is that it’s not just a social networking site, but it’s actually a place where you can establish your identity, have connections, and show your interests. And in this way, it provides the social layer for Google products. So, you can take things like Google News or Google Search or Gmail and make it even better because now, there’s more with your connections and your interests. So, all these products can be even more tailored to you.

[pause] Let’s start with today’s agenda. First, we’ll talk about Google+ and how it helps you or your business establish an identity. And then, some of the benefits of Google+ include things like intimacy, interaction, and interests–a whole bunch of good “in” words. [laughs] Then, after Google+, we’ll get into the plus one button which helps you build your reputation. So, while Google+ helps you with identity and all those great features, the plus one button takes that identity and helps you build your reputation by having users publicly recommend your content or share it with others. And then, using Google+ and a plus one button, we’ll talk about how it integrates with Search, making Search more personal and serving you more relevant results. And then last, if you’re interested, you can then get started on Google+. And we’ll show you some of the first steps you should take. So, when you first come in to Google+, you can establish an identity by creating a profile, if you’re an individual.

So, a Google+ profile is one like you see here, of my friend Michael. He’s a great photographer. And you can see that his profile really features his great work. And if you scroll, it even gets prettier. Some of those pictures are just stunning. [pause] In addition to the Google+ profiles for individuals, if you’re an organization, you can create a Google+ page for your business or your brand. So, let’s look at one with Google Politics and Elections. So, here, Google accumulates a lot of great information and has attracted over 80 thousand followers, who actually just are enthusiastic about the upcoming election and can read all the latest news.

You could picture doing the same for your business. So here, you can create a Google+ page. You’ll have your business name, your company logo, perhaps adding your hours or a map to your location. And then, you can begin posting. So, start imagining what your Google+ profile or page can look like. Now, once you’ve established more of your identity through a profile or a Google+ page, you can then begin using some of the great benefits of Google+. The first being intimacy. Now, intimacy kind of comes in the form of these circles. Given these circles and different levels of intimacy, you can then share the most appropriate content with a given audience. So, let me give you the example of the circles that I use. So, in my circles, first of all, I wish I could make everything in my public circle. But that’s just not the case because actually, my more juvenile humor will then go to my friends, right? I don’t want to affect my career.

And then, I have another circle, which is just my girlfriends. And with my girlfriends, we share articles about relationships, neuroscience or how to age well. Now, one of my favorite uses of circles is in my family circle. And in my family circle, we share photos of each other and kids, different holidays and vacations. And what I love about this circle is that I can actually post ten photos of my little niece Naomi in her big girl bed and to my family, it’s considered precious, but to the rest of the world, these photos would just be spam.

And so, that’s why these circles and these levels of intimacy are especially helpful on Google+. Now, it can be even more useful to you if you have a business. Circles can also help brands or organizations to target specific users on their Google+ page. So, you could imagine if you represent a brand, you might want some posts to only be seen by customers and others to be seen by your resellers. And even furthermore, you might have posts that are just for men, or posts that are just for your female customers, or your dog lovers or your cat lovers.

On the spectrum of intimacy, you also have the ability to follow or to block. So, you could follow anyone. They don’t have to explicitly accept your request. So, if you wanna know more information about your favorite celebrity or your sports professional, that’s great. Or, on the flip-side, if you’re being followed by people that you don’t want, you can block them easily as well. The last part about intimacy is the Hangout feature. Now, if you don’t know what a Hangout is, it’s like a big audio/video experience–like a big group video chat where you can bring together, right now, up to ten people. And you might have shared enthusiasts where you all discuss your favorite hiking trip. Or, you might have your brand do Hangouts for better customer service or to receive feedback from your best customers.

The great thing about Hangouts is you can discuss issues and share experiences. And in the future, we have what is called “Hangouts On Air.” And Hangouts On Air allow that ten-person video chat to be actually live-streamed to show to the entire world if you like and recorded, so that all the information you discussed at a Hangout, whether it was an interview or a concert, can be played for others to see. Along with the benefit of Google+ and intimacy, is the feature of Google+ and the interaction. Now, with Google+, something great for me, is that you can actually edit any of your posts or any of your comments. And another great thing about Google+ is that the interaction continually can bump up to the top.

So, unlike a blog post, where you make one post and then it will be pushed down in favor of the next post, time sequentially, with Google+, you can make a post and if there’s a lot of good comments and interaction, it can continually bump up to the top so people can always see it in their stream when there’s something new. The last big benefit of Google+ with intimacy and interaction comes interests. And this is where I think Google+ is particularly beneficial. So, I have a little story about my cousin Warren. Warren came to visit me. He lives in Hawaii, came to San Francisco and actually stayed with me during his Christmas break. And he noticed my Galaxy Nexus phone and it was on Ice Cream Sandwich, which is the latest version of the Android operating system. And he enjoyed playing with my gadget at any of his spare time. But before Warren left back for business school, he told me that he was really just gonna focus on school and not spend time with any of these distractions.

That was December 2011. And if you fast-forward to now, it actually turns out that in the past three months, Warren has been, in his spare time, trying to get his older version of his phone actually updated to Ice Cream Sandwich. Warren created a blog. He also made a Google+ page. And for this very niche audience with this kind of two-year old hardware, trying to upgrade to the latest version of an operating system, he’s already attracted over two thousand followers. And if you look at any of his posts, they’ve got great comments, people saying, “Oh, that bug is still present on my phone,” or “that latest fix worked for me.” So, he’s got all this interaction, two thousand followers. And again, just in his spare time from business school. Now, if you’re a brand, you can imagine how can you tap in to these groups of interested parties out there on the web on Google+? So, take something like Zagat. So, Zagat is great because it has the entire passion and interest of all these food enthusiasts.

I love to eat. And you can see, they always supply me with great recipes, restaurant reviews, and funny things that users wrote in about certain restaurants. If you represent a brand like Zagat, or an organization, you probably wanna see how your posts are shared and spread throughout the web. And you can through Google+. And you actually can see when you made a post, who it was shared with and those different types of users, and their groups of followers. What’s particularly interesting is when a post actually reaches an entirely new audience. So, you start to notice that the usernames are now in Japanese or in a different language. And you can see how all of this happens by actually hitting the “play” button on the lower left-hand corner, which shows you in a timeline fashion how your posts spread throughout the web. We just talked about Google+ and how that helps you to establish identity. Also, to have intimacy, interaction, and shared interests. Now we’re gonna talk about plus one button, which helps you to build your reputation.

The plus one button allows you to publicly recommend and share content. And it can be found on search results, ads, and sites throughout the web. So, by having a plus one button, we can take all the good information from Google+, but now have more reputation on all these different products, not just on Google+ itself. The last thing about plus one to know is that you can manage your plus ones. And in this way, you can keep all of your plus ones and your recommendations current. Here’s how plus ones can help build your reputation. First of all, in search results, if you see a result you like, as a user, you can plus one. You can see this in action when I search for something like rich snippets.

I’m given many different results, but I can tell that this one is likely the most relevant because my friend Daniel has already plus oned it. In that way, searches become more tailored for me. [pause] You can also see plus ones in ads. These plus ones are showing reputation on different products on the web, not just within Google+. We know that for many of you, metrics and data are always important. So, with the plus one button, you can actually get some great metrics from Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools. For example, you can better understand your audience through Webmaster Tools by seeing the plus ones and how they relate to different genders, different ages, and locations. You can also see the plus ones for particular pages on your site and the plus ones that were given for certain pages from other sites on the web. All of this is just showing you how you’re building your reputation. [pause] Before we get into the new features, let’s talk about the things in Search that will always remain the same, like our goal–to return the most relevant results.

And the fact that we use over 200 signals in ranking and we’re constantly fine-tuning. Because our goal is to return the most relevant results to users, it doesn’t matter if you participate in Google+ or not. You can completely ignore Google+ and all of that information and still do great with Search because it’s about returning the most relevant results. So, consider Google+ and the new features as an opportunity. And take the opportunity only if it’s worth it for you. Just as you may have seen universal results in the past, those results got even more exciting with Search Plus Your World.

So now, in addition to seeing integrated news and shopping and image results, you can also receive Google+ posts as well as Google+ profiles and pages. With the integration of Google+ and search results is that I’m able to connect with my circles at search time when it’s most relevant for me. So, if I search for a word like “recipe,” looking for good recipes out there, I have results from my friend Wes, who wrote about a gravlax recipe, which is, I think, some type of fish cooking. Norwegian I think, perhaps? And the other part is that I also have results from Zagat’s plus page because I’m following Zagat.

These circles are showing a level of trust from my friends like Wes and also from providers, like the fact that I’m following Zagat’s Google+ page. I have these more tailored results in my search. We also have the personalized recommendations we talked about before. So, searching for the Google Webmasters Central Blog, ties in my circles with John Mu and it’s all integrating together with Search. I’d like to take a step back from all of this and just explain a little bit more about some of these concepts going on. So, let’s take the concept of identity. Imagine you have a website here and it’s all in this blue box. And you have things like page A and page B. And then, instead of just having this website, you have more with identity because you have a Google+ badge that says that we have a Google+ page.

And even more than that, you might have page A and say that page A actually tied to the identity of this author. And page B is tied to the identity of this author. So, rather than just a standalone website, you now have more identity with your Google+ page and two different author profiles. Once you have this identity established, you can really then start to build your reputation. So, take a look again at your website here. First of all, it might have more websites on the web linking to you. And that’s great and helps build your reputation. But additionally, because you have that Google+ page, you have people in Google+ that might be following your business. And then, you have people who follow the people who follow your business. And even furthermore, you might have a page like page A showing in search results. And that looks great. And you might have users who actually plus oned that content and say that they recommend it.

And in addition to those users who liked that content, you have those who follow the users who liked that content. And you can see how this network starts to grow. You might have page A again and it also has an author, like Othar, who also works at Google–great guy. He might have wrote page A. And he also has people who follow him. So again, it’s creating this entire network and helping to build your site and your great reputation. [pause] So, how does this work out for users in terms of their reaching the most relevant content? Well, at the ranking time, it helps us to serve better, more tailored results because users can say, “Yes. I want this page.” Or, “I agree with this page,” and plus one it. It kind of develops your reputation. The next part after ranking is what the actual search result looks like on the page.

And with this information, we can now highlight the utility of the result. So, your content can stand out by saying you have people plus one it and also by having great authors. And the last part, of course, is the click. And that’s where they come to your site and they find that useful information. This might be slight overkill, but let’s just review a little bit more about what searchers can actually see on their search results. First of all, there’s richer content because we’re not just having normal web content and images, but we’re integrating more Google posts in those comments. And again, making it so that users, like a certain customer, only sees the posts that were actually made for them and not the posts that might have been made for the reseller. In search results, we’re also able to display the author and show a Google+ page or a profile with the option to follow. So, you can immediately start getting even more users liking your content. We also can give annotations from your circles, like who plus oned and who shared. And with all of this on the search results page, users can actually engage.

They have the ability to say, “I wanna plus one this new result and recommend it or share it” and help to build your reputation. If you’d like to get started on Google+ and you’re an individual, let’s cover some of the steps that you might use. Next, we’ll get into brands and organizations. The first thing to do is to create your Google+ profile. And this is where you’re going to establish your identity and talk about your interests and show some things that are about you. The next part is to build circles so you can search for topics that interest you, to find other users with similar interests. You could also look for things called “shared Google+ circles.” And that’s actually a collection of users who have interest in a similar topic. So, I was talking recently with my friend who had an uncle who was extremely into boating.

And his uncle’s site didn’t have a lot of web search traffic. But I think a great opportunity is for a person like this with a hobby with a great website, to actually join Google+ and to have more of that shared interaction with people who also enjoy boating. And that way, you can engage with others, interact and share your expertise and your personality. And that, eventually, can also lead to more traffic back to your website. And once you’ve demonstrated that you’re a trusted resource, it helps you to grow your followers and those who have you in circles. And this way, all your work on Google+ also complements your website as well. To get started with Google+ to represent your brand or your organization, let’s start with some of the simple steps to get you online. Even if you represent a brand or institution, you have to first create your own Google+ profile.

And once that’s done, you can then be a user to create a Google+ page for your business and feature products and hours and a map and all that great stuff. Another good part to do, is to actually link your Google+ page from your site. And then, of course, is the fun part–engaging with your users, promoting and delighting, which is often a lot more hard work than it sounds. And by doing that, you actually grow your followers and those who trust you. And if you want even more information to stay up-to-date, you can follow Google Plus Your Business for additional tips.

Thanks for your time today to talk about Google+, the plus one button, and how they work with Search. I’ve included links here for more information. Thanks so much..

For webmasters: Google+, +1 button, and Search

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