Larry BraunerAt the Search and Social Leadership Forum, Veronica Fielding, whose Digital Brand Expressions sponsored the event, presented case studies of several companies that had optimized their web marketing campaigns by creating synergy between search and social.

These projects were very complex and required expert execution. However, less complex ways exist for you and I to realize similar synergies, each of us according to our own levels of expertise, by integrating search and social on personal or company blogs. Here are six easy ways you can integrate search and social on your blogs:

  1. Content - Post to your blog very frequently. Blogs are social, and they’re content generators. You write; others comment. When you post to your blog, you’re supplying content that attracts both search engines and humans. When you post frequently, your content is fresh. Readers like to find fresh content, and it’s like caviar for Google and other search engines, since searchers crave it.
  2. Comments – Elicit comments, interact with readers and build your community. Consider making your comments dofollow to increase reader participation. Comments augment content and attract both readers and search engines, just like blog posts. Similarly, frequent comments help even more. Some search engines interpret comments as votes for you and for your authority.
  3. FollowersMake it easy for visitors to follow and subscribe to your blog. The more people following and reading your blog, the more authority being conferred upon you by your audience and by search engines.
  4. Widgets – Install Google Friend Connect and other widgets on your blog to increase followers and your perceived authority. Website widgets can help build your following.
  5. Social – Build relationships with readers on and off your blog. I like to connect on Facebook, Twitter, by phone and face-to-face. Always keep in mind that social media is.. uh social. People who like you and your content will often refer others to you and link to you. Inbound links translate into authority with search engines.
  6. Search – Fine tune your search engine optimization. You may receive more visitors from search than from social, and search visitors tend to be searching for something you have. The search engines close the loop by sending new visitors who read, comment and follow your blog, helping you all over again with search engine positioning.

I’ve enjoyed our brief visit. Now it’s time for you to subscribe and leave me a comment. ;-)

Larry BraunerAt the BDI forum on Search and Social last week, SEO and business development consultant at 1-800-Flowers, Jordan Glogau, discussed recent Google search changes.

Jordan said that authority is up, i.e., more important, while relevance is down. Content is also more time sensitive as Google pushes for more up-to-date results.

Jordan GlogauAuthority is achieved by means of quality inbound links. Often it’s necessary to purchase these links.

Jordan recommended Pay Per Post and Review Me. Ask to have your product or service mentioned, not endorsed.

Recency is achieved by frequent blogging and use of social sites.

I personally suggest that while you may strive for greater authority and recency, you shouldn’t neglect relevance. After all, what good is SEO and driving Google traffic to your site if your content isn’t relevant to your visitors?

Larry BraunerSeveral colleagues have asked that I share my experiences and thoughts about Google Friend Connect on this blog. So as to humor these fellows and show them that I can — at least on occasion — be thoroughly amicable and completely reasonable, I’ve acceded to their demands.

Google Friend Connect or GFC is a set of widgets or gadgets, as Google calls them, that you install on any website or blog site, in order to develop a community of users and fans on that site.

If you aren’t familiar with Google Friend Connect, it would be worthwhile to take several minutes right now to check out a CrunchBase blog post on Google Friend Connect or, if you prefer something much more terse, try the Wikipedia article on the same subject.

Here are ten of my personal Google Friend Connect observations:

  1. While the official Google Friend Connect instructions are not totally adequate, the GFC gadgets aren’t  too difficult to install, at least not on a blog site sidebar.
  2. It happens infrequently that the Google Friend Connect gadgets can’t be installed on a website because of a script conflict. I haven’t found a way to work around this problem, but I’m still on the lookout for a solution.
  3. Once gadgets installed, visitors to your site begin joining, almost if by magic.
  4. As with Facebook pages, you can actually see who your members are and reach out to them if you choose.
  5. The rate at which people join is lower than I would have expected, yet slow and steady, they do keep joining. I suspect that too few people understand what Google Friend Connect is.
  6. The single most valuable feature of Google Friend Connect is the website newsletter. Make sure you click the check box in the newsletter tab that reads: “Ask visitors to subscribe immediately after their first sign-in.” A high percentage of your site’s GFC members will elect to receive email updates from you.
  7. Another valuable feature of Google Friend Connect is member polling that helps you learn about your members and their preferences. You can download your data into a spreadsheet to analyze.
  8. The Google Friend Connect comment box enables members to have discussions with you and with each other. I’ve only installed it on blogs so far. Since visitors can comment on individual blog posts, I don’t feel that the gadget has added much to these sites. I’m looking forward to installing it on a site that has no blog in the very near future.
  9. If you log into Google sometimes using one account and other times using another, your Google Friend Connect membership may suffer a split personality. Unfortunately, there isn’t even a name yet for this disorder. GFC gives you so many ways to connect that you can easily become fragmented.
  10. I originally joined Google Friend Connect because I believed it might help with my search engine optimization. I reasoned that any data that Google owned, they ought to use to assist their search algorithms. I have no proof, but my analysis leads me to believe that they are in fact using these data. If they aren’t, they might in the future. In any case, considering the brand building benefits of GFC, you can look at search influence as a possible plus.

I highly recommend Google Friend Connect. While it won’t totally transform your website, GFC will make it more social.

Please join Google Friend Connect on my blog’s right sidebar.