Something’s Brewing at Platform Pundit

mark-516277_1920Hi, it’s Gary McLaren here. Over the past two years, I have been heavily involved with other projects and Platform Pundit was not updated. Something new is in the works and I am sure that readers of Platform Pundit will love what is coming.

I’ll be in touch again soon.

 

Google Discontinues Google Authorship

Google has announced that it is discontinuing its Google Authorship program. Practically this means that the search engine will no longer be tracking data from content using the rel=author markup.

Google Webmaster Trends Analyst John Mueller had this to say, “I’ve been involved since we first started testing authorship markup and displaying it in search results. We’ve gotten lots of useful feedback from all kinds of webmasters and users, and we’ve tweaked, updated, and honed recognition and displaying of authorship information. Unfortunately, we’ve also observed that this information isn’t as useful to our users as we’d hoped, and can even distract from those results. With this in mind, we’ve made the difficult decision to stop showing authorship in search results.” 

When Google Authorship was introduced search results would show an author’s profile photo and the number of people who had circled them. Google Authorship was a way for authors to identify themselves as the content creators for display purposes. The image here shows a historical snapshot of such a result.

Gary McLaren Authorship

In discontinuing this feature Google explained that including Authorship in the search results did not affect the amount of traffic to sites. But more importantly many blog and web site owners felt the process for markup and linking was too complex to implement. A recent study by Stone Temple Consulting discovered that 70% of authors made no effort in connecting their content with authorship.

The author profile images were actually dropped back in June. At the time Mueller stated in a Google+ post that the decision to remove the photos was to simplify “the way authorship is shown in mobile and desktop search results.” Now the bylines are gone too.”

Mueller adds, “It’s also worth mentioning that Search users will still see Google+ posts from friends and pages when they’re relevant to the query — both in the main results, and on the right-hand side. Today’s authorship change doesn’t impact these social features.”

For more on this latest development and how it affects you I recommend these two excellent articles:

 

 

How to Set Up Google Authorship with Your Google+ Profile

Have you noticed that some people have a profile photo appear alongside their results in Google Search? Would you like to do that with articles and posts that you have written?  This post explains how to officially link your content to your Google+ profile. You can set this up for multiple domains to which you contribute.

Gary McLaren Authorship

Why Set Up Google Authorship?

Having your content officially linked to you will help to raise your credibility and your standing in Google’s search ranking algorithms. Google Authorship is part of Google’s strategy to authenticate quality content and links. By using Google Authorship:

  • Your results will stand out more with a profile photo.
  •  Google often delivers personalized search results to people based upon their Google Plus connections and recommendations. So people you’ve connected with are more likely to see your results near the top!

How to Set Up Google Authorship

If you:
  • are the only person posting on your blog then this is fairly straightforward to set up, as detailed below.
  • have multiple authors contributing to your blog then follow the instructions here instead.

1. Be sure to upload a clear and recognisable head shot photo on your Google+ Profile.

2. Include a byline containing your name on each web page containing your content, e.g. “By Gary McLaren” or “Author: Gary McLaren is…”.  Your byline name must match the name on your Google+ profile.

3. Prove to Google that you have an email address on the same domain as your content, e.g. sampleaddy@platformpundit.com

You do this by adding the email address to the Work section of your profile. Don’t worry, if you wish you can keep the email address private between you and Google.Google will send you a verification message to that email address. When you verify that you received it, Google will add a link to the domain in the “Contributor to” section of your profile.

4. From the byline on your article you should either

  • link directly to your Google+ Profile using the “rel=author” tag, e.g.Google Plus ID
                  or
  • link to your Author Page on the domain using  the “rel=author” tag, and then link from your Author Page  to your Google+ Profile using the “rel=me” tag, e.g.screenshot.673
Of course, make sure you use your Google ID and not mine!
If you are using WordPress, you can skip this 4th step by installing the Google Plus Authorship plugin or similar.


That’s it!

Be patient as the photos may not appear beside search results immediately. You can also go here to check that everything worked correctly. This will allow you to see results like this:

Check Google Authorship
If you don’t have an email address on the same domain see this alternative method of setting up the link to the domain.
See the official page at Google explaining these steps for setting up Google Authorship.

 

How to Find People to Circle on Google Plus

Google Plus is now the second largest social network and growing quickly with 500 million registered users and an estimated 343 million active monthly users (January 2013)That is an impressive achievement given that Google Plus only launched in June 2011. But how can you find people to follow? In this article I discuss some of my favorite methods for finding new people to “circle” on Google Plus.

Google Plus Search

By searching for keywords, phrases or even hashtags at Google Plus you can find people who are posting and commenting about topics that interest you.


Google Plus Communities

G+ Communities are a great place to find people interested in the same topics as you. I tend to add those people who are more active in the discussions taking place.


Circle Count

Circle Count ranks Google Plus users according to how many followers they have. They also have some additional metrics that measure the influence of a person, such as the average number of +1s, comments or reshares a person gets for each post. You can browse the most popular people and, if your profile isn’t already being tracked, you can easily add yourself!

CircleCount


GPlusData

GPlusData is now tracking more than 105 million Google+ users and 1.5 million Pages. In addition to being a great way to find people using their search feature, you can get some excellent data on your account.

GPlusdata


Recommended Users

This is a listing of recommended and elite Google Plus users. If you are looking for some very high profile people to circle, you will find some here.

Recommended Users


FindPeopleOnPlus

With this site you can search for people by multiple criteria including occupation, gender, age, and even relationship status!

Find People On Plus


Add People from Shared Circles

Google Plus allows people to share circles they have created. So it’s easy to add a whole circle of people at once if you find a circle that is a great match. Check out my other post on how to find shared circles on Google Plus.

 

GPlus Rank

Gplus-Rank is designed to you find people who write solid articles, have worthwhile news to share, and even find the most interesting people. It does this through a voting system. I’m currently having trouble adding myself there, so I don’t think I’ll be getting many votes. I still found some interesting people to follow.

GPlusRank


SocialStatistics

For now, this tool seems to be more of a statistics tool than actually finding people, but if you want to carefully consider who you circle then this is an excellent tool to check them out.
Social Statistics


Circle+ Extension for Chrome Browser

Once you start using these tools you might get tired of adding people to your circles one by one! The Circle+ extension for the Chrome browser is quite powerful. Go to a web page and you can click a button to automatically add all the Google Plus-ers on that page to one of your circles.  I do recommend that people use this extension carefully. Remember the key to success with Google Plus is to build circles with people whom you find interesting. Google may restrict your account if you use a tool like this to aggressively follow too many people at once.

Don’t forget… there is also a limit of 5,000 people you can circle.

circle+

Did I miss any other good tools for finding people on Google Plus? Please let me know in the comments section below.

5 Ways to Find Shared Circles on Google Plus

Have you noticed that there are “Shared Circles” on Google Plus? This is a powerful feature that enables you to share circles of people that you have curated. It also means that when you discover someone else’s shared circle of interesting people you can quickly add that entire circle to your circles.

To add a circle you need to find the post written by the creator of the circle at the time they shared it. Here is an example of how the post looks at Google+. This circle contains a group of experts whom I follow closely for their advice on self-publishing, e-publishing, and book marketing.

Indie Publishing Circle Shared

If you are interested in this particular circle you can click here to view the actual post at Google Plus.

Once you are viewing the post at Google+ you can click on View Shared Circle. A window pops up showing the people and pages in the circle. You can then either add people one by one or all at once. To add them all at once simply type the name of a new or existing circle, and click on Create or add to circles.

See how quick and easy that was!

One thing to keep in mind is that you now own that new circle. It will not be automatically updated if the original creator makes and changes. I suggest that you bookmark the original post so you can go back occasionally and check for updates

How to Find Shared Circles at Google+

That was an example of one of my circles, but how can you find circles on other topics that interest you? Here are several ways.

1. Search at Google Plus

In the Google+ search bar, search for:

“shared a circle with you” keyword

2. CircleCount

From this page at CircleCount you can search for shared circles. CircleCount is also a good tool for tracking some of your Google Plus data.

3. Public Circles

At Public Circles there is a database of shared circles on Google Plus. I found it difficult to search from their web page for shared circles, but to get around this I performed the search from the main Google search engine for:

keyword site:https://publiccircles.appspot.com

4. Chris Porter has compiled a shared spreadsheet at Google Docs

The spreadsheet lists more than 1300 shared circles. You can easily follow a link to the post for the shared circle as well as a link to the profile of the person who created the circle.

5. Google Plus Profiles & Communities

The following Google+ profiles and communities are dedicated to shared circles.

     Profiles:   Shared Circles on G+     Best Shared Circle
     Communities:   Circles

Did I miss any other good resources for finding shared circles? Please let me know in the comments section below!

 

You Can Now Download Your Twitter Archive

break_the_egg_256pxHave you ever wanted to go back in time and explore your past Tweets? Until recently you could not easily do that. Now Twitter have introduced a feature where you can download your Twitter archive.

Your Twitter archive includes all your Tweets (including Retweets) going back to the very beginning when your account began.

To get your Twitter archive, you’ll need to go to Settings, then scroll down to the very bottom just above the Save Changes button. If you don’t see the option yet don’t worry, Twitter are rolling this feature out slowly over several months. Keep an eye out for it!

Read more about the new twitter Archive feature at Twitter’s blog.

 

SEO for Startups in 10 Minutes

In this YouTube video Maile Ohye from Google advises your startup as if she had only 10 minutes as your SEO consultant. Just a few of the recommendations she makes:

  • Choose if you want your visitors to see your site at domain.com or www.domain.com
  • Verify ownership of your site with Google Webmaster Tools
  • Perform a domain background check
  • Include analytics code
  • Consider customer personas in your site design strategy
  • Include relevant keywords naturally.
  • and more… there’s a lot packed into this short ten minute video.

Social Media Demographics – Where Can You Find Your Audience?

Social Media DemographicsDo you ever wonder where your target audience spends their time online? Which major social networks do they use?

Depending upon whether your audience tends to be male, female, younger, or older, some social networks will be better than others for reaching them.

We’ve put together an Infographic showing a breakdown of the major social networks by the average number of Daily Users, Gender, and Age.

To see this Infographic in full size please click on the image at right or here.

How to Write Killer Blog Headlines

 

How to Write Killer HeadlinesOK, so you are building a platform online. You’re off to a good start. And you have a blog? Even better!

But with so many online distractions what is it that can grab your readers’ attention and get them to read your posts? A good title or headline!

Today I want to give you some tips for writing killer blog headlines.

One of the most important parts of any post you write is the title or headline. There are several reasons why it is so important:

  • Your titles are important for search engine optimization and page ranking.
  • Your headline is often used by default when your page is shared by readers on social media networks.
  • Your headline is often the “make or break” factor that influences whether people even bother to load the page in their browser and read what you have written in the post.

So how do you write killer headlines that hook your readers and compel them to see what you have to say? Here are some proven ways to do it.

Explain How to Do Something

  • Learn How To …. Without …..
  • Discover How To …. In The Next 10 Minutes
  • How to Improve Your …. with One Simple Change
  • How to …. – A Case Study

Promise a List of Useful Items

  • 8 WordPress Plugins I Couldn’t Do Without
  • 10 Things Your Mother Never Told You About ….

Explain Why Things Are Like That

  • Why Authors Need to Build Strong Platforms
  • The Main Reasons Why

Ask a Question

  • Are You Using These Two Powerful Strategies?
  • What Are The Toughest Issues Faced By …. Today?
  • Why Do People Wrongly Think That … Will Be Easy?

Shock

  • A Shocking 70% Of …. Fail in the First Year
  • The Hidden Dangers of ….
  • 5 Warning Signs of ….
  • Why You Will Never Become A ….

Mistakes

  • The 5 Most Common Mistakes That ….
  • Have You Made These … Mistakes?
  • The Top 33 Words Misused by Bloggers

Context Phrase: Headline

  • Warning: Don’t Try These …. Without ….
  • The Hunger Games:  The Strategy Behind The Book’s Success
  • From Rags to Riches: The Incredible Story Of ….

Hidden Knowledge

  • 7 Powerful Secrets the “Experts” Don’t Want You To Know
  • The Real Reason Why My Twitter Followers Grew 1200% This Year

Do you like these ideas for headlines? Do you have any more suggestions like these? Please leave your comments below.