Hands On Google Social Search SEO Techniques for Getting Personal

Man standing in the jungle wearing a khaki muscle shirt and cleaning his hands from the mud. We don't see his face, just the body until the chin.

While everybody was writing posts what the Google personal search means for SEO I chose to make my hands dirty with hands on actionable advice!

Then I decided to be more conservative and just summarized a few common sense hands on SEO techniques for personal search results.

Neither personal search or social search is new to Google. It’s just a huge leap forward this time after it has been a bit neglected in recent years.

Google+ and +1 are part of the main motivation behind this new move. Also, the so called link economy where many webmasters are buying links to game Google is the target.

Google wants to know who you are and what you like in order to ensure that low quality web sites do not get the attention they sometimes mistakenly still get on Google search.

We have to understand first that Google social search has a two tiered approach. You get still in a way organic results where personal/social search results are mixed in.

They are often ranking quite prominently on the first page and you can see these “private results” once your are logged in:


These results are solely your own search results nobody else sees in that way unless of course you opt out:


Everybody who is logged in into one of the manifold Google services will notice personal search results sooner or later. Logged out users won’t benefit from these added results.

They will only see localized results and ads from “their” country and area even in case they choose to use Google in English or on Google.com


To really use this feature you at least need a Google Profile and/or a Google+ membership.

Then you need to have some people connect to you via Google+ or other services you are using with the notable exception of Facebook it seems.

These services have to be linked on your Google Profile to count. What more can you do?


Google Profile

Connect other sites – Link all your other profiles and sites even less obvious ones like Blogger or WordPress.com

Describe yourself – Your short description on your profile matters a lot it seems. Also your latest “work” seems to have a big impact. Mention your keyword here.

Share some content from time to time, ideally by adding it to Google+ collections. I have a collection called SEO 2.0 for example.



Use images on your blog – images on my blog that are properly tagged show up in image results. Michael Gray‘s images do perform even better, they come in second even when I’m logged in

Share images on Google+ – Images shared on Google+ rank as well quite obviously

Upload images to your profile – Your profile image but also other images uploaded to Google Photos perform very well

Practice image SEO – Consider common sense image SEO best practices like understandable file names instead of numbers.



Use on topic collections – create topical collections on Google+ – I write mainly about blogging, social media and search and thus I created collections like

  • “blogging success”
  • “website optimization”
  • “Google+ Insights”

Use Google+ actively and frequently – Activity counts, even sharing updates automatically, pages and profiles by active people show up much higher

Encourage feedback – Feedback like comments, votes and shares is very important obviously, some profiles with more controversial posts with lots of comments show on top

Make many follow you – The number of followers of course counts, especially in case they are relevant to what you share.

Join the right groups – Topical groups you are in count as well so when you are selling SEO use the matching groups. This is a no-brainer.

Let people link to you on profiles – The number of people who connect their profile to your site is a factor thus make your employees link, this is one of the reasons the guys from Dejan SEO ranks so well.

Participate in social networking – Socialize with relevant people who are on your level. I don’t expect Rand Fishkin to +1 my posts.

I will +1 his from time to time, but I focus on people who are into SEO etc. and have enough time to read my posts as well.



Use buttons – Add a +1 button to your blog postings. I use a WordPress extension for that.

Cover Google+ – Blog about Google+ your profile, your page and what’s going on there.

Use a badgeAdd a Google+ badge to add you to “your circles” in the sidebar for example.

Call to action – Ask people to +1 your postings with a little call to action in the last sentence and display the button below.

Check shares – Monitor who shares your postings on Google+ using BuzzSumo and add these people to your circles.


Google +1

+1 quality and popular sites – Clicking +1 is a double edged sword. Your authority influences the things you vote up but also the sites you +1 are influencing your reputation.

Vote up crap nobody else likes and you get less influential on Google as a whole not just Google+.

They call it Agent Rank. I’m afraid by quality sites they mean mostly popular sites so you have to +1 main stream sources not only high quality niche sites.

+1 sites you often use – To see the sites you really like on top you simply have to +1 them. The more you +1 them the more likely they are to appear on top.

+1 your own sites – I don’t like this as I prefer other people to vote for me but it seems you have to vote for your own sites and articles.

It seems Google doesn’t dislike self-promotion unless of course your own sites are the only ones you push.

+1 what’s on top – To get more exposure on other people’s results it seems you have to +1 what’s already on top in organic search.

A woman I follow on Twitter linked to the Wikipedia definition of SEO on her private blog and now I see her on top of my search results.

I had to look up who she is, she doesn’t even follow me back. This way apparently even strangers or “weak links” will notice.


Google+ Page

Add keyword to name – Use your keyword in the Google+ page description. A brand+keyword page ranks better than just a brand of course when it comes to [seo].

Update frequently – It’s crucial to update your page regularly. You know Google loves content, it’s their business model.

You provide free content for them so they reward those who do provide it. Also people like me do not follow empty pages unless they trust the source already.

Socialize using your page – Companies can follow people on Google+ and +1 updates it seems. They can comment and share like any other user.


Other techniques

Use keywords in titles – It seems post titles with the keyword mentioned more than once rank better in personal results.

Use common words – You can optimize for common words again. When I search for car, house or even love I see personal results but most of them are not relevant.

The keywords may match but in most cases the whole update may be completely irrelevant to me. It’s good to provide a few updates using these simple terms if you care for them.

Share off-topic items – Do not only share work related content. Google+ is not like Facebook, you don’t have to share baby and pet photos all the time.

Add some occasional beauty and humor is great to make people happy and encourage engagement I’ve noticed. It’s better than just talking about SEO.


These are just common sense SEO techniques for Google+, the SEO 2.0 part of it starts when engaging with people.

This is a bit tougher and can’t fit in short list items easily. I think I will elaborate on it in the near future. I’m still testing and trying to find out myself what’s it all about.

I’m glad that SEO 2.0 has become main stream finally. You can’t ignore it anymore. Social media participation and outreach directly affects search results. It’s about time.

I’ve got used to it in 2008 already when I added StumbleUpon to my search results. Google+ integration is even better.

You can’t be a bot anymore.

Get personal now. +1 this post if you like it and join me on Google+!

Also please share more techniques on how to optimize for Google social search in the comments.