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. Google search results have been personalized for over a decade by now.

Google’s competition – mainly DuckDuckGo – also call them pout for creating and maintaining a so called filter bubble that only finds what you agree with – no matter whether it’s true or not.


Google Knows You Better than Your Mother

Unlike privacy-oriented DuckDuckGo 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.

Also their business model is to make money of personalized ads that match your interests, demographic, living standard or even religion and skin color!

First off Google localizes your results based on where you live or rather where you search from. For example I will see ads from Germany because I use Google.com from Germany.

It doesn’t matter that I choose English as my search, browser and operating system languages. Google tracks your IP and show you local results in local languages based on it.

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.

You will only see localized results and ads from “your” country and area even in case you choose to use Google in English or on Google.com!

Google knows better where you are and what you want.

Beyond localization Google also tries to find out and track your interested and preferences over time. You can switch off that feature in your privacy settings but it’s on by default. Everything you have searched and visited in the past has an impact on what you will see in future.


Your Google Profile is Identifying You

Ideally you would be able to have some say about how Google personalizes search for you.

Do you want to actively change how your social search is affected by your other online activities? You can! Here’s how:

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.

Images

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

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.

Engagement

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 on social media you are in count as well. They just have to be public! Many Facebook groups are. 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 share my posts.

I will engage with 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.

Blogging

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

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.

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.

Website

Add keyword to your name – Use your keyword in the website title. 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.

Other techniques

Use keywords in updates – It like with post titles. Those with the keyword mentioned 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. Twitter 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 social search, 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.

You can’t be a bot anymore.

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