How the New Google +1 Changes Exposure and Time to Post

If you are interested in Google+, Twitter or social media in general please check out all of my related articles here: Wojdylo Social Media.

There are countless articles related to how a piece of content goes viral on social media. It is almost always the case that viral content starts quickly. Very few viral posts, videos or pictures start slow with little interaction over the first few hours. The Reddit algorithm is built with timeliness as a major component. The more upvotes in the first 15 minutes the more likely that post will reach the front page of a specific subreddit. For those unfamiliar, just know that quick interaction pushes a post to the brink of virality. Once it cross that point it can get thousands of shares and hundreds of thousands of pageviews. Exposure was often determine by the time of the post. That is not necessarily true with the new Google +1.

Why Timeliness is Not As Important on Google+

Prior to the new Google +1 recommendation feature timeliness was of the upmost importance on Google Plus. The level of engagement over the first few hours of a post would often determine the readership of said post. When looking at hundreds of Google Ripples it is quite noticeable that an influencer sharing a Google Plus post within the first few hours of being published increased the likelihood of virality. There are many factors that can be discussed at another time. All you need to know is that after those first few hours posts would hit a tipping point and start to slow down in terms of readership.

The new Google +1 has changed that. Over the course of the last five days I have noticed many old posts resurfacing. There is a reason. The +1 recommendation means anytime someone notices a valuable post and gives it a +1 recommendation it could be shared in front of their audience. This is huge! Instead of hoping an influencer sees it within the first few hours it is now truly beneficial for anyone to see it at any time. If a Google Plus user that has 4000 followers sees an old post of mine from three days ago and hits the +1 they have resurfaced that content for their 4000 followers to see.

It is very important to understand that not all 4000 followers are going to see this post. In fact, the number is probably less than 2% but it still allows that content to be seen. The most amazing part of the new Google +1 is the fact that it is algorithm based. I am not going to see a +1 from someone I follow that is related to Maine kite meetups. I don’t live in Maine and I have no interest in kites or kite meetups. Someone with those interests would be more likely to see that +1 recommendation. Google is pretty good with that who algorithm thing. You might have used it. It is called Google search.

What the New Google +1 Means For You

Last week I published a an article explaining why a Google +1 from an influencer is so valuable after this update. After hours of research and discovery I have found that a +1 from anyone can increase exposure. Even if a user is brand new to Google Plus and only has 40 followers there is still potential for new users to find content. The spider web effect is enormous. Today I noticed that a Google Plus post received close to 8500 +1s in less than 16 hours. This was something that was almost unheard of prior to the new +1 recommendation.

My advice is to create amazing content. Nothing has changed when it comes to great content. They may receive more +1s and garner five times as many shares but it always takes great content. When I first started my Internet adventure I Google searched “how to hit the front page of Reddit”. The first five results were very similar. They took searchers to a page that echoed the same sentiment – write good shit. If you can come up with amazing content you are going to be found. Keep plugging away. Google rewards those that work hard and produce the best quality. The new Google +1 will reward these individuals even more.…

Sign In With Google+ is the Future of Social Media

Anyone who has surfed the web in 2013 has read content that concludes with “Sign in with Facebook” or “Sign in with Twitter.”  These social media sites have done an amazing job of gathering data, even on third party websites.  Unfortunately, some feel as if said social networks are using the data in a way that does not have the end user in mind.  If only there were a way for users to surf the web while logged in and feel secure the whole time.

The Web is About Sharing Ideas and Facts

When users are looking to further their knowledge on a certain subject two web entities come to mind – Google and YouTube.  Not surprisingly, these are the two largest search engines in the world.  They also happen to be the same company.  Why can’t comments and sharing be done through a company that already ranks and provides the best possible results for search?

Social media has completely changed web browsing experiences as the Internet is now about sharing and engaging in conversation.  Fortunately, Facebook and Twitter have created the blueprint for how to get users to engage in an online conversation.  After analyzing what Facebook and Twitter did right and what they did wrong Google has been working diligently to create the best social sharing product on the web – Google+.  Do not think there has not been some bumps and bruises along the way.

What Google+ has done better than any other social website with 100+ million users is they have actively listened to those users.  After getting great data through search and users they have developed features that have the end user in mind.  On Tuesday, February 26th, 2013 Vic Gundotra and crew released the “Sign in with Google+” option for a few test websites.  Some of these websites include Flixster, USA Today, FitBit and The Fancy.  The aforementioned “Sign In with Facebook” or “Sign In with Twitter” will look a lot like this in the near future:

At this point you can only share your experiences with friends on Google+.  There is not an opportunity to comment on third party websites…yet.  A very important note is that when signing in through this “app” you are asked who should see your actions. This is something that is very important to Google.  They do not want you to worry that everything you do on a participating website will show up in your stream.  I think we have all seen that happen on other social networks; especially with games.

Something else that is offered through this “app” is the ability to invite friends individually or circles.  If I have a circle of friends that loves shopping it stands to reason that I should invite them to join me on TheFancy.com to pick out some fashionable clothing.  If I have a circle of news readers why wouldn’t I invite them to join me on USA Today to share news stories we find relevant.  This makes me even happier that I cleaned out my circles in November of last year.

How Sign In with Google+ is the Future of Social Media

At this point, the test websites do not offer the opportunity to comment through a Google+ profile.  It is coming.  Anyone who has used social media in the last three years knows that it is all in due time before third party comments will be available through a Google+ profile.  This is huge.  Wait.  That is not right.  This is ENORMOUS!  I am going to try and temper my excitement but it will be very difficult.  There is a very good chance that Twitter and Facebook have been working to rank profiles but they do not own search – Google does.

Over the last six months we have seen more changes in Google search than we have seen in the past six years.  The Knowledge Graph is getting better and better and search is becoming much more redefined.  One of the reasons is that Google is collecting data from users on what they want.   Some of this is through Google+, some of it is through being signed in through GMail while searching and some is just analyzing the data they collect every hour of every day.  For those who may be unaware of the Google Knowledge Graph it looks something like this:

As you can tell, search is much different today than just a year ago.  This brings me to the reasoning as to why Sign in with Google+ is the future of social media.  Google has users that are actively telling them what they want to see through search.  They are doing this through their actions.  Google has patents that can place a value on a specific users authority in a subject which makes search even better.  I will give you an example.  Let’s say I am a huge Breaking Bad fan.  Through my Google searches, it is quite obvious this is the case.  Every Sunday afternoon I do some searches on predictions for the episode coming up. On Monday morning I search for the best recaps of the show. I have been reluctant to join message boards or comment on websites because it is convoluted and clunky. I also don’t want to get random emails from these message board sites.

In the future I will have the opportunity to go to a highly authoritative website, ranking one the front page of Google search, and comment through my Google+ profile.  It will be seamless.  I will also be able to share the content to my public stream or my Breaking Bad circle.  That is great, but that isn’t even the best part.  The best part is the fact that I can find other people on the highly authoritative website that have a similar interest.  We have the ability to connect on any level through our Google+ profile.  But Jesse, you can do this through Facebook and Twitter.  Yes, you can, but what is not available is the ability to become an authority on that particular subject – IN GOOGLE SEARCH!

Google Author Rank allows Google to place a value on your areas of interest based on your interactions across the web.  Right now Google can only do it through Google+ and websites in with you are an author and have installed Google Authorship.  Mark Traphagen is an expert on this and I would highly suggest using him as the resource on Google+.  When third party comments are released Google will have the power to determine your area of expertise all across the web.

Let us go back to the Breaking Bad example.  Google has access to everything about your Google+ profile or page.  This includes how visitors found your profile.  If you are getting tons of traffic from AMC.com and BreakingBad.com Google can deduce that you have “some” authority in the subject.  They also see what those visitors do once they get to Google+.  If your visitors are reading your posts and immediately sign up for Google+ to comment I would like to believe this is a win-win situation.  Why would they not think you are an authority?

Spammers will always be an issue, but Google has an answer for that.  Yes, there will be plenty that try to manipulate the system and simply place links to “fan sites” through Google+ comments on 3rd party authoritative websites.  Fortunately, they will devalue those links and it will be a great way for them to find websites that are attempting to game search.  if you try it, the Google Spam team will find that their job is much easier.  Here is an example of what it will look like to be signed into a website courtesy of GooglePlusDaily.com:

Conclusion

If you doubted Google+ is here to stay you can doubt no longer.  When Google+ third party comments roll out across the web you can be rest assured that I will be commenting on websites in which I have a passion and/or strong interest.  This will allow me to increase my author rank but, most importantly, it will allow me to build amazing relationships with people who have similar interests.  That’s a plus!…

How Google Crawls and Indexes Social Media Posts

If you are interested in Google+, Twitter or social media in general please check out all of my related articles here: Wojdylo Social Media.

I will preface this content by saying this is a very brief overview of how Google crawls and indexes social media posts. If you want much more in depth research and the nuts and bolts of search I would suggest following Bill Slawski and reading his blog SEO by the Sea. I will do my best to put the process in which Google crawls and indexes Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ posts into layman’s terms. Hopefully even brand new website owners and bloggers will be able to better understand what is happening behind the scenes in Google search.

Crawling and Indexing of Social Media Posts

The Google spider crawls around the web 24/7 looking for fresh content to crawl and index. For the most part, a social media post is considered a unique new website. If there is a URL for that Tweet, Google+ post or Facebook page it is considered an individual website. By clicking the timestamp on most social media posts you will see a URL that looks sometime like this:

https://plus.google.com/116024884086268367178/posts/4E1AhC9rGwZ

All of Boston asked to shelter in place.

— John Carney (@carney) April 19, 2013

This is what Google absolutely loves as Google is in the business of indexing content and ranking the most relevant at the top of Google search. In the eyes of Google, the more new websites the better. I think we can safely say that Google has crawled and indexed so many individual websites that it would be very difficult for a new search engine to catch up. The gap continues to grow as more content is produced every single day. As more social media content is created Google is a major beneficiary. Here is a real life scenario.

A lifelong goal of a marathon runner might be to complete 50 marathons. By the age 40 marathon runner A has successfully completed 35 marathons. This runner has worked very hard to build endurance and compete at the highest level. To reach that lifelong goal this runner will only need to run 15 marathons post 40. Let us say that runner B has the same goal but is just getting started with running by age 40. Runner B just completed their first marathon last week and they are excited about competing again.

By stepping back and looking at the big picture it is quite obvious that runner A is well on their way to reaching this goal. Runner B is just getting started. When starting so late it life it is going to be very difficult to fight those aches and pains. This is exactly the way I look at Search. Google was first to the game and they have built a very strong foundation. Not only have they completed the foundation but they have one of the most beautiful homes on the water.

History of Google Indexing Social Media Posts

On December 7th, 2009 Google real time search went live. If you were in Internet marketing or SEO you likely remember the “latest results for” box showing up for timely search phrases. Most of the time this box only showed up for news events or a trending topics on Twitter or Facebook. This was a very useful tool for Google search users as they could get live updates when something was happening. Google struggles to index real time events quickly enough. A perfect example is sports scores. If I search Duke vs UNC at halftime of the basketball game I will get a game preview from a local newspaper from earlier in the day ranking in Google search. I likely will not get the up to the second score.

The Google real time search was possible because of contracts with social media websites. On July 2nd, 2011 the contract with Twitter expired and real time search went offline. Ironically, this is about the same time Google opened Google+ through invitation only. Lets just say that Google saw the writing on the wall very early in the process. Real time search is meaningful and Google wanted that real time data for live events going on throughout the world.

Google+ is Different Than Facebook and Twitter

I mentioned that the contract ended with Twitter. This means that Google no longer has complete access to crawl and index individual Tweets the way it did during real time search. The same can be said of Facebook. In fact, Facebook is behind an even strong wall as most Google search users will rarely, if ever, see an individuals Facebook post show up near the top of Google search. It happens but not as often as other social media posts.

After doing well over 100 hours of testing I have seen that Google+ posts are crawled and indexed in search immediately. I firmly believe this was their objective back in June and July of 2011 when the real time search went offline. When a major event happens Google wants that data ASAP. With millions of Google+ users updating content they can crawl and index this information very quickly; almost real time. This is one of the main reasons I embraced Google+ and have worked very hard to build a following.

Let me be perfectly clear. You cannot create a Google+ profile on Thursday and expect to rank on the front page of Google search for specific keywords by Saturday. It simply does not work that way. If you are willing to build authority in a specific subject over time you will see tremendous results. If this is exciting to an Internet marketer or small business I am not sure what is.…

Google is Bigger Than Facebook, Twitter and Netflix Combined

I knew Google was big, but this big? Deepfield recently published a study showing that Google receives 25% of North American consumer web traffic. This is all web traffic that goes through the Google servers. “An amazing 60 percent of all Internet end devices/users exchange traffic with Google servers during the course of an average day. This analysis includes computers and mobile device as well as hundreds of varieties game consoles, home media appliances, and other embedded devices.” To put that into perspective, it is more traffic than Facebook, Twitter and Netflix receive combined. The last time Deepfield completed this type of research in 2010 Google was only receiving 6% of web traffic. In the last three years Google continues to keep the end user in mind which has helped them grow to the most powerful Internet company in history.

How Did Google Get So Big?

We must remember that Google purchased YouTube in 2006 when the video sharing website was still getting off the ground. Google knew they would not make money on YouTube for, at least, half a decade. The same was true of the Android purchase. I think most of us can remember when Android phones were very clunky and had major software issues. Now the Android operating system is a work of art. This long term outlook has helped Google to create some of the most amazing products you can hold in your hand or use on a computer. In a time when most companies want profits now Google has taken the approach that nothing comes easy and patience is a requirement. Take Google Plus as an example.

Photo Credit

For the last two years we have read hundreds of articles claiming that Google Plus is a ghost town. The new trend is that claimed journalists are urging Google to shut down Google Plus. These are probably the same journalists that thought the YouTube and Android purchases were a waste of money. After talking with several Google employees it is quite obvious that they are going to remain patient with the Google social layer. Each month millions of new members sign up and some of the more experienced Google Plus users are stating that engagement and interaction continues to rise from new faces. I can attest to this as well.

Remaining patient and having deep pockets is very important. Google has over $50 billion in cash and this is after a $12.5 billion Motorola Mobility purchase and a $1.25 billion Waze purchase. Every quarter Google prints money. With over 66% market share in search it is hard to imagine this is going to change any time in the near future. Bing and Yahoo! have greatly struggled to gain traction in search market share which allows Google to gobble up more data. This data helps them polish off their products to better suit the users.

How Google Makes Money

Google makes the majority of their money through search advertising. No matter what anyone tells you Google is in the search business. Every product created is to enhance search. Maps makes mobile search better. Google Plus makes personalized search better. Android makes smartphone search better. GMail makes email search better. I could go on for hours. I think you get the point. As long as Google continues to have over 60% market share in search there are going to be billions of dollars made every quarter. Oh yeah, YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world as well.

The reason Google has grown to 25% of all web traffic is because they offer amazing products that just work. Apple tried to create Maps. We saw how that went. Facebook tried to create a search engine. We are seeing that disaster right now. Many major Internet companies have challenged Google but they are several years behind. Being this far behind when it comes to technology is like being decades behind when it comes to any other industry. The amount of server space and cash that Google has makes them a force that is going to be hard to stop.

When thinking of all the Google products I use it is hard to imagine life without them. Think about searching on the Internet without Google. Think about getting from point A to point B without Google Maps. Think about creating presentations, study guides and shareable documents with Google Drive. Think about searching for a video without YouTube. Once again, I could go on and on. Ultimately, the reason that Google is bigger than Facebook, Twitter and Netflix combined is because they ultimately care about people. It is the Google way.…

Google Keep: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Article by Jimmy Matthews III

In case you missed the furor over the past few days, Google has introduced a new note-taking product called Google Keep. This product was teased on March 18th when the web site drive.google.com/keep accidentally went live. A few tech bloggers and journalists dove-in and gathered an immense number of screenshots and gave their thoughts about Keep before Google suddenly pulled the plug on the mysterious new service mere hours after it had gone live.

In this article, we’ll cover what exactly Keep can do, as well as where it succeeds and where it fails. Finally, we’ll cover the big question that is on everyone’s mind: Why would I use Keep instead of a well-established service like Evernote?

What is Keep, and What Does it Do?

As mentioned, Keep is a note-taking service that Google has released publicly (http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2013/03/google-keepsave-whats-on-your-mind.html) as of March 20th. Some intrepid readers may be thinking, “didn’t Google already have a note-taking service that was killed off a few years ago?” This is completely accurate, and the company did in fact-kill off their Google Notebook service in the middle of last year (http://www.google.com/googlenotebook/faq.html); however unlike the recent shut-down of Google Reader, the Big G provided their users with a concrete transition plan, which included automatically migrating the Notebook data into Google Docs (now known as Google Drive).

Keep appears to have picked up exactly where Notebook left-off, albeit with a much cleaner web interface, and a similarly clean-looking Android app, which makes syncing your notes across multiple devices a breeze. The interface allows users to create flat text notes, ordered lists and image-based notes–all of which can be color-coded, archived and searched with ease. Beyond those features, Keep has nothing else to offer. Despite the misleading URL for Keep, it’s not currently integrated into Google Drive, though this has been promised as happening “in the coming weeks”. It should not be a stretch of the imagination to take this as meaning that “My Drive” will feature a sidebar link that will allow the user to access Keep without leaving the Drive interface. It also wouldn’t be a surprise if this comes coupled with a minor UI refresh for Drive to give it a cleaner interface similar to Keep.

Where Keep Succeeds

At this point, Keep features a very minimalist interface, which does not get in the user’s way. Instead, the user is able to focus on the task at hand, which is taking notes, and making lists. In this area, Keep is a clear note-taking power house. The minimal interface helps make using the service a very efficient task, and this also carries over to the Android app. Simplicity is key, and the fluid performance can not be overstated when it comes to getting things done.

Power users will be able to appreciate the fact that Keep does feature a fairly decent set of keyboard shortcuts for navigating around the web interface and allowing them to quickly edit and create notes. Sadly, there are a lot of issues related to these shortcuts, which we’ll detail in the next section. At the very least, the starting set of keyboard shortcuts is more fleshed-out than even those available today for Google+.

Where Keep Fails

Consistency: Why does it seem like every time a new Google product is unveiled, their mission of providing “a clean consistent interface” gets trashed? This usually gets rectified within a reasonable amount of time, but it’s a frustrating experience for the early adopters of their products that forces them to adapt as the “beta first” products mature. The UI of Keep is simply not consistent with the rest of their flagship services like Gmail, Calendar or Drive, and until this happens, there is going to be a usability delay when users switch between those essential services.

Keyboard shortcuts: The previous section mentioned that the keyboard shortcuts were a successful element to Keep, but there seems to be a plethora of issues with these shortcuts. First and foremost, there are missing functions that require the user to switch over and use the mouse. If there is any action that requires the usage of a mouse to interact with a product, then the keyboard shortcuts almost immediately lose their value. This is harsh, but true. For an example of all-inclusive keyboard shortcuts, look no further than Google Reader. There was not a single action that required the use of a mouse, and that was the primary reason that Reader was considered a “power user” tool. It enabled the consumption of content to be done at a rapid pace, to which there is no comparison. There are so many bugs when it comes to keyboard shortcuts in Keep that they need their own post to fully detail all of them. In the interest of time, those will not be included here.

Multiple Views: There are two ways to view the content in Keep: List view and Grid view. When switching to Grid view, a glaring defect is immediately obvious to the user: “what happened to the lists?” Suddenly, all “list” elements are collapsed into a flat text-based note. Each item within the list is included on a line with empty line-breaks between each one. The only way to intuitively identify a list is if there are already items that had been checked-off as completed, which appear as text formatted with “strike-through” style. One major disadvantage here is usability. There is no way to interact with a list while in grid view. The user is forced to change to list view in order to modify the check box that indicates an item has been completed. This is a stunning usability failure.

To further the frustration for using Grid view, all of the keyboard shortcuts related to creating new notes places the user back in List view, and there is no way to organize the notes from the web. In the Android version of Keep, the user is able to drag-and-drop the notes to reorder them, almost as a way of prioritizing the current items. This functionality is completely lost when using the web, and again: this is a complete and utter failure in usability.

Trash: Why is there no trash? Surely this service is intended to have consistency with Gmail on some level. The keyboard shortcuts for Archiving or Deleting notes are the same across both, and just like Gmail, you have the fleeting option to “Undo” either of these actions. Occasionally (and no thanks to the buggy keyboard shortcuts), an item can be accidentally deleted by the user. If the “Undo” link is not immediately selected to save the note from certain death, there is no safety net. The note is simply gone forever, and cast off to the bowels of Google’s servers.

Lists: This goes back to the failure to provide a consistent experience across products on Google’s part. Their Tasks product, which could be considered a subset of Gmail, has an excellent mechanism for creating ordered lists. You can nest lists and set reminders and calendar entries based on the content of individual items in your lists. None of these features carry over to Keep, and it’s mind boggling. This also opens the question as to what the future holds for Google Tasks. Will it be axed? Can it be merged into Keep? Why do they both exist right now, but with divergent usability and features? There are a few other nagging issues on lists like empty list items being entirely too easy to create, which don’t get automatically cleaned as well as the final item in every list being a non-removable empty check box, but those are less atrocious offenses than the ones that get in the way of being productive.

Is Keep Ready to Replace Evernote?

No. Not in any way. At this point in time, there are way too many features that are missing from Keep that will keep away long-time Evernote users. Chief among those missing features would be tagging, nesting/grouping of notes and the built-in OCR (optical character recognition) that allows a user to search and categorize images or PDFs that have been uploaded into their collection of notes. Another glaring omission is a web app. While Evernote has an extension/webapp called Webclipper–which makes saving webpages and articles to notebooks a snap–Keep has no such thing. Users are forced to bookmark the web page or use the Android app with no other alternatives.

Additionally, there is quite a bit of mystery over why Keep was released on a nondescript Wednesday in the middle of March. In the week prior to Keep’s unintentional leak and then subsequent unveiling by Google, their power consumption service Google Reader had been killed off. This caused a tremendous uproar all across the internet with a very vocal user base screaming about how they had been done a great disservice and that Google could no longer be trusted. It is impossible to rule-out the possibility that Google wanted to give the internet something else to talk about to try and quell the fury caused by announcing an upcoming shutdown of such a tremendously awesome service.

This is especially curious because of the unfinished nature of Keep. The “Google bar” that runs across the top of the Google ecosystem was introduced as a way of unifying the various Google products and tying everything together with a clean, consistent interface. But if that were the case, why does Keep have an old and outdated version of the Google bar? In fact, some might might even see it as spiteful that the “More” drop-down that can be found on Keep’s Google bar not only hides away Calendar and Drive (two essential services), but it still includes a link to Reader. Ouch. What happened here?

The outdated Google bar, coupled with the various bugs and interface quirks, not to mention the number of times that the service appeared to have crashed shortly after the big reveal tend to suggest that Google wanted to rush this product out before it was good and ready. While that may be true, there is no doubt that Keep has a long way to go. If Google wants this to be a serious contender to replace note-taking services like Evernote or task lists like any.do or their own Tasks service, then they have a steep climb in front of them. We can only hope that Google spends the time and resources necessary to build upon the promising base that they’ve established with the release of Google Keep.…

Google Plus is Not a Ghost Town Even on Friday Nights

If you are interested in Google+, Twitter or social media in general please check out all of my related articles here: Wojdylo Social Media.

We have heard over and over that Google Plus is a ghost town. Major media publications point out that your friends and family members are not on Google Plus. There is no reason to be there. Blah. Blah. Blah. Well, I am here to prove that to be false, but from a different angle. Even if Google Plus only had 25,000 members it is still integrated into Google organic search and Google Local/Google Maps search. This means that all of those billions of searches happen to see Google plus posts and business pages. I don’t know about you but I would not consider Google Maps nor Google Search a ghost town.

Friday Nights on Google Plus

Over the last few days I have been ramping up my content creation as I have been in the creative sandbox. As I was sitting at a Friday night sporting event I could not stop the notifications on my Android Nexus 4. Those notifications were not from Twitter and they sure were not from Facebook. My Google Plus notification box would jump to five every single time I refreshed. This is not something that is new to me. Even on weekends and Friday nights I am seeing high levels of engagement.

Do not get me wrong, you cannot get this engagement if you don’t try. I have repeatedly said that Google Plus takes effort; lots of effort. Many businesses and individuals do not necessarily have time for this type of social media engagement. Those that do cannot keep up the business is doing so well. Vic Gundotra has stated many times that businesses are seeing as much as a 50% increase in click through rate (CTR) when they are using Google Plus as a measure for Internet Marketing.

This is not a surprise to me at all. After seeing many Google Plus posts rank in search it stands to reason that businesses with authority are seeing an improved click through rate (CTR). If you are not aware, CTR helps make money. A lot of money. Can you imagine your website or business seeing 50% more clicks than it does right now? I would imagine that might put a smile on your face. Businesses aside, there is still plenty of interaction and engagement on Google Plus.

Building Authority Brings Followers

As stated earlier, Google Plus takes effort. If you join Google Plus on a Wednesday and immediately post, “Whats up Google+?” and walk away you are not going to see high levels of engagement. If you actively seek out others with interest similar to yours that level of engagement increases drastically. If you are having trouble finding people with similar interest there is this awesome thing called a search bar. Use it. I would like to think Google has that search thing down pat.

Also, communities were created to bring like minded individuals together. If you have an interest in disc golf I can assure you there are other people active on Google Plus have an interest in disc golf. The greatest thing about the community of disc golfers is that they are using a Google product that ranks very well in Google search. This means as more and more people search for disc golf related keywords there is a good chance they will find…you!

If you are willing to put forth just a little bit of effort you will find that Google Plus is nothing close to a ghost town. As I mentioned earlier, it is often hard for me to keep up with the notifications. I have turned all the notifications off for my communities and specific circles because there is just too much activity. I know this is not the case for everyone but if you are willing to put forth the effort it can be for you.

If you are struggling to understand Google Plus or any social media network please feel free to reach out to me. I offer some help options at this resource – SEO and Social Media Help. If nothing else, reach out to me on Google Plus as we likely have something in common!…

Why Google Plus Has Me Hooked (After Only a Week)

Guest Post by Lauren Sutton

Wow. After the week I’ve had, that’s the only word that accurately sums up how I feel. I made my first Google+ post on January 27th, 2013 and the experiences I’ve had since have left me speechless. When Jesse Wojdylo sat me down and told me the opportunities that Google+ had to offer, I was skeptical (to put it lightly). But he reiterated several times that it would be an amazing way for a budding blogger’s voice to be heard, and that was something I had been searching for. Besides, there obviously had to be some perks for this guy to keep gushing on about it, right?

It didn’t take me long to realize the appeal. And man, was I blown away. The very first night I became active on Google+, I was entranced. My “hello” post (https://plus.google.com/u/0/102827447379780938876/posts/JaxuQRb1DyH) was a huge success (much to my surprise), and I immediately got thrown into the thick of the community. I began making great connections and communicating with people from all walks of life. When my first article dropped on Wojdylo Finance on January 28th (http://www.wojdylofinance.com/why-college-students-cant-and-wont-leave-facebook/), the surprises kept on coming. And they haven’t stopped yet.

It didn’t take me long to realize that I was getting a tad bit addicted. I was bragging about it to my friends, struggling to stay off of the site in class, and proudly showing off my laptop that has now adorned one of the infamous G+ stickers.

This is quite a drastic transformation from my previously doubtful self. So why the sudden change of heart? Here’s just a few reasons why Google+ already has me hooked.

You Can Proclaim Your Thoughts to the World or to an Audience of One

I haven’t had much time to do a lot of circle or community management, but I think circles are the greatest. I had no idea about the details of this feature prior to making my account. This is an aspect that is unavailable on any other social network. On Facebook and Twitter, you can control who you are friends with or who your followers are, but that’s about the extent of the regulation that you are able to do. Regardless of whether you are into blogging, business, or just being an average Joe, the possibilities are endless. The ability to tailor content to a specific audience is extremely advantageous.

For example, I can think of a few things I may wish to write about in the future that would be better portrayed to those in certain fields or age groups. The benefits from a businessman’s point of view are obvious. And as for the average guy, you have the ability to share, brag, and conceal whatever your heart desires. But here’s the cool thing – you don’t have to limit the amount of eyes that see your posts at all if you don’t want to. Anything can be made easily accessible by the entire community of G+ users. Circles are clever from a logistical standpoint and make the safety concerns of social networking a thing of the past – well, at least for Google+ users.

Google+ Gives the Phrase “Hey, Let’s Hangout!” a Whole New Meaning

I would like to give a shout out to Mr. Ronnie Bincer, who made the following comment on my last article in response to the question, “What do you think it would take to draw college students from Facebook?”

Oh, how right he was. I love hangouts. I’ve participated in a handful of private hangouts, and my first legitimate Google+ hangout was with Macklemore and Zach Quillen (http://www.youtube.com/embed/CYApFH8bO6g). As someone who has only ever used Skype, ooVoo, etc. for video chat, I was completely astounded at how fluid hangouts have the potential to be. There is little to no lag and they’re extremely user friendly.

I can only imagine the potential that Google+ hangouts could have on a college campus. There would be no more study groups trekking across the grounds to meet, leadership teams could hold meetings from the comfort of their dorm or apartment, and smaller seminars would even have the ability to have class through a webcam. It is by far the best video chat software I have ever used. In fact, after I introduced hangouts to a friend of mine, we talked to each other in the same room for over thirty minutes playing with the special effects. They’re fun, they’re innovative, and they will become even more popular.

The Google+ Community is Second to None

This is definitely one of the major reasons why I’ve had such a wonderful first week on Google+ – the people here are incredible. From the minute I started posting, I’ve been welcomed with open arms by almost everyone I have come into contact with. I was hesitant to join Google+ partly because I did not know anyone else with an account. I had a hard time believing that a community of complete strangers – many of these strangers being very intelligent and highly educated – would have an interest in what I had to say. I was so wrong!

I have been continually surprised by how kind my followers have been. For example, earlier this week I posted that I would be taking a short hiatus due to the fact that I had three major exams in a two week period. I wasn’t sure how this well this would be received seeing as I had just started writing and publishing (although

I should have known that the break wouldn’t last long due to the aforementioned growing addiction), but I had nothing to worry about. The encouraging and thoughtful messages I received just cemented my feelings that I had made the right choice in jumping in and giving Google+ a shot.

Over the last week, I have been challenged repeatedly, in comical debates, intellectual discussions, and simply taking a stand and sticking with it. I’ve talked with and gotten to know people that I never would have been able to otherwise. I’ve felt more creative than I have in a really long time. I’ve had opportunities thrust at me that have made me step back and grin in disbelief.

Before the critics come swooping in, let me clarify something: I know that my time on Google+ this week will not necessarily be another new user’s experience as well. Not everyone will get to do a hangout with Macklemore, hit the “What’s Hot” page, and speak with influential people that are relevant to his or her interests within the first few days of joining – which leads me to my last and most vital reason why Google+ has captured my interest…

Google+ Makes Things Possible that No Other Social Network Can

Anyone has the potential to be successful on Google+ with the right content and attitude. I assure you, I would not have had any chance of being able to experience these things on Facebook or Twitter. Of that, I am certain. I have dreamed of writing and having my works read by an audience ever since I was a little girl. You, as you are scrolling through this article, are living proof that Google+ has made this happen for me. And for that, I’m hooked!

What are some of your favorite things about Google+? Are there any features not mentioned here that I’m missing out on?…

Why the Google Plus App for iPhone is Better Than Android

Most of my readers know that I am a lover of all things Google, including Android.  It is very rare that I make a claim that an iPhone feature is better than an Android feature.  It is especially hard for me to stake this claim when it comes to a Google product.  As much as it pains me to type this, the Apple iPhone Google Plus app is better than the Android Google Plus app (in certain ways).  Do not get me wrong, I think the Android app is great, but there are a few features that the iPhone app does better.

Circles are the Foundation of Google Plus

Google Plus was created with privacy as the backbone.  Internet users have repeatedly complained about privacy when it come to other social networks.  Google recognized this and allowed users to create circles to direct outgoing information.  If I did not want my parents to see pictures of my trip to Las Vegas I could share those pictures with just my “college buddies” circle.  If I didn’t want my college friends to see pictures of my family reunion I would simply share that content with my “extended family” circle.  I think you get the idea.

One of the great features of Google Plus is a user can notify a circle when it comes to a very important post.  Warning!  Before creating a circle and notifying those individuals of every single post it is important to remember that people are busy.  I do not send notifications to individuals unless they have proven they want to read my content through comments or personal messages.  If a user sends out too many notifications they become nosy and Google Plus has two awesome features – mute and block.  I try to avoid using the block feature but if I get three notifications a day about a ski trip in Vail I am probably going to consider blocking that person; I will definitely mute them.  Now that the warning is complete we must recognize that the ability notify a group of interested individuals can be very powerful.

I have built my following around social media and technology related content.  We can talk Apple vs Android or Google vs Facebook all day.  This is something they enjoy so I do not feel bad to notify them when I write a 1000 word article explaining why the Google Plus app for the iPhone is better than the Android.  I digress…

Apple iPhone Google Plus App Features

The image to the left shows the Apple iPhone Google Plus app screen when looking at who +1′d a post.  As you can see, under the name of each user I can see the circle(s) that I have for that particular user.  Any user with nothing under their name is not in any circles.  This is an awesome feature because it allows me to see where I have categorized an active user.  If I notice that Clayton Pritchard comments and +1s on all my Android related posts I probably need to put him in my Android circle.  This is especially important for those that are not in any circle.  If I consistently see the user Diane Barnett popping up as an individual who comments and +1s I probably need to contact her and ask her if she would like to be in a notification circle for my “juiciest” social media or tech related content.

Something else that the iPhone app does that is unique is the calculation of +1s on this particular screen.  The Android app will tell the user how many +1s a post has but not in the screen that displays who has +1′d a particular post.  One last feature about the Apple iPhone Google Plus app that I love – the scroll down to update feature.  I am not sure if Twitter has made this part of my life but I simply want to use my thumb to slide down the screen and get updates.  This is available in the notification box on iPhone but not on Android.  On Android there is a refresh circle you must use to update your notifications.

I know this is splitting hairs but I get over 500 notifications a day and I want them to be efficient.  I also want to be able to manage my circle from my mobile device.  I use the desktop version of Google Plus quite a bit but I think I honestly use the mobile version even more.  Being able to get more efficient notifications and maintaining my circles from the palm of my hand makes life so much easier.

Android Jelly Bean Google Plus App Features

As stated at the beginning of this article, I love all things Google.  I cannot express in words how much I enjoy my Nexus 4.  It is one of the best pieces of technology I have ever used in my lifetime.  That said, the features mentioned above are not available on the Google Plus app for Android.  Lets take a look.

The image to the left shows the Android Google Plus app when looking at who +1′d a post.  Notice the difference from the iPhone iOS app.  First of all, you do not see how many users have +1′d a post.  This is not a concern for me as the previous screen will show me that.  This issue I have is that I cannot see the circles that I have these users.  I can click on the user to see their profile page which will show me the circles I have them in but that is one too many steps.  If Rand Wilson is an iPhone lover and an Android hater I probably do not want to notify him of all my Android related content.  If Lauren Sutton is a diehard Facebook user I may not want to send her my, “The Exodus of Facebook is Coming” posts.  Well, maybe I do.  That is neither here, nor there.

As noted before, I also cannot slide down to update my notifications.  The notification box can only be updated by hitting the refresh circle.  These are features that I would love to see Android implement in the very near future.

If circle management and notifications are important to you the iPhone Google Plus app is better.  It pains me to say it, but I am only reporting the facts on March 7th, 2013.…

How to Grow a New Google Plus Community Quickly

We have all been there. We create a Google Plus community that is fun and interesting but after the first few invites transform into community members the growth stops. We know a handful of people that will join a community just because they are close friends, but how does the community continue to grow outside of a direct network? There are a few factors that come into play and I am going to do my best to help you grow your Google Plus community to an amazing online forum that generates great content every single day.

Promote Google Plus Communities During Special Events

Over the course of the last four years I have grasped a firm knowledge that many things internet related are based on time. There will be hundreds of thousands of searches for laptops over the next month because the kids are going back to school. In the month of October everyone and their sister will be searching for unique halloween costume ideas for themselves or their children. As we get closer to the Christmas holiday searchers will look for store hours during the Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Years. There are events that create high levels of traffic every day of the year. Find events that are related to your community.

If you run an Android community it would behoove you to share it whenever a new Android update is available. It seems like every week a new Android smartphone is released. Share the community to your following and mention some of the new smartphones on the market. When Samsung or AT&T announce earnings share the community and ask a following if they would be interested in talking about which carrier will come out on top or which manufacturer makes the best smartphone. There are tons of opportunities to share a community when it comes to time sensitive events.

Build Communities Around Your Community

Thank about communities related to communities. If you have a TV or Movies community you may want to stay up to date on the latest gadgets. I created the Chromecast community a few minutes after the product was released and the community gained over 500 members in a 48 hour timeframe. This was a very hot product at launch and everyone wanted to know where they could get it. There was also plenty of discussion related to setting it up and how to get the three free months of Netflix. I would have never guessed that the community would grow so fast.

Ultimately, I do not have a huge interest in the Chromecast but I have an interest in anything Google is doing with a TV. I also own a Movies community and a TV community. When a major movie comes out or a brand new TV show premieres there is a good chance I will share one of those communities to my large Chromecast community. If you own multiple communities it never hurts to cross promote. In fact, I would urge you to do so if it makes sense. I will not promote my Amanda Bynes community in the Chromecast community as that doesn’t make sense. That said, when college football season starts I may cross promote as some Chromecast users may wonder if they get ESPN or CBS Sports with the Chromecast.

Promote, Promote and Promote Some More

In marketing, psychology is almost everything. If you only share your community one time you are missing out on a huge audience. Most people are not sitting on Google Plus all day. They only see bits and pieces of the content that is shared. I would never suggest sharing the same community five times a day but it does not hurt to come up with a strategy. Think about the new followers you add. They have never seen this community. Maybe you share the community every 500 followers you add. Maybe it is only every 100 added followers. You must decide based on your community and your following.

If you do not promote your community it is not going to grow. Over the course of the first 24 hours of my Chromecast community I shared it four times. Every time a major publication wrote an article I shared the community. Now that the community is running itself and growing so quickly I will only share it once every few days. If there is another major announcement you can guarantee I am going to plug it again. If you are strategic with the way you promote you can add a couple new community members with every public share. Get to it!…

How to Moderate a Large Google Plus Community

If you are interested in Google+, Twitter or social media in general please check out all of my related articles here: Wojdylo Social Media.

Google Plus communities can be a tough animal to handle. Some communities have over 100,000 members and there are hundreds of posts submitted by the hour. Spam controls have gotten much better but it is still a full time job to keep a large community running smoothly. If you have several large Google Plus communities you can forget having a life. There are ways to combat the work load and make things easier on yourself and the community members. Here is what I have figured out over the last several months.

Communities Are a Group of People

I know this is not rocket science but sometimes we have to remember that we are dealing with people. When a Google Plus community gets too big to handle I would strongly suggest reaching out to the more active community members that you respect. If they are great plussers and they have shown that they want to help grow the community I would ask them if they would like to be promoted to moderator. One issue with Google Plus communities right now is that an owner can promote a community member to moderator without even asking. There will be some community members that have too much on their plate and they simply cannot fulfill the duties of a moderator.

That said, there will be several community members that will be more than happy to take over the reins to become a moderator in the community. I would never post a public declaration that you are searching for moderators. If you have been active within your community you already know who the best users are. Reach out to them, ask them if they are willing to help and reward them with a promotion to moderator. This has helped me tremendously with some of my larger communities. With some of my smaller communities I have no issues so I can moderate them myself.

Moderation is a touchy subject so you will want to go over this with your newly promoted Google Plus users. Some Google Plus communities allow self promotion of any kind. I am not fond of this as it seems to water down the content. I am an advocate of community members posting some of their best material. I do not think that someone that joins a community to spam it with links to their 20 different websites is helpful. As a moderator and owner of communities I do not think twice about banning someone that uses this method of posting to Google Plus.

There is Help Available

No matter what niche you are in there are plenty of Google Plus users that are willing to help. In fact, there are communities that have been built around helping other Google Plus users. If you are really struggling with a large community I would suggest going into some of these “help” communities and asking for some tips and tricks. You may find that a very experienced Google Plus user is more than willing to help when it comes to moderation of your community. Heck, there are even some Google employees that have helped me moderate communities for a short period of time.

Do not think you are in this alone. If you grow a large community someone within the community will be willing to step to the plate. Do not hesitate to ask some of the more active members if they can assist with some of the small things. Sometimes it is as easy as someone posting the rules of the community every Monday morning. Although this is not difficult it can become time consuming for someone that has a lot on their plate. How do you handle a large Google Plus community? Here is the link to the Google Plus Community Moderators community.…