Having explored how many profiles Google currently have, compared to Facebook, one of the notable things that occurred to me at the time, was why was their current people search so poor? With the roll out of Google+, there have been obvious improvements to this product from just over a month ago, tying in closely with the recent beta launch.
Although official available yonks ago, and having tested it previously to see whether it would be more beneficial to grab search results of data from Google, I can now tell you that there has been significantly more profiles added to that particular index, hinting that they will undoubtedly looking to turn ‘people’ into a vertical search alongside the other universal search items we’ve already seen somewhere down the line. It’s a delicate line to walk, especially considering the privacy issues Google have fallen foul on before, and is probably why Google+ people search is coming to us through the back door.
I hinted that Google have been keen and eager to get their hands on this sort of data before, and whilst it isn’t front and centre with the launch of Google +, it’s certainly on their radar for the future, if / when the product succeeds. With the recent moves towards identifying who creates what content, their are a number of things that you can do to increase the visibility of brand “me” on Google with all of these developments:
Create a custom Google Profile.
Duh! First step is actually creating a Google profile. For those of you who are late adopters, get yourself over here. This will require the setup of a Google account, which
I’m gonna guess most of you already have, you can find here.
Add Data to your Google profile
Obviously the more information Google have to chew on the more likely it will be found. I’ve added all of the options to my own profile, including links back to my blog (to help associate my profile information with the author rel=”me” tag found on my site).
I’ve also added Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and other social services that I use. The thinking? The sooner Google are able to associate my activity on these networks, the quicker they will be able to use that information inside Google+ search, both as a ranking factor when someone searches for ‘Paul Anthony’ and for pulling the information in automagically down the line. The more you can associate a relevance for your name around the web on multiple profiles, the more visible you will be.
Adding photos will also increase your visibility, as people generally ignore profiles which aren’t properly setup with photos when they are searching. Adding the sort of keywords and phrases you’d like to be found on is also going to help, considering that Google are likely placing an inflated rating to their own social profiles when someone performs a ‘People’ search type query, you can bet your bottom dollar that you’ll see more and more of them appearing.
Add an Author Page to your website
An author page on your website is going to give Google the information they need to build up data about you for use in the SERPS. As I mentioned earlier, you can see the benefits for yourself. This is going to increase the number of clickthroughs to your site by some margin, particularly whilst you are waiting for your competition to catch up.
WordPress folks you can easily create an new page as part of your theme, simply by adding an ‘Author Template‘ – then add the person markup to that page using microformats or the ‘person’ markup which can be found at schema.org. From what I can tell, there are a real lack of WordPress plugins out there to achieve this sort of functionality, so for now you are going to have to hard code the information you need.
You can check how all of this is working by visiting the rich snippets testing tool, after you’ve marked up your About me page.
Tie them together
Linking between your about page (with new additional markup) and your Google profile if definitely going to give Google enough information to go on. You can get a freebie button from Google if you aren’t terribly technical, but essentially all you really need to do is ensure the presence of the “rel=”me” tag when linking through to the respective Google profile.
Sit back and wait for the results. The combination of all these factors will drive both traffic to your website and increase your own personal visibility inside Google+.