Mark Traphagen2014-02-12 22:24:19
Hemingway Helps Make You a Better Writer

This is simply brilliant...and so simple to use. 

Just paste anything you've written into and Hemingway highlights common mistakes that can make your writing less clear and concise.
  • 115 plusses - 16 comments - 513 shares | Read in G+
  • Mark Traphagen2013-03-21 11:53:30
    Me and Google are so close...

    (Shared by +Cyrus Shepard at
  • 866 plusses - 109 comments - 216 shares | Read in G+
  • Mark Traphagen2013-08-20 10:42:24
    Google +1's and Higher Search Rankings: New Study

    Here's the thing that many will miss if they don't read +Cyrus Shepard's post carefully. It is not the +1's themselves that are causing the high rankings of posts but the fact that most +1's on a site result in a shared post on Google+, which creates a followed link back to the post. It's instant organic link building.

    Cyrus has just brought to Moz what I wrote about in my most-read post ever: Google+ pages, profiles, and communities have PageRank. Thus not only getting lots of +1 shares helps you, but getting some from high-authority Google+ users helps even more. This is why people who have built strategic networks with Google+ influencers have a huge legup in their SEO.

    Because people will misread a post like this, you are going to see a whole new wave of people gaming and selling +1's. But they are wasting their time and money. The real takeaway here is to do all the to-do's in Cyrus's post (which I have always told you to do) AND work hard to build a strong network here on Google+. It's that network of people who love your great content and will share it out here that builds the SEO power of your site's posts.

    Recommended: If you want to take the real deep dive on this topic, I highly recommend reading the extensive series by +Joshua Berg on Google+ SMO (Social Media Optimization). The link below is to Part 6; scroll down to the bottom and follow the links there to read the other five parts:
  • 323 plusses - 82 comments - 185 shares | Read in G+
  • Mark Traphagen2013-02-03 06:28:21
    Has Eric Scmidt Just Confirmed Author Rank?

    It's been some time since we've had any public statement from a Google employee on Google Authorship becoming a major ranking factor in search results.

    Until now.

    In his upcoming book The Digital Age, according to +TechCrunch, Schmidt says the following:

    “Within search results, information tied to verified online profiles will be ranked higher than content without such verification, which will result in most users naturally clicking on the top (verified) results. The true cost of remaining anonymous, then, might be irrelevance.”

    This is the clearest affirmation of author rank I have heard since +Othar Hansson's answer to +Matt Cutts' question in the introductory video on Authorship back in 2011.

  • 70 plusses - 54 comments - 154 shares | Read in G+
  • Mark Traphagen2013-08-20 15:28:08
    How to Use Google Authorship & Author Rank for Your Business

    UPDATE: Since this post is now ranking high in Google, I want to offer some real content for the search keyword. Those of you arriving here from Google Search, please see for a complete listing of useful articles on using Google Authorship for your business.

    Original Post:

    So there's this post on Forbes:

    And it's the only other post in the top 5 of Google (logged out) search for "google authorship and author rank"

    So want to help me in a little Google+ SEO experiment? Just +1 and/or reshare this post (hopefully both). Since it is optimized for the same title, let's see if we can knock Forbes out of the top 5.

    UPDATE We are continuing to monitor this experiment, so read the comments if you want to be up to date. If you want to continue to help, please do so, but *please share your reshare to "Public." I don't think private shares to circles help out much with what I'm trying to do here. Thanks!
  • 141 plusses - 55 comments - 139 shares | Read in G+
  • Mark Traphagen2013-01-01 15:28:39
    Praying Mantis on a Fern Bike

    One of the favorite science photos of 2012 from ScienceAlert on Facebook. I originally had this titled as "Grasshopper on a Fern Bike" until alert reader +Sergey Andri +Sergey +Sergey Andrianov e science site on Facebook had it captioned as a grasshopper. If I'd looked more carefully (and maybe if I hadn't been doing Tiny Guinness shots at midnight last night) I would've recognized that this, of course, is a praying mantis.

    #science #nature #sciencephotography #naturephotography
  • 574 plusses - 48 comments - 131 shares | Read in G+
  • Mark Traphagen2013-01-30 22:15:56
    My Most Important Blog Post Ever

    And I don't say that lightly. I've written a ton of content over the years, but I honestly think this is my magnum opus so far. I have never felt more strongly about something I've written for business or marketing.

    Since my first day here (Google+ Day 3), I've been saying that there is so much more under the hood of what Google has created with Google+ than most people--even most "social media experts"--understand.

    You are reading this on the most powerful networking and influence-spreading tool in the history of the world. I truly do not believe I am exaggerating in the slightest.

    Read the article:

    Let me know what you think. And if you really like it and appreciate the effort I put into it, you could "tip" me by upvoting it at (just need a Twitter account to log in).
  • 98 plusses - 40 comments - 110 shares | Read in G+
  • Mark Traphagen2014-01-20 09:55:24
    An Example of Semantic Search in Action

    Semantic search is Google's growing ability to make associations between things in ways that come closer to how we humans make such connections. When you ask me, "How do I get to Market Street?" I might hand you a bus schedule. I know that the bus schedule might contain the best solution to your problem, even though your question did not contain the words "bus" or "schedule."

    Look at this example below. For a long time now Google has bolded words in search results that it used to match your search query. In the past, these would be exact matches to your query found on the page in the results. So if I searched for "Durham bus schedule," Google would bold the words "Durham," "bus" and "schedule" where they occurred in the content of the page in my results, either in the title or in the meta description underneath.

    But look what happened in the result below. My query was "google authorship gone from search." If you look at the title line in the second result (my article) you see that Google has bolded (and therefore matched my query with) the words "google" and "authorship." So far a good old-fashioned exact match keyword relationship. But that article doesn't rank on the first page for "google authorship," so something else in the query has to be making it so relevant that it comes up as the #2 result.

    As you can see, Google has bolded in the result the word "dropped" in my content. But "dropped" is not in my query! What has happened here? Clearly Google has been able to make a semantic association, just as you or I would, that "google authorship gone from search" means essentially the same thing as "google authorship dropped from search." 

    Notice that this is not a mere synonymical relationship. (Some people wrongly assume that semantic search is just Google using synonyms for keywords, like a giant thesaurus.) "Dropped" is not a direct synonym for "gone." Google Search actually "understands" that the intent of my search query is semantically equivalent in human language to "authorship dropping from search."

    And this is why your rich content that thoroughly covers your main topics in ways deeply meaningful and helpful to humans will gain you more and more traffic from Google in the years to come. Google is getting better and better at understanding what people mean by their queries, not just what they say. And its getting better at understanding when your content is helpful to a broader range of queries, even if you don't use the same exact words.

    For an expert treatment of this topic, and the whole "brave new world" of Google search, I highly recommend the book Google Semantic Search by +David Amerland.

    For a very thorough analysis of how Google handles queries in a semantic search world, please see the excellent article by +Joydeep Bhattacharya on the +Ahrefs blog:

    BONUS! David Amerland will be our guest on this Tuesday's Digital Marketing Answers Show hosted by +Eric Enge and Yours Truly, sponsored by +Stone Temple Consulting. Event page at
  • 174 plusses - 38 comments - 109 shares | Read in G+
  • Mark Traphagen2013-01-08 15:22:43
    If the Beatles Had Written Stairway to Heaven

    Love this performance of Stairway to Heaven in the style of the Ed Sullivan Show era Beatles, by the Australian Beatles tribute band The Beatnix.
  • 146 plusses - 31 comments - 109 shares | Read in G+
  • Mark Traphagen2013-08-18 13:42:36
    SEO for your Google+ Cover Photo

    Excellent coverage here by +Stephan Hovnanian on how to optimize your profile cover photo to bring you the most possible benefit in search.
  • 63 plusses - 14 comments - 104 shares | Read in G+
  • Mark Traphagen2013-11-25 22:38:16
    Introducing Virante Author Rank!

    Today we are officially rolling out the beta version of our new Virante AuthorRank tool with an in-depth blog post explaining what it is, what it measures, and what the individual scores mean. Read it at

    Virante AuthorRank is not Google AuthorRank. It is our own metric built to assess the relative search ranking strength of content produced by an individual author that is linked from that author's Google+ profile using Google Authorship.

    Please try out the tool and let us know what you think. You can use the widget code the tool gives you to embed your AuthorRank score on your own web site. We'd particularly like to know if you see any domains you have linked in your Contributor To section that our tool is not picking up.

    Get all the details and try out the tool at
  • 88 plusses - 97 comments - 103 shares | Read in G+
  • Mark Traphagen2014-02-24 03:03:18
    Skepticism and wonder

    A quote from Carl Sagan. Pin it at

    #plusonly   #carlsagan   #science   #skepticism  
  • 125 plusses - 19 comments - 101 shares | Read in G+
  • Mark Traphagen2013-08-18 12:13:54
    Sunday Pro Tip of the Day: Understanding Block and Mute

    by +Mark Traphagen

    Google+ gives you two powerful tools to use when you find a person or page to be annoying or even offensive or abusive. Each tool has a different effect and has some nuances that are important to understand.

    Mute - Muting a profile or page means that they will no longer be able to push post notifications at you, nor will they be able to +mention you and get you notified that way. They can still see your posts (if they are public or sent to a circle in which you have them) and comment on your posts. There are two other kinds of muting:

    <> Muting a post: In the drop-down menu at upper right of each Google+ post you'll find an option to mute the post. Selecting this means that you will no longer receive any notifications about new comments posted to that thread, even if someone +mentions you in the thread.

    <> Muting a circle: In the settings for each of your circles, which you can access in each circles view on your home page, you can select whether or not you want any posts from that circle to appear in your default home page view.

    Block - Blocking a person of page is a much more serious option and should be taken with serious consideration. Blocking someone means that there is no longer any communication or sharing on Google+ between the two of you. The blocked person or page can no longer view your posts, your shares, or your comments on other people's posts. And you will see none of theirs. They cannot notify you or posts or +mention you.

    There is one exception to that viewing rule: Anything you post to "Public" can still be found (in search) and viewed by the blocked person if he/she is logged out of their Google+ account.

    Ramifications of blocking: There are some important consequences of blocking that you should have in mind:

    <> Blocking someone sends a serious signal about them. Even if you don't choose the option to also report the person or page, it is possible that Google+ tracks if someone gets a large amount of blocks, which could lead to their profile being suspended or deleted.

    <> The person you block (or mute) does not receive a notification that you took either action.

    <> You cannot be in a Hangout with someone who has blocked you or you have blocked. Whichever one of you enters the Hangout first will prevent the other form being able to participate.

    Whom Have I Blocked or Muted? You can review the people you've blocked or muted in the past to see if there are any you might want to move out of jail. Go to your People tab and select the "Your Circles" tab. Click the "Actions" menu item at top and select either "View Blocked" or "View Ignored." (Ingored = muted). You can unblock or un-ignore people from those views.

    If you have any questions about blocking or muting, or know something about the two features that I've left out. please comment below.

    And remember: this is a public community, so you can share this post to your following outside the community and help others!

    (Image from Wikipedia under a Creative Commons Share-Alike Attribution License)
  • 61 plusses - 23 comments - 98 shares | Read in G+
  • Mark Traphagen2013-05-07 18:32:10
    Confirmed: Google Authorship for Slideshare Profiles

    A couple of months ago I had remarked that I'd seen an Authorship rich snippet for one of my decks for a few days in Google SERPs. At the time I thought it was just an experiment by Google, as it didn't verify in the Structured Data Testing Tool. 

    But today not only do I see the Authorship snippet, but it also verifies in the SDTT as having Authorship markup! Here's what you need to qualify:

    1. Make your Google+ profile URL (with ?rel=author appended immediately to the end, no space) the visible website for your profile.

    2. Link back to your profile in the Contributor To section of your Google+ profile.

    That's it! (As with all rich snippet results, remember Google decides according to its own algorithm when they show and for whom. Just having a verified linkage does not guarantee a rich snippet will show at any given time.)
  • 85 plusses - 28 comments - 97 shares | Read in G+
  • Mark Traphagen2013-01-17 21:19:14
    Are You a Google+ X-Person?

    Calling all Google+ Mutants! +Yifat Cohen and I are issuing a challenge: we're looking for those rare Google+ users who, like us, have an uncanny ability to outrank almost anyone for their own G+ posts in Google Search when resharing those posts.

    We have far more than bragging rights in mind. We want to assemble a group of people with powerful G+ profiles to help us test what the characteristics of such profiles might be. What gives a Google+ profile strong authority in Search?

    You don't have to necessarily have a huge following to qualify. In fact, we've found that counts very little. Read the post to see what we're up to and find out how to test whether you are a Google+ X-Person, and how to join our test group.

    (If you participate, tag your test posts with #googleplusmutants  )

    Please Reshare this so we can find our X-Persons. Thanks!

    UPDATE: Check the bottom of the post below for a test I ran with my own profile last night!

    #googleplusxpersons     #googleplusmutants  
  • 23 plusses - 71 comments - 90 shares | Read in G+
  • Mark Traphagen2013-11-18 12:26:02
    Google+ Plus Power Magazine: New Issue!

    This week's issue of my Google+ Plus Power +Flipboard magazine features:

    <> Google Plus for Business: Circlecentric Marketing by +martin shervington 
    <> Google+ & SEO: How Google+ Impacts Search Results by +Eric Enge 
    <> Google+ Goes Back to Static, Smaller Cover Photos by +Mike Allton 
    <> How Does Google Choose A Local Business Photo for Search? by +Mike Blumenthal 
    <> Why Google+ Is the Best Communications Medium by +Mike Elgan
    <> Effective Content Marketing on Google Plus: 5 Tools to Measure Success by +Brittany Klontz 
    <> Dear Google: A Petition to Improve Circle Sharing by +Christine DeGraff 

    Read & subscribe to Google+ Plus Power at

    My Other Flipboard Magazines:
    Online Marketing Daily
    SEO Search Engine Optimization Daily
  • 120 plusses - 19 comments - 89 shares | Read in G+
  • Mark Traphagen2013-06-28 00:11:04
    Google Plus Page or Profile: Which Is Best for Businesses?

    Watch this video discussion between +Ronnie Bincer (aka "The Hangout Helper") and me (aka "Mark Traphagen"). We cover the similarities and difference between brand pages and profiles, the strengths and weaknesses of each from a marketing perspective. and some possible approaches if you are both a brand and a person on Google+
  • 88 plusses - 78 comments - 86 shares | Read in G+
  • Mark Traphagen2013-03-07 13:01:37
    Google Plus Guides: My Complete List

    Been a while since I updated this, and I have a lot of new followers now (welcome!).

    This is the master index to all the guides to using Google+ more effectively I've written over the last year-and-a-half.

    Also don't miss the link to my +Windmill Networking monthly columns, where even more helpful tips reside for business uses!
  • 94 plusses - 26 comments - 84 shares | Read in G+
  • Mark Traphagen2013-07-11 03:19:27
    Extended Circles: Two Years in and I Think I Finally Get Them

    Thanks for an explanation tonight from +Shimrit Ben-Yair of Google.

    I haven't thought about Extended Circles in a long time. But in the last two days they've come back into consciousness as we learned that the default range of the new +1 recommendations is to your Extended Circles.

    I've always thought of Extended Circles as "friends of friends." But when a Googler said that it was both true that recommended posts go out to Extended Circles but can only be seen by people who have circled you, that didn't make sense. I mean, surely there are friends of friends out there who haven't circled me? And the ones that have, well, they're not "extended" right?

    Wrong. Turns out that "friends of friends" is too weak to explain Extended Circles (EC). The definition of EC is "the people I circle and  the people who are circled by people who I circle."

    Now here's where this intersects with recommendations. Among those EC people, many will not have circled me. They may not even know I exist. But there may be some in that group who have circled me. But they are "extended" because I haven't circled them back. My connection with them is through the people who have circled me who have circled them also.

    So let's look now at the potential reach of a post +1 if Google decides to post it "out there" as a recommendation. We can think in terms of two "orders" of people who might receive it.

    The first order would be "people I've circled who have also circled me." So this order is reciprocal followers. anyone in that group could be the potential recipient of one of my recommended posts.

    The second order would be "people circled by people in the first order who also circle me." That's going to be an even more limited group.

    The main thing to understand here is that whatever the case only people who have me circled AND also have either been circled by me or by someone I've circled will ever see my recommended posts.

    In other words, these are never, ever pushed to total strangers.

    Tagging +martin shervington +Ronnie Bincer +Stephan Hovnanian this is the answer we were looking for. (Photo Credit: by a Creative Commons License)
  • 107 plusses - 95 comments - 80 shares | Read in G+
  • Mark Traphagen2013-03-28 13:16:49
    Google+ SEO: Beyond Talk to Making It Work

    Everyone talks about "the SEO power of Google+." People and businesses reluctantly drag themselves here because they've heard vague statements that "you have to be on G+ to rank in Google" (not true by the way). But just showing up and starting a page does little for them.

    A little over a year ago, I started noticing that certain profiles (mine among them) had an unusual power to get posts ranked high in Google search. Many of you have seen me write about how often when I've reshared a "What's Hot" post by a very popular person or celebrity, my share will be the one G+ post showing up high in Google. The only insight we had (other than suspicions) was this ranking power had little or nothing to do with number of followers.

    But the +Joshua Berg made a discovery that confirmed what I'd suspected: When it comes to SEO, Google treats profiles, Pages, and I think Communities too, just like "regular" web pages. In this post I reveal that discovery, what it means, and how you build a page or profile that has strong influence in Google search.

    (If you benefited from this post, would you please upvote it at ? Thanks!)
  • 53 plusses - 55 comments - 80 shares | Read in G+
  • Mark Traphagen2013-08-19 21:05:35
    NEW: Google In-Depth Article Markup Wordpress Plugin

    NOTICE!!! A small bug in the plugin has now been fixed and a new version was uploaded to WordPress. If you previously installed the plugin, please check your plugin dashboard for an update notice. Thanks for your patience! New installs please download at, not the links in the post

    +Virante Search Marketing  is pleased to announce the release of our FREE plugin for Wordpress blogs and sites. This plugin completely automates the content markup that Google recommends for its new In-Depth Articles search results feature.

    Once installed on your Wordpress blog or site, the plugin is completely automatic, but also has features that can be customized for each post.

    Get more details and download this FREE plugin at

    And please share this with anyone who produces content!
  • 37 plusses - 24 comments - 75 shares | Read in G+
  • Mark Traphagen2014-03-02 23:22:58
    Introducing the Plus Editor for Google+ Post Creation
    Finally create your Plus posts in a WYSIWYG editor!

    This is a very nice first attempt at providing a "What You See Is What You Get" Google+ post editor. I think many users who dislike having to remember to use the arcane formatting codes inside G+ will find it useful.

    Try it at

    Basically, you open Plus Editor in a new browser tab and compose your post. You can make text bold, italicized, or strikethrough just by clicking familiar word-processor-style buttons in the editor. When your post is ready, you click "Convert" and then copy and paste the G+-ready text into a G+ post share box.

    However, Plus Editor lacks many features of the DoShare Chrome extension. That tool includes all of the following which Plus Editor does not. (Plus Editor does have a short list of nifty symbols such as ★and √ that DoShare does not.)

    <> Share an embedded link.
    <> Add an embedded image.
    <> +mention someone (and get the same drop down and linked mention you get inside G+.
    <> Add hashtags (and get the G+ suggested common tags)

    (This post was created in Plus Editor, except I had to tag creator +Daniel Futerman after pasting into a regular G+ share box.)
  • 113 plusses - 31 comments - 73 shares | Read in G+
  • Mark Traphagen2013-09-28 14:35:09
    Author Rank: Where I Think It Stands As of September 2013

    The Mark Traphagen "For What It's Worth" Perspective

    If you've been following me carefully over the past year or so, you would know that I have made a subtle and nuanced change in the way I talk about this. A year ago I was hard core "there is no author rank effect in the SERPs." There was neither any credible evidence for it, nor did statements by any Googler's in any way confirm it to be active.

    But as I said, over the past several months I have been cautiously and carefully saying that it is possible (but still very much NOT certain) that we may be seeing some kind of author-authority experimentation going on. But I remain very conservative and cautious in my statements because it is impossible to prove that "author rank" as described in Google patents is the "culprit." We simply can't do the kind of isolated experiments that would be necessary to confirm that. 

    Author Authority vs Author Rank
    What I do see is the appearance that an author with over all higher authority (i.e., profile PageRank, as +Joshua Berg has described it) appears to do better in the SERPS. BUT, and this is a BIG but, there could be other factors to explain that. It is analogous to what happened when +Eric Enge's initial study presented at SMX Advanced seemed to show that Facebook likes could get a page indexed and help it to rank in search. Matt Cutts said a very clear and flat "no way!" But he explained that it was likely that sites that get a lot of FB Likes are also doing a lot of other things "right" that Google likes, and thus the correlation. In other words, it wasn't that FB Likes were causing ranking boost, but that FB Likes seem to be attracted (on the average) to sites that do a number of things that do cause ranking boosts.
    So in the same way, when we see a writer who uses Authorship climbing in the ranks, we are tempted to say "Author Rank!" But it is entirely possible (actually likely) that, as +AJ Kohn ( pointed out in his "Build Authority, Not Author Rank" article, that a writer who is writing awesome stuff that people really like would get boosted in the rankings whether or not there was any Author Rank in effect.

    So I'm an AuthorRank Atheist?
    Here's another analogy (and I hope it doesn't offend!). I'm an atheist. Many people wrongly assume that means I'm saying I'm certain there is no god(s). But that is not what atheism means to me. I don't believe there are any god(s) because I don't see sufficient evidence that god(s) are either necessary or actually exist. But I can't prove there are no gods. 

    I'm the same way about Author Rank. I can't prove that it isn't in effect. But I don't (yet) see sufficient evidence that can only be explained by AR. So as a careful search data scientist, I can not proclaim AR to exist unless either a) a Google representative definitively says it is "on" or b) I see empirical, control-tested evidence (not personal anecdotes) that it is on. 

    So THAT is why I refuse to answer questions about whether or not Author Rank is a "thing" in Google Search yet with a simple "yes or no." It is not that easily answered.

    And I think +David Amerland, the semantic search expert who talks about Author Rank in his book Google Semantic Search, understands that as well. If I read him correctly, what he is saying is that, like me, he a) knows that author-subject-authority is something Google wants to do and is actively working on (and indeed may be experimenting with at the present moment in limited ways), but also b) there is no way at present to prove that AR is full "on." 

    Defining Terms and the Takeaway
    And by the way, I am also trying to guard against "Author Rank" being sloppily used. I restrict it to being something similar to what we saw in the Google Agent Rank patents: authors being scored on individual topics and their content getting boosted on the basis of those topically-based scores. That's what I think we can't demonstrate that we are seeing.

    What I think we are seeing is an overall boost for Authors with very high PageRank profiles, but not necessarily topically-scored based on social signals. That's the thing that is very hard (impossible?) to isolate enough to prove.

    So at the end of the day, my takeaway for everyone is what AJ said in the article linked above: do the things you'd do if there were such a thing as Author Rank active in the SERPs, and you will gain the kind of natural authority that will bring you great benefit, whether or not there is an Author Rank in the Google algorithm.

    (This post was adapted from a lengthy comment response I wrote elsewhere yesterday)

    UPDATE: Since writing this post, two Google spokespersons (+John Mueller and +Pierre Far have publicly confirmed that Authorship is not yet being used as a ranking factor in Google Search. See my article about this at
  • 83 plusses - 42 comments - 73 shares | Read in G+
  • Mark Traphagen2014-03-08 20:20:35
    The Spritz Reading Technology In Your Chrome Browser NOW!

    By now many of you have heard about or seen a demo of the amazing Spritz app being developed that uses "RSVP" reading technology to make anyone an incredibly fast speed reader. 

    I was thrilled to find via +Neal Schaffer this Sprint Reader for Chrome extension that lets me use that same technology to read the text off any web page today. 

    The app is very easy to use and fully customizable with settings. You just highlight the text on any web page, and hit the keyboard shortcut or right click and start reading. I'm already reading long web articles at several times my previous speed, with full comprehension.

    Learn more and try it at
  • 100 plusses - 35 comments - 72 shares | Read in G+
  • Mark Traphagen2013-12-14 14:28:38
    Christmas Decorations: Turning a House into a Public Meme

    I love the sheer genius of this. +Eli Fennell here's an example of a house turned into a meme! With one simple, widely-recognizable literary reference, this homeowner has created a house decoration that will be many times more memorable than any of those 300,000+ light mega displays trying to bump each other out of the Guinness Book of World Records.
  • 219 plusses - 17 comments - 72 shares | Read in G+
  • Mark Traphagen2014-01-29 12:55:57
    Google+ Plus Power Magazine: New Edition!

    Featured articles in this week's edition of my Google+ Plus Power +Flipboard Magazine. I'm constantly curating the best content I find about Google+. Read and subscribe at -->

    ☞   Google Plus Authority Is Powered by People by +Joshua Berg (also see his My Google+ SEO Ideas Confirmed)

    9 Ways Social Media Marketing Will Change in 2014 by +Scott Gerber (+Nicolas Gremion predicts increased acceptance of Google+)

    The Great Google Authorship Kidnapping: What Happened to Your Photo in Search? by +Mark Traphagen 

    ☞   Explore: A New Way to Explore Google+ Content by Topics

    Why Google+ Will Dominate My Social Media Strategy by +Jenn Herman 

    ☞   5 Super Awesome Tips for Leveraging G+ for SEO by +Phil Singleton 

    Read this issue & subscribe at -->

    And don't miss my other Flipboard marketing magazines:

    • Online Marketing Daily
    • SEO Search Engine Optimization Daily

    #onlinemarketing   #googleplustips   #digitalmarketing  
  • 150 plusses - 12 comments - 70 shares | Read in G+
  • Mark Traphagen2014-02-09 21:41:41
    Google Author Rank: My Thoughts At Present

    I get asked a lot whether I think Google Author Rank is "on" now, or if it is coming soon. A few people have criticized me for supposedly not being "willing" to admit that it's already a thing. In advance of the next Digital Marketing Answers Show ( #dmashow  Tues. 1 PM ET which will focus on Google Authorship and author rank, I thought it might be helpful to state my thinking at this time on the topic.

    I want to emphasize that all of the following is my own opinion. But it is opinion based on careful testing and observation of how Google is using Google Authorship since the day the concept was made public. Nevertheless, there is much we don't know, so I want to be clear that I'm stating my opinions and educated guesses, not laying down "the law" on this topic.

    What Is Author Rank?
    First, what even is "author rank"? It's a term that has come into use in the SEO community to describe a theoretical system whereby Google would rate authors according to various signals that might indicate that those authors are seen as trusted and authoritative on the topics about which they publish content. Those ratings could in turn be used to boost the search rankings of content by the most authoritative authors when a search query is relevant to a piece of their content.

    That author rank is something Google wants to do is based on several things:

    1) The Agent Rank patents secured by Google years ago, which describe such a system.
    2) The introduction of Google+ and Google Authorship, which provided the framework necessary to connect verified authors with their content on the web.
    3) Periodic statements from Google spokespeople who indicate that being able to rank-boost subject-area authorities is something they are "working on," "want to do," and "are getting better at."

    Whither Author Rank?
    I believe we are still very much in the infancy of semantic search (of which author identification and ranking would be a part), and that we are talking years of development yet to come before the full promises of semantic search are realized. In the meantime, Google will continue to rely heavily on its established ranking methods, including links, as it works carefully toward being able to make use of things like semantic connections and social signals in accurate and meaningful ways.

    That's what some people who are (in my opinion) over-eager to want to see author rank now fail to understand. They demands that I either declare it "on now"or admit we that I am only denying it to "save face." Of course, the truth, as anyone who has read me carefully knows, is that when we talk about Google innovation, we have to talk in terms of what "may be now" and "what may be yet to come," and it is often difficult to know from the outside where we are at in that timeline.

    When asked about identifying and making use of trusted authors as a search factor, Google's Matt Cutts characteristically says "this is something we're working on" (see

    In his latest video about social signals (see, Matt Cutts repeats a time frame he has used so often over the past year, I know it is no accident or off-hand remark. He said that "over a ten year, multi-year span" they would know more about who is posting what and be able to use that data effectively in search. Now I don't take the "10 years" as literal, but I think Matt repeats that so often because he wants to send the message that nailing down topical authority of individuals is a difficult and lengthy process. We shouldn't expect to see it in action now, and we shouldn't expect it next week. As I said in my article linked at the beginning of this paragraph, "Google will serve no ranking factor before its time."

    People tend to assume that huge innovations in search were invented 30 days before they appeared in public in Google. That is almost never the case. Most of the major innovations we've seen, such as Panda, Penguin, and Hummingbird, were in development and testing for years before they were fully rolled out into search. I believe it is the same with author authority.

    But of course, we shouldn't just take Matt Cutts' word for it. We shouldn't say that author identity isn't a ranking factor yet just because other prominent Google spokespeople like +John Mueller and +Pierre Far have said so, publicly and explicitly.

     I believe them because I have yet to see any credible, reproducible, verifiable evidence that authorship is a ranking factor. Sure you can find a number of people posting that they saw some one-off odd occurrence (such as they connected their content to authorship and quickly thereafter saw a ranking jump [usually temporary]). Anecdotes are not valid as evidence. As a careful data scientist, I'm not seeing any kind of consistent effect that we would expect to see if author rank were in effect.

    Baby Steps Forward
    That being said, I do think we are seeing some very early stages of a kind of author authority in the works. In my +Stone Temple Consulting  blog article about my research into what caused profiles to either lose or retain Authorship snippets after Google's December purge (see, I noted that I saw some evidence of some authors getting a "trusted author" status. That is, they had passed some "test" and were getting almost guaranteed Authorship snippets for everything they published. This was confirmed by two different Googlers whom I quote in the article. 

    That's interesting, but it is not Author Rank as anyone has ever defined it. What I saw in the authorship study was a much simple author "trust" evaluation. It was not topically related, and it did NOT cause any author to rank higher for her content. It simply determined if that author had enough quality signals around her content to be more frequently awarded an Authorship snippet. sure to tune in on Tuesday for our Digital Marketing Answers Show and bring your questions. You can post them ahead of time at the event ( And for more discussion on this topic, come join our Google Authorship and Author Rank Community at

    #googleauthorship   #googleauthorrank   #authorrank  
  • 137 plusses - 40 comments - 69 shares | Read in G+
  • Mark Traphagen2014-03-15 20:26:29
    Heads UP: Google+ Privated Many Users' Circle Counts

    As you probably know, in order for the number of people who have you in circles to show publicly on your profile, you must have that privacy setting set to public. This also affects whether or not Google will show your follower count in full rich snippet Authorship results. 

    There has apparently been a recent glitch where Google+ turned that number to "private" for many users. If you want it public, here's how to check and fix it:

    1. Go to your profile logged in.
    2. Select the "About" tab
    3. In the card that shows who you've circled and who circles you, click the Edit link at the bottom.
    4. If the box under "Have you in circles" is unchecked, check it to publicly display the number of your followers.
  • 39 plusses - 8 comments - 66 shares | Read in G+
  • Mark Traphagen2013-07-14 14:53:18
    The Galaxy Guides Us Home. My new favoritest astronomy image

    Be sure to read the account by photographer +Michael Shainblum of what he went through to capture this image. HT +Amit Singhal 

    Reshared text:
    "The Galaxy Guides Us Home"

    I think this might be my favorite new AstroPhotograph I have taken. I have been trying to achieve this shot for a long time now. The hardest part of the process, was finding a road that not only was in area of complete and total darkness, but a road where I could take a panorama and not be bothered by car headlights. It was also a challenge to find a road pointing in the perfect direction to be completely symmetrical with the shape and bend of the Milky Way.

    The image was taken on Armour Ranch RD off the 154 Freeway near Santa Ynez, California. This area is completely underrated and unrecognized for stargazing and galaxy watching. Some of the people who live there do not even realize the gems that the sky above them hold come nightfall.

    The panorama is composed of 12 images taken side by side, with 2 rows of 6. This was done to achieve the very wide perspective that you are seeing in the photograph. The image represents over 180 degrees in our field of vision. Some minor color correction, noise reduction, and contrast have been applied to the photo; no other heavy manipulation or Photoshop has been done to alter this image.

    You can view the higher resolution image here

    I really appreciate you guys taking the time to view my image and read my description. Please feel free to share the image if you enjoy it!

    EXIF: 20SEC F/2.8 ISO6400
    Canon 6D, Sigma 20MM F/1.8

    To see more visit:

    ‪#‎stars‬ ‪#‎galaxy‬ ‪#‎astro‬ ‪#‎astrophotography‬ ‪#‎milkyway‬ ‪#‎stargazing‬ ‪#‎astronomy‬ ‪#‎starrynights‬
  • 574 plusses - 35 comments - 66 shares | Read in G+
  • Mark Traphagen2014-01-10 19:04:41
    A "Google+ Is a Ghost Town" Writer Has A Change of Heart

    Deep respect to Steve Martin of +Copperfox Marketing who wrote a "Google+ is useless" blog post several months ago. He was challenged by a number of G+ users who said he simply hadn't tried to use the platform effectively. To his credit, he swallowed his pride and tried out what they suggested, and lo and behold found the Google+ richness that you and I know so well.

    From his new post:

    Google+ is providing value. It isn’t the same as Facebook, and that’s okay. There is a community on Google+ that is alive, rich, and ready to share. The referral traffic, SEO enhancements, and auto-hashtagging are also nice benefits. I fell trap to my own impatience when I originally wrote my article in July of 2013. That is, I was kept out by the barrier-to-entry issues, namely educating myself on what it takes to excel in Google+

    HT +David Amerland for sharing this originally.
  • 152 plusses - 45 comments - 64 shares | Read in G+
  • Mark Traphagen2013-11-02 20:11:57
    Google+ Custom URLs Still Rolling Out

    Didn't get yours yet? Don't despair. They are still rolling out, and I have it on good authority that the roll out is entirely random. 
  • 56 plusses - 31 comments - 64 shares | Read in G+
  • Mark Traphagen2013-03-27 12:19:33
    Social Media Marketing Is Not a Big Money Maker

    And this is why my agency (+Virante Search Marketing) killed our Social Media Marketing department to replace it with a broader-missioned Digital Outreach Department (which I lead). We realized that SMM alone does not add much value for clients. SM needs to be part of a much larger and well-integrated brand strategy for online marketing. This is the maturation of SMM: when it stops being its own silo and people stop doing SMM for SMM's sake or because everyone else is.
  • 178 plusses - 42 comments - 64 shares | Read in G+
  • Mark Traphagen2013-12-15 19:52:59
    Amazing electron microscope zoom down to a single bacterium

    Details at

    Reddit’s adamwong246 said it best, “There’s a bacterium on a diatom on an amphipod on a frog on a bump on the log in the hole in the bottom of the sea!”

    #science #sciencesunday
  • 175 plusses - 27 comments - 63 shares | Read in G+
  • Mark Traphagen2013-10-18 21:02:51
    Can a Chicken Be a Better Camera Man than a Man?

    This camera operator was on an endless search for the ultimate steady cam. And then one day he saw a video that demonstrated that chickens have a habit of keeping their head in the same point in space even if you move their bodies.

    Thus was born the Lizzy Cam. An amazing video to start your weekend. +SmallHD have you seen this? HT +Max Minzer 
  • 25 plusses - 8 comments - 60 shares | Read in G+
  • Mark Traphagen2013-08-06 19:46:12
    Google In-Depth Article Search Results & Authorship

    Google today announced a new type of featured search result. For certain topics they may display a special section in the SERPs that features authoritative articles by trusted authors on the topic.

    Among the recommendations Google makes for qualifying your content for this feature is using Authorship. This is one of the clearest and most direct applications of Authorship to actual effect in search results we have seen so far.

    In my post below I detail the new feature, explain Google's recommended best practices for identifying your best content, and give my take on the ramifications of this for Authorship and Author Rank.
  • 58 plusses - 67 comments - 59 shares | Read in G+
  • Mark Traphagen2013-06-14 19:46:41
    rel=author vs rel=publisher: When to Use Each

    I've noticed time and again that there is rampant confusion about the difference between Author and Publisher verification (rel=author vs. rel=publisher). This post is my attempt to disambiguate the two, and to explain what I think their proper usage is.

    Let me know if you have questions, or even disagree with my take!
  • 84 plusses - 60 comments - 59 shares | Read in G+
  • Mark Traphagen2013-12-04 12:59:08
    In the latest issue of Google+ Plus Power Magazine...

    Browse my curation of the best articles, tips, and features about Google+ from the past week in my +Flipboard magazine Google+ Plus Power. Read it at - and if you have the Flipboard app, be sure to click "Subscribe" to get my best picks in your Cover Stories!

    In this issue:

    <> Google Plus Circle Subscriptions: How to Adjust the Volume - by +Mark Traphagen 
    <> Google+ Gets Full Resolution Photo and Backups in iOS 7 - by +The Next Web 
    <> Semantic Connections in Google Plus and Your SEO - by +David Amerland 
    <> How Google Plus Pages & Profiles Gain Search Authority - by +Mark Traphagen 
    <> Getting Creative (and Smart!) with Your Author Photo - by +Ann Smarty 
    <> How to Create a Google+ Community - by +Plus Your Business! 
    <> Google+ and SEO: How Google+ Impacts Search Results - by +Eric Enge 

    ...and much more! Read this issue at

    And check out my other digital marketing magazines:

    <> Online Marketing Daily
    <> SEO Search Engine Optimization Daily
  • 82 plusses - 6 comments - 58 shares | Read in G+
  • Mark Traphagen2014-02-13 16:54:46
    Using the Hemingway Tool for Better Web Writing

    Yesterday I shared the new Hemingway web app, a tool that purportedly will help improve the readability of your writing. See it at My share blew up, resulting in hundreds of reshares across Google+. Obviously this tool speaks to a deep-felt need.

    You use the free Hemingway tool by clicking "Write," copying and pasting in a piece of your writing, and clicking "Edit." Hemingway gives a grade level readability score, and highlights "errors" in several categories:

    <> Hard to read (i.e., complex) sentences
    <> Passive voice
    <> Adverbs (where it amusingly often suggest using "0 or fewer." Anyone have any negative adverbs I can borrow?)
    <> Big words and verbose phrases

    In some of the comment threads about Hemingway yesterday there were criticisms of the tool as well. Some experienced writers think that its suggestions are too simplistic. Others worry that it will cause writers to "dumb down" their writing, turning everything into banal sales-pitch-level writing.

    I agree with those concerns. And so this former English teacher will endeavor to make some suggestions on how to use this tool effectively. 

    1. It's Not HemingWAY or the Highway
    The "errors" highlighted by Hemingway should be taken as suggestions, not hard and fast rules. The Pirate Code applies here ;-) Don't feel that you need to change everything Hemingway highlights. Always use your own judgment. If you carefully observe the writing of talented writers you like, you'll see they break these rules all the time, but they do so sparingly, and always in the interest of style, which should not be sacrificed to mere correctness. (Whew! That was one complex sentence. Sorry Hemingway!)

    2. Ya Wanna Mix It Up?
    Good writers vary their style. The best writing doesn't eliminate all the things highlighted by Hemingway; it uses them judiciously. That this is actually the intention of the tool is shown by its often adding suggestions like "Aim for 2 or fewer."). Avoid extremes. For example, a piece of copy with only simple sentences tends to sound "dumber," and read like ad copy (and is usually appropriate for ad copy). But too many complex sentences within a short space bogs down the reader and can be fatiguing. Aim for a good variety between simple and complex sentences.

    3. Getting Passive-Aggressive
    Passive voice is one of those grammar bugaboos that used to make grey-haired English teachers frown at you over their half-glasses. Or should I say "passive voice has been frowned upon"? ;-) That phrase in quotes is an example of passive voice. Passive voice occurs when the sentence has an unstated subject combined with a form of the verb "to be." It is considered weak because it is not clear who or what is performing the action. However, there are times when passive voice is preferable to the alternative, particularly if trying to make the sentence active voice results in an awkward sentence. Also, passive voice can be useful when the subject is indeed unknown or indeterminate. 

    4. Lolly, Lolly, Lolly Get Your Adverbs Here
    Why does Hemingway really, powerfully, strongly, very, very much hate adverbs? It doesn't, actually. And neither should you. But as with the other items above, it is best to use adverbs sparingly. Otherwise they really, really can lose their power to add strength and precision to the verbs they modify.

    5. You Keep Using Those Big Words, But I Do Not Think You Know What They Mean
    Multi-syllabic words are not evil in and of themselves. But it is good to ask yourself if there is a simpler word you could use that conveys the same meaning. Why make your audience work harder to understand? Don't obfuscate (or should I say, don't be unclear ;-). Same thing with some phrases. Some longer phrases can be replaced with a single word that means the same thing. 

    I hope those tips are helpful. I welcome any other suggestions or disagreements in the comments!
  • 150 plusses - 30 comments - 57 shares | Read in G+
  • Mark Traphagen2013-10-12 18:47:38
    Google+, the New User Ad Associations, & Transparency

    Everyone will have their opinions about Google+'s announcement that starting in November they may use user's names and/or profile photos in association with ads for brands they have recommended on Google+. This post isn't to debate whether or not that is wise, good, ethical, fattening, or whatever. I just want to set the record straight for those who are saying this is as bad (or even worse) than Facebook when they instituted a similar policy.

    The one area in which there can be no argument is that Google+, unlike Facebook, went above and beyond in this instance to be transparent, to fully inform users, and to make it easy for them to opt out of the new change.

    Since yesterday, I have seen:

    1. An email from Google+
    2. A blue bar at the top of the screen when I log in to Google about the change, with "Learn more" and "Change settings" links
    3. A notification in my Google+ notifications about the change and my options.

    Again, even if you don't like that they are doing this associating people with ads thing, you have to admit they are handling it proactively and transparently with users.
  • 318 plusses - 89 comments - 57 shares | Read in G+
  • Mark Traphagen2013-07-18 01:42:35
    Google Plus Effect on Search: How Does It Really Work?

    Haven't shared this in a while. I consider this to be the most important article I've written to date about Google+. 

    #seo   #googleseo   #gplusseo   #googlesearch  
  • 40 plusses - 15 comments - 57 shares | Read in G+
  • Mark Traphagen2013-09-24 14:09:54
    Scheduling Google Plus Posts: A Complete Guide to the DoShare App

    Here's my complete instructions for using one of the best Google+-related apps created so far: +Do Share. DoShare not only allow you to schedule posts and shares in advance (including to your G+ Pages!), it is also a great no-distractions place to compose your Google+ Posts.

    If you like this guide I did for +GPlusGeek please let them know, and share it with your friends. Thanks!
  • 53 plusses - 25 comments - 56 shares | Read in G+
  • Mark Traphagen2013-08-07 18:01:38
    Google+ Page Plus One Numbers: What Do They Mean

    If you manage any Google+ Pages you've probably noticed at some point that the number of +1's shown at the top of the Page is often larger than the number of people who have circled the page. Why is that?

    The number of +1's that show on your page is an aggregate of several things. It includes not only people who have circled you, but also any of the following:

    1. +1's to your page (with or without also circling)
    2. +1's of your web site (if connected to your Page) - there are not +1's to individual content pages (the kind that generate a share box), but plusses on the home page or on a G+ badge.
    3. Number of members in any communities owned by the Page. (This one is not widely known, but those community members translate into plusses for your page!)

    BONUS: If you connect your AdWords account to your Google+ Page in AdWords, your ads may display your number of Google +1's

    Insider Tip: You will see a much smaller number of +1's for you page if you view it logged in as yourself vs. as the Page. It appears that when a manager views the Page from his or her own account while logged in, the number of the page's Community members isn't factored in.
  • 37 plusses - 44 comments - 56 shares | Read in G+
  • Mark Traphagen2013-05-02 15:06:40
    The Complete Guide to SEO Using Google Plus

    Here it is! +martin shervington has produced a mammoth but easy-to-use guide to how Google+ works in conjunction with Google Search to build your search presence and influence.

    He carefully indexed hours of video material collected from his interviews with me and +Joshua Berg  and created a series of brief, highly-focused videos around every sub topic we discussed. This is one to bookmark, reference, and share!

    (Please help more people to be aware of this resource by upvoting it at Thanks!
  • 57 plusses - 6 comments - 56 shares | Read in G+
  • Mark Traphagen2013-11-21 15:05:37
    How Google+ Profile & Pages Gain Search Authority

    My first post for +Search Engine Land 

    We all know by now that Google+ posts can be highly influential in personalized (logged-in-to-Google) search for people in your network.

    But Google+ posts can also show up in "general" non-personalized search. When they do, usually only one or two G+ posts end up ranking, even if many people and/or pages posted or reshared the same content. 

    What determines which profile or page gets the high ranking? After extensive testing and observation, I believe the #1 factor is the authority of the profile or page.

    But what makes one profile or page more authoritative than another? In this post I expand on a study I presented at +Search Marketing Expo (SMX) East and Social Media this year. Thanks to the efforts of +Joshua Berg and others, we have a pretty clear picture of how the authority is build internally (inside G+). In this article I seek to demonstrate that external factors (i.e., links from sites outside G+) play a significant role as well in building the authority of profiles and pages. 

    #seo   #googleplus   #ns  
  • 103 plusses - 20 comments - 55 shares | Read in G+
  • Mark Traphagen2013-08-17 23:32:36
    How to Boost Your Social Signals & Get More Shares with Google+

    Wow. +Dustin W. Stout has done his homework and answered questions I've wondered about since Google+ Day One.

    Do read (and share!) his post, but here's the bottom line: Google+ aggregates every possible plus and reshare on Google+ back into the +1 counter on the shared post's web site.

    Dustin's study proves that Google+ is really good at keeping track of all the different social interactions a post shared from your site gets on G+, and attributing those all back to the +1 count on the original post.

    Why does that matter? Because social proof matters. Studies show that people are more likely to share a post that already has high social share numbers on it. And high social share numbers psychologically make people attribute more authority and credibility to your site.

    But wait, there's more! I won't spoil it here because I want you to read Dustin's post. But I'll just say do not miss test #5!

    Test #5 at first blush seems to run counter to advice I've given you about how to share links on Google+ for best SEO value. But check out my comment on Dustin's post. There I'll explain why in this scenario, that does not matter.
  • 52 plusses - 44 comments - 52 shares | Read in G+
  • Mark Traphagen2013-10-24 15:19:30
    Matt Cutts at Pubcon 2013: Authorship, Authority, Social Signals & More

    I've just written an extensive post covering some of the key topics in the keynote address by +Matt Cutts at #Pubcon  2013 in Las Vegas yesterday.

    Get my take on what he had to say about:

    <> Subject authority boosting
    <> Google isn't about promoting your site
    <> Social signals are a long-term, not a short-term benefit
    <> Fewer Authorship results in search

    Read it at --> and please reshare!

  • 35 plusses - 16 comments - 51 shares | Read in G+
  • Mark Traphagen2014-03-10 14:55:10
    Unlocking the Secrets (and Power!) of Google Plus Hashtags

    Here's my in-depth examination of Google+ hashtags for the +Plus Your Business! blog of +martin shervington.

    In this article I show you:

    ♦ Why Google+ Hashtags are different from hashtags on any other social networks.
    ♦ What Google+ Auto-Hashtags are and what they reveal about Google's move toward semantic search.
    ♦ What Google+'s new Explore tab is and how it works.
    ♦ How new hashtags enter Google+'s database.
    ♦ How hashtags get related to each other
    ♦ What you can do with what you've learned about Google+ hashtags!

    If this article is helpful to you, please reshare it. Thanks!
  • 51 plusses - 10 comments - 49 shares | Read in G+
  • Mark Traphagen2013-11-12 20:12:52
    Google Search Ads New Labeling in SERPs

    This is the most dramatic change I've ever seen in how Google identifies the ads in Google Search. As you can see in the screen capture below, now each ad above the organic results has it's own, very bright yellow-orange "Ad" label, and a similar "Adds" label appears above the right-column ads.

    I saw a UK user report seeing this a few days ago, but it looks like it is now rolling out to the US version of search. Prior to now, and going back a few years, the ad section of Google Search pages had been marked by a very light pastel background color, which on some screens was almost invisible. This is the boldest marking of ads I've seen in my memory.

    Any thoughts on why Google is doing (or perhaps testing) this? Heading off regulatory scrutiny?
  • 132 plusses - 54 comments - 49 shares | Read in G+
  • Mark Traphagen2013-10-18 11:43:59
    If You Read Only One Article About Hummingbird, Read This One!

    Hummingbird isn’t about long tail search. It’s entirely the opposite. Hummingbird is about taking long-tail, highly unusual and verbose searches, and serving them results as if they were clear short-phrase searches. It is applying semantics to the actual search query, and processing that, prior to actually running the results.

    There's a reason why even though Google said Hummingbird affected 90% of search queries, almost no webmasters noticed a change during the month it was live before Google publicly announced it. Here's the hard truth that many SEO's don't want to accept: you can't optimize for Hummingbird.

    (Update: By that last sentence I don't mean to imply SEO is no longer important. Far from it. It may be more important than ever, if in a changed form. But I think it's a mistake to try to optimize for Hummingbird itself. Rather, if you're doing the best kind of optimization that we've always done, you should be in good shape for Hummingbird. Thanks to +Max Minzer for pushing me to clarify that!)

    Hummingbird will best benefit the sites that have lots of very useful content that Google already ranks high for "traditional" keyword searches. It will simply help more searchers be able to connect with that content, even when they don't enter an exact match for the site's keywords.
  • 113 plusses - 39 comments - 49 shares | Read in G+
  • Mark Traphagen2013-09-29 17:02:04
    Google Authorship Not Yet a Ranking Factor: Google's John Mueller

    In a Google Webmaster Central Hangout this past Friday, Google Webmaster Tools Analyst +John Mueller stated, "We don't use Authorship for ranking at the moment."

    In the post below I explore the ramifications of that statement for the present and future of what we've come to refer to as "Author Rank." I cover:

    <> What happened to Author Rank?
    <> Why has it been delayed? 
    <> Is Author Rank dead?

    ...and how you should behave in light of this statement.
  • 42 plusses - 6 comments - 49 shares | Read in G+
  • Mark Traphagen2014-01-05 01:32:07
    Basic Building Blocks of Local SEO

    A great collection of articles from my friends at +Search Engine Land. Local SEO can be one of the most bewildering aspects of search marketing, especially because those who have to deal with it are often businesses with the least resources. These posts serve as a great primer on the topic. Thanks to +Phil Buckley for sharing.

    Reshared text:
    Local SEO got you down? We've got the cure! From the basics to the advanced, we've aggregated five articles from our awesome contributors to give you a rundown of everything you need to know. #localseo   #SEO   #seotips   #search  

    The Building Blocks of Good Local SEO

    Best & Worst Ways to Influence Local SEO Rankings

    The “Other 20%” Of Local SEO: Advanced Ranking Factors

    Conversational Marketing Benefits Local SEO

    How Users Search For Local Businesses + 5 Tips To Optimize Local Listings

    (Image Courtesy of +540 SEO)
  • 76 plusses - 12 comments - 48 shares | Read in G+
  • Mark Traphagen2013-09-03 11:02:28
    Understanding How Deeply Personalized Your Search Now Is

    This is an excellent, very in-depth coverage of the many ways in which your Google Search experience is highly personalized these days, by +Gianluca Fiorelli on the +moz blog.

    The diversity of factors that make one person's search results different from anyone else's in the world is staggering...and growing.

    The elements that Gianluca shares here mean that SEO in the second decade of the 21st century needs to grow up from a focus on keywords alone and ranking analysis. More and more, building influential networks will be key.
  • 155 plusses - 18 comments - 48 shares | Read in G+
  • Mark Traphagen2013-09-25 16:59:23
    BREAKING! Google+ Hashtags to Be Used in Google Search!

    HT +martin shervington and +Bradley Horowitz for sharing.

    Reshared text:
    A richer hashtag experience in Google Search

    The #hashtags you see in Google+ posts are a useful way to discover conversations around a particular topic. In May we added related hashtags to the Google+ stream, turning any post into an opportunity to go deeper and explore what’s interesting to you.

    Today we’re bringing a richer hashtag experience to Google Search. Here’s how it works:

    - When you search on Google for a hashtag, say [#AmericasCup] or [#WaterfallWednesday], a set of relevant Google+ posts may appear to the right of regular results.
    - You’ll only be able to see posts that have been shared publicly or shared with you.
    - If you click on any of these posts you'll go to Google+, where you'll see the full set of relevant posts.
    - You'll also see links to search for these hashtags on other social sites.

    Today's update will be available (initially) to English language users on and It’ll be live within the next few hours, so give it a go and let us know what you think.

  • 85 plusses - 34 comments - 47 shares | Read in G+
  • Mark Traphagen2013-11-24 19:32:46
    To Infinity & Beyond: One G+ User's Launch Story

    Very impressed with this post by +Rick Eliason. It's packed full of great tips on how to create a presence on Google+ that makes others want to have you in their circles. (Be sure to add +Rick Eliason to yours - I've got a good feeling he's going to be a valuable follow here!) #ns  
  • 76 plusses - 17 comments - 46 shares | Read in G+
  • Mark Traphagen2013-01-09 01:22:08
    Transfer All Your Instagram Photos to Google+ FREE

    Recently I decided to stop using +Instagram  in favor of +Snapseed, partly because the latter shares easily to Google+. But I have over 600 photos on Instagram that I wish I had here. 

    Enter Instagrab, a simple to use free web app that with a few clicks transfers all of your Instagram photos into an album in your G+/Picassa. You just click each of the blue buttons shown in the photo below, which ask you to give limited access to your two accounts. Then click a third button and Instagrab copies all your Instagram photos into an album on Google+. It even emails you when it's finished, if you want.

    Access Instagrab at It's developer is the creator of Fotostat (, a service that helps photographers keep track of social shares of their photos online.

    #instagrab   #instagram   #photography  
  • 36 plusses - 7 comments - 45 shares | Read in G+
  • Mark Traphagen2014-03-12 23:12:11
    Quo Vadis Author Rank: The Present & Future of Author Authority in Search

    My newest article for +Stone Temple Consulting hot off the press!

    Read it at

    I've been thinking about this one for a long time, but events of last evening spurred me to get this out today. Those events:

    1. A statement about Author Rank by head of Google search rankings +Amit Singhal at an SMX West keynote.
    2. A tweet response to me shortly thereafter by +Matt Cutts 

    In this article I review where I think Author Authority actually is impacting search at this point, why I think statements by Googlers have confirmed that, and then I pull out my crystal ball to propose a possible future for the idea of author rank that may be different from some people's conceptions.

    #googleauthorship   #authorrank   #marktraphagen  
  • 43 plusses - 40 comments - 44 shares | Read in G+
  • Mark Traphagen2014-01-26 04:14:33
    A lot of Hangouts are like this too... Enjoy! #ns
  • 87 plusses - 33 comments - 44 shares | Read in G+
  • Mark Traphagen2013-11-11 15:06:37
    This Week in Google Plus Power Magazine

    In this week's issue of my +Flipboard Google Plus Power Magazine catch up on some of the hottest topics about Google+ and Google+ marketing, including:

    <> Use This Tool to Discover Topical Engagers on Google+ by +Ehsan Ahmadi Gharacheh 
    <> How Google is Employing "Discussion Rank" to Revolutionize Commenting by +Mark Traphagen 
    <> Complete Guide to Google Helpouts by +martin shervington 
    <> Everything You Need to Know about the New Custom URLs by +Jaana Nyström 
    <> A Google+ Local FAQ by +Gplus Expertise 
    And much more!

    Read it on the web right now at - and if you're a Flipboard app user, be sure to subscribe!
  • 67 plusses - 24 comments - 44 shares | Read in G+
  • Mark Traphagen2013-03-27 12:50:25
    "Nuff said
  • 206 plusses - 32 comments - 44 shares | Read in G+
  • Mark Traphagen2014-03-29 23:41:42
    Does Facebook Activity Affect Google SEO?

    Results of a recent study by +Eric Enge of +Stone Temple Consulting

    Pin it here:

    #facebook   #seo   #socialmedia   #plusonly  
  • 68 plusses - 33 comments - 43 shares | Read in G+
  • Mark Traphagen2013-09-21 14:14:46
    Do Google+ Links Actually Affect Search Rankings?

    Here's the video of one of the best and most interesting debates I've been a part of since Google+ began.

    Even marketers who don't like Google+ will (sometimes grudgingly) say, "You ought to be on it for the SEO." For the longest time it was assumed that Google+ must affect SEO because of how intimately it is tied into all things Google, including the Search product.

    Joshua Fit the Battle
    That "hunch" jumped into high gear when +Joshua Berg published his incredible series demonstrating that Google+ posts and pages have Google "PageRank" (search ranking authority ratings) and how they likely gain that rating:

    Pt 1: Is Google+ Page Rank the culprit behind the current ...

    Pt 2: How PageRank in Google+ is Earned. G+ Link Myths...

    Pt 3: Why PR in G+ Matters To You & Your Connections.

    Pt 4: PR in G+ - PageRank is Still Guts of Google Search.

    Pt 5: PageRank, Link Juice & SEO for Google+ Communities. 

    Au Contrarian Eric the Bold
    Then last week +Eric Enge of +Stone Temple Consulting published a massive study in which he tried to measure the effect (if any) of links from Google+ "shares" on highly isolated web pages. Eric's conclusion was that the pages in his highly controlled study showed no appreciable effect from two waves of Google+ shares spaced over many weeks.

    Almost immediately +Joshua Berg, who along with me had been a consultant on Eric's study, jumped in with a massive dissenting opinion. See: Joshua believes there were fatal flaws in the study. (It should be noted that Eric maintains there are fatal flaws in Joshua's fatal flaws!).

    Velvet Gloves Boxing Round
    So Eric, being the fine gentleman and scholar that he is, invited +Joshua Berg and me to debate the topic in a public Hangout On Air. To round out the debate, he brought in two of the most respected data and metrics scientists in the SEO industry: Dr. +Pete Meyers of +Moz and +Marcus Tober of +SearchmetricsDE

    View the complete debate below. Bottom line (in my opinion): Google+ almost certainly does affect SEO, but like a Facebook relationship option, "it's complicated." It is most likely that Google+ boosts your SEO when used in conjunction with a well-rounded marketing strategy that creates a diversity of positive signals for Google.

    Please watch and share: if you have any interest in this topic, this hour goes by fast!
  • 53 plusses - 23 comments - 43 shares | Read in G+
  • Mark Traphagen2013-09-01 13:18:38
    Sunday Pro Tip: Want More Engagement? Post More Often

    The graph below is from a free social analytics service called +SumAll. This particular graph plots my publishing activity on Google+ (blue line) vs. "Advocacy Activity" by my followers (comments, +1's, reshares). 

    Notice that in this view from June to the present, the two lines have a remarkable correspondence. Sure there are outliers in the "advocacy" plot. One viral post can generate a lot of engagement on a particular day. But on the whole, the advocacy line very much follows the shape of the posting activity line.

    That the more you post the more engagement you'll get seems intuitive, but this graph seems to confirm it, at least for my Google+ experience.

    That being said, I'm betting that not everyone will necessarily see the same results. There are users who have very active posting lines but still almost flat engagement lines.

    If that's the case (and if you care about your engagement levels), it's time to do a self-analysis of your Google+ habits:

    1. Who is in your network? Have you built relationships with people who care about what you post and who have shown themselves to be engagers?

    2. Do your content and your audience match? Take some time to look at a sampling of what the most active people you follow are posting. Doe their interests match what you post about? If not, time to go seek out new people and communities with which to interact.

    3. Speaking of communities, are you participating in some good ones in your main topic areas? I think communities are currently one of the best places to gain new, relevant followers. If you are participating regularly in a topical community and showing yourself to be valuable there, people in that community may begin to circle you.

    4. Are you creating posts that people want to open, read, and engage with? For tips see

    5. Have you shown yourself to be a generous engager and re-sharer? People like to boost people who boost them. Be sure to spend some of your G+ time each day commenting on other people's posts and resharing the best with your followers. When you reshare, add a personal comment explaining the value of the post you're sharing, and be sure to +mention its creator!

    And when you're doing all more often!

    What tips have you found help get you more engagement?
  • 46 plusses - 17 comments - 43 shares | Read in G+
  • Mark Traphagen2013-08-30 10:25:30
    See same train ride 60 yrs ago, 30 yrs ago, and today

    This is very cool! The BBC shot time lapse video from the front of a train of the trip from London to Brighton in 1953, 1983, and 2013, and put them together in a three-way side-by-side view.
  • 55 plusses - 14 comments - 43 shares | Read in G+
  • Mark Traphagen2013-01-06 17:43:44
    Why I'm Long Term Invested in Google Plus

    Over the past few days I've been having a very interesting and at times passionate (ok, heated) debate with someone in a LinkedIn group about Google Plus. He was proclaiming it a total waste of time for businesses, and expressed his frustrations with what he sees as huge inadequacies in the platform that make it too difficult for businesses to use effectively.

    This is my latest reply (edited only to add headers for easier reading here), written after he agreed to give Google+ another try (see our complete exchange at the link below):

    Charles, thanks for that feedback. Indeed, I'm probably as passionate about G+ as you are cynical toward it, and because of that we clashed in this thread more than was probably necessary. But I think we're now coming to a useful meeting place.

    You've stepped up sincerely from your pace of skepticism to sign up again and give it a go. So I'll make a good faith gesture to step down from my high and mighty cloud ;-) and try to engage in some realism.

    Yes, I'm gung ho about Google+, but I'll admit that to some extent that is about what I see as it's great potential rather than present reality. That's not to say that I and others aren't already getting big benefit out of it (we are), but it is to agree with you that a lot needs to happen yet for G+ to be a "no brainer" for many in the way some other social networks are.

    Google+ As a Long Term Investment
    I'm a believer that Google is committed to G+ and has a brilliant (if sometimes frustrating) "long game" plan for it (see This is typical modern-day Google. They have the resources and patience to walk out a long term strategy and to build slowly and carefully (as opposed to Zuckerberg's "rush it out the door even if it doesn't quite work yet" mentality). Google takes the luxury of carefully testing new features and rolling them out slowly, letting the users uncover what works and what's broken, and then adjusting and fixing in response. On Google+ many of us regularly find Google engineers and execs interacting in our threads, getting our feedback and letting us know what they're working on. That never happens on Facebook or Twitter.

    And so bit by bit we see Google regularly rolling out changes and updates, and almost always they are real useful improvements that make it a truly better, more user- or business-friendly place, as opposed to Facebook's too-often shot-in-the-dark catastrophes, like local check in and other ventures they roll out only to have to pull them a month or two later.

    Long Term Investments Are Hard
    But I understand that to a busy business person, that Google pace can be maddening. And I need to have more empathy for someone like you. You don't have a lot of time to be a beta tester, to keep plugging away at an "under construction" network when you already have other networks up and running and working for you. I get that.

    But Oh, The Payoff When They Hit...
    But here's the trade off (and why I am "wasting time" on G+): the payoff for the early adopter in a network that eventually goes big time. Of course, just like a stock investor, it's tough to know which newcomer to hitch your wagon too. We can all think of companies that we wish we'd bought stock in when it was a few dollars a share.

    So why am I buying early into Google+? Because when it launched a year and a half ago, I think I saw where Google was going with this. My field is search marketing, and Google remains the by-far biggest search marketplace. Especially in these days of Panda and Penguin clampdowns on what used to be easy pickings in SEO, when Google points at something and pretty much says, "This is how you get our attention in a way we approve," I pay attention. I had been reading statements by Eric Schmidt and Larry Page during the year before they launched G+ about how "if we do a social network again," it would be very different from Buzz or Wave, how it would not be an add-on to Google, but actually BE Google. Google 2.0.

    So while I and some of my clients are experiencing already some benefits from using G+, I'm really in it as a long term investor. And because I got in early, I have an opportunity I never had on Twitter or Facebook, which I joined after they were already "the big thing." I have a powerful network of over 28K followers, among them very influential people who actually pay attention to me. As I said earlier, this network has opened up professional opportunities for me like nothing I've ever used before.

    The Early Investor Payoff
    Because I'm an early adopter and poured myself into it, I've been able to establish a reputation as one of the prime experts on Google+, and that's led to all sorts of great opportunities. And if Google+ becomes all that I expect it to, and because of the search benefits its already bringing me, my company, and our clients, I believe that G+ will propel me to some great heights in the future.

    But, of course, I could be very wrong about all that. But I've seen enough of how Google is unfolding G+ to believe that I am not wrong. And that's enabled me, like a long term stock investor, to hold on and be very patient.

    Finally: Could I Ask a Favor?
    (I've never done this before on a G+ post, but I feel strongly enough about the value of this one to ask you that, if you like this post, you would take a moment to upvote it at - you just need a Twitter account to sign in and vote. Thanks!)

    #evang +   #gplusbusiness   #gplusforbusiness   #googleplusbusiness   #googleplusforbusiness   #googleplus   #gplus  
  • 88 plusses - 61 comments - 43 shares | Read in G+
  • Mark Traphagen2014-01-31 02:20:19
    Zuckerberg: Facebook Will Build a Better Search Engine than Google

    In other news, Lego announced plans to build a bridge to the moon.
  • 93 plusses - 53 comments - 42 shares | Read in G+
  • Mark Traphagen2013-11-07 20:13:14
    Google Discussion Rank: Revolutionizing Commenting

    Content commenting has been around for a long time. In some ways, it was the start of the interactive web we all take for granted today. 

    But somewhere along the line comments got left behind. While sophisticated social networks like Facebook and Google+ developed ways to algorithmically filter and surface content for users, most commenting platforms remained where they were in 2001. 

    Pioneers of Content Connectivity/Ranking
    Granted, there were some attempts at doing more with comments. +Disqus for example boldly attempted to help users keep track of their discussions across the web. They and others provided upvote systems. But low adoption and user understanding kept these innovations reserved to a small community of geeks.

    Applying Google Search Technology to Comments
    Anyone who has studied the revolution Google brought to internet search knows that at the core of their innovation was the ability to rank content on the web in ways that would be beneficial to searchers. This involved building complex mathematical models (called "algorithms") that learn to discern the ways that we humans think about relevancy and authority.

    Now we are seeing that same technology applied to comments. As many of you know, as of yesterday, YouTube comments changed forever. They are now fully integrated with Google+. There are admittedly bumps in that transition, and it seems jarring to many. Google is aware of this, and will be "tweaking the dials" over the coming days and weeks to make it better.

    But setting aside the growing pains for a moment, let's think about what has been gained here. 

    Because Google+ users have for a long time had the ability to embed a YouTube video in a Google+ post, some of the best and most active discussions about those videos were taking place here. Until now, those discussions were orphaned, separated from each other, and worse, totally disconnected from the video that spawned them.

    Now those discussions will be drawn in and included on the video page for the shared video. But as if that weren't revolutionary enough, theres' something more. I'm calling it:

    Discussion Rank
    Now not only will individual comments on a YouTube video be ranked (according to things like upvotes from other commenters, engagement with the comment, relevancy of the commenter to the person viewing the comments, authority of the commenter, etc.), but Google+ discussion threads have their own ranking authority.

    We can see an example of this in the already-existing integration of Google+ discussions into Blogger blogs. Look at the example in my image below. Yesterday when Google made the official announcement that Google+-YouTube comment integration was now switched on, many of us shared to Google+ the now month-old official YouTube Blogger post about the planned feature. 

    If you look at that Blogger post today, you see all those discussions (at least the public ones) in the comments below that post. But they are not (in the default view) arranged chronologically but ranked by "Top Comments." And right now most of the "top comments" are actually Google+ posts with their attached comment threads. This demonstrates that Google+ discussions, when embedded in blog or YouTube posts, have their own ranking authority metrics. 

    In our example, the post by +Vic Gundotra is #1, and mine is #2. Why is his above mine? There are undoubtedly many factors. Among those are probably things like +1's and number of comments, but those aren't the only factors. Vic's post has more plusses, but mine has more comments. Also factoring are very likely things like the profile authority of the person who created the thread, and perhaps even the authority levels of those who commented in it. Also in the mix are probably freshness, recency and velocity (how fast the discussion is currently building). 

    Discussion Rank and Personalization
    But wait, there's more. Very much like Google Search today, disucssion rank is personalized. No two Google+ accounts are going to see the same rankings when they look at a Blogger or YouTube comment thread. 

    My example below is while logged in to my Google+ account. But if I look at the same blog post logged out of Google ( I currently see Vic's thread still at #1, but mine drops to #4. I'm still beating out Google's +Bradley Horowitz, so some pride points there ;-)

    Bottom line: this is one more area now where your investment in a powerful and extensive network on Google+ will pay off, extending your reach far beyond the confines of a "mere" social network.
  • 74 plusses - 51 comments - 41 shares | Read in G+
  • Mark Traphagen2013-07-24 20:54:46
    My Google+ Guides for Business & Personal Use

    Haven't shared this in a while, and I just updated it. Here are all the major guides I've written on effective use of Google+ linked in one place. Included are sections on:

    <> Guides for brand pages
    <> Guides for Authorship
    <> Guides for Google+ SEO
    <> General Google+ Tips & Tricks

    #gplustips   #gplustipsandtricks  
  • 32 plusses - 9 comments - 41 shares | Read in G+
  • Mark Traphagen2014-03-03 23:36:05
    Understanding the Differences Between Google Authorship & Publisher

    A very helpful post with a very shareable infographic by +Robert Ryan 

    Reshared text:
    What's The Differences Between Google Authorship & Publisher?

    Have you ever wondered about the differences between #googleauthorship and publisher? Well, I've tried to analogise for you and, thanks to +Elena Montes Casado, have got it represented in an #infographic ..

    My take on Authorship and Publisher is that Authorship is for unique content written by us human beings whereas publisher is the preserve of the collective, or entity, that houses the authors.

    One analogy for this is a magazine. A magazine can have articles from lots of authors and so each article would have Authorship associated with it. All of these authors articles are collectively published though by the magazine and as such the magazine has publisher markup in place.

    You can view the full post here:

    Whilst there are a few differences between Authorship & Publisher they have a lot of similar advantages such as increased click through rate, more visibility, more trust and can reduce the chances of plagiarism.

    In the full post I give shoutouts to +Craig Fifield for his stellar guide on how to set up Authorship, +Mervik Haums for his infographic checklist on how to find out why Authorship isn't working and +Mark Traphagen for being the definitive source of all things Authorship.

    Full post here:

    Do you have any analogies of your own you'd like to share? Or, any questions about Authorship/Publisher? If so, please ask and hope you like and share the graphic!

    #GooglePlus #googleplustips
  • 105 plusses - 20 comments - 40 shares | Read in G+
  • Mark Traphagen2013-11-29 19:29:09
    How to start a Hangout (Infographic)

    Reshared text:
    How To Start A Hangout

    I decided to create my first ever infographic! And here it is!  

    Hopefully it will help beginners to GPlus have confidence in starting their very own hangout.   It covers the very basics of How To Hangout on Google Plus.  

    As you can see below it focused on the Main Options of Invite, Mic, Cam, Bandwidth, Settings, and End Call.  Please pass it on to your friends and family, and business associates who may not have yet started their own hangout before.

    You can see a larger version of the infographic on my blog at  It also has an embed code that you may copy if you would like to showcase this hangout graphic on your own website. 

    Thanks to the  entire Google Plus team that makes Hangouts possible, with special mentions to +chee chew +Dori Storbeck +Justine Rivero +Google+ Help 

    #howtohangout  #hangoutpost  #hangouts
  • 73 plusses - 8 comments - 40 shares | Read in G+
  • Mark Traphagen2013-10-13 20:09:53
    Google Plus Police

    Spotted at the Chapel Hill Trader Joes. This car looks like a police car but it is not. It's actually just a car covered with advertising URLs and logos. But lookee there it's our own G plus ready to protect and serve! #ns

    UPDATE: Thanks to alert reader +John Elstone for tracking down the business behind this car: +AutoFashions.Com  
  • 536 plusses - 65 comments - 40 shares | Read in G+
  • Mark Traphagen2013-08-11 14:10:22
    Sunday Google+ Pro Tip of the Day: Where Community Posts "Live"

    Sunday is the day +Jesse Wojdylo has asked me to share with you my Pro Tip of the Week. This week's is a little more "under the hood" of Google+, but I think its interesting--and often useful--to know how some of the gears mesh.

    Community Posts are YOUR Posts
    The most amazing and least known fact about posts you post to a Community is that they are your posts. That is, they actually "live" on your profile, and are sort of "on loan" to the Community. 

    In the structure of Google+, Communities don't actually have any posts of their own. They are simply pages that aggregate member content that Google+ tags with a connection to the particular community (actually, to a category of that community). 

    That is why your community posts show on your profile (unless you choose to hide them, but hiding them doesn't disconnect them from your profile ownership). Now, Google+ does have a privacy feature that makes those posts only visible on your profile to people who are in the same Community.

    How Do We Know This?
    The chief proof of who really "owns" your Community posts is where they go when they "die." If a moderator removes a post of yours from a community, the post continues to exist on your profile. And anyone who had already commented on or plussed the post before it was removed can continue the conversation on it, even though it no longer exists in the community. 

    Benefits of Community Post Ownership
    That feature is useful for moderation. When I remove someone's post (other than obvious spammers), I usually comment with a brief explanation of why it was removed. Because the post continues to exist on the profile of its creator, we can continue that dialog even after it is removed, helping the member to learn how to better craft posts or shares for the community.

    The other benefit of the fact that you own your community posts is that, while undoubtedly the community benefits in reputation with Google for having great posts by authoritative members, you retain SEO credit for your posts in communities. They help build your search authority, and may even help you with subject-area authority in Google Authorshp, as Google turns up the knobs on identifying and ranking Subject Area Authorities (see my post for more on that topic).

    Image credit: Photo by Kiril Strax on Flickr ( - Used through a Creative Commons License, some rights reserved by the owner.
  • 37 plusses - 17 comments - 40 shares | Read in G+
  • Mark Traphagen2014-04-04 11:26:25
    Understand the latest Big Bang discovery in < 5 minutess (illustrated by XKCD)

    Last month scientists released the first hard evidence of "gravitational waves," the echoes of the Big Bang. What that tells us about our universe will (as they would say at Upworthy) shock you.
  • 41 plusses - 49 comments - 39 shares | Read in G+
  • Mark Traphagen2014-03-03 16:18:13
    BREAKING: New Authorship Purge?

    The mid-February resurgence of Authorship rich snippets in Google Search looks like it lasted just two weeks. According to the +Moz Mozcast Search Features graph for Authorship (http://mozcast/features), Authorship snippets showing for their set of test queries took another plunge over the past weekend.

    As many of you probably know, Google intentionally cut back on the amount of Authorship rich snippets in shows in search this past December in an effort to improve the overall quality of those results. I reported my findings on why certain people and/or sites may have had their Authorship cut or reduced at

    Around Valentines' Day we saw an uptick in the amount of Authorship, accompanied by reports from authors who got their authorship restored to search. In many cases, these were people who had previously had authorship connected to pages where it should not have been (such as home or product pages) who had since fixed the problem. Other restorations were likely adjustments because the original algorithm update might have cut too wide a swath.

    It will be interesting to see who and what got cut in this recent drop. My guess is it is a bunch of sites and/or authors who should have been cut in the first update, but who were missed. We'll have to wait for reports to see.
  • 37 plusses - 6 comments - 39 shares | Read in G+
  • Mark Traphagen2014-01-31 21:48:41
    Matt Cutts LOLs

    You know him, you lov........well, you hope he loves you. 

    If you're in SEO this face strikes either terror or affection in your heart; likely a little of both. Matt Cutts is the head of the Google anti-spam team and probably Google's best-known public face outside of Larry and Sergey. 

    This site has a collection of some of the best Matt Cutts memes:
  • 128 plusses - 35 comments - 39 shares | Read in G+
  • Mark Traphagen2013-08-16 14:15:44
    My Online Marketing Flipboard Magazines: Subscribe Today!

    I'm now curating three Flipboard Magazines:

    <> Google+ Plus Power

    <> Online Marketing Daily

    <> SEO Search Engine Optimization Daily

    Each day as I read across the web, I'm curating the very best content I find on those topics in those magazines. You can bookmark and read them right in your browser, or if you have the +Flipboard app for your smart phone or tablet, you can one-click subscribe, and the best of my curated content will be pushed to your Cover Stories section.
  • 130 plusses - 24 comments - 39 shares | Read in G+
  • Mark Traphagen2013-08-04 18:09:32
    What is the Future of Google Authorship?

    Just ran across this Webmaster Forum Q&A video by Matt Cutts that was posted in June 2013. It contains what I think are some valuable insights into where Google is with rel=author at present and where they may want to go with it in the future, particularly as it pertains to search rankings (Author Rank) and helping to eliminate spam from the SERPs. 

    My post also includes a list of the takeaways I would be working on right now in light of what Matt says here.
  • 61 plusses - 5 comments - 39 shares | Read in G+
  • Mark Traphagen2013-07-15 12:17:52
    Google Subject Authority Ranking: Lead or Get Out of the Way

    My latest blog post. I discuss some fascinating "reveals" in a recent interview with Google's +Matt Cutts in which Matt talks about Google's strong desire to be able to identify and promote in search the people and sites who are the recognized, trusted authorities on various subjects.

    I include my advice on what you need to be doing to establish yourself as one of those authorities in order to be able to stand out in the future of search marketing.

    Referenced in my post: +Barry Schwartz +Eric Enge +David Amerland +AJ Kohn +Marcus Sheridan 

    #seo   #socialmedia   #socialmediamarketing   #contentmarketing   #semanticsearch  
  • 45 plusses - 11 comments - 39 shares | Read in G+
  • Mark Traphagen2014-04-02 14:36:16
    Google+ View Count Numbers: What They Mean & How to Evaluate Them

    Here's my in-depth article on the new view count numbers in Google+ profiles and pages. I cover everything we know about how they work and what generates them, as well as my take on what they mean (and don't mean) and how to use them intelligently in evaluating Google+ users.

    #views   #viewcount   #gplusupdate   #plusonly  
  • 52 plusses - 35 comments - 37 shares | Read in G+
  • Mark Traphagen2014-02-28 13:20:01
    NEW: Report Content Thieves with Google Scraper Report

    Google's +Matt Cutts announced yesterday the Google Scraper Report. What is a scraper? It's a site that copies ("scrapes") content off of one site and posts it on their own, without permission and without any link attribution to the original.

    It's never pleasant to see someone using content that you worked very hard to created, but it's even more annoying if that scraped content is outranking your original in Google Search. Now Google is providing a form where you can report such instances. Access it at -->

    Google has not made any promises that reporting scraped content will result in any direct action on their part. It is possible that the form is only for gathering data that will help Google improve their algorithm for catching scraped content. But even if it is just that, reporting the violations will help make web search better for everyone.

    For more details, see the post by +Danny Sullivan at +Search Engine Land -->
    HT to +Jeff Ostroff for alerting me to this in the Google Authorship Community (

    #content   #contentmarketing   #seo   #copyrightinfringement   #google  
  • 65 plusses - 39 comments - 37 shares | Read in G+
  • Mark Traphagen2013-12-20 14:53:24
    Google Confirms Reduction in Showing Authorship in Search Results

    Yesterday Google's +Matt Cutts confirmed to +Barry Schwartz of +Search Engine Land that they have begun to reduce the amount of Google Authorship author photo rich snippets shown in search. Read more about this change at the post linked below.
  • 24 plusses - 10 comments - 37 shares | Read in G+
  • Mark Traphagen2013-06-21 11:59:48
    Google Plus SEO Tip: My #1 Most Important (& Simplest!) Tip

    Here it is. Are you ready? Do you have pen and paper to take careful notes?

    Post to Public

    That's it. So simple but missed or misunderstood by so many.

    The fact is if you post to anything other than Public (or don't include Public with other circles you share to), such as Your Circles or Extended Circles, that post has a limited audience. And worse, it will not be indexed for Google Search.

    In brief: only posts shared to Public can be:

    1. seen or found by anyone in Google+.
    2. indexed by Google Search to be found by the general public.

    #seo #gplustips #evang +
  • 61 plusses - 49 comments - 37 shares | Read in G+
  • Mark Traphagen2013-09-05 01:01:49
    Can a HDTV be a little TOO realistic?

    Great campaign by LG.

    Reshared text:
  • 86 plusses - 21 comments - 36 shares | Read in G+
  • Mark Traphagen2013-08-24 13:57:16
    Optimizing Your Google+ Hovercard

    What's your hovercard? It's the popup card people see when they hover their mouse over your profile or page name on Google+. It includes your tag line, but only about the first 50 characters or so. 

    In this extensive post +Jason Darrell shows why it matters what words you put first in your tag line. For many people that 3 seconds they look at your hovercard may be your only chance to grab their attention and make them at least want to click and take a closer look at you.

    Jason's post is a mini-whitepaper that is chock full of other great tips too, such as using Hootsuite to automate the posting of well optimized G+ posts, and a link to the great tutorial by +Kristoffer Howes on optimizing the "above the fold" part of a G+ share.

    Reshared text:
    Businesses need to optimise their Google Hover Card 'About' pitch

    Great share yesterday by  +Yifat Cohen [1] (amongst many), with a h/t to +Chris Brogan for the Google+ #magazine stream [2] that avails us of the content shared by our favourite glossies right here in The Plus.

    Par example, here are a few I instantly recognised, +GQ Magazine, +New Business Magazine, +Maxim Magazine & +Men's Health magazine

    There are many more instantly recognisable brands other than these bloke-ish periodicals, too.

    However, many more looked interesting but failed miserably in the limited space in the pitch-box, or #snippet , below the cover to divulge what they were about.

    In the screen-shot below, +OK! Magazine & +BICYCLING magazine  have got the hang of the succinctness required to fit their #aboutme description into x amount of characters.

    But the rest?
    +SELF Magazine: "Add us to your Google+ Circles. We'll share posts about..."
    +Smithsonian Magazine: "Smithsonian magazine is a monthly magazine created for..."

    And so it goes on - no details about what they do or who they're for, hence missing the opportunity to enamour their #companybranding with their ideal audience.

    And talking of which, #snippetoptimization has been in the news this week, brought to my attention by +Mark Traphagen [3] when he shared +Kristoffer Howes post: Google+ Feed Snippet: A 200 Character Sales Pitch [4].

    Kristoffer's post goes into much more detail about why so many businesses need to get this right, as is perfectly played out in the image below.

    Optimise your Google+ Posts for multiple sharing on Hootsuite

    A similar 50/100/140/200 theory applies to your every day posts. 

    To add a bit of value over and above the content mentioned above (you really should check them out; all listed under References: at the bottom of the page), I've put this how-to, with demonstration and tools, together that you can actually do in Hootsuite this weekend.

    Yep, even on the free account.  Read [4] first, then the following will make a lot more sense.

    Back?  All cool?  Good.

    Click 'compose message' in your Hootsuite dash and initially only select your Twitter profile to post to.

    Theoretically, the title of the content you're sharing should be between 50-70 characters and relevant to the article.  Type that in first.

    Add the content's URL in the box provided at this stage and press 'shrink'. 

    You now have used around 70-90 characters for your message, including the URL.

    Add a suitable hashtag, using +Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology's IceRocket [7] to measure the popularity of your hashtag if you're uncertain what you should use, thus taking you to around 100 characters.

    That's perfect for the truncated re-share on +Google+ - read on for where that comes in handy.

    Next, add a poignant contextual question or subheading for attention-grabbing to take you up to the 140 character limit for Twitter.  Stage 1 complete.

    Next, additionally select your 'LinkedIn' Profile to the networks you want to share to.  This sets the character limit to 200 characters.

    Fill her up to 200 with additional context, content or hastags, if appropriate. Stage 2 complete.

    Finally, add your G+ Page (personal profiles aren't on +HootSuite  yet, I believe) as a further distribution channel for your message; you've already set the 200 character snippet.  Awesome!

    As you've already formatted the #snippet to the 100 character cut-off in Stage 1, including hashtag, you have an accurate, discoverable description already in place for your personal profile.
      Stage 3 & #snippetoptimization complete

    Stage 4 - If you really must, you can add you fb page, too. Either autoschedule or program in your preferred times to post (or just hit post now) and you're done.

    To get that content across to your personal G+ profile once you've hit publish/submit in Hootsuite, if the content's appropriate for your personal a/c, share it from your Page.

    Sounds complicated, but it's easy as 1-2-3 when you start doing it regularly. #jobdone

    Bonus Tip: if you use a CSV to bulk upload your Hootsuite schedule [5], add this =LEN(B1) formula in column 4 and drag it down to cover all of the rows you're scheduling.

    It displays the character count for your snippet once you hit the 'return' key. Simply delete that column when you upload the csv.

    I've put together a little csv with my half-dozen favourite posts of the week, which you can download from +Google Drive [6] and subsequently upload in bulk to Hootsuite if you've never tried it before.

    It contains the the above formula in column 4 for demonstration purposes that you must delete before uploading.

    The dates are scheduled for this weekend (24th/25th August) and are in the DD/MM/YYYY format, but you can change those if you're getting here later than that.  Read how in [5]

    There are half a dozen posts ready to post via Hootsuite, from +Christine DeGraff, +Stephan Hovnanian, +Rebekah Radice, +Jennifer Herndon, +David Amerland and yours truly, all with the respective @twitter address to give the contributors the nod there, too.

    Upload in Scheduler>>Bulk Upload, press submit and they'll post at the set times.

    Okay, hope you found this useful.  Thanks to all the contributors; couldn't have done it without you. }¦;¬)

  • 63 plusses - 6 comments - 36 shares | Read in G+
  • Mark Traphagen2013-04-05 09:45:24
    PowerPoint Pinterest InstructoGraphics

    My friend and former +Virante Search Marketing colleague +Colby Almond invented the InstructoGraph, and this post shows how those of us who are Photoshop-challenged (I see those hands) can make them using tools we understand.

    What is an instructograph? It's an instructional infograph. Most infographs provide data in a visual display. An instructograph is a visual presentation of anything that can be broken down into steps. For example: "How to Fold a Shirt," where you would read down the instructograph in numbered steps, each one with a photo of drawing of the fold made at that step.

    What Colby discovered was that instructographs dramatically increase click-thrus on Pinterest. Why? Because if you size it correctly, only your enticing title shows in the Pinterest display. The interested viewer must click the Pinterest thumbnail to get the rest of the instructions, bringing them to your site. Brilliant? Yes!

    And as this post by +Andrew Johnson shows, all you need to make one of these is Microsoft Paint and PowerPoint, two tools you probably already know how to use.

    Hey....even I could make one!
  • 67 plusses - 9 comments - 36 shares | Read in G+
  • Mark Traphagen2013-02-03 13:49:58
    Author Rank Confirmed by Google Chairman?

    This may be the biggest news I've broken on Google+ in a long time. Read my post below from the Google Authorship and Author Rank community. And ignore the Tech Crunch linkbait headline in their article. As I discuss, they bury the real headline with no comprehension of the magnitude of what Schmidt has said.

    #authorship #authorrank #Googleauthorship #googleauthorrank

    Reshared text:
    Has Eric Scmidt Just Confirmed Author Rank?

    It's been some time since we've had any public statement from a Google employee on Google Authorship becoming a major ranking factor in search results.

    Until now.

    In his upcoming book The Digital Age, according to +TechCrunch, Schmidt says the following:

    “Within search results, information tied to verified online profiles will be ranked higher than content without such verification, which will result in most users naturally clicking on the top (verified) results. The true cost of remaining anonymous, then, might be irrelevance.”

    This is the clearest affirmation of author rank I have heard since +Othar Hansson's answer to +Matt Cutts' question in the introductory video on Authorship back in 2011.

  • 85 plusses - 56 comments - 36 shares | Read in G+
  • Mark Traphagen2014-04-05 12:19:10
    Understanding Google+ Profile & Page View Counts

    Google+ enacted a big change earlier this week as they began displaying a new "views" metric on profiles and pages. 

    What does the metric mean? Why did Google+ add it? How is it counted? Get all that and more in my in-depth article linked below.

    And if you find the article helpful, hit my "tip jar" by sharing it with others. Thanks!
  • 51 plusses - 20 comments - 35 shares | Read in G+
  • Mark Traphagen2014-01-21 23:36:35
    Help! My Google Authorship Disappeared! Where Did It Go?

    (Resharing for the time zone shift)

    In December, Google enacted a promised reduction in the amount of Authorship rich snippet results they show in search. How did they choose who got cut? What reasons contribute to losing Authorship? How does one get it back?

    Read my extensive report, based on many hours of intensive research into dozens of author's search result, combined with intriguing statements from Google representatives.

    Read it at

    And please reshare if it helps you! #authorship    #googleauthorship  
  • 46 plusses - 9 comments - 35 shares | Read in G+
  • Mark Traphagen2013-11-10 16:21:47
    Google Plus for Personal Brands: Page or Profile?

    I just answered a question sent to me by a Google+ users who is his own brand (i.e., his personal name is his professional/business name). He was in a dilemma over whether he should have both a personal profile and a business page, and if both, where to post his business-oriented content.

    Below is my answer; I thought it might help others in the same position:

    There is no easy answer for this, especially for a case like yours where you are your own brand.

    Each entity, a page and a profile, has its own advantages and disadvantages.

    The primary advantage of your Page, I think, is that it establishes you as a verified business brand with Google. If you verify your page (by creating a two-way link between the page and your official site), then Google begins to use the page to track social activity around your brand. We're not entirely sure all that they are using that for, or will use it for in the future, but they've definitely told us that having a verified page helps them to assess the trust around your brand and helps them better assess what you should rank for in search.

    On the other hand, a personal profile allows you to be yourself more. If it's important to you that customers and potential clients see you as not just a brand, but as an interesting, engaging, knowledgable "real person," then your profile is the place for that. In addition to your business-oriented content, you can more comfortably (than on a Page) post personal photos and videos, funny stuff, hobbies...whatever exhibits you as a real person.

    A personal profile is also essential if you want to take advantage of Google Authorship for your web content.

    As far as the worry over posting your business content on one or the other, or both, here's a strategy I often employ. Post your business-oriented content first on your brand page. Then some time later, reshare the brand page post from your personal profile. The time lag prevents people who might follow you on both your page and profile from getting double posts at the same time. And the reshare from your page contains a link back to your page, which may encourage your personal followers to add your page to their circles.

    There are certainly many more considerations that we could talk about, but I hope that helps!
  • 63 plusses - 25 comments - 35 shares | Read in G+
  • Mark Traphagen2013-06-03 12:12:38
    Google+ Redesign: What It Means for Business Users

    My latest post for the +Windmill Networking blog of +Neal Schaffer. I give an overview of some of the major changes that happened to the Google+ platform last month, and then my take on how businesses can use them to their advantage.
  • 37 plusses - 6 comments - 35 shares | Read in G+
  • Mark Traphagen2013-05-06 16:10:33
    Blog Post Google Ranking: How to Move Your Posts Up in Search

    These 6 simple steps can give your blog posts a much better chance of showing up in Google search and ranking well:

    1. Tweak your page title
    2. Repurpose your content (especially on Slideshare)
    3. Optimize your images
    4. Improve your internal linking
    5. Get external links to the post
    6. Share your post on Google+
  • 16 plusses - 5 comments - 35 shares | Read in G+
  • Mark Traphagen2012-11-11 14:29:00
    Casey Movers Threatens to Sue Customer Over Bad Review

    ...and this time they picked on the wrong guy.

    Read how my friend +Phil Buckley got a letter from Casey Moving threatening a law suit if his wife didn't remove a negative review on Yelp.

    Phil is an expert at SEO and ORM (Online Reputation Management). I expect his exposé post to be dominating Casey Moving's search results by tomorrow.

    (Would appreciate reshares of this to help us toward that goal)
  • 41 plusses - 13 comments - 35 shares | Read in G+
  • Mark Traphagen2014-02-24 01:42:55
    Coming Tomorrow....AuthorRank Pro

    If you liked - you ain't seen nothin' yet!
  • 28 plusses - 3 comments - 34 shares | Read in G+
  • Mark Traphagen2013-11-14 23:54:43
    It Is Always Now

    Haven't shared this for a while...

    I've watched a lot of 5 minute videos over the past few years. None was more important than this one. Because this is the one that determined how I would live the rest of my life.

    It is always now. It is only now.
  • 61 plusses - 14 comments - 34 shares | Read in G+
  • Mark Traphagen2013-11-06 22:40:57
    BREAKING: Google+ Comments for YouTube Launching Today

    Just heard from a reliable source that the new comment system on YouTube that requires your YouTube account to be connected to a Google+ account in order to comment is going into effect today. While you need a G+ account, you do not need to use your G+ account name on your comments. 

    See the post below for details, but also let me know if you have questions or concerns about how this works.
  • 59 plusses - 152 comments - 34 shares | Read in G+
  • Mark Traphagen2013-08-25 23:59:56
    Artsy Mugshots from the 1920s

    These Australian mugshots from the 1920s recently discovered look more like professional portrait sittings than criminal IDs.

    My favorite is the one marked "this person refused to open his eyes." And woah, this was obviously before the discovery of hair conditioner!
  • 131 plusses - 14 comments - 34 shares | Read in G+
  • Mark Traphagen2013-07-23 23:39:03
    Don't write for people, write for search engines.

    This is the most important post about writing for the web you'll ever read skim. By AJ Kohn, of course. 
  • 58 plusses - 24 comments - 34 shares | Read in G+
  • Mark Traphagen2013-03-19 16:51:30
    Matt Cutts Questions with One Line Answers

    This may be one of the most brilliant pieces of content I've seen in a long time. The folks at +Click Consult watched every +Matt Cutts Webmaster Q&A video and then posted the essential answer in just one line. Amusing and amazingly useful!

  • 54 plusses - 16 comments - 34 shares | Read in G+
  • Mark Traphagen2014-03-12 01:41:57
    Moz Gets Scraped by Google's Knowledge Graph

    Think Google's Knowledge Graph only scrapes answers to questions from sites like Wikipedia? Think again.

    Tonight +Jennifer Sable Lopez tweeted this screen cap from #smx  West in San Jose. A search for "meta description length" brought up an answer scraped from the +Moz site.

    cc: +Russ Jones 
  • 94 plusses - 58 comments - 33 shares | Read in G+
  • Mark Traphagen2014-03-09 16:15:10
    Important SEO Updates & News from Google Webmaster's Hangouts

    Many thanks to +Steve Martin for providing this useful summary of tips, insights, and juicy bits from a recent Webmaster's Hangout with +John Mueller of Google.

    Reshared text:
    New SEO Panda Leaks! Google Will Auto-301 redirect your Old Clone Sites

    Highlights of the  +John Mueller Feb 14th and Feb 24th hangouts.

    Panda and Content Spidering: If you are adding new content to your website daily make sure that spidering is increasing in Webmaster Tools. If you are adding content and they're spidering drops it is likely a Panda quality problem.

    HTTP and HTTPS: If you use both versions you need to have a robots.txt file for each version or it causes duplicate content. 

    Disavowed Links: If you remove links from your disavow file that have been ignored by Google the links will count again, good or bad. The disavow file works like a robot.txt file with a list of instructions to follow. Whether the link is suspect or good it will get the link juice back.

    Don't use HTML Sitemap Pages: Google ignores these as a low quality page and will not trust it and could be a Panda issue. 

    Does Google Pass Juice to Links in Files: John Mueller says that Google will read links in any file (pdf,xls,doc,etc), but will not follow them with link juice. Only proper HTML anchor tagged links in files will pass link juice.

    Does Google Use CTR Tracking: Mueller denied, but if you read between the lines you could figure out that they do. It is mentioned in the book, "In the Plex" on Click through analysis, fom SERP to site and back to SERP. If visitors are bouncing from that page, add some fresh content, video or links from internal pages that are ranking.

    Panda: they use internal usage metrics. If it looks nicer in the SERPS and a quality issue of on page content. "Have to have to site optimized before sending traffic of any kind" this implies that they may watch paid traffic in terms of the bounce rate for panda but has previously denied it in past hangouts.

    They will ignore 301 is a directive to follow if you forward to a to b and they like A they will ignore the page your redirecting to.

    New Site Honeymoon: Make sure your traffic is responding to your pages for "New Site Honeymoon" split test to do A/B testing to see if it perfoms well. It implies that the algorithm puts your site in a category for user metrics and specifically "sharing". Social proof is something they look at and if your website is not getting social traffic it will disapear. Google has algorithms for rank, for trust and de-rank according to social signals.

    Site errors: 500, PHP, MySQL errors will be a "Panda" quality factors. Do not have errors for more than 48 hours with our testing.

    Google is Machine Learning It is alive, it is SkyNet. It is equivellant to a 3 year old child.

    Geo targeting Algorithm Working on a Best Guess Basis Even if you have .com or .uk Your content has to reflect your geo-targeting href lang. Based on quality or trust they will decide whether or not you are relevant to that specific geo location. Not just by the URL. Everything is proportional based and machine learning. That is what they are using on-the-fly to rank websites.

    Share Your Disavow File to Public: John Mueller stated that when you supply a Google spreadsheet for your disavow list that is set to "Public" otherwise the web spam team cannot access it. The Webspam team does not have access to your Google account backend. It is against Google's terms and conditions that they cannot get into your account.

    Review snippets: John Mueller implied that the review snippet is a quality factor. It's a great way to share the site.

    Cloned Sites: When you have multi URL with same design, topic and just trying to rank for keywords. You cannot use clones but you can have exact match domains if it is trusted. If you have non-exact match keywords pointed to the site is preferable.

    Google could detect that the IP is the same, registered by the same person, the design is the same, back links, keywords and content topic, that they will choose the best version that they determine which is the main site and will canonicallize it for you. 

    Does Forwarding from a Penalized Domain to a New One Reset a Penalty? If you try to kill your domain that was hit by Penguin and you create a new domain and forward everything over that they will "help" by automatically setting a 301 redirect. So they look at old site information and forward all the signals, good or bad to the new site. They have 2 indexes one is the historical index and the ranking index to compare and make a decision based on the mined data.

    "They don't want spammers to get away with cloning sites" John Mueller said.

    They keep a changelog and can tell if you are maintaining the pages. They could figure out that these are all the same and that you are trying to manipulate the SERPS.

    Site Navigation is a Ranking Factor: Internal navigation needs to be logical. The page on your site that you want to rank the highest you need to point your internal links to that page to "sculpt" you page rank internally.

    If you are experiencing issues with Google's many algorithms you could visit us at for answers.
  • 57 plusses - 29 comments - 33 shares | Read in G+