Posts tagged "Google+"

The Bloggers Guide to Google+ by Matt Cooke and Lisa de Bonis at Britmums Live

I decided to go to Britmums Live, the event for parent bloggers in the UK, this year and I’m so glad I did! It’s a yearly event for members of Britmums, one of the oldest parent blogger networks in the UK (and one which welcomes daddy bloggers too, despite the name). The bloggers who turn up are usually parents who blog about all kinds of things – family life, products for children, parenting challenges, cooking, crafts or small business (like me!).

The Bloggers guide to Google+ by Matt Cooke of Google+ and Lisa de Bonis
The first session I attended was a Google+ seminar: Google+ are currently reaching out to early adopters like bloggers and are keen to organise communities based around ‘shared passions’ – they suggested organising your circles to reflect your enthusiasms such as crafting, food etc so that you can follow people who share the same passion as you (and gain inspiration for blogs) and also so that you can share blog entries or other links with appropriate audiences.

Lisa mentioned that a blogger who is keen to remain anonymous should create a Page for their blog; no one will know that their Profile runs the Page.

Another cool feature they talked about is Hangouts: if you run a Hangout on Air you can stream if from your blog and it will be auto recorded and saved on Youtube. Some ways you can use this are for Product Reviews, How to’s, Q&A sessions, Book Clubs, Debates and of course Vlogging.

Essentials:

Learn More about Google+Google Reader Integration One questioner asked whether Google+ had any plans to make it easier for users of Google Reader to share links. I was keen to hear the answer to this as I subscribe to a lot of RSS streams from blogs in my Google Reader and I don’t think I’m alone! I’ve often been baffled by the lack of ‘joining up’ in some Google services and think Reader would have been perfect for more sharing, not less, as it’s such a useful service. Google+ responded that they are keen to encourage manual sharing from Google+ itself at this point, to get people to use the service more and know it better, but might add more integration with other services further down the line. I’m not 100% convinced by this – how come Blogger has auto-share added, then? – but at least we know the official line!

Several members of the audience had questions about merging Google+ accounts into one (is it possible? Short answer, no) and whether Profiles or Pages are better (short answer, use a Profile for your personal account and a Page for your professional account).

This was a very useful session for those of us who are still learning about Google+ – it’s such a new network that there is a steep learning curve even if you are a Google obsessive, like me.

How to get your author photo to show up in Google search results

In case you’ve ever wondered how some people get a thumbnail photo of themselves to show up in Google search results, these are known as Google author links and they are a great tool for making yourself more visible in search results and increasing your credibility if you run a blog. I’ve just managed to activate mine and thought I’d pass on the methods I used to get myself listed: it’s really a question of patience and trial and error. You can see how the thumbnail photo looks in the screenshot below: it’s about four times larger than the small photo that appears when you have shared a link on Google Plus and which usually says “You shared this”.

Google has detailed instructions about how to activate Google author links but it isn’t terribly clear how to apply this to different blog platforms. I’ve managed to activate these successfully in WordPress and in Blogger so thought I’d pass on the knowledge I’ve gained about the simplest way to do this. You will need to have a Google Plus account for this to work. These notes are for people with single author blogs only, but you will find instructions for multiple user blogs on the Google link above. These instructions are also relevant for Google+ personal profiles rather than business pages.

1. If you haven’t already, set up your Google Plus account.
2. If you don’t have one, set up an About Me page on both your Blogger and WordPress accounts. Add any biographical information you want to appear in search results (you can link your Blogger and Google+ accounts here but you still need to have an About Me page for this to work in my experience). Don’t forget your keywords!
3. In WordPress, you may need to add the Allow Rel= and HTML plugin if you are using the WordPress Author Bios page.
4. Sign into Google Plus and copy the URL at the top of your home page which will be https://plus.google.com/ followed by a string of 21 digits. This is your Google Profile URL.
5. Go here to get your personalised Google+ profile button and paste your profile URL into the box it shows you to generate the button HTML code. Copy the button HTML code (NB this is NOT the same as a “+1” button which allows others to share your content).
6. Add the button code at the bottom of your Blogger and WordPress ‘About Me’ pages (remember to paste into the HMTL section not the visual editor).
7. You should now have a button at the bottom of your About Me pages that links to your Google+ profile, just like I do here.
8. Now sign into your Google Plus account and go to ‘Edit Profile’.
9. Look for the ‘+1’s’ tab and click the box saying ‘Show this tab on your profile’ (I’m not entirely sure why this step is necessary but I include it as a lot of other walkthroughs have mentioned it and I did it myself).
10. Next, click the ‘About’ tab and click on the section saying ‘Contributor To’ and ‘Add Custom Link’
11. Add the link to your About Me page (NOT just the general URL) ie http://www.myblog.com/aboutme.html for both your WordPress and blogger blogs.
12. Go to the Rich Snippets Testing Tool and put your About Me page URL in the box to check that your mark up is working correctly. The result should look something like this:

13. Google have provided a form you can send them to let them know you have added the Author link to your blog or site. It’s worth filling it in as they may get back to you if it doesn’t work.

That’s it! You can also add reciprocal links from your Google+ Business Page to your business website too, if you like, as I’ve done on Mimimyne, using this link, although it does not mean you will get author style profile photos in search.

Here’s a useful resource on Google author links by Joost de Valk for WordPress users and a detailed post on Google author links by AJ Kohn that I also found useful.

It’s also possible to get verified using your email address, try this link here – I haven’t used this method myself but it may be quicker than the method I described above!

Once it’s set up and running correctly, you can check your Author Stats in Webmaster Tools in the Labs section.