Beantin

James Royal-Lawson

SEO

Google Social search: followers and follows

This week Google rolled out a new feature to it’s SERPs and snippets when logged in. If you have a Google Profile and Google has indexed who you are connected to, there’s a chance that you will see a small profile picture along with a name and the text “shared this on <someplace>”.

a search result showing that a friend had share this page on Twitter

This is Google taking another step forward in integrating information it gathers about your social graph into it’s search results. This, of course, has a number of implications. You can read a bit more about the feature and what Google themselves have said about it in this Tech Crunch article.

Your connections

What isn’t apparent at first is who, exactly, are your friends. My initial presumption was that it was just the people I followed (on Twitter), but after a few searches it became apparent that it was both the people I follow and the people who follow me.

two snippets one showing sharing information from a follower on Twitter, the other sharing information from someone I follow

As you can see from the example above, the 4th and 5th placed search results are both indicated as being shared by people I’m connected to. I follow Alan Colville (Klout of 44), but Steve Cook (Klout of 23) follows me (I have Steve on a list, but I don’t directly follow him)..

Impact on SERPs

How much, if any, have those two tweets impacted upon the order of the results? Well, by logging out and doing a clean search for the same phrase the same two results are now 4th (still) and 9th. The second result has now dropped 4 places.

the two snippets from the previous example are 4 places further apart when not logged in

Ok, a number of additional factors could also be playing a role in moving that 9th placed result up to 5th – and as I didn’t do this test with the same Google account before this feature was launched I can’t say for sure how much of this movement is down to the shared link data. But I suspect it’s playing some part in it.

Importance of Twitter

What this does mean though, is that suddenly, following people on (public) social networks (in particular twitter) could lift the ranking of pages you’ve shared in those people’s search results. From an SEO perspective, the number of people you follow (and who follow you) became something to consider.

Shared links and little profile pictures makes Google’s use of this data really very obvious – but that’s limited to people logged into Google. What we can’t see as easily is how much Google is using this data in it’s regular organic search results, but we have seen from other case studies that it seems to already be a factor.

20 Articles worth reading… (Spotted: Week 3-5, 2011)

This edition’s collection of links includes posts related to: Eye tracking and user testing, Intranets, UX, usability and web strategy, SEO, and web development.


User experience, usability & web strategy

Good usability makes a website

This one quote from the article pretty much says enough: “Usability testing is no longer a nice to have but essential to the success of any website.” – if anything, design is the “nice to have” if you are forced to choose.

Should web writers and UX designers use “click here”?

From a usability perspective, we’ve been trying to get web editors to avoid “read more” and “click here” for years. But, for sales links (rather than “resource links”) you get more clicks – which means potentially more conversions.

If you were going to design Flattr’s sign-up process, is this how you’d do it?

Via his blog post and the comments Harry Brignull has, in effect, crowd-sourced the improvement of not only Flattr’s website (their tactics), but also the entire way they are going about building their business (their strategy). This blog post could be the point where Flattr’s tide turned….

A Dead-Simple Change That Increased Our Conversion Rate by Over 250%

Forget your big-bang entire-site redesigns. Let’s tinker more. Small changes can make massive differences; with often very little cost or negative impact on other aspects of your site. In this example, just the wording on a button was changed.

The Right Way to Introduce a New Feature

There are some really bad examples of how to highlight a new feature, but this example from LinkedIn is one of the good one; as Erin explains in blog post.

FAQs as “Lucky Bags”… how not to improve the marketing power of your website

If a question is frequently asked, then obviously it’s important to your users and deserves more loving care than to be consigned to the depths of a FAQ dumped in a lonely corner of your site.


Social media

Guide to Twitter

This blog post in Swedish by Helen Alfvegren is an excellent and exhaustive guide to Twitter. If you are Swedish and thinking of diving in (as a company or an individual), or if you have dabbled but not really got into it – then take a look at this guide.

The Pros and Cons of Merging Your Facebook Page and Place

Some pros and cons with merging a Facebook Place with a Facebook Page. Note that we’re talking about merging here, not associating. You should associate all of your places with your business – but not necessarily merge them.


Search engine optimisation

Findability, SEO, And The Searcher Experience

Although lots of SEO is aimed at optimising for machines, you’ve got to remember the human side too – the search experience.

7 ways to make SMO work in the post-Google age

Ok, I know the writer is just trying to practice what he’s preaching, but “post-Google age” and “SEO is fading away”. Oh please. If you ignore silliness, this article is a good read. SEO isn’t going away, neither is Google any time soon – and SMO (Social media optimisation) and SEO are partners, not enemies.

BBC to cut online budget by 25%

A 25% cut is never fun, lots of things will have to disappear… But let’s focus on the positives. Buried away at the bottom of this article is the gem: “The corporation also said it wanted to double the number of referrals to external websites to 22 million each month by 2013/14.” The more link-love available from the BBC the better for the rest of us I say!


Intranet

What would you want from an introduction to Intranets book?

Kristian has kicked-off a collaborative project to write a book that gives you an introduction to intranets. The list of topics suggested would take the book well beyond an introduction, but refined and produced in multiple languages it could be a really good resource. Plenty of internationally respected names within the world of Intranets have commented on the post. The introduction to intranets site officially launches tomorrow.

What is a social intranet or an intranet 2.0 ?

Some common sense thrown onto the social intranet hype. Quote: “Forget the word social intranet or intranet 2.0. It’s an intranet. Period. The place where the whole organization can meet, exchange, work.”

How NOT to use Yammer: Ragan offers prime example

An amusing insight into Ragan’s first day of using Yammer. I don’t agree with all of the “tips”. What you see here is a reflection of their company culture; not Yammer/whatever social collaboration platform you fancy. Too many rules will kill it off. It’s a cultural change; manage that change – don’t write a rule book.

Survey of 10,000 Yammer Users Reveals Benefits of Enterprise Social Networking

Yes it’s a Yammer survey of Yammer users – but if you can just replace “Yammer” with “Social collaboration” and the figures will still ring true. Yammer is just an example of how such collaborative tools and features as part of a company’s intranet can change behaviour and, ultimately, how effective an organisation is.

Mobile devices are personal devices (and what this means for enterprise apps)

James points out that mobile devices are personal devices – in the context of intranets this not only gives us a whole load of exciting (and useful) opportunities, but also a few challenges – the way we deal with content and services internally needs to change (you even could say “grow up”) in order to make the most of what mobile intranets can offer.

How to Make Paper Communication Productive With QR Codes

Printing in the work-place isn’t going to vanish any time soon – QR Codes though could really help link the paper world with the digital work. There’s lots of potential uses in a working environment, many of them outlines in this post.


Web dev

Google APIs & Developer Products periodic table

Geek-heaven. A periodic table of Google API and developer products. You could lose yourself in this for years. Even non-geeks can do nothing to help be impressed by the sheer range and quantity of what Google offers.


Eye tracking & user testing

User testing: How to recruit the right participants, as it won’t happen by chance!

Recruiting people to take part in testing is an art-form. One of my least favourite tasks. Here’s some tips from James Breeze and the objective Digital crew down under.

AGENCY GUIDE: How to Implement Eye Tracking & Usability

A partcularly useful post this one – some tips from Simple Usability on how to go about including usability testing (and Eye tracking in particular) in your projects – and some tips on how to sell it in to clients.

7 Articles worth reading… (Spotted: Week 44-45, 2010)

Photos as Web Content

Anyone who has done any eye tracking tests knows how true this Alertbox article from Nielsen is. Visitors to your site only pay attention to images that are relevant to their task, other pictures used to “make the page pretty” (and indeed banner ads) are ignored. Flash film on start page? ha!

Google Instant Previews – Eye tracking shows it’s game changing

Some eye tracking testing of Google’s new Previews feature. It basically supports what I’ve suspected. Once a user has learnt that the preview feature exists, it’s a game changer. How your site looks in this preview is going to become crucial, and another thing to check as part of your regular routines.

New data proves your mobile marketing strategy must include Android

Gone is the time when you could make an iPhone app and consider your mobile strategy done and dusted. Ignoring Android is becoming the modern-day equivalent of making a web site “Internet Explorer Only”.

Intranet strategy – planning a successful intranet

Do you have an intranet strategy? Far too few organisations actually do. Toby Ward outlines a strategy, offers a methodology and even a model. Must be Christmas!

Intranets in 2011: a turning point

Extended “highlights” by Jane McConnell from the soon to be released Global Intranet Trends 2011 report. Highlights of the highlights: Governance more important than ever, employee generated content and collaboration are essential, people focused, accessible, real-time.

Could Yammer be the death of your organisation?

An alarmist title to this article, but it does have a good message – Enterprise collaboration is here, you can’t ignore it, and you need to have suitable policies in place. What the article doesn’t do though is give you much advice regarding governence of networks like Yammer. I’ve got a blog post brewing about that.

The Art and Science of SEO Site Audits

Nice overview of SEO Audits from Search Engine Watch – Even for the non-expert this is useful to show just how many factors are involved in auditing a site, and also a reminder of how important it is to take care of your SEO (even more so during redesigns!)

7 Articles worth reading… (Spotted: Week 35-36, 2010)

Finding the Balance: Users’ Needs Vs. Clients’ Wants

A another look at the classic user v client dilemma. One of the key things to finding a good balance is stakeholder buy-in and inclusion.

Surprise, surprise! Having no secure icon on a page increased conversions by 400%

An split testing case where removing a green “secure” icon from the page made a vast improvement – their conclusion: “Make each page designed to get the user to do one thing, and try to focus all of their attention on that one thing”.

Putting people at the centre: social staff directories

Alex Manchester in this article from Step Two explores the potential of people search and staff profiles and their role as the very heart of intranet. He also gives examples of people-related concepts in use within organisations today.

Facebook As A Company Intranet Is A Nightmare Waiting To Happen

Building your entire intranet using Facebook would be an utter nightmare! But let’s not forget the relevance of Facebook as part of internal communication and collaboration. Colleagues who are friends with each other will almost certainly use it to communicate in some way at some point – even if it’s just a “running late for 9am meeting” or “working from home today”. Organisations should consider ways to take advantage of that.

New guidelines for (Swedish) public bodies and companies who want to be present on Facebook

Swedish guidelines published by The Swedish Data Inspection Board recommending how you should deal with communication channels with user generated content, such as Twitter, Facebook, Youtube in order to be compliant with Swedish law.

WordPress Fat-Loss Diet to Speed Up & Ease Load

If you are using wordpress for a business site you might want to consider some of the following tweaks – or bring someone in to do them for you.

Google Instant – a Reminder that Google is not equal to SEO

reality check from Jesper. Yes Google is really important, but it’s not the whole picture. YouTube, Facebook, Intranets, on-site search – Search is a lot more than Google, but it’s all about serving up what people want when they want it.

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