The Bloggers Guide to Using Google Plus – Part Two

This week in my Food Bloggers Community there were some very good questions about posting and all the bits and pieces associated with Google Plus posts, including posting etiquette.   I had planned this post for a little later in the series but with all the questions I’ve had this week, it seems more important than the other elements of G+ that I will be covering in this series.

Hopefully everyone has gone through last weeks post and implemented changes to their profile, making it more Google friendly.  If you missed my last post, just click on this link  The Bloggers Guide to Using Google Plus – Part One.  Your profile is the first and most important step to being successful on G+.

The first rule you need to remember about posting on Google+ is that “Good Content is Good Content even if it isn’t Your Content”.   On Google Plus sharing someone else’s Good Content can gain you as many followers as your own Good Content can, and provides you with material to share in between your own posts.

The next major point you need to know is all of your old posts are new again on Google Plus, and will be again in another year and every year after that as your following increases and the number of people joining Google Plus increases.   Now that doesn’t mean that you should post 2 or 3 of your posts every day, that would be considered spamming your following and will get you uncircled and blocked by serious plussers.

“Serious plussers devour Good Content but they will drop you like a rock if they think all your posting is your own content”

So interweave your current posts with some of your best older posts.  And remember, your following is growing everyday and will continue to grow as long as you continue to post Good Content at an acceptable rate.   This is where the quality over quantity comes into play.   Posts your Good Content on a consistent basis, whether it be 3, 4, 5 times a week, just be as consistent as possible,   Your other posts throughout the day, and on days you don’t post your content should be the content of other plussers.

Should I post my content more than once? – the answer to that is unequivocally no.  If you post Good Content, it will be reshared and you won’t need to repost it again.  If it’s not good content, or you don’t have enough followers to get it reshared on a regular basis, it won’t matter how many times you reshare it the results will be the same and you’ll run the risk of losing some of your followers from your over sharing of your own work.    This is the hardest point for new plussers to come to terms with, because we all want to succeed and have our content shared every time we post.  Google Plus takes time like anything worthwhile, and you’ll need to do the groundwork for 3-6 months before you see any real results.  You’re investing in your future and the future is coming faster than most people realize.

How should I post? – Since I first joined G+, I’ve been telling everyone to post a large image with a link, and during that there was always a mixed opinion on that subject as many of the SEO experts thought that you got more link juice from posting a thumbnail link.  The problem with their reasoning was  that most of those SEO experts weren’t photo driven bloggers, and they couldn’t see the value of posting a large image, because there posts contained  stock image’s or graphics, not the labor intensive mouth-watering drool worthy Food Porn that was our calling card.

“Google Plus is a photo driven social media and on G+ a picture is worth 10,000 words”

Well a few weeks ago all that changed and the SEO experts finally agreed that posting a large image with a link did more in terms of SEO than the thumbnail link.  Using a large image is going to give you the interaction and engagement that a  thumbnail will not, it’s not about the image it’s about what the image can do for you!

So that means that when you post, it should be the best image you have for that post, with a lead in blurb about the post.   Remember that you need to engage with your readers to get them to want to follow you, so be creative, ask questions  or be funny in your opening statement.  Use highlights to help with your statement.

*On either side of the Post* will make it bold :  _On either side of the Post_  will make it Italic:  -on either side of the post-  will make it a strike through.

*Using a Horizontal image instead of a vertical image also gives you the opportunity to cover the full stream with your image.

*Don’t Forget to use Hashtags, But keep the number down to 3 or 4 of the most relevant.

How should I share my post? – this is a point that so many plussers seem to be confused about.  When you share your post it should be shared to Public and only to public.   I hear so many of my friends asking why they have circles if they can’t share to them.  That’s not really what your circles are for (we’ll get into that on another post).   Sharing to public gives you the greatest opportunity for exposure and to let plussers that are not already in your circles have access to your post.  I sometimes find amazing images that I would love to share, but the original has not been shared to public, so I can’t reshare it because I would only be able to share it to my extended circles and I would be sending them all notification.   And that’s something I don’t want to do.  If I share to circles and send out notification just to share my blog post, I’ll be muted and possibly uncircled.

“You only share to circles if its a life event, or incredibly important information”

Of course the only you can do worse than sending sharing your posts to your circles is to click on the little send email box.   That can get you uncircled, and blocked.  Again you save that function for very important information only.

This all goes back to the premise that if you post Good Content and Great Images your post will be re-shared, and commented on which will help put your post in front of more people and new people.

How do I decide which post to share? – sharing someone’s post is the kindest thing you can do for someone.  By sharing a post you’re sharing it with those plussers that have you in there circles giving the shared post exposure to people that may not  have them in circles. (can you say new followers?)  But deciding which post to share is as important as sharing your own post.  You want to find the best image or post that you can to re share.   If you share a post that receives no interaction you’re not helping the person you shared and more importantly you’re hurting yourself.  Plussers need to know they can count on you for Good Content!    

 “When you share a post, always add your own content at the top of the share with a reference to the plusser that originally shared the post, using their +name”

Sharing a thumbnail post is not a good idea, thumbnail posts don’t get much action.  Another really bad idea I see from time to time is plussers posting for someone else.  If a blogger doesn’t care enough to post their own material, why would you ?

Every Time you share a post, mention someone by name, and even +1 you’re giving away a little bit of your juice.  If you get nothing back in return you’re hurting yourself.    Engaging with Google+ Influencers and even plussers with a greater following will help you more than engaging with plussers at with the same or less followers than you.    Interactions from Influencers will add a proportionately greater amount of  juice to you and/or your post, than someone at the same level or with less followers.   Now that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t support your friends, it just means you need to spend your time and your juice wisely.    Sharing posts has to be a  win-win situation for both of you.

Sharing a post that you know will get reshared helps both of you.  You get the benefit of all the +1’s , and interactions through comments.  While you get credit for the re shares, they also go back to the original post, so the person you shared not only gets exposure to new plussers but the all the shares of their post that you received.   That’s a Win-Win.

Should I use Autopost – If you autopost a thumbnail post, its the kiss of death and only your very close friends will even acknowledge it.  Plussers can tell the difference.   If your post doesn’t have a little blurb leading it in they know its either an autopost or someone that didn’t care enough to spend the time engaging with them with additional text leading in the post.  Auto posting does not work well on Google Plus.

How do I know who reshared my post? – the easiest way to find out who re shared your post is to click on the little arrow in the top right hand corner of your post, and go down to Ripples on the drop down menu.  Click on Ripples and it will show you who actually re shared your posts to public.  Some people either reshare it privately (which does you no good) so they can save it for themselves or they don’t know how to properly re share a post.   The public shares show up in circles showing where the additional shares came from.  You can and should click on the each post that was shared and thank the person that shared your post, that’s being a good plusser.  And when you comment on the shared post thanking them, it drives your shared post back to the top of the stream.

*Ripples will not show up in the drop down menu unless the post has been shared

Did you know that if you click on the image in your post, it opens the image up and you see all the comments.  What you also see on the sidebar is photo details.  If you click on photo details it will give all the info about the image shared by the camera, but more importantly at the bottom of the details is the number of times your image has been viewed.  Check it out you might be surprised to see how many times your post has actually been seen.

The only other part of this posting puzzle is how you interact with posts.   I’ve mentioned that the best thing you can do is share someone’s post,  the second best thing is to comment on their post (which drives the post back to the top of the stream) if you mention their +name in the comment, good plussers will thank you with your +name.    +1’s have while third on the list have become more important because now the posts you +1 will show up in your followers stream, this is huge.  Now by +1 a post you’re in essence sharing it with your readers on G+.

**one new add on to this post is when sharing your post Do Not include any other links, such as Pinterest links on that post.  That has been determined to be a bad thing.   Read more about this at Dustin W. Stout Blog Dustn.tv

Well my friends this post turned out to be a lot longer than anticipated, and I hope I didn’t leave anything out.  If I did and you have specific questions please leave them for me in the comments.

Thanks for stopping by for the second part of my Bloggers Guide to Using Google Plus.

Comments

  1. Great post! I’m still learning the ins and outs of G+. But I read up on things before I started sharing, so I’m good that way. Didn’t know about the picture views thing, though! Going to try that one out now!

  2. This is great, so clear and informative! I absolutely love the community you’ve created on G+ and look forward to putting it to better use, it seems like a great platform once you’re comfortable with it.

  3. Dennis, I truly appreciate your tireless efforts to promote G+. (On second thought, it may be tiring to YOU, but I never tire of reading your helpful hints.) Just updated my profile (again)… didn’t realize I’d left so many “blanks.” Also, it was neat learning how to share correctly and effectively. I haven’t been a “regular” Plusser due to life’s circumstances in recent months, but eac time I log on, I learn tons and have FUN! What a wonderfully diverse and interesting world we live in… G+ brings it all to my doorstep (or writing nook) and I’m grateful for the opportunity to interact with the WORLD, including you.

  4. Thank you so much for this information, one of the best explanations I’ve seen! One question, apparently all links in posts except for the primary shared link are now NoFollow, which means they don’t get indexed – but using them means you have to thumbnail the image… Using big images is better for getting followers, but thumbnails are better for search engine rankings… Which should I focus on? I imagine having a lot of followers is also good for rankings? Confusing…

    All the best, and thanks again!
    Noelle

    • hi Noelle

      that is what everyone has been saying up to a few weeks ago, and then there was a flurry of posts by SEO experts changing their way of thinking. The thought now is that you should post exactly the way I’ve always said. A large image with one link only, with a lead in blurb about the post. The benefits of this type of posting totally outweigh the benefits of the link juice you may receive form a thumbnail post. While you do attract more followers you also attract more attention via shares, comments and +1’s which will gain you more link juice and help build your author rank.

  5. Great post Chef Dennis – very informative. Recently, I noticed people started putting links to Pinterest – please explain why that is a bad thing. I thought I saw a post somewhere discussing the interaction between G+ and Pinterest as a positive thing. Thanks again for sharing your incredible knowledge.

    • hi Jeanette

      There was a recent post by Justin D Stout http://dustn.tv/social-signals-and-google-plus/ that states through his testing that the second link breaks the connection to the source (blogs)

      It had previously been believed that you could only get that connection through posting a thumbnail link, which I had been disputing for over a year. Now it seems that as long as there is the only the one link to your blog the connection is the same.

      So what seemed like a great idea of adding the pinterest link, now seems to be a bad thing.

      Dennis

      • Thanks Chef Dennis – very interesting post – thanks for sharing that. I read in another article that if you pin from G+ it prolongs that post, so maybe that’s a way to connect to Pinterest.

  6. Dennis – You ARE the mayor of Google+!

    I’ve attended some of your Hangouts about this and have read just about everything you’ve graciously offered up about getting the most from this venue. I somehow missed the ‘send email’ to Circles part. Oops! I won’t do it again. Thank you for possibly saving my hide.

    adam

    • Why thank you kind sir! I appreciate the nomination but Kristen Doyle made me the king of Google, I think I’m going to go with that..lol

      I’m very happy to hear that you’ve found my posts helpful, It makes me very happy to know that I’m helping my friends!

  7. Thanks for all the great information! I just went through and updated my profile….and definitely learned some important new things about +1’s, comments, and content sharing. Thanks!

  8. Thanks!!!!! I really want to love G+, but I couldn’t understand it before. I saw your hang outs and also now I follow your blog and I’m loving all the tips.
    Your info is being share among Latinas too ;).

    • Thanks Pilar, I’m very happy to hear that you’ve enjoyed my events and posts and also among my Latina friends! You probably don’t know but I am half Mexican/Spanish on my mothers side.

  9. Thanks Chef Dennis for once again helping those us who are less than stellar on G+. Your tips are FABULOUS!!!

  10. This is such good info! Thank you for this series! I have mostly stayed away from G+ because it was such a mystery to me, but you are helping me to understand it. You rock!

  11. Thank you Dennis, both post have been really helpful. The only thing I couldn’t find was ripples under the arrow.

    • your welcome Jacqueline, the only time you won’t be able to find ripples is if the post has not been shared yet. Sorry I didn’t mention that, I’ll make sure to add that into the post.

  12. Thank you so much for this, I already have a G+ account but was confused how to use it to promote my blog. In fact I’d given up. Now, with your tutorials in hand I am approaching it with renewed vigour and a much better understanding. GG

    • I’m very happy to help! Are you a member of my community? If not I would be happy to send you an invite, we don’t promote our blogs in my community, its a place to share information and ask questions about blogging. I think you’d find it helpful, we have a lot of great resources in there.

  13. Thanks Chef!
    Between “the real job”, commuting, researching/blogging, SEO study/issues, AdSense integratiion, LinkedIn, and life…I’ve had very little time to understand G+! My gratitude for your insights and straight forward suggestions.

  14. Thank you SO much for these 2 posts. They have been INcredibly helpful, as I’ve been completely lost with Google+ up until this point. I’m finally excited [and not as overwhelmed] to learn more! :)

    • hi Ashley

      thank you so much for letting me know that my posts helped with G+! If you have any specific questions don’t hesitate to ask.
      I just found you on G+ and added you to my circles. I don’t know if you’re aware of it, but I run the G+ food Bloggers Community https://plus.google.com/communities/103143122722496038352 it’s a discussion only community and we have a lot of great resources there, including about 50 you tube videos that I’ve done over the last year. Let me know if you’d like to join us.

      Dennis

  15. In the last week or so I switched across my blogger profile to the same as G+, inspired by a fellow genealogist who has embraced the concept of G+. I then came across your Google+ posts (this and an earlier one) and have since fiddled with and updated my profile. I am likely to share the links to your posts in a blog post for my usual Tuesday Tips, because they are so helpful. Many thanks.

  16. Thanks for sharing your expertise. You are well known in the food blogger community. Just finished up a weekend at IFBC and we had a session this morning on Google+ and I discovered there’s a few changes I need to make to my blog and other sites I contribute to. Though I’m still debating whether or not to create a brand page for my food blog. The person giving the presentation thought it was necessary but I have a lot of followers on my personal Google+ page and creating a brand page almost seems like I’d be starting over. What are your thoughts on brand pages? Do you think they are necessary? I found an old post you talked about it and you didn’t think they were but have your views on that changed any with all the changes that Google has made recently?

    • hi Paula

      I think the jury’s still out on Brand pages, I do have one but hardly ever use it. G+ has changed the game and Brand pages can do everything a personal page can do now, and may actually get some perks that personal pages don’t have. But that being said, Google is refining its search criteria and it looks like its going to come down to one very important thing, and that’s Google Authorship. Google Authorship is going to help build the trust factor that Google is looking for in order to come up with spam free search results, and they have long said that “real people connect with real people” which is why they also want a good head shot with eyes facing forward, they want people to recognize the search as coming from a legitimate author that they can trust.
      Another aspect of search is the larger you’re base of followers is that helps you even more in search as you will always come up in their personalized results, and when they do click on your post that is helping improve the trust factor and also reaffirms that your post has more worth, both of which will help you.

      I spoke at three conferences this summer and many people asked the same question about brand pages, link juice and posting on brand pages. My advice then hasn’t changed and I still believe that you should start brand page just so its there and ready in case things change on G+, and also so you can link Google Publisher to it. I wouldn’t advice spending a great deal of time on your brand, and double posting around the same time of day, can hurt you more than help you so I often advise those that want to use both to post to their personal page first with a large image and link, and then just a link with the thumbnail to their brand page later in the day or a day or two later. You don’t get any link juice (at this time) from the post on your brand page but that may change in the future.

      Google is trying really hard to attract brands so they are doing more to get them to come on board since many have been reluctant to add one more social media or not seen the need, so they are coming up with more perks, but that being said it looks like you still need 10k followers on your brand page to qualify and spending that much time to cultivate it would only hurt your personal page and that’s where a blogger really needs to be. Personal pages really allow you to connect with others on a more personal level and I think that’s what all of us really need to keep growing. And the key to growth on G+ is to get out of your comfort zone and connect with non food bloggers when ever possible. They’re the ones that will tell their family and friends all about you, we love our blogging friends but they all have their own agendas and blogs to promote.

      I hope I answered you, I know I do tend to ramble a bit. Who spoke on G+ at the conference, I did want to go but the timing just wasn’t good this year, hopefully next year.
      Dennis

      • Ian Lurie from Portentint is who spoke about Google+ at the conference and the importance of brand pages. He also suggested, as you did, to post on your personal page first and then share it to your brand page later. I do have the google authorship set up on my blog and other sites I contribute to though I don’t think I had it set up right on my blog at first but I think I got it now.

        Thanks for taking time to respond. :) I think I will do as you stated and create one but not spend a lot of time on it.

  17. Awesome break down Dennis! There is one correction you should make though regarding the stylizing of text:

    – On either side of the Post- make it strike through: _Underscore on each side of the Post_ make it italicized. You have those switched. ;)

  18. Thanks for all the great info on Part 1 and Part 2 about Google+.
    Question: I found a great picture and wanted the recipe. When I clicked it, it took me to a site that was nothing about food, but the site just posted the picture (No recipe or article about the recipe). I then had to find the original site that created the recipe. Is this something that is accepted? Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like a devious way to get traffic to your site by posting pictures from someone else.

    Still learning what is appropriate for posting. I’ve been only posting my original recipes that I actual made and photographed, but find that many sites are posting recipes from other people on their own sites.

  19. Thanks Chef Dennis! This is tremendously helpful. Your guide is clear and easy to understand. You’re one of my favourite resources to go to for G+ learning. :)

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