Using Google Properties To Optimize Your Search Position

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The thing that I like best about Google is their constant flow of new applications, tools and development projects. From space and energy programs to virtual worlds and online hard drives, the search engine has an unrivaled willingness to try new things. That’s not to say they’re all a success and a few, such as its Twitter-esque Jaiku have been deemed a failure and closed down. Knol however is still going strong six months after its launch and recently reached a milestone 100,000 pages – something its rival Wikipedia took two years to achieve.

This proliferation of traffic and scale raises an interesting question about how Google’s own tools can be used to increase your SERP visibility.

An important point to recognize when conducting a search engine optimization campaign is that your success or failure does not necessarily depend on the website itself appearing at the top of the search results. Think about SEO more as a chance to drive targeted traffic and raise online awareness (both pay offs of a good search results position) and you’ll begin to see why the use of other websites and online properties can deliver that very same result. To my mind, that’s where Knol and Google’s other platforms come into play.

1. Knol

With a tag line ‘a unit of knowledge’, it seems that Knol was always intended to rival Wikipedia. An amalgamation of research and how to articles, Knol references social media in a big way. Material posted on Knol can be discussed by the community, reviewed, tagged and graded. Individual authors can collaborate with colleagues working in their field and even edit the work of others.

Benefits to your SEO Campaign:

As with all Google properties, it boasts an incredible PageRank (7), which makes it great link fodder.

As a collection of authoritative material about a particular topic, it’s also a very worthy showcase for research papers or white papers, helping to establish yourself as an expert in your field. This goes back to the principles of article marketing.

More importantly, the huge network of pages means it’s cropping up more and more often in Google search results. It isn’t displacing Wikipedia listings at the top of the page as yet so there’s no advantage to be gained in that sense but, it is another route through to your site from the higher echelons of the search results when your own site is languishing at the bottom of the pile.

2. YouTube

YouTube needs no introduction to the seasoned search engine optimizer. 99% of videos returned in Google Video results are YouTube based. Most publishers will only be able to dream of such dominance but, it’s easy to cash in and secure your own five minutes of fame with a prominent position for your brand. Simply create a YouTube account and upload your own videos.

Benefits to your SEO Campaign:

The best way to leverage this for search engine visibility is by using product demonstrations and how-to-programs. Steer away from marketing pitches and sales presentations.

YouTube has so much traffic going through it that you’re likely to find your target demographic searching for video related to your particular area of expertise. Reward that with helpful, useful footage and their next stop could be your website or your store.

YouTube’s dominance in the video search results gives instant Google exposure, again shoring up your search engine presence if your own URL is not yet making an appearance in the top 10.

3. Blogger

If not already the largest online blogging platform, it surely can’t be long before Blogger camps out in the top spot permanently. This blog site is super easy to use with a friendly, problem-proof interface for the novice and more advanced branding and appearance options for the seasoned used.

Benefits to your SEO Campaign:

It’s PageRank of 8 makes it excellent link fodder, just make sure that you abide by the core principles of SEO and build links around good quality content. As always the aim is to direct the search engine spiders and the end user back to the most relevant page on your site so deep link and use keywords in the anchor text to secure a double whammy.

You can keep the posts in an FTP sub directory on your own site, meaning you can use your blog postings to supplement site growth. This is hugely important, not just to show the search engines that you can keep your site up to date with relevant content but also to present readers and other bloggers with interesting pages to link to. This snowball effect will deliver more links and more inbound traffic.

Searches on most keywords will display a blogger.com URL somewhere in the search results. Again, this is a valuable route into your site for users who may not otherwise know your brand; if for example your own web site is not on page 1.

4. Local Search

Any location specific search will always trigger a Google Maps result at the top of the page. This enables you to get directions or more significantly, find a local business or store. Unlike Knol, Google does play favorites with Google Maps, always awarding it pride of place at the top of the page. Getting your business included in this section is a must if you have a physical storefront location.

Benefits to your SEO Campaign:

Any business with a physical location can add their addresses and pictures to Google Local. When search users input keywords plus a state or zip code, your site will show up along with any images you’ve added to your listing. This is an invaluable opportunity to appear at the top of the SERPS, reinforcing your brand identity even if you have other page 1 listings.

Google Maps are a popular mobile search function as commuters search for directions or a restaurant / store nearby. This gives extra exposure for youu web site, directing not only virtual traffic but physical foot traffic to your place of business.

Your listing is reinforced with images or a company logo, adding an extra note of interest to your web presence.

About the Author

Rebecca is the managing director of search engine optimization agency Dakota Digital a full-service agency offering SEO, online PR, web copywriting, media relationship management, and social media strategy. Rebecca works directly with each client to increase online visibility, brand profile, and search engine rankings. She has headed a number of international campaigns for large brands.

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6 Comments

  1. Great article. I also see many other sites showing up in search that you can tap into for additional exposure and visibility like... http://www.merchantcircle.com/ http://www.squidoo.com/ http://www.yelp.com/ http://ezinearticles.com/

  2. Thanks for sharing this information. It's really given me some ideas.

  3. Are you suggesting that if you put your blog articles from blogger in an FTP sub folder on your website, you won't be penalized for duplicate content?

  4. Videos are definitely a yet unexplored SEO area where most of us are not taking advantage of. I wonder to what extent Google would push video content on SERPS in favour of text or other media results great article, David

  5. Great info. Had no idea about Knol!

  6. This is a great article and is really applicable for Real Estate companies like mine. Thanks! Rob