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Google+ starts Name Verification

There are some really famous people reaching out to fans on-line, but if you just got a notification today that someone famous has added you to some circles what can you do to see if they are who they say they are?

Imposters everywhere

Until recently, there wasn’t much you could do since Google+ has been busy growing and tackling other issues. Now you can start looking for the verified check mark to confirm that the person you’re looking at has been verified by Google+.

Fake Ted Danson Google+ profile

This is also very handy for people who have taken on names that may seem ‘fake’ but are legal names. I’m not sure if the artist formerly known as ‘Prince’ has found a way to express his name with traditional characters, but my guess is that he’d be detected as having a ‘fake’ name if he did.

Google even released a video from Google staff member Wen-Ai Yu that explains the new feature a bit more:

She does a great job of introducing the new feature, and some motivations, without going much deeper. Sadly there’s no mention of how to apply for the verification status in the video or the posts I’ve found so far. I’ll be watching for the info on getting verified and will update the blog when I find it.

Wen-Ai Yu did however give us a link to the real Dolly Parton’s Google+ profile. Yeehaw!

SEO news blog post by @ 11:05 am on August 23, 2011


More Google+ and +1 Goodness

Last week, I wrote an article about the potential impact of Google+ and the +1 button could have on SEO. While nobody at this point is likely capable of making a definitive statement on the subject at this early juncture, more and more hypothesis’ are being formed as it seems that most people involved in the world of SEO are investigating the new Google products potential and formulating new business plans around the +1 button and Google+.

Jonathan Allen at has written a great article that outlines some of the pressing questions surrounding the new Google products. Included is an informative video interview with Timothy Jordan, developer advocate at Google, who offers an insider, official perspective on Google’s plans to socialize many of its products and also provides answers to some questions that are no doubt on the mind of many in the SEO business.

Some of the topics outlined and discussed in the video interview are:

- Should we be using this platform for our business brands?

- How might developers use the +1 button to improve search?

- How can webmasters improve the implementation of the Google +1 button?

- How can I search Google Plus?

While the video interview itself is a bit of a lead in for Timothy’s upcoming session at SES San Francisco (August 18th, “Getting more from Google+ and the +1 Button”), it does provide some interesting insight and is definitely worth the time to watch.

Also worth mentioning – according to Google+ PR spokesperson Jim Prosser, development tools for Google+ are coming soon, and Google is currently exploring how to incorporate the +1 button into Google Real Time Search. Says Prosser, “We’re exploring how to incorporate our recently launched Google+ project into this functionality going forward, so stay tuned. Our vision is to have include Google+ information along with other realtime data from a variety of sources.”

Read the full article and view the video interview at

SEO news blog post by @ 5:11 pm on August 9, 2011

Categories:Google,Google+,SEO Tips


Google+ Free For All

If you’ve been able to get on-line with all the outages this morning (EAST-1 was down for a bit) then you may have seen a number of links showing up for ‘free invites’ to Google+.

Free for all tomato fight

I know we did an article about the rumor that Google+ was going to accept new sign-ons without invitations on July 31st, but this came from the ‘official Facebook group’ which was a rather poor source. To my knowledge, the rumour never panned out and we still have an invite only system in place where Google can track how each person is related to the next. It’s not hard to get into Google+, it’s only difficult to do it anonymously.

Almost all the links are valid, point to a “ngemlink” path, and seem to work, even though the final section appears to be totally random:

Random invite example #1
Random invite example #2
Random invite example #3

This would mean that advertisers, groups, and other technically ‘unwanted’ new users should be hitting the system for the first time without a legitimate connection to the accounts that are letting them join? If that’s the case, where’s the response? The only thing I found related to spamming on Google threads today was this little thank you picture:

Google Voice anti-spam

Perhaps I am in a quite circle of the web and I haven’t got the exposure to such things, but my Google+ profile has been entirely spam free. Indeed, the worst offender for spamming are associates in the SEO business that like to push out a few posts per day due to the wide range of stuff they tackle. Most of that content is related to topics that I’m interested in both professionally and personally, so it’s not really spam per se, just an excess of content that dwarfs the smaller feeds.

It’s quiet, almost too quiet..

SEO news blog post by @ 11:43 am on


Google+ and the Potential Impact on SEO

Although you can only join by invitation at this point, you’ve no doubt heard of Google+, Google’s latest attempt to join (or, in time perhaps, completely overtake?) Facebook and Twitter as a must have social networking tool. In the months before Google+ was launched, Google also began implementing the “+1″ button as a usable option for users to signify that they enjoy a particular site or page in an attempt to gather as much raw data as possible about the popularity and social value of sites and content before Google+ was rolled out for the masses. Preceding the Google+ and +1 button was the introduction of real time search, which was able to incorporate search results from Twitter, blogs and Facebook. Google, it would appear, is realizing the immense value of social media and the impact of social media on web search.

Search will continue to have a social element infused into it as the addition of the +1 button will change search results, as will live feeds from Google+ pages, much like Facebook “likes” and Twitter “tweets” are currently affecting search results by influencing user decisions due to their value as endorsements of certain sites and content.

Google definitely wants websites to implement the +1 button in their pages so that they can track and measure changes in click through rates. The +1 button will also be included on all SERPs as well as all Google+ feeds. What this means is business owners and marketers must ensure that a positive customer experience is, perhaps more than ever before, their primary focus in the hope that as many users as possible will +1 their site, and in doing so, endorse their business (and by association, reputation).

But perhaps the most interesting concept presented by Google+, and one that could potentially have a significant impact on SEO, is the “Google Circles” feature.

*The resemblance to a Venn diagram is noteworthy, if Circles take on the same functionality it would allow users to change affiliations by readjusting overlap as required – think about it Google!*

The “Circles” feature is interesting because it grants users the ability to share whatever they choose with specific groups, or Circles, of people. As Google+ users build their Circles, they will subsequently be able to see the sites that users in their circles have +1′d in Google’s SERPs. This has enormous potential – users will be far more likely to make a choice or purchase based on the recommendation of people they have invited to their Circles – people who they know and whose opinions they trust. Most users are going to be far more likely to trust the recommendation of someone they know rather than the recommendation or review from a stranger. Over time, Circles will become much more defined as more available user data is integrated into them – using that data to effectively market could  be potentially powerful SEO strategy.

Basically, Google has taken the ideas behind some of their social media competitors more influential and successful features in an attempt to make search more about real people. Google+ and the +1 button are enabling users to influence online activity, and, as such, they will have an effect on search results. How this will fully impact SEO remains to be seen, but the enormous potential of these features and their long term impact is fairly clear – site ranking methods are changing thanks to the +1 button and this will likely end up creating an altogether new method of SEO in the future.

SEO news blog post by @ 3:39 pm on August 5, 2011



Google+ Name Game

Google+ isn’t playing games with abusers of it’s policies and is cracking down on Google+ profiles that aren’t using legitimate names, odd characters, or contain misleading information.

Hello my name is

I personally know what it’s like to visit sites like Facebook or MySpace where you’re looking for an old friend and you just can’t seem to locate them. Some time goes by and you wonder who this odd fellow is that’s chatting with all your friends. You dig into the profile and find a ton of funny images, culture references, and other stuff, but nothing that tells you why this person is chatting with all your friends. Finally you give up and send a message, yep, it’s that old friend you couldn’t find, he’s just using his on-line name because he’s unemployed and looking for jobs.

What a situation! Why does this fellow not have more control over his info so he can use honest information without worry? Technically, at this stage, users of FB/MySpace have the control, but when the companies are selling your info off to the highest bidders, would you blame anyone for feeling a bit shy? On top of that, making the changes needed isn’t clear or easy so can you blame people for trying to sign into Google+ with the same attitudes?

Google+ is trying to understand, they are avoiding outright bans on accounts with ‘nick names’ and issuing warnings well ahead of taking any actions. If an account is a clear violation of Google+ policy, spamming, etc., it’s closed instantly to prevent abuse of the system. They are also taking the time to clearly outline the policy, why you no longer need to hide behind an anonymous identity, and adding methods to include enough info to be found by maiden names, pseudonymous, alternate languages, etc.. should you choose to make any of that info ‘public’ and searchable.

For people who were derailed during the Google+ signup process, you’ll be glad to note that the signup process has been improved to explain your choices more clearly to prevent users from accidentally signing up under a pseudonym.

I have a friend that got fancy with the signup process in my circles, and it’s a bit odd watching his name morph as I interact with him and Google+ is picking between his profile name, his real name, and his GMail/GChat choices.

Unique profile on Google+

He’s expecting to get a warning letter soon asking him to unify his name selections with real info, but at the same time he should have the option under ‘other names’ to share his personality a bit.

Some folks on-line think Google+ is ‘missing the boat‘ on what users want, claiming that they won’t bend to Google’s rules to use the service. Personally, if I wanted to chat with a bunch of strangers, never giving up my info, I can name off countless places where that’s possible. Google+ is where I want to connect with real people, have real discussions, and skip all the nonsense that’s typically associated with the trust issues of the past.

If you have a Google+ account, this post (Link removed – no longer available) even tries to challenge the legality of requiring a real name within the EU. While the fellow making the post does not seem to have fully read the user agreement when he joined Google+, missing the part where he opted to accept the rules, he may still have some merit in pushing Google+ to be as flexible as possible.

For what it’s worth, on the topic of trust, I didn’t share an image of my face publicly on Google+. To me that’s a private option because nobody is going to search for me by face, not anyone I’d like to have find me at least. If you’re in the right circles on my profile, you can gaze at my ugly mug all day if you want, just don’t be a creep and take pictures of me sleeping!
Nice sssssssettingssss you have there..

SEO news blog post by @ 2:59 pm on July 26, 2011


Google Plus Reaches 20 Million Users in 3 Weeks

Like most, you are probably already feeling inundated with the amount of blog posts and media "buzz" (pun intended) regarding the release of Google social networking platform Google+.

comscore data

expanding circles diagram

ComScore Inc. has reported that fledgling social network has acquired over 20 million unique visitors over the last three weeks. This is especially impressive due to the fact that access to Google+ is by invitation only by current members in much the same fashion that Google launched Gmail by invitation years ago.

With the amazing adoption rate being shown, Google has not yet begun to market the new platform to the 1 billion monthly users of the Google search engine, Gmail and various services.

Google+ stands to rival the other major players in the social networking world, but Google still has a long way to go to reach the scale of giants like Facebook, which has more than 750 million users, and Twitter, which has more than 200 million registered accounts to date.

The data Google obtains about people’s interests could also help it change the way its Web-search engine works. Sites in its search results could potentially be ranked based on what users and their friends like or find useful,” Google engineers have said. Google is also hoping to have a service that will be a home for brands and celebrities alike.

Google states that they will eventually allow developers to create "social" games and other applications that would run on top of Google+, similar to Facebook’s successful platform for applications.

SEO news blog post by @ 3:55 pm on July 25, 2011


Google+, Orkut and a Facebook Fate Worse than Death

I had my first taste of Google Plus on the weekend and I have to say that I quite enjoyed it. The interface was clean and light while still giving me quick access to components that I want wanted. I have only used it for a few days so the quality of the streamlined interface will only be fully realized when it is in full use and populated by several hundred or so friends and associates.


I liked the ability to post separately to specific social circles like Work, Family, or Friends or to post to Your Circle, Extended Circles or Public. For Facebook users, there is enough similarity in the layout to facilitate moving over to the Google+ interface easily.

Google’s other social networking site, Orkut, will continue to operate alongside Google+ but it is uncertain whether or not the two mediums will be fused. Orkut has been around for about four years and has tens of millions of users in South America and India and currently ranks at 102 on Alexa’s list of most popular websites in the world.

Regardless, Google seems to be playing a cautious "wait and see" attitude in terms of integrating the two. While Facebook has certainly been the dominant force in the social networking world for many years many users have strong concerns over their privacy controls. Google feels they will take a substantial portion of the market away from Facebook on that basis alone with a social networking site whose privacy features are tighter and easier to configure.

In a possibly related story, Facebook may on the brink of a crisis and trapped in a MySQL “Fate Worse than Death.” The entire social platform is operating a huge, complex MySQL implementation that stands to cripple the social giant. According to Micahel Stonebraker the only possibility is to rewrite everything from scratch.

In Stonebraker’s opinion, "old SQL (as he calls it) is good for nothing" and needs to be "sent to the home for retired software." After all, he explained, SQL was created decades ago before the web, mobile devices and sensors forever changed how and how often databases are accessed.

The widely accepted issue with MySQL is that by virtue of its design, it was never intended to process the colossal amounts of transactions required for huge webscale applications and the huge amounts of calls that are required. The biggest problem with MySQL and other SQL databases is that they consume too many resources for overhead tasks.

Facebook has split its SQL database into 4000 shards in order to handle the massive amount of data and is currently running 9000 instances of memcache in order to keep up to the massive number of calls that the database must serve. In 2008, they were employing over 1800 server dedicated to MySQL and over 800 dedicated to memcache.

SEO news blog post by @ 6:32 pm on July 11, 2011


Public Google+ Profiles Mandatory

Privacy advocates beware: After July 31st, Google will be terminating all private profiles on customer accounts. Now that Google has soft-launched their new social networking platform Google+, Google plans to follow up on a previous announcement to remove all private accounts.


The release of Google Buzz encountered resistance when trying to force users to public profiles, causing them to change their stance. With the release of Google+, Google has been very clear from the outset, stating months ago that all profiles on the new social networking service will be public.

This has demonstrated a much more aggressive approach by Google and clearly shows a concerted push in launching their new social platform. Google realizes that the success of Google+ relies on the inclusion of individuals and the sharing and spread of their personal information across their circles of influence to other circles. After the beta test is over for Google+ at the end of this month, you will only be able to participate in it with a public profile.

Google explains the purpose of public profiles for their new social platform as follows:

Public Profiles

The purpose of Google Profiles is to enable you to manage your online identity. Today, nearly all Google Profiles are public. We believe that using Google Profiles to help people find and connect with you online is how the product is best used. Private profiles don’t allow this, so we have decided to require all profiles to be public.


Keep in mind that your full name and gender are the only required information that will be displayed on your profile; you’ll be able to edit or remove any other information that you don’t want to share.

If you currently have a private profile but you do not wish to make your profile public, you can delete your profile. Or, you can simply do nothing. All private profiles will be deleted after July 31, 2011.

As the major competitor to Google’s social networking endeavors, Facebook has also had its shares of privacy concerns. However, Facebook does allow its users to change their privacy settings so that people cannot search for you, friend request, message or you, or see any of your information.

The difference with Google+ is that while they do give you the option to uncheck the "Help others find my profile in search results" option to opt out of search results pages; each individual is still very much a public commodity.

SEO news blog post by @ 6:19 pm on July 6, 2011


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