While there is plenty of disagreement among marketers as to the best method to improve your search rankings, there is one specific strategy that is sure to benefit your business. What’s the secret sauce? Believe it or not, leveraging your online videos is often key to increasing search rankings.
We all know that the search engines use social signals as a factor in their overall ranking algorithm, and as the role of social signals becomes increasingly important, so will the role of online video in your overall search and social strategy.
When Google+ was unveiled in June of last year, it was clear that the company had created its best social networking product to date.
Obviously inspired to some extent by Facebook, if Google+ had been launched by a start-up instead of the world's largest search engine, some pundits might have labelled it a potential threat.
And for good reason: there was a lot to like about Google+.
It was clean, sort of like Facebook back in the day, and lest it be accused of copying Facebook entirely, Google added some interesting features to the mix - such as Circles and Hangouts.
Thanks to the rise of the social web, some of the most valuable content on many websites isn't created by their owners - it's created by the users in the form of comments.
When it comes to providing the functionality that enables users to comment, third parties often play a key role.
That's because instead of rolling their own commenting functionality, many website owners turn to companies like Facebook and Disqus, which have carved out a niche for themselves by offering commenting functionality that can be enabled with a few lines of code.
Stories from the Daily Mail and the Telegraph receive the most +1 recommendations on Google+, although the Financial Times has more followers according to analysis by Searchmetrics.
A study into 13 national newspapers found that only nine of them have official G+ pages.
These papers are included in a total of 544,545 circles, with The Times, The Sun, Daily Express and Daily Star absent from the social network.
372,159 people were recorded as having the Financial Times’ G+ page in their circles - the Guardian came second with 75,255 circles and the Independent came third with 60,195.
How important is social to Google's future?
It depends on who you ask. Some believe that if Google doesn't find a way to compete in the space, Facebook might eventually eat its lunch.
Those who are a tad more skeptical suggest that Google and its advertising money machine don't need social to thrive.
Time will tell which camp is right, but Google has already decided. With the launch of Google+ and Search, plus Your World, it's clear that the search giant is committed to giving its all in an effort to become a meaningful player in the social market.
On one of the main stages today at SXSW, Guy Kawasaki held a fireside chat with Vic Gundotra to talk Google Plus. Is it really the ghost town everyone says it is?
Though Gundotra spoke enthusiastically about the number of active users - 100 million are active within every 30-day period - this accounts for users signed in, not going to the Google+ stream itself. But that shouldn't matter, Gundotra argued, as it's about the whole experience so that should be measured. Does that mean Google+ really is a ghost town and Google doesn't want to admit it?
Google+ is still a mystery to many brands, but some brave souls have been using the fledgling social platform to build a new community of brand advocates.
As of this week Cadbury has been added to more than 500,000 G+ circles, making it the most popular consumer brand on the social network.
We recently reported on its G+ product launch, but what other tactics has the confectionery brand used to build its community?
Following our review of H&M's Google+ page - and a compilation of some of the best G+ photos strips - several brands have approached us, keen to discuss their use of the developing platform.
To coincide with the impending relaunch of its website, we start with a brief Q&A with Royal Bank of Scotland Group's Devang Chouhan on why G+ is a priority from a search perspective.
Google+ is growing rapidly: business pages are taking hold, and the platform is becoming a viable marketing channel for larger brands at least.
It's definitely short of room to manoeuvre when it comes to how your profile looks however. Each page is locked down to the same structure (for now), and so at the moment there's not a lot you can do.
Thinking creatively is therefore tough, in fact, it focuses almost solely around the photo strip that resembles Facebook's Timeline banner. I'm not talking features (rich content, engaging conversation and hangouts galore just about cover that), I'm talking design.
As such, we've compiled 20 examples of brands that have managed to stand out from the crowd with the little they have to work with.
If the future of the internet is social, as some believe, the long-term fate of the world's largest search engine could rest on how well its social network, Google+ does.
While it has a long way to go before it catches up to Facebook in popularity and adoption, with over 100m users, it would appear that Google is off to a decent start.