Social SEO for 2015:Did Google FUD You?

In an internet not too far away, it  was so easy to get a Google ranking that the Mountain View, CA behemoth had to do something to slow down the manipulation.

Not just anything, it had to be huge.

Besides some fundamental changes in the Google display, and their algo, they used the one constant that most people forget about:

The internet keeps growing by the second. Meaning your direct and indirect competition for eyeballs is growing.

In 2005 I gave a presentation on blogs. Blogs were in some ways a bridge to the social media of today. As we went from BBS‘s to Forums to Blogs and the familiar Facebook ease of use forum that we use today.

I reported that a blog page is created every 1.7 seconds. That figure is laughable today.

These fun websites illustrate the enormity of the web as in just one second there was: 2,215 Instagram photos, 1,998 Tumblr posts, 9,396 Tweets, 49,244 Google searches, 102,450 YouTube videos viewed,  and 52,083 Facebook Likes.

So a search engine like Google needs to change just to keep up with the size and the junk. Lots of the SEO manipulation produced junk.  Google changed and their actions caused many good and bad sites to shut down.

Within only a couple years Google fundamentally changed the way we use Google and must market for Google SERPS(rankings):

Speed  is crucial  in a world that would become more mobile and more riddled with digital attention deficit disorder. That Google counts on user behavior to determine the quality of a site is not new as I will point out below. A slow site is not a good user experience.

Mobilegeddon-In April of 2015 Google layed the hammer down on pages that are not mobile friendly. Causing up to 45% of web pages to fall out of mobile search.
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Lean Screen- Google’s screen has changed and shrunk and expanded. As they continually push the envelope and look for the best display for their visitors.It is not your Daddy’s search engine anymore.

The available organic search results have shrunk as it can now display: Ads, Organic, Maps, Photos, Videos, News, local map results,  and a Wiki Style Knowledge piece (knowledge graph)off to the upper right.

Co- Founder Larry Page was once famously quoted that Google sees a return visitor as a failure to provide them with proper content. And they still see bounce rate as a failure.

However, Google has circumvented some of that by making it more and more possible to never leave Google.

Cluttered Google Results:

Google Keeping Your Traffic on Google:

The death of the keyword-We are moving from SEO as a keyword and link centric art, to a phrase or meaning and signal centric art. Hummingbird ushered in the era of the spoken search engine query. “Siri, what is Social SEO?”

Long story short, Google keeps “fudding” with us. The ideal is pure in some ways as the search engine giant tries to wrestle with all these changes to build a better search result which can help bring Google a better ROI on their advertising like AdWords. Remember that Google is an advertising company first.

Thus, Google has upped their willingness to propagandize what they are doing to make it more difficult to manipulate their search results.

FUD means Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt

There is a concept in propaganda marketing called FUD:

  • Fear
  • Uncertainty
  • Doubt

    FUD is the fear, uncertainty, and doubt that IBM sales people instill in the minds of potential customers who might be considering Amdahl products…..After 1991 the term has become generalized to refer to any kind of disinformation used as a competitive weapon.”

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This is what happened a few years ago as Google sent out several hundred thousand letters to webmasters that their link profile was unnatural. They created an unnatural link disavow tool. But be careful before you start playing with the Google toys…

Because  hundreds of thousands of Webmasters unnecessarily delinked themselves.

In fact, friends in the business  begged me to follow the model of many unscrupulous SEO firms who would simply go to,, or MOZ  and pull a client link profile and then email all all those sites to delink you.

Naive webmasters paid a grip of cash for these services. Much of it a waste because links still matter.

While this new subset of an already cottage industry was rising, and web positions were declining. Google went for more confusion and released Pandas, Penguins, Hummingbirds and Pigeon updates.

Testing is about isolating variables, and they made that seemingly damn near impossible.

Google in their actions told the webmaster and SEO world,  “now try and figure that out”.

How to Take a Deep Breath and Deal With Google

I won’t go through all the boringness and explain each update.
I will cover what you have to know.

Using your links on your site, and from other sites to your site with only your keywords is a recipe for disaster. Keyword this, and keyword that is over. In fact, exclusively tracking keywords although still sometimes useful, is a fools game.

Google even proved the keyword position tracking difficult recently by making their search query data invisible to analytics.

But links still matter. Just not as many and not as keyword spammed. There are a number of theories out there for percentages. But the best idea is to learn to use these link variations in your anchor text:

  • No Anchor text just a dead link
  • Your Brand Name
  • Your Keyword Phrase

This includes internal linking. Link from within your body of text to your other pages. Make your navigational link less spammy. Use words that make sense in natural language.

Write your pages like a human being. The old rules of writing SEO was to mention your keyword phrase at the start of your page as an h tag.

Mention it as a phrase at the front of the first paragraph and again broken up at the end of the paragraph. Then broken up again in the next.

Then as a phrase at the end of the last paragraph.

No More!

Now talk like a human being. Use synonyms.  A good orator will find other words to describe concepts.  Do the same in text.

Can Google Trust You?

Your brand is huge in establishing your credibility.

Do yourself a favor and look at the biggest brand in the world. Coca Cola.

Pull a link profile up and you will see a good percentage of their links say Coca Cola. Not soda, not soft drink. Which is something an SEO of yesterday might think.

Is your bounce rate up there with Coke’s?

So amidst all the changes Google created Google Plus which was their social media initiative. Google had been wanting to launch a major social platform for years and they finally went for a social layer on top of their search

And their local platform Google Places got morphed into the Google Plus social platform.

This is where you start for establishing trust with Google:

What was Google Places became Google Plus Local and now Google My Business.

In fact, the once famous Google Authorship is still useful on your web properties. Simply go to your personal about section in Google Plus and fill in your contribute to links.

Google Authorship

Google Authorship

Now filling out your social profiles is next. Ask what would Coke do? or What would the biggest player in your space do?

The 2015 Social SEO Outline:

So let’s take a look at five factors that generally speaking get your site to rank these days. I can teach for five days on all these bullet points. But generally speaking:


      • The traditional 200 on page SEO factors still matter.
      • In bound links matter. But as I pointed out above use your brand and variations of naked links more.
      • Social Signals matter. These are yours and others mentions of you on social platforms and social shares and likes.
      • Citations and NAPS-This is your Name Address and Phone numbers on usually local directories like Yelp. And even mentions in social.Your Nap should be on every page of your website, not just your home page and or contact us page. NAPS and the brand name in your Naps should be consistent.
      • On page metrics. Bounce rate, page views, time on site. Are big indicators. And why being mobile friendly and fast matter more than ever. Another reason for learning how to produce content. Is your website page mobile friendly? Is it fast enough in Google’s eyes?
      • Bonus-Brand. Links with your brand as anchor help. Also, mentioning your brand as the ending of your title tag can help too. As an example Find Your Favorite Blue Widgets in City|Your Brand name.



Notice that 2, 3, and 4 are all some form of a link.

You see because Google wants to know that you are a real live business.And real live businesses have signals,links and mentions.  Does yours?

But many only link to their home page. This is so 2008 😉 Real businesses have links to useful internal pages. Do you have useful internal pages that are worthy of a link or mention?

Then a social seo / content marketing audit may be in order. Check out our mini audit and then schedule an appointment with us today.

About Tim O'Keefe

An original SEO from the 90's, Tim has the unique historical perspective in search and social as they merge into one another. SEO is Social is Reputation and all of it is Publicity. Tim was one of the first big bloggers and mentored many startups in the early 2000's. Tim is always a good interview and has left many an interviewer with plenty of quotables. Call Tim O''Keefe at 310 533 9145

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