This morning I came to John Ellis‘ session on social signals in search. John started off by focusing on how Google understands your social connections — ultimately through your Google+ profile. He then shared ways to help sculpt Google’s social view of you or your brand for search:
John emphasized that if you have to automate, make sure you don’t LOOK automated. Don’t post at 2:30 a.m., for instance.
Post around a topic — it helps Google understand you as an authority on that topic.
Make sure you include your keywords in your posts.
When on Facebook, add photos — they are showing up in Google search.
Google now indexes Facebook comments.
Even if you’re not sold on social channels, you want to own your brand and stay somewhat active to achieve brand saturation in the top ten results of Google. (Note from Janet: This is also GREAT for online reputation management!)
Authorship markup also relies on Google+ profiles and provides greater visibility for authors and their content in Google search.
Social connectivity also shows on author rich snippets, showing who had connected to a post.
John also provided some Google+ optimization tips:
Link to other profiles
Use and optimize every field available
Content is still king! Share content!
Some other areas you can optimize for:
Foursquare: Focus on relevance, distance and prominence. Claim your listing and encourage check-ins.
Pinterest: Focus on community. Put in what you get out. Optimize settings like your “about” section with keywords. Own your brand too. Build authority. Pin useful content from others.
As a side note from me, I’ve seen Pinterest rank very well in Google image search. So consider using it for image optimization!