#Facebook gets #hashtagged

facebook hashtags

facebook hashtags

Facebook has succumbed to peer pressure and taken to the hash. Hashtags, that is. Joining the ranks of Twitter, Google Plus, Tumblr, LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest, Facebook says it will be supporting the categorisation technique as of this month, along with the introduction of several other complementary additions, including trending #hashtags.

Facebook’s hashtags will be clickable and searchable, allowing users to browse through related posts from friends and pages they follow. At the moment there is no advertising support for hashtags on Facebook, through it seems likely that this will be added into analytics at some point. Clickable hashtags may appear to be a small addition to the social network (and some users have always insisted on using them on Facebook posts even back when they were effectively useless) but this is one of the only significant user-based Facebook update of the last year, with most other changes being aimed at advertisers and sponsors.

So… what are #hashtags good for? Well, here are the basics:

1) Use hashtags to browse a keyword or search term. Just like on other social networks, Facebook’s hashtags will allow you to search through relevant posts, images and videos. This is useful for tracking current trends, specific keywords and current events while filtering out the rest of the ‘noise’ on your timeline.

2) Draw attention to a specific subject or point. Whether in personal or business posts, hashtags can be used to add an extra comment, emotion, opinion, and provide a cheeky aside or afterword to a post. After all, no one does snark like Twitter, where hashtags have been in operation since the dawn of the tweet… #catchupFacebook #oooohburn

3) Hold a live chat, hangout or conversation. Hashtag chats are organised and made searchable and trackable using… you guessed it, hashtags. Say you wanted to put together a weekly Facebook conversation on your page around your products and services. Simply create a hashtag about it, for example: #SocialMarketingTips, then put out the word about when your chat will be held and encourage participants to use the hashtag whenever they post within the conversation.

4) Track promotions, advertising and marketing posts. For businesses, hashtags can be very useful to see what customers are saying about your brand, products and services. Encourage users to use related hashtags when they mention you or interact with one of your posts and you will spread your name further across Facebook. Or follow hashtags that relate to your industry to see what your target demographic wants and needs…

5) Include hashtags outside of Facebook. Add hashtags to promotional material, emails, advertising and on your website or blog. If you use a hashtag consistently across your different social profiles then wherever a customer searches for the term, they should be able to find information relevant to your promo or company.

What do you think about Facebook joining #teamhashtag? And how will your business be implementing hashtags into your social marketing strategy?

About Ikroh SEO tm

Ikroh has over 35 years of experience in the industry.

Using Google Plus for SEO

Using Google Plus for SEO

Are you plussed up yet? Google Plus has been a much debated subject in the world of SEO and social media, but is it really any use for online marketing purposes?

The short answer is yes – it’s a Google product, people, and even if you can’t stand it, it’s going to be beneficial in boosting your position in Google search results.

The long answer is, well, yes, but its results aren’t necessarily direct and straightforward (or even all that tangible). But there are a few simple steps to help you start to make use of it, and work out how Google+ works with search results. On a user-level, it’s unlikely that there are reams of your customers regularly using G+ (sorry, Google!), but that doesn’t mean you should ignore it, or that you can’t use Google+ to make an impact on your ranking.

Using Google Plus for SEO

Setting up a Google Plus Business Page

When you set up your business page, your page title, meta description and introduction are all going to contribute to your search ranking, just as they would on a website page. If your business name doesn’t include one of your targeted keywords, then see if you can add it to your page title (in a natural and aesthetically pleasing way!). You also have the option to add a tagline, or meta description, underneath your title – use this to add in another keyword or two to describe your business and make it easily searchable.

In your introduction and general information section you have much more space to provide useful and in-depth information about your company – include your location for local targeting purposes, as well as a list of your products and services, your opening hours, website, phone number and anything else your customers will want to know. Valuable search keywords should pop up naturally throughout this text, and, as always, well-written content is far more user-friendly (and search-friendly) than a long list of spammy keywords.

You can also add photos and videos to your Google Plus page’s gallery – these can include keywords too so make them relevant and likely to be searched for.

And finally, you have the Recommended Links section – make use of this by hooking up with your company’s social media profiles, blog and any other points of contact or useful resources online.

Now What?

Now you have a G+ page, use it! Start posting links, multimedia, updates and info. Search for your keywords, find relevant people and pages to follow and stick them in your Circles. +1 and share content that you like, comment and interact – with Google Plus you need get social to help your SEO. By showing you’re an active user (and that you have useful content to share), other people will (hopefully) start to add you to their Circles and +1 your posts, and so your audience will grow… Unfortunately at this point in time there’s no way to auto-post from a blog or social media profile or manager, so you’ll have to do it manually, but even just adding a post a day or a few posts a week is – according to early tests – enough to make a small difference.

Google Plus and Search

By making use of your Google+ page and adding keywords into your info, links, pictures and videos – all of these should turn up in relevant Search Plus Your World results. You must also connect your G+ page and your website by adding G+ code to your site, or sticking a Google+ badge on your pages, and don’t forget to add your website URL to your G+ page info.

A small number of G+ pages are searchable via Google by using the Direct Connect service which basically allows users to search for a company’s G+ page by entering the brand name with a + in front of it, such as +youtube or +pepsi. There are plans to roll this service out more widely in time, but obviously your eligibility will depend on your popularity, relevancy and activity. So get G-plussing!

And finally, let’s quickly talk about the little red +1 button. Right now the link between the amount of +1s a page has and its search ranking is indirect. More +1s does not necessarily mean it will naturally rank higher – it works in a more social, word-of-mouth way by flagging up content that you’ve ‘approved of’ to your friends. Search Plus Your World results show whether your friends have +1ed a particular result, and as we all know, we’re more likely to follow a link that someone we know has already looked at… For non signed in searches, users can still see the number of +1s a result has received, and are potentially more likely to choose a more popular link.

In general, a highly +1ed link has the potential to be shared more often, and should therefore end up with a higher CTR (click-through-rate), which will in turn boost search rankings (and so on and on and on)…

Using Google+ For SEO

So, to sum up, what can G+ do for my SEO?


  • G+ belongs to Google, so making use of it gives you an automatic advantage within Google results
  • The more valuable G+ becomes, the more people will use it, so it’s worth getting on board NOW
  • G+ activity can boost your SEO results in a socially organic way
  • By using simple traditional SEO techniques (keywords, link building and URL structure) you can use G+ to increase your ranking
  • Search Plus Your World uses your G+ info to tailor results for your friends and contacts
  • The +1 button indirectly (but effectively) can boost your search ranking
If you need help getting to grips with SEO or social media marketing, get in touch with Ikroh.com for expert help in all aspects of internet marketing.


About Ikroh SEO tm

Ikroh has over 35 years of experience in the industry.

The Future of Larry Page’s Google

Larry Page

Larry Page

It’s been just over a year since Larry Page took over as CEO of Google. The obvious landmark since his new position is Google +, and though the jury still seems to be out about the new(ish) social platform, the numbers show that it has the capability to stand against the big G’s arch nemesis, Facebook. (Did anyone else just visualise Zuckerburg slowly turning around in a leather swivel chair, stroking a big F sign? Just me? Ok.)

Google is the king of search, it leads the way in online advertising, it has made YouTube the most important multimedia platform on the internet, and then along comes G+, a social network that Page is determined to see come to fruition for the company. You can’t deny the fact that Page has moved Google in a new direction since April 2011, bringing focus and consolidation to a company in danger of succumbing to its own bureaucracy, but behind the pluses, is there a minus sign?

The shift from the ‘holy trinity’ of Eric Schmidt and founding partners Larry Page and Sergey Brin to just one man, Page, marked a tangible change in ethos that had possibly happened a long time ago. In Google’s teenage years, it was a company for the people, an innovation factory, a sort of coded up Willy Wonka if you will. Now, it has the kind of power that makes governments nervous. But it can be argued that a single front man is what the company needed to avoid a gradual implosion, and Page seems to be paving the way with confidence and determination, as a figurehead who knows what he wants, and is prepared to shake things up to get it.

In his years at Google, Page has already shown a knack for canny development – he was behind the Android acquisition in 2004, and seemingly as a response to litigation from Apple and other competitors, led Google to purchase Motorola Mobility. What he plans on doing with the mobile company and its 200,000 employees is yet to be revealed, but you can bet the decision was not made on a whim. The co-founder has a particular vision, and if this year has shown anything, it is that he isn’t prepared to wait for things to just happen.

Upon his takeover, Page believed Google was its own enemy, in danger of stagnating, or becoming complacent – it’s lonely up there at the top, after all. There was (is) also the very real threat of Facebook’s social dominance. Just this week Sergey Brin was quoted criticising Zuckerburg’s baby by comparing it to government censorship. It’s fairly transparent, however, that the real issue lies with the amount of Facebook data still not made available to Google spiders – a substantial stumbling block for ultimate Google supremacy: “There’s a lot to be lost,” Brin complains, “For example, all the information in apps – that data is not crawlable by web crawlers. You can’t search it.”

Google might have a big chunk of the internet’s data, but Facebook has the people. Social media is the last bastion, and time and time again, the search giant has been turned away at the door. So it’s no surprise that focus for this year has been firmly on Google +. Page moved his office to the social department, and employees were informed their bonuses depended on the success of the platform – Larry didn’t just want a competitor to Facebook, he wanted to implement social into the very DNA of Google.

So far, G+ has a 500 million-strong membership, and is the most successful social product for the company to date. It also feels as if it’s still very much in the development stage – the first step of a social transformation that Page has planned. But it still remains a little indefinable: Is it different to Facebook? Kinda. Is it better? Well, it’s … kinda … different. Oh, oh, it has “circles”, that’s new, right?

Steven Levy at Wired.co.uk sums it up nicely:

“The concept is that when all the pieces of Google — Search, Gmail, Docs, Maps and so on — make use of what the company knows about you, it can serve you a lot better. This makes a lot of sense, but it’s a tricky thing to execute. People are accustomed using Google products individually. Suddenly being forced to take in the Google experience in one big chunk can be jarring — and scary.”

G+’s selling points were predominantly based around privacy, personalisation and flexibility, playing on the recent (and recurrent) distrust of Facebook’s covert privacy adjustments. And yet, whatever misgivings Facebook users have over how their data is collected and used, they’re not going anywhere fast. In contrast, Page had to weather the storm through the roll out of social search, and the changes to Google’s privacy policies in May last year, which were far wider criticised than, for example, the switch to Timeline. Perhaps the problem lies with the sheer omniscience of Google, and how it uses its data attribution – the ads on your Gmail sidebars echo your personal correspondence, your search results and maps know exactly where you are…  All these things are making it easier for users, sure, but you have to admit it’s a little bit creepy at the same time.

Just last month James Whittaker, previous Google employee, blogged about why he left the company for Microsoft. His reasons were based around how the company has changed over the years, and a big part of that has been the quest for social domination. Whittaker explains:

Officially, Google declared that “sharing is broken on the web” and nothing but the full force of our collective minds around Google+ could fix it.

As it turned out, sharing was not broken. Sharing was working fine and dandy, Google just wasn’t part of it. People were sharing all around us and seemed quite happy. A user exodus from Facebook never materialized. I couldn’t even get my own teenage daughter to look at Google+ twice, “social isn’t a product,” she told me after I gave her a demo, “social is people and the people are on Facebook.”

What do you think? Is Whittaker right? Or will Page succeed in pushing Google into a new era and transform the company from search to social? If the last year is anything to go by, Google hasn’t lost its passion, but has it lost its soul?

About Ikroh SEO tm

Ikroh has over 35 years of experience in the industry.

G+ Social Project to Challenge Facebook

G+ vs Facebook

Google’s new attempt at social networking comes in the form of Google+ and its aims seem to include improving on areas where Facebook falls behind, by moving away from ‘technologically restrictive’ methods of social media and ‘rigid services’. The elephant in the room is obviously Facebook, which still holds the medal for social network giant, and many of Google+ attributes appear to pick up on elements that aren’t easily available via Facebook in both an attempt to differentiate and improve.

One of the main issues users seem to have with Facebook is the openness with sharing your information – so your co-workers and your mum gets to see the raucous late night photos that you really only want to share with your mates. Sure you could start a group but doesn’t that seem like a lot of work? G+ ‘Circles’ supposedly allows you to limit your status updates to specific groups of people. The G+ on this feature is that not everyone you are linked to online is a “friend” and you should be able to classify and segregate between classmates, your boss, acquaintances, best buddies and your Great-Auntie Nora. There is also a group messaging service named, rather cutely, ‘Huddle’. Users can instantly upload photos from mobile phones, as you can with Facebook, and the feature ‘Sparks’ lets you share and find online content that fits with your interests.

Google’s previous attempts at social media, dating back to 2009, have thus far been unsuccessful, including Buzz and Wave, but G+ is, in these early days, creating a bit of a stir. “I think Facebook is going to have to up its game,” says Charlene Li of the Altimeter Group.

So far, Google+ is in “field trial” mode, only accessible by invitation. There is no official full launch date, so it does seem as if this really is a ‘project’ from Google as opposed to a full on confrontation with the big FB… Watch this space to see if it sticks!

About Ikroh SEO tm

Ikroh has over 35 years of experience in the industry.