Google Social Search, Now With Google Buzz

Google Social Search, which shows content from those in your social circle, is now tapping into a new source of knowing what your friends are writing about, sharing and creating: Google Buzz.

Remind Me: What’s Google Social Search?

For those unfamiliar with Google Social Search, it launched across all of Google in January, after initially rolling out as an experiment last October.

When you’re signed in to Google, the service shows matching web pages and other content on the topic of your search that’s created by your friends or others that Google has determined that you’re “connected” to.

For example, on a search at Google for JetBlue, this is an example of the social search results I’ve personally seen:

The two items listed, one from our SMX search engine marketing conference series and the other from 10e20 (now Blueglass), appear for me because Google’s decided they’re connected to me.

If you don’t see Google social search results when signed in and doing a search:

Google might not feel there are relevant social results to show to youYou might not have much of a social circle, which can be fixed with some of the methods described belowGoogle just might be having a glitch, which is hitting me today

You can also “force” Google to show social results by doing a search, then selecting the “More Search Tools” drop-down button (see Meet The New Google Look & Its Colorful, Useful �Search Options� Column about this) and choosing “Social” from the “All results” section.

And Google Finds My Social Circle How?

How does Google determine my social network? My previous article, Google Social Search Launches, Gives Results From Your Trusted Social Circle, is an in-depth look at this. In short, Google examines:

Google Reader: if you have a Google Reader account, any content such as blogs that you subscribe to are considered part of your circleGoogle Chat: anyone you’ve enabled to chat with is considered part of your social circleGoogle Contacts: Anyone you’ve classified as friends, family or coworkers is part of your circleGoogle Profile: Anyone’s content you’ve associated with yourself via your profile is examined to locate people to add to your circle

The last part, how your Google Profile is used to find friends and social connections, is the hardest to understand. It’s also key to today’s change.

Google Profiles allow you to associate yourself with content you’ve created across the web. (To understand more about Google Profiles, see our previous article, Hoping To Improve People Search, Google Launches Profile Results).

For example, here’s how I’ve added links to my content to my own Google Profile:

From these links, Google can figure out who some of my friends are. For instance, take the link to my Twitter account:

I link to my Twitter account from my Google ProfileGoogle reads who my friends are from my Twitter account (this is public information)Now I might get tweets from my friends showing in my social search results

Consider further

One of my friends links to their blog from their Twitter profile (again, public information)Google now understands that my friend has that blogNow I might get blog posts from that friend in my social search results

And even further:

The friend�s blog has a link to their Flickr account (once again, public info)Now I might get links to their Flickr content in my social search results

All this is possible simply because I’ve linked to my Twitter account from my Google Profile. From that, Google can follow “social links” to content my friends have created across the web.

From Google Profiles To Google Buzz

The problem is, Google says, that not everyone has fully pimped their Google Profile pages to “connect” to content that in turn would connect them with friends. For example, maybe they haven’t linked their Twitter account to their profile. That means Google can’t “see” as well who their friends are.

This is where Google Buzz comes in. Since that service launched, people have had an entirely new way to connect content to themselves, through their Google Buzz accounts. Here’s an example from my account:

You can see that I’ve connected six sites to my Buzz account, and there’s an option to connect more.

Google tells me, when I spoke with them today, that there are many people who have more sites connected to their Buzz account than to their Google Profile. So today, Google’s now using Buzz’s “Connected Sites” feature to help determine who is in your social circle for social search results.

The stupid thing is that you have to depend on Google Buzz making a best guess about sites you want to have connected with your Google Buzz profile, which in turn comes off what you’ve listed in your Google Profile page — the same page that Google says people don’t seem to use that much.

Want to add something that’s not listed in Google Buzz connected sites? You have to go to your Google Profile, add a link to this, then hope that Buzz decides to allow you to make that a connected site (and in my experience, this is very hit and miss).

Google Buzz, of course, has struggled with privacy issues. Is this move a new cause for concern. It shouldn’t be. Only you will see your social search results, when you’re logged in to Google. No one else sees these. And everything you see is already out on the public web in the first place.

Each person also gets their own unique social results. You can also see exactly who is in your social circle through new features that rolled out in January (see Google Social Search Goes Live, Adds New Features for more about this).

Hey, what about this new rumored “Google Me” social service from Google. Is that going to be used? Yeah, Google had no comment about even if there is such a service. But if this is an overhaul of Google Profiles and/or Google Buzz, yes, I’d expect it eventually to get integrated into Google Social Search.

How To Find Your Most Popular Posts

It’s the end of the year and a lot of blogs are now putting out their top posts of the year posts.� But how does one find out which are the top posts on their blog?

Here are a few ways you can find out which posts are tops on your blog.

Number of Comments – One easy way to see if a post is popular or not is to look at the number of comments.� The more comments, the more engaged people were with the post.� The downside here is that a lot of people may read the post, but only a few may actually comment.Number of Trackbacks – How many other blogs are referencing your blog post?� If you have a lot of trackbacks, that means your post could have a far reaching impact across the blogosphere.� However, the quality of those trackbacks is an important thing to check too.Social Traffic – How many Diggs did your post get?� Does it have a lot of stumbles?� How well is the post doing in social media sites could be another great indicator if the post is popular or not.� Again, it all depends on the quality of traffic.� StumbleUpon can send a quick 200+ people, but what if they all gave it a thumbs down?Analytics – Analytics is a great way to see which posts are getting the most traffic.� Analytics encompasses traffic from other websites, blogs, social media and search engines.� It’s probably the best indicator and the easiest one to pull results from.Post Plugins – You can also get plugins such as Post Ratings where users can rate the quality of a post, or you can download one of the popular posts plugins which analyzes things like comments, trackbacks and other indicators they feel are necessary to pull popular posts.Use a 3rd Party Service – Sites like PostRank work to analyze each post and come up with a popularity score.� The nice thing here is the other service does all the work for you.

Any one of the items above can help a blogger find out which posts are the most popular on their blogs and help create one of those “Top posts of the year” posts.

What other way have you found to find the most popular posts?

Bing Deep Links Issue to Blame for 'Mysterious' Yahoo Links

A Parkersburg News & Sentinel blog post featured a reader’s question that stumped the author: “Why does a link for a fiery accident on I-77 from 2011 pop up when I do a simple Yahoo search for ‘The Marietta Times’?” Turns out there is an easy answer.

Bing's Deep Links to Blame

Rather than settle for a dissatisfying conclusion of “I don’t know,” Search Engine Watch contacted Duane Forrester, Bing’s senior product manager, to find out why two of the eight featured Deep Links pointed users to rather odd locations – one to a story about a fatal fiery car crash from April 2011 and the other to an obituary from February.

“This is a known issue – essentially, there are instances when ‘spiky’ terms can appear in Deep Links,” Forrester said. “Believe it or not, those two items were very popular on that site. We’re looking at ways to sort this in the very near future.”

So what are Deep Links? Bing says it assigns Deep Links to established and “authoritative” websites, with the goal of “exposing the most popular deeper content for trusted sites.”

Basically, they are Bing’s equivalent of Google sitelinks – a group of eight links located beneath the search result featuring the homepage link, URL, and description (in this case The Marietta Times) that point users toward popular sections within the same website (e.g., Obituaries, Local News, Local Sports, etc.), as seen here:

As a comparison, here’s what Google shows:

This can also be seen in a search for [Parkersburg News and Sentinel], where Bullets Hit Car, House is one of the eight Deep Links featured along with Obituaries, News, Sports, Jobs, and so on:

As a comparison, here’s what Google shows:

Wait, Bing? Isn’t This is a Yahoo Search Problem?

For those unfamiliar, Yahoo no longer serves its own organic search results. Bing began serving the algorithmic results that Yahoo searchers see starting in August 2010 in the U.S., as part of the Microsoft-Yahoo search deal signed in 2009.

So yes, Yahoo shows the same search results:

And note all the way at the bottom of Yahoo’s search results the “Powered by Bing” notation. Indeed, humans don’t control search engine links, but Bing does control Yahoo’s search results:

How to Edit Deep Links on Bing

Is Bing surfacing an odd Deep Link for your website? Would you rather another section or page be featured instead? There’s a solution for you (and these news sites) if you don’t want to wait on Bing's fix.

To manage your Deep Links, sign into your Bing Webmaster Tools account (create an account if you haven’t already). Select your site, click the Index tab, and click on Deep Links. From there, you can block (or unblock) a deep link, or change the order of Deep Links by using the Weighting Preference option, giving high or low preference to links.

Changes won’t take effect instantly. Bing notes it may take “some time” before you see any change.

Think your company or agency deserves recognition for their excellence? ClickZ Connected Marketing Awards are designed to recognize brands and organizations that have embraced creativity and interactivity to connect with their audiences - and drive results. Call for Entries ends June 25.

CEMPER’s New Power*Trust & Daily Refreshed Trust & Power Metrics: What You Need to Know

�Link Research Tools�, probably the�most advanced SEO and link building tool, built by CEMPER.COM�scored again! With the new metrics CEMPER Trust� and CEMPER Power � they obsolete a lot of other link metrics you may know and still use. The new “Power*Trust keyword cloud� is again a whole new way to visualize backlinks and the Power*Trust metrics is said to become the only metric to base link decision on.

Google Penguin Asks for Better Links and Better Tools

With the recent Google Penguin update shaking SEOs around the world it became apparent that we need better tools to identify the link that we should let go and those that we should pursue. LRT (short for Link Research Tools) has been at the cutting edge so many times, and once again shows us new ways to do our SEO job better and faster.

They introduced no less than seven (7!) metrics to measure Trust and Power of a page, a sub-domain and the whole domain.

You can watch the video below from Christoph C. Cemper or just read on�

CEMPER Power� & CEMPER Trust�

They introduced no less than seven (7!) metrics to measure Trust and Power of a page, a sub-domain and top level domain. As you can see below, these metrics have color-bars that allow you to quickly get a feeling for every single links� quality. As usual these metrics can be sorted, cascade-sorted and of course filtered.

This means you can go in and find all those links with neither power nor trust (on the page level) and get rid of them. Obviously these are often links from public hosting platforms but embedded into content that has no value, not for users, not for SEOs.

CEMPER Power*Trust

The final fun is Power*Trust which is the product of both metrics Trust and Power (each numeric 0-10) yielding in a total strength metric going from 0 to 100 (in theory). Guess what � I had a hard time finding links stronger than 70 by power*trust.

It appears they found THE single metric to judge link quality on with this, as the diagram from the�Competitive Landscape Analyzer�(CLA), another of their tools in the toolkit, show. It compares ten losers of the Penguin Update (their link�s power*trust quality in green bars) with one Winner (in orange).

I think that picture says it all � Power*Trust measure what appears to be Winner�s link!

All of these 7 powerful metrics for Link Trust, Link Power and Link Power*Trust are available in�all (16 currently) tools of the LRT.

SEO Keyword-Cloud by Power*Trust

If that wouldn�t be enough, they also just launched what they call �Power*Trust Keyword Clouds�.

Think keyword-tag-cloud as you know it from blogrolls and add high tech SEO data to it � enter Power*Trust clouds.

That�s the difference between �wanting to rank� (keyword cloud picture one below) and �ranking� (keyword cloud picture two)

Keyword clouds as we know it � biggest number of links for a keyword drawn biggest� ouch.

Weighted by Power*Trust you see the strongest links don�t pass any anchor relevancy!

PageRank�, ACRank and SEOmoz MozRank obsolete metrics?

According to their release information, all of the above metrics are obsolete now and were removed or hidden in a �legacy� package for �nostalgic users�.

Quick Mode

Another great new feature that helps everyone is the option to�run all tools in �Quick Mode��which reduces the set of metrics from 77 to a dozen important ones, giving you execution time of only a few seconds compared to a couple minutes. That is a huge time saver!

Final Thoughts

Already voted�#5 in the best link building tools�a while ago, I think this change will help the Link Research Tools advance further up. We had some�previous reviews��of the Link Research Tools for several new�features like Link Velocity�and the famous�Quick Backlinks tool (QBL)�that you may also want to check out.

Oh � pretty cool understatement: in a byline they also mentioned � we also support analysis of Pinterest data for your links :-) This feature could have been a �major� release elsewhere.

If you haven�t seen or used the�Link Research Tools�before, it�s probably the best time to do so.

Let me know what you think about these changes in the comments below!

Search Market Share: Google Up, Bing Flat, Yahoo Hits New Low

The financial analysts are starting to expose search market share data for May, ahead of the official release of those numbers by comScore tomorrow. If they’re accurate the data we saw reflect another monthly decline for Yahoo and AOL. Bing was flat while Google gained.

Here are the numbers:

Google: 66.7 percent in May (vs. 66.5 percent in April)Bing: 15.4 percent (vs. 15.4 percent in April and 14.1 percent a year ago)Yahoo: 13.4 percent (vs. 13.5 percent in April; and 15.9 percent a year ago)Ask: 3 percent (vs. 3 percent in April)AOL: 1.5 percent (vs. 1.6 percent in April)

These figures don’t reflect mobile search queries or market share. In mobile Google enjoys a roughly 95 percent share in the US market.

The numbers above represent the 9th consecutive monthly decline for Yahoo’s search market share and a new low.

Below is a graphical representation of US search market share comparing May 2012 vs May 2011.

Postscript: The official numbers, confirming the above, have just been released by comScore.

Source: comScore, May 2012