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Search Marketing

The Whiteclick SEO blog aims to keep you up to date with the latest in the search engine optimisation and marketing industry and the company.

7 vital ingredients for a tasty Twitter post

Giles White - Monday, September 26, 2011

Trying to create eye-catching Twitter tweets? Even if you're the strong silent type, 140 characters isn't much to play with.

If you've got a lot to say, yet so little room to say it in, here are some tips to help you create Twitter posts that get noticed, read and retweeted:

Make every word count

Your tweet needs to be punchy, persuasive and straight to the point. For example, "How NOT to...", "6 reasons why...". And a dash of fun can boost your personal/business brand. For example, if you're an accountant and it's tax time, you could tell the world your staff are, "Bean counting like it's 1999"

Include the most powerful message

If you're linking to further information on a site, blog, YouTube, etc make it very clear what the content is all about. Sometimes the existing headline doesn't do that effectively.

Know when it's TMI

Sharing something personal eg birthday, special event etc can help build relationships, as long as it's vaguely relevant. People don't want to know what your cat ate for lunch (unless perhaps, it was a something laying around the home/office that's not designed to be food).

Make it easy to understand

Be creative with your tweet, but not at the expense of clarity. For example, if you're offering financial advice, it's better to say, "6 great ways to skyrocket your superannuation returns" than "Take charge, prosper and reap the rewards". You only have a second or two to grab someone's attention.

Offer context

By including keywords and #hashtags, people can quickly get the gist of your topic. They can also find your post through search engines, twitter search tools, and hashtag searches/links.

Leave room for sharing

Sorry, but we're going to confiscate another 20 - 40 of your characters. "But why!?", you cry in anguish. So readers can retweet (share) your brilliant message to others.

See how our Account Manager, Jess, keeps her tweets short and beneficial to the reader, with relevant hashtags included?

 

Tweet checklist

1. What's my goal with this post?

2. How does it add to my followers and people they might share it with?

3. Does it stand out from the pack?

4. Does it make sense, grammatically?

5. Is the spelling correct?

6. Is it too personal?

7. Am I encouraging people to interact?

8. If I want answers, is this the best way to ask the question?

9. If I have a link, is it working (and is it the right one)?

Looking to increase your Facebook likes? 12 reasons people “Like” business pages.

Giles White - Monday, September 26, 2011

Sometimes, Facebook feels like being back in the school playground - and not just because you can catch up with the friends and secret crushes you had before taxes, responsibilities and other alien concepts got in the way of a good time.

What I mean is that, we still have a need to be 'Liked' by as many people as possible. At least when it comes to our business pages.

So why aren't we over the popularity contests?

Well you see, some very exciting things happen when people Like your Facebook Page (business page):

  • They see all your posts/status updates within their own Facebook profile
  • Their Facebook friends get notified that they Liked your business
  • Whenever they comment on your Facebook posts, their friends see those messages too.

Of course, this can depend on how people have their account set up (some only choose to see updates from certain people/companies), but potentially your messages could be reaching tens, hundreds, even thousands of times more people than the number who Like your Facebook page. I guess you'd call it word-of-mouth marketing on steroids.

The other benefit of having a decent number of Likes is that new visitors to your page feel more comfortable about Liking you too - especially if one of their friends has already endorsed you as "likeable".

So what makes people Like company Facebook Pages?

In 2010, Exact Target did some research to find the answers. Here were the top 12 reasons:

  • To receive discounts and promotions
  • To show friends that they support the company/brand
  • To get something for free, eg; samples, coupons
  • To stay informed about the company's activities
  • To get updates about future products
  • To get updates about future sales
  • Just for fun
  • To get access to exclusive content
  • Someone recommended it to them
  • To learn more about the company
  • To learn about specific company topics
  • To interact, share ideas, and provide feedback.

What can we learn from this? You're more likely to be liked on Facebook if you:

  • give people discounts and free stuff
  • share information about products/services before they're released
  • make people's experience with you enjoyable, fun and entertaining
  • offer intriguing, exclusive content that enhances their lives in some way
  • show that you're listening when they tell you something, offer feedback etc.

Why do you choose to Like brands and businesses on Facebook?

10 ways to boost your social media strategy

Giles White - Monday, September 26, 2011

... Plus the one thing you can never forget


Every business wants a piece of social media these days. But once you're there, how do you grow a base of fans, followers and friends who want to hear from you, Like and Retweet you, respond to you, become your customers - and recommend you to their own friends and peers?

Here are 10 (+ one) practices that will help you and your business become very 'sociable':

1. Listen to your audience

I don't mean to sound like your third grade teacher or anything, but listening really is 50% of communication.

To understand who your customers are; the things that make them tick; and what they love, hate, and really need from you, take time to read what they have to say in social networks about themselves, their lives, their views, as well as your industry, business, website, social pages, content, the products and services you offer, or are considering selling.

People like to be listened to - and they like the people who listen.

2. Engage with them, don't talk at them

When it's time to talk, show your audience that you really do care about what they say, think and feel. Ask questions, reply to their comments, thank them, praise them where you genuinely believe they've deserve it. Much like all those things we love to hear from the people who matter in our real worlds.

3. Slip in to your customer's cyber shoes

When it's so easy (and cheap) to communicate with your target audience, there's a temptation to bombard them with deals, information and other messages. So every time you create a blog post, Facebook update, tweet, etc, sit back for a moment and ask yourself:

  • will people get some benefit from this, or is it just annoying and disruptive?
  • if I was a customer, would I really want to read/watch it?

Give them things they can use and they'll be much happier to 'see' you on their social pages.

4. Offer content and ideas they can't find elsewhere

Like the rest of the world, your customers/fans are drowning in a sea of information overload. The only way they can stay afloat is to ignore the bits that don't add value to their world. So how do you get read, re-read and recommended as an expert in your field?

You toss people life rafts of information filled with fresh ideas, viewpoints, statistics, or anything else that makes you one of the few businesses or people they can't afford to let go of.

5. Share your own stories

Relevant stories can offer a glimpse into your business, personality, values, etc. It could be a story about something that happened to you, a client or staff member. It might be funny, informative or heartfelt, such as charitable work your team does or supports. Photos and videos work well too.

Real stuff makes you and your brand more human.

6. Share their news with your circle

Let's face it, the real reason we all love social networks is that it gives us an opportunity to voice and be acknowledged for our views. That's ok, we're only human!

Sharing, retweeting, Liking and commenting positively or constructively on fans/followers/customers content is an endorsement that you appreciate their opinion, sense of humour, etc. How could they not then see you as a smart, likeable and all around fantastic person? :)

7. Timing is everything

When it comes to social content, you snooze you lose. Not just in terms of relevance to your audience needs, current trends etc, but publishing it at the time of the day/week when your audience is likely to be looking at their social pages.

8. Invite customers to be your fans

If you are trying to build your numbers, loyal customers are a logical place to start. They already like you in the real world. And when they comment, Like, retweet, etc online, all their social network friends and colleagues see your words/videos/photos of wisdom too.

9. Respond quickly to the good, bad and ugly

Good and bad word spreads fast in social media. In the past, Dell, United and other major organisations have lost millions of dollars through a single case of bad social media publicity. And it could have all been avoided if they responded immediately in a way that showed they cared and were taking action to help the customer.

People don't expect you to be perfect, they just expect you to treat them with respect when things go wrong.

10. Subtly show your credibility

No one likes a poser. But they do like to know that the people/companies they're buying or learning from have a good understanding of the industry, area, niche, etc they're writing about.

Once you listen, ask questions and understand what your audience need, don't stand up and yell "Hey you, over here, I'm brilliant I am at that!" Instead, weave your experience and knowledge into your stories, ideas, conversations and let them do the talking.

Never forget!!

11. Keep it real

People want to get to know other people, not companies. Don't try to 'create' a personality or readers will see straight through you. Yes, have goals, use the steps discussed above, but most importantly, just be your wonderful self.

7 Ways To Optimise Your Web Content For Search Engines

Giles White - Wednesday, September 21, 2011

"How do we get our website pages up high on Google, Yahoo and Bing search results?"

If only I had $2 (inflation and CPI you understand) for every time the Whiteclick team have been asked that question. Not just at client meetings, but conferences, parties, BBQs, school fetes, kids dance practice, even Christmas dinners.

Of course, as a band of SEO tragics, we're always delighted to have a platform to share our expertise and passion on the topic. Yet, while it's possible to answer this question properly in a client meeting, the same can't be said for a single blog post - or over a stuffed Turkey for that matter!

So, amongst a treasure trove of tips and topics in future weeks and months, we'll look at all the things you need to consider to help boost your business to the Top of the Search Pops.

First stop...your page content.

Here are seven things you can do to make your web pages more appealing to search engines:

1. Include the right keywords and phrases 

Before anything else, you need to determine the words that people looking for your products, service or business type, are likely to use when they search online.

Unless you're in a highly specialised industry, it's likely you'll have a lot of competition for the top spots. Therefore, you probably won't be able to get a high ranking for a very general industry term, such as a travel related business using "travel" as a keyword.

You'll have a better chance of success using longer phrases that contain your keyword, along with related words and phrases that are more specific to your business, products and services. For example, "African travel company", "South African luxury safaris", etc.

Don't try to fit all your keywords onto one page. You should have a unique keyword list for each page, and rank the importance of every word that you want to include - as this will determine where you place them on the page.

How do I pick the right keywords?

I could talk for hours on the science of choosing keywords, but no-one deserves to be put through that in one sitting. Instead, I'll talk about it in greater detail in several future posts.

In the meantime, know that there is a science to it. A lot of businesses assume they know the words that people use to search for their products, service and industry. The problem with this approach is that we only see the world through our own eyes and experiences. Our customers are likely to be using completely different words and seeing our business/products in ways we've never imagined.

So in depth keyword research and cross-referencing a number of tools is a must.

Where to place your keywords once you have them

Now that you've gathered you precious keywords, it's time to weave them into the magic places that tell search engines your page is relevant to the request. Let's start at the very top...

2. Optimise your title and meta description 

The page title and meta descriptions aren't visible to people on your website, but they sit in the page html code. Search engines place a great deal of weight on the keywords in the title, so make sure they contain your most important words and phrases for each page - and put those words at the front.

While meta descriptions aren't as important, they still tell the search engines if a page is relevant or not to a search request.

Just as importantly, titles and meta descriptions are the headline and teaser that people see on search results. If you don't make the most of them, you're wasting your 'free ad' on Google.

3. Make your headline Google and people friendly

Aside from being the first place your audience will look on the page, the headline is the most important piece of copy to search engines too. An ambiguous headline isn't going to attract customers or Google & Co, so make sure you include your main keyword or phrase and a reason to read on.

4. Don't forget to use SEO subheads 

Like your headline, search engines think subheads are an important part of your content, so use them on the page and include a number of your main keywords. Impatient web audiences love subheads too, because they scan the page looking for something of interest to them.

5. Weave keywords into your body copy

This can often be the most challenging part. Ideally, you want to include enough of your keywords to make the search engines sit up and take notice, but not at the expense of your message.

If you pack in too many keywords, people won't read your content and search engines may actually lower your page rank because they think you're 'keyword stuffing' ie trying to cheat the system.

Most importantly, use your keyword or phrase in the first sentence of the first paragraph - towards the front if possible - and again somewhere in the first or second paragraph.

Also, bold words and bullet points are given more weight than regular text by the search engines, but don't go overboard.

6. Link between pages on keywords

When search engine spiders come creeping around your website code, one of the things they look out for are the links between pages. Or more to the point, the words that link those pages.

By hyperlinking to another page on a relevant keyword or phrase eg linking from your African safaris page to your African hotels page on a phrase like "African hotels" or even "Kenyan accommodation" will add SEO weight to both pages.

7. Get others linking to your page

We'll examine all the other factors that influence SEO in future posts, but not enough can be said about the role of incoming links to your page from other sites, social networks, etc.

It takes time and effort to get other websites to link to your content. The best and fastest way to make it happen is to create content that other people and businesses feel is worth promoting to their audience.

What do you struggle with when it comes to creating optimised web content?

Developing a killer digital marketing strategy...

Jessica Graham - Friday, August 26, 2011

...aka Why PPC, SEO & Social Media make the perfect Ménage à trois!

Humor me for a moment. Lets play a game.

Step outside your body and imagine inhabiting the brain of your perfect customer. You (as the customer) have just sat down in front of your laptop. After updating Facebook, maybe sending an email or two, you've now just remembered that 'thing' you've been meaning to research for a few weeks.

Lets call that 'thing' X.

You flick open Google and type in 'Buy X'… Click into a few sites… Decide to refine your search to 'Buy pink X'… Still no dice... What about 'Buy cheap pink X'... Getting closer… 'Buy cheap pink X in Sydney'

...BINGO!

Now step back from that potential customer. They just bought said pink X from your competitor.

What the hell happened???!

The perfect digital marketing strategy involves a mixture of PPC, SEO & Social Media marketing, and unfortunately you were missing an element.

  • Was it SEO ? Let's go back to that Google page. You sell pink X too but when that customer typed it in, your website didn't even come up in the first page of search results! Optimising the copy on your website is super, super important - it allows search engines (and customers) to understand how relevant your site is to what's being searched for. Including the right keywords in your website content is only a small part of effective SEO but it's an important one. If Google knows your site contains what's being searched, you can bet that your potential customer will know soon too.
  • Was it PPC? Again lets go back to pink X. This time your SEO is sorted out (you took our advice above! Yay!) and your website appears in the top 5 rankings of the search query. But GUESS WHAT - that customer just bypassed them completely! To the top and right hand side of the organic search results, Google displays paid advertisements, and one just caught that darn customers eye! AdWords is a highly effective marketing strategy to use in conjunction with your SEO to catch those customers with ADHD! The best part is, you only pay for the customers who actually click into your page (Pay per click or PPC).
  • Was it Social Media? But wait, there's more! Remember that same customer… before they even Googled what were they doing?! Messing about on Facebook that's what. Unfortunately for you, one of their friends commented on your competitor's fan page touting them as the best seller of 'Pink X'. This comment had appeared in their news feed - The very thing that had triggered the Google search in the first place! It's essential to build your business presence in social media channels to give your brand a voice, and a personality - Not to mention the huge value of personal recommendations.

The common problem with many digital marketing strategy's is that they are generally strong in one area yet fail to grasp the importance of covering all bases.

Social mentions are becoming integral to determining the ranking of your web site in search engines, the quality of your website (i.e. keyword relevance) effects where your ppc ad displays in Google, and you can even optimise your social network status updates to drive traffic straight to your site. It is essential to know how each affects the other, and how to use this to your advantage by creating a comprehensive marketing plan including all 3 elements.

How does your e-marketing strategy compare? Do you buy PPC Ads? Have you had success with SEO? Do people regularly recommend you on Twitter?

Top 10 epic fails business bloggers make

Jessica Graham - Friday, August 05, 2011

In an ocean of posts, are you a fish out of water?


Unless you live under an emarketing rock, you're bound to know that blogging is a vital ingredient in the secret recipe of customer engagement.

So whether you're an accomplished author or a copywriting virgin, here are some handy hints to avoid potential blog mistakes:

1. It's too Long - Keep posts short yet informative. The average human attention span is just 30 seconds, so get to your point STAT

2. It's too Short - Conversely, if it's less than 180 characters long you're just wasting your time … do yourself a favor and Tweet it!

3. It's too much like reading an ad - Don't confuse blogs as just another place to spruik your product - who likes being blatantly advertised to anyway? Be topical, interesting and relevant. Save the 50% off coupons for your email newsletter!

4. There's no clear objective - What's your primary reason for maintaining the blog? Hint: It should be to drive organic traffic to your site, build brand awareness and trust.

5. Forgetting to optimise your content - How can you expect to be read if can't be found in the first place? Sprinkling content with keywords is like creating a roadmap leading users right to your site. Build it and they will come.

6. Boring - Blah blah Blah Zzzzzz …'Nuff said!

7. No rich content - Google highly favors posts with videos, podcasts and photos over simple text. Say cheese!

8. Forgetting links - Ever heard of the word 'Link-baiting'? It's a geeky (yet effective!) SEO technique which involves hyperlinking content direct to other pages on your website…straight down the funnel to conversion! Smart huh?

9. Keeping it to yourself - Google incorporates social media mentions in its PPC (tallying up your Google+1'sBORDER=) as well as organic ranking algorithm. The more comments/ like/share's you have, the higher it will rank. What are you waiting for? Add share buttons to your blog and update your status now!

10. Not blogging at all!

So all that said…How does your blog stack up?

7 Google AdWords Quality Score Facts You Need to Know Before Setting Up a Campaign

John Richardson - Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Recently some of the Whiteclick team visited Google's Sydney office for the 'Engage for Agencies' event. A number of topics were covered however, one stood out as something clients always ask about and don't always fully understand, namely the Google AdWords Quality Score.

AdWords Quality Score is a major factor in the AdRank equation i.e. where your ad appears in the SERPS and therefore it is really important to understand exactly how it works:

AdRank (AdWords Page Position) = Bid x Quality Score

Here're 7 Quality Score facts to help you understand how it works:

1). The most important factor in calculating Quality Score is a keyword's Click Through Rate (CTR). This is closely followed in 2nd place by keyword relevancy - if the Keyword you are bidding on matches your ad text and the searcher's query.

2). Every keyword is awarded an individual Quality Score - this can be viewed by selecting the QS option in the 'columns' menu in the UI of Google AdWords. Quality Score also has an effect (to a lesser degree) on the overall AdWords account - it is not however possible to check this.

3). Quality Score does not have an impact at ad group level.

4). Quality Score on Google.com is completely independent from your Display Network Quality Score. This means that your low CTR Display campaigns will not reduce the performance of your Google.com campaigns.

5). The Quality Score number that you see in the Google AdWords UI is not an average of Google.com and Google Search Partner Quality Score. Like the Display Network it is separate. If you have a high CTR & Quality Score for one particular Search Partner, the other poor performing Partners will not bring down the overall Search Partner Quality Score - each Search Partner is independent.

6). Bidding more to get a higher click-through-rate when you start a campaign will NOT help you get a higher Quality Score from day one. You are given the across the board average Quality Score when your campaign begins. CTRs are then normalised for each page position - this creates a level playing field for everyone and reduces the opportunities for advertisers with bigger budgets to cheat the system.

7). Adding keywords to each match type - Broad, "Phrase" & [Exact] match - will not create a higher Quality Score for the Keywords due to the higher CTR of some of the match types. All you are doing is creating more work for yourself.

Having a good understanding of Quality Score is critical to ensure your AdWords campaign is successful by reducing the amount you pay Google for clicks. Once you get beyond the basics it can be quite complex but working with a Google Certified Partner to build and manage AdWords campaigns for you will take the difficulty out of the equation.

A handy tip for managing Google AdWords

Kenji Nakayama - Friday, July 22, 2011

Do you have separate email logins for work and personal? Have you ever been frustrated by not being able to access both accounts simultaneously?

Eg. In the morning you login to your personal Gmail account, then after checking your inbox you decide to check your business AdWords account to stay on top of your AdWords PPC campaign management . A couple of minutes later you decide to jump back into Gmail to send a quick personal email ('Hey Mum, Please don't forget to wash my lucky socks') ....after you finish your email you go back to working on your companies PPC campaign, but you have to log in to AdWords again. Log In. Log Out. Log Out. Log In. Log Out. ...And don't even get me started now that we can throw Google+ into the mix! (can someone please invent a Google-deck already?)

It's bound to happen to you if you use multiple Google products like, Google AdWords, Google+, Gmail, YouTube and so on.

Fear not, there is a simple answer: Last year Google introduced a multiple login option, which is accessible from your Google accounts portal. Once there, on the top right hand side you will see a 'Personal Settings' tab, where you can enable the 'multiple sign in' option. After this has been enabled, click on your email address in the top right hand corner and click on 'sign in to another account' - Viola! From there, it's a simple matter of switching between accounts (ladies and gentlemen please hold your applause).

Alternatively (for those pesky accounts like YouTube that aren't integrated) you can use multiple web browsers. Simply open up your personal Gmail in Chrome, then for Google Analytics, open up say Firefox or Microsoft Internet explorer. It's really that easy.

Eg; Open up Firefox and log in to your YouTube account to check out Darth Vader ordering lunch whilst simultaneously on a separate Chrome browser login and continue setting up that Google AdWords campaign your boss needs run ASAP. Alternatively, try and link accounts together like YouTube and your personal Gmail.

If you only have 1 web browser on your computer, it's easy to download the following popular web browsers - Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Internet Explorer and Safari.

5 common business web site mistakes

Justin Daniel - Tuesday, July 05, 2011

After a rush of new clients asking us on how to improve the performance of their sites, we've identified a few common mistakes preventing businesses from achieving their goals. 

Want to ensure a high return on investment from your marketing spend? Read on to ensure your business web site doesn't make these same mistakes.

1. Inadequate web site performance tracking.

Without effective web site statistics software installed on your site how else will you know if your web site is achieving your online goals?

Our preferred analytics software, Google Analytics, is entirely free and allows you to monitor the amount of web site traffic your web site receives, where your web site visitors come from and what they do when they arrive at your site.

You can take web analytics to the next level by setting up goal tracking, which is a great way to monitor how many of your web site visitors convert to clients. This gives you the power to make informed decisions on improving your site over time to increase sales conversions.

2. Lack of web site traffic.

The majority of customers are now seeking their information online. Most business leaders know this but many are left wondering how do I attract more traffic to my site?

Focusing on acquiring targeted web site traffic through an informed search engine optimisation strategy is the key to acquiring Internet users who are looking for your business online.

This is achieved by optimising the web site content for the keywords Internet users are using to find your service offering, a competitive link building strategy to notify search engines your web site is an authority in the field & a social media strategy to drive targeted traffic to your site.

This is not as easy as it sounds. Recent updates to Google's search algorithm has slammed many web sites for acquiring a suspicious amount of links from spammy web sites, resulting in many web sites losing their search engine rankings and web site traffic.

3. Targeting the wrong search terms.

Many businesses have achieved number one rankings for a long list of search terms, but are these the same terms customers are using to find the business?

You must ensure the search terms your business ranks for are in fact the same terms customers are using to find your business.

Keyword research is the most vital and consistently overlooked process for optimising a site to achieve search engine rankings and ultimately web site traffic. Without adequate keyword research a web site doesn't have a fighting chance for finding customers online.

4. Damaging web site development.

Many web sites have little hope of achieving search engine rankings and web traffic as a result of being developed without search engines in mind. Common errors in the code of many sites prevent the site from being indexed and in extreme cases risk the site being banned from search engines.

This includes excessive usage of Flash and Javascript, making search engines unable to crawl and recognise the content of the page. Also, hosting multiple web sites on the same account for the one business with duplicate content.

Shady tactics like these usually inform the search engines the site is trying to game the system and is a prime target for being excluded.

5. Poor usability and design.

Contrary to common belief, design is not subjective. Did you know that 76% of web site visitors determine the credibility of a business from the visual appearance of a web site alone?

A study by Stanford University revealed the common visual cues web site visitors use to judge the credibility of a business. Clean and uncluttered web design, relevant content, restrained use of colours, industry certifications and customer recommendations are just some of the visual signifiers visitors use to make this assessment. 

And this happens within a fraction of a second before your web site visitors make up their mind and close the window to move on to the next site.

Is this all we know?

It has become increasingly difficult for businesses to increase their web site traffic. This knowledge applies to most businesses. But not all.

Whiteclick have developed a separate and specialised body of knowledge on what makes for success in growing targeted traffic to web sites for the ecommerce sector, retail, business to business and many other industries. But this special information is only revealed to Whiteclick clients. 

If you would like to have an informal and confidential discussion on the effective strategies available for finding new customers online, or a receive a free web site health check, feel free to get in touch.

What's the Fuss about Google Plus?

Jessica Graham - Friday, July 01, 2011

Unless you've been living under a rock this week, you'll probably be aware that Google has just launched their ( third!) attempt to combat what is no doubt referred to at the Googleplex as 'That Little Facebook Problem'.

So without further ado (and if you'll 'scuse the pun), here are some standout +'s and -'s:

PLUS

*Privacy: Google+ allows you to drag and drop your contacts into different 'Circles' of friends, and then from there it's easy to choose which information is made public to which circles - compared to Facebook's traditionally nonchalant approach to your personal information.

*Integration of live video : Not only can you chat with friends face to face but as a group you can search for and watch videos on YouTube with ease…. Lets be honest, who wouldn't love a group session discussing the finer points of Rebecca Black lyrics?

*Collects and stores content based on your interests: The 'Sparks' feature does what Google does best by allowing you to save multiple key terms as interest topics. New content is then trawled daily from the web and aggregated for your browsing ease - in contrast to when you 'like' a brand on facebook, and are provided with only that-brand-specific information displayed in your newsfeed.

*Mobile Photo Uploads: Google+ has a snazzy feature which automatically uploads photos from your phone and stores them privately for you to sort through later on down the track at your leisure - throw out your USB cables people!

MINUS

*Where's my gamer apps?? Whilst I have no problems with a world sans-Farmville; at the moment there is no ability to host any games, which is a feature Facebook currently has over Plus in spades ...Although with the rise (and rise) in social gaming, this is surely something that won't be ignored by Google in the future.

*It is standalone - i.e. there are no integration services with other accounts - which is a bummer for those socialites who love to simultaneously broadcast their thoughts over multiple networks (e.g. twitter and LinkedIn) at the same time.

*It's Invite Only at this stage, so if you are lucky enough to be one of the 'chosen ones' with early access, you should feel special (ignoring the fact that your Plus network is probably severely depleted compared to your current Facebook friends) - and for the masses it smacks of exclusivity.

On a side note, something else to take into consideration is that at the moment there is really no way for businesses to tap into their audiences in the same way that Facebook allows 'fan pages'. Yes, you can '+1' on articles or websites that appear in your Google searches as effective 'recommendations', but it does make me wonder…. How does Google plan to make money from Plus? Watch this space.


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