Insights from Google at #SMWNYC

Wednesday was certainly a red letter day in our Digital Mission calendar. Google kindly extended an invitation for us to tour their NYC offices in the morning, and ask questions of their team afterwards. Then, in the afternoon, some of us headed off to Ogilvy & Mather, who were hosting a Google+ “Live Jam” – more about that later!

Google’s NYC office

What can we tell you about the Google NYC office? Well, not as much as we’d like, owing to a fairly major miscommunication with a cab driver that resulted in a 100 block detour and an arrival time c. 1 hr later than planned. [Tip: If you’re ever in a similar situation, never tell a cab driver to take you to, for example, “76 Ninth Avenue”. You may mean the street number, but he thinks you mean the intersection with 76th Street, when in fact number 76 intersects with 15th street. Oops!]. Consequently, by the time the Write My Site cab eventually arrived at the right location, we’d missed the tour and had to run through the enormous Google offices to make the Q&A on time.

Asking questions of Google

Our sprint through the offices got us to the conference room just in time to hear Lauren Goody introduce herself. Lauren is on the Creative Content Development Team, and it wasn’t long before she gave a really big indicator of what it takes to optimise content in 2013:

“If people want to be ‘found’ on Google, they need to be using Google+”

Inevitably, this led to a slew of questions about exactly what needed to be done, but as with all Google search optimisation tactics there wasn’t a forthcoming ‘how to’ manual. Lauren did, however, point out features such as Hangouts and Communities that could build brand engagement, but acknowledged that getting a following on Google+ was a “media strategy issue” for brands.

The message, however, was clear: do whatever it takes to build your Google+ following because, to quote Lauren again:

“The perks are greater than any other social network, because it’s part of the whole Google ecosystem.”

[Translation: “We are Google. Our social network will be a lot more important for your search rankings than our competitors’ networks.”]

Google+ every day

The afternoon trip to Ogilvy & Mather’s Google+ Live Jam featured a live experiment with “victim” Kevin Espinosa of Caterpillar. Three Google+ strategies were proposed, and we the audience had to vote for one. They were: using a keyword strategy to create content for Google+ that would be personalised for brand followers; creating branded communities through hangouts and the communities feature; and “gamifying” content creation to keep the Caterpillar team motivated to produce high quality content. We voted for the first strategy, but the second strategy won the majority vote – we’ll be watching what Caterpillar does with the results of experiment with interest!

One of the panellists for the session was Gretchen Howard from Google, who answered an audience question about how to use Google+ with another useful nugget of insight, which tied in rather nicely with the morning’s seminar:

“I would say you should be posting content on Google+ every day”.

So, with that in mind …

We’re on Google+ – see you there?

Write My Site has a Google+ page, which admittedly until now we’d kind of neglected in favour of our Facebook and Twitter pages. Starting today, however, there’ll be plenty happening!

If you have a Google+ profile, you can add Emily Hill and Eleanor Jones to your circles. If you don’t have a Google+ profile, get one!



  1. Fantastic. Google are beginning to leverage their power. I have been noticing that in SERPS more and more non profit making sites are going up the rankings. Government, charities, wikipedia, Forums with lots of UGC. [ translation; If you are making money out of us you need to start using PPC more…. ]

  2. I agree with your translation, Rob! I was surprised at how explicit the reference was to the “perks” of Google+ vs other social networks owing to being part of “the whole Google ecosystem”. I have no doubt it’s a similar story when it comes to PPC.

Comments are closed.