Google AuthorRank: A Conundrum for Content Marketers Who Don’t Do Bylines

AuthorRank, Google’s possible new search signal, can have some serious implications for a brand’s content marketing efforts.

And it’s going to create a problem for content managers who don’t believe in publishing author bylines in their websites. Or the ones who don’t want to publish the entire bio at the bottom of a blog post. Those “we succeed or fail as a team; no one is more special than the other” types who learned everything about management from Little League baseball.

If you stick to your guns of never granting bylines, your website’s rankings may suffer. But if you let writers have their credit, you could see big improvements to the posts written by your best writers, because their own AuthorRank will give you a boost.

We’re not sure exactly how AuthorRank will be evaluated, or even when it will be implemented. But according to Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, there are people who do really, really evil and wrong things on the Internet, and it would be useful if we had strong identity so we could weed them out.

Conversely, what Schmidt didn’t say, is that if you can weed out the really, really evil and wrong people, you’ll also need to identify which people are as far away from “evil and wrong” as you can get. The farther those people are, the better their content.

And assuming you’ve hired people who way down on the other end of the “evil and wrong” spectrum, your site should get credit for it.

That’s not to say that if you don’t give them credit, your site is evil and wrong. Rather, it’s just one more positive tool that you should be able to take advantage of and use to your benefit.

It means you should let your writers have a byline and link it to their Google+ profile. It means you should encourage them to write about their own not-evil-and-wrong hobbies as much as they want. Let them improve their AuthorRank as much as they can.

It Also Means You Shouldn’t Delete the Work of People Who Leave

There are companies that will delete the blog posts and work of people who have left their company, as if they don’t want to admit those people ever darkened their door.

This may end up being a big mistake for the the former employer.

Think of it this way: At one point, you thought enough of this person to hire them. At one point, you thought they did some excellent work and were really smart, and you wanted to show them off to your clients and visitors, and to gain all kinds of competitive advantages by harnessing their intelligence.

So you published their blog posts under their name, with their bio proudly displayed for everyone to see.

And, if you were forward thinking, you even used the rel=author tag in their bio to help your own SEO efforts.

So why would you undo that once they left the company?

Presumably, they’re going to work for someone else who thinks they’re smart and do excellent work. And they’re going to want to publish that employee’s work on their own site too.

In fact, the more they write and publish, the higher their AuthorRank could rise. And everything they wrote will get some positive Google juice.

Including the stuff on your own website.

Except you deleted it all.

Who knows, this may all lead to a more interesting problem: a wildly popular employee with a stratospheric AuthorRank who decides they don’t want to be associated with your company at all, and demands you remove all of their work.

Don’t laugh, it could happen.

Google AuthorRank: When Personal Branding and Content Marketing Collide

The new AuthorRank search signal from Google (which has not been implemented yet), is an interesting collision between personal branding and content marketing.

As I noted in an article last week, SEOMoz writer, Mike Arnesen, said:

People want to read content written by credible and knowledgeable people and using AuthorRank as a major part of their search algorithm just makes sense.

It’s like Klout for writers.

Erik Deckers AuthorRankAuthorRank is an interesting combination of personal branding and content marketing. Where Klout measures your social media influence, AuthorRank will measure your ability to generate a lot of effective and trustworthy content.

As content marketers, we already create that kind of content. It’s good for our clients and our own businesses. Good content marketing gets our companies noticed, which helps them make money.

But now, the writers of those pieces are going to be tied to the quality of that content as well. It means we have to write good copy, and those who don’t, will rank poorly. It means you can’t lend your name and your website to outside paid links. It means you can’t slack off on the writing, but that you have to feed the Google Beast on a regular basis.

In Branding Yourself, Kyle Lacy and I talked about the importance of blogging as it relates to growing your personal brand. This new move by Google represents a merging of personal branding and content marketing.

AuthorRank = AuthorReputation

It means that being a good writer, or at least a passable one, affects more than just your personal brand. In some ways, you can be a good writer and be totally anonymous. But now Google can figure out that you’re a good writer, and you’re someone whose work should appear in their search results.

The best way to improve your AuthorRank? First, make sure you write good stuff, and don’t do any keyword stuffing. Also, don’t put a bunch of ads on your blog or website. That chips away at your page’s TrustRank, which will in turn affect your AuthorRank.

It also means that you need to protect your AuthorReputation (I just made that up). You wouldn’t publish photos of you doing keg stands on Facebook for every hiring manager to see. You also shouldn’t publish articles on low-trust article sites or sites that have run afoul of Google Penguin’s algorithm updates.

It means you need to add one more social network, Google+, to your arsenal and learn how to use it effectively. It means you need to continue to be a good sharer of other people’s work on all of your social networks, so they’re more willing to share yours (remember, Google is also looking at social signals as part of search, which means they’ll probably be looking at your social signals as part of your AuthorRank).

Google’s AuthorRank to be a Major Factor in SEO

Content is no longer king, the author is the king (or queen).

Google is starting to pay attention to their new SEO factor, AuthorRank. According to an article by Mike Arnesen, How to Prepare for AuthorRank and Get the Jump on Google, AuthorRank is the latest in Google’s algorithm change, and it may be bigger than Panda and Penguin in terms of its impact.

In 2011, says Arnesen, Google CEO Eric Schmidt said they still wanted to identify agents in order to improve search quality. Schmidt said “it would be useful if we had strong identity so we could weed (spammers) out.”

But how much of a factor can AuthorRank be?

I’m certain that Google is going to begin incorporating AuthorRank into their ranking algorithm in the not-too-distant future. I’d put good money on it. All the signs point to it: Google’s emphasis on social, Google Authorship, their ongoing efforts to measure site trust, and their progressive devaluation of raw links as a ranking factor. People want to read content written by credible and knowledgeable people and using AuthorRank as a major part of their search algorithm just makes sense.

I won’t go into too many of the details. Read Arnesen’s article instead for that. Instead, this is what the new AuthorRank is going to mean for bloggers and content marketers:

  • The admonition to write good shit is more important than ever. While Google hasn’t said what will go into AuthorRank (and never will), I’m guessing there may be some regular SEO indicators as well — time on site, bounce rate, click-through rate.
  • Don’t spam. Don’t even give the hint of spamming. The whole point of AuthorRank is to find people
  • Want to make sure your page is trustworthy? Go read Evan Baily’s book “Outsmarting Google,” and read about TrustRank. If your page/blog/website is trustworthy, you will be. If you clutter your page up with ads, you won’t be. The book may be outdated now, but TrustRank seems to be the basis that Panda and Penguin are based on. Understand it, and you understand the new SEO.
  • You have to be prolific. You can’t just write one post on occasion and hope that’s enough. To be sure, the once-in-a-while writer will outperform the constant spammer. But if you write once a week, and your competition is writing three, four, or even seven times a week, you’ll lose. Don’t get into an article arms race, but don’t slack off on this either.
  • Using the rel=author or rel=me tag is going to be crucial. If you’re not sure how to use it, read this article. If you don’t have one yet, set up your Google+ profile, and then point all articles you write back to it. Put the code — <a href=”http://bit.ly/xyLk6s” rel=”author”>Erik Deckers</a> — in all your bios and include it in all articles you write. If you have a blog, you can include it in your author profile.
  • Note: If you’re a WordPress user, rel=author doesn’t work, because WordPress keeps stripping it out. Get the AuthorSure plugin and it will work for you.
  • You need to start today. No one knows when AuthorRank is coming yet, which gives you two options: 1) Wait for it to hit, then fight like hell to recover. Or 2) start now and barely notice a blip in your rankings when it hits. In fact, you could end up improving your pages’ rankings if you start now. A lot of people got hit and hurt by Panda and Penguin — I saw an awful lot of “how we recovered from Panda and Penguin” blog posts; on the other hand, we never needed to — the smart ones, the ones who weren’t spamming actually saw their rankings improve the days both algorithms were released. Those rankings increased because they had always been doing the right thing, while a lot of people had to start doing the right thing.
  • Guest posting will increase your AuthorRank. The more you write, the better. But have your writing appear in several different places? That’s like adding bacon to an already awesome sandwich. Guest posts, regular contributions to other websites, and even owning more than one blog on more than one platform will all go a long way in telling Google how to find you.

Personally, I love the idea of AuthorRank. It’s probably one of the best ways to block out spammers and reward the people who are actually trying to make a positive impact with their content. Anyone in the content marketing business needs to focus on their online reputation even more now, and make sure they’re not doing what Google considers spammy behavior.

Hooray/Dammit, I’ve Been Plagiarized: What to Do When You’ve Been Ripped Off

Yesterday, I discussed how to find out if you’ve been plagiarized, or at least had your stuff used without permission, but with your byline intact.

When that happens, it’s not uncommon to feel both flattered and angry at the same time. Jason Offutt called the feeling “flangry.” On the one hand, you’re pissed that your stuff was stolen. On the other, you’re flattered that it was good enough to steal.

Kim looks very stressed out, after finding her work had been plagiarized

Flangry: adj. The combination of being flattered and angry, after finding some jackwagon stole your work and passed it off as their own.

Regardless of how you feel, it was wrong of the other person to take it, and you have rights. Here are the steps to take if you’ve been stolen from, especially if they removed your byline, and tried to pass it off as their own.

(Remember, plagiarism is when someone passes your work off as their own; copyright violations are when they use your work without permission, but may leave your name intact.)

1) Immediately create a PDF or screenshot of the page.

On a Mac, select Print, and then set the output to be a PDF instead of a printed page. On Windows, if this option isn’t available, download CutePDF and output the page to a PDF. Next, save an html copy of the page. And if you have it, save it to Evernote. If you’re a designer or photographer, and one of your images is being used, take a screenshot. You need to do this, because as soon as the plagiarist gets a hint of what’s going on, all stolen content will disappear, and you’ll want proof of what happened.

If they have already removed the content, do a search for the original phrase that brought you there, and then hover over the Google results. A preview window should pop up in the side bar, as well as the word Cached. Click Cached, and you’ll see the older version of what Google has in their index. Print that to a PDF or take a screenshot.

2) Start researching their other content.

The only reason I heard about the two instances where I had been ripped off this month is because the person who first found he had been ripped off that that other stuff might be stolen too. In both cases, they researched all available columns they could find and discovered the original authors. They also saved copies of every stolen piece they found, as per #1.

3) Contact other victims.

If you find that other writers have been stolen from, contact them and let them know what’s going on. You can do it as a group email, or you can do it as a one-to-one email. Explain the situation clearly and without a lot of preamble, but recognize that some writers may ignore your email. One author in this most recent case of plagiarism thought the initial email was spam, so he ignored it. It wasn’t until he got a call from a reporter for a newspaper story that he realized it was real.

4) Present a unified plan of action, and adopt the role as leader.

This may seem a bit unusual, but it’s important if you discover that several people have been stolen from. If you’re the only victim, then you need to lay out a plan of action before you do anything. If there’s more than one of you, there should be one point of contact between the publisher and/or editor, and the group whose work was stolen. If the editor is being bombarded by 5 or 10 different people, then they may be less likely to be helpful. Be patient and cooperative, and the publisher is more likely to help you.

In the Jon Flatland situation, one of the writers went off-script and contacted the plagiarist directly. As a result, Flatland realized he’d been caught, and tendered his resignation via email admitting to a single act of theft, before his publisher ever got to the office. As a result, we (and the publisher) missed out on the chance to hear the plagiarist’s excuses, get an apology, and to royally ream the guy out.

This also means you need to hold off on putting the word out on social media and your own blogs until you’ve gotten some answers from the publisher. Trust me, this is so heinous a crime that a media publisher will drop everything to deal with it, because they know they’re facing some serious problems. You shouldn’t have to wait that long. Be patient, contact the publisher, and start writing your summary of the situation for your blog. Publish it when you get a final resolution from the publisher or editor.

5) Don’t start screaming about lawyers.

Chances are, if your stuff was stolen by someone in the traditional media, they have a boss and/or peers who all know it’s wrong. Journalists are trained not to steal. It’s the number one sin they could commit, so there are mechanisms in traditional media settings to bring them to justice. Instead, rat them out to their bosses, and they’ll take care of the rest. Ask to be updated on a regular basis, and pass that information on to your fellow victims. Chances are, the publisher will recognize the legal ramifications of someone on their staff stealing their stuff, and they will be eager to make everything right, just so you won’t sue them.

Instead, be patient, and wait for nature to take its course. If cooperation from the publisher is not forthcoming, or they refuse to cooperate, that’s when you pull out the big guns. Get a lawyer to write a nasty letter for you, and see what happens.

6) Use takedown notices and invoices for one-person operations.

Occasionally you’ll see your stuff used in someone else’s one-person operation. Whether they swiped your stuff without attribution, or your find it with your name and website included, there are times you need to defend your property and your copyright.

  • If they included your byline, ask them to take it down by including what it would cost to normally run your piece. Most people will comply if they think you’re going to charge them $150 just to run a single piece they copy-pasted; more if they took more than one piece.
  • On the other hand, there is some benefit to having a link out there that leads back to your website. If the site is not a spammy site, or it links to a lot of unrelated garbage, leave it up. You’re getting a little SEO (search engine optimization) juice out of it.
  • If they stole your stuff outright, let them know that you know. Give them 48 hours to remove it fully. If they don’t comply, get a lawyer to send a letter. Be sure to save a copy of that letter so you can use it later for future instances. (Get the lawyer’s permission to reuse it, of course!)
  • Also send a note to their ISP and/or web host. Let them know that one of their customers has posted unauthorized, copyrighted material on their site. Include the name, site name, and exact URL of the material, as well as URLs or copies of your original material. While SOPA may have died, most ISPs are still concerned about hosting stolen material, and will help the content owner. If they don’t, get the lawyer to write you another letter.

7) Suing for this stuff is hard

While you may think that a lawsuit for major theft is a good idea, keep in mind that it’s expensive and very difficult. And in most cases, it’s going after the wrong person. While the publisher is often responsible for the content of the newspaper, it’s the writer who did all the stealing, and tricked the publisher. You can sue the publisher, but they’re usually on your side (at least insofar as they don’t want to get sued and will cooperate with you to avoid it). So you’ll look like a real d-bag if you sue someone who tried to help you out.

Plus, there aren’t many lawyers who are willing to take these cases on contingency, so that means you have to come up with a few thousand dollar retainer to hire them. If you’ve only had a couple pieces stolen, it’s not worth it. If you didn’t actually lose anything monetarily or opportunity-wise, it’s not worth it. But if someone ripped off an entire book that went on to become a NY Times best seller and made the author fabulously wealthy — and you can prove your entire manuscript was stolen, because you registered it with the US Copyright Office (also read Wikihow’s “How to Copyright a Book“) — then, by all means, find an attorney and pursue it.

For the most part, people are honest. If they took something without permission, it’s because they don’t have a basic understanding of copyright laws (Tip: Just because you found it on the Internet doesn’t mean it’s free.) If you address it with someone — be polite, at least the first time — they’re probably going to be willing to do as you ask.

But occasionally you’ll find someone who knows it’s wrong, like a trained journalist, and they stole from you anyway. Follow these steps once you , and the action you think you should take. Hopefully you’ll never need it.

How to Find If You’ve Been Plagiarized

I’ve had my humor columns plagiarized three times in the last 10 years, the last two happening within 25 days of each other. The most recent one happened Monday, and ended with the plagiarist resigning his position as a newspaper publisher 24 hours later.

In the first case, I found out about it myself by doing some basic Google research. The last two, I was emailed because someone else did the same thing, and then did more diligent research, and identified a number of other humor writers who had been stolen from.

If you’re worried about your stuff getting stolen, here are a few things you can do to protect yourself:Red-headed kid with a magnifying glass

1) Google unique phrases and sentences.

The way most people check for plagiarism is to do a Google search for a unique phrase. The lede sentence here, “I’ve had my humor columns plagiarized three times in the last 10 years” is unique — no one has ever used it, in fact — so I would pop something like that in the Google search box.

But, and this is important, you have to put quotes around the entire sentence. This tells Google, “I want to find only instances of these words in this order. If they’re not in this order, don’t serve me the results.” That means sentences that say cooking columns instead of humor columns won’t show up.

Check at least three sentences per piece, just in case one of them was edited. And don’t search for sentences that contain the following:

  • Specific locations: One of my plagiarists changed my city names to his city names so they would be more specific to him.
  • Specific names: Any semi-smart plagiarist is going to know enough to change your spouse’s name to their spouse’s name. Same with kids, pets, and friends.
  • Dates: Unless it’s something historic, don’t search for dates. If you talk about being in college 15 years ago, that will get changed to suit the writer’s personal timeline.

Pick unusual sentences that seem almost innocuous. A string of words that is both unique and unnoticed at the same time. “I snapped my computer lid shut and took a drink” is a safe bet, “”But I’ve never been to Tallahasee!” Gladys shrieked.”

2) Search with Copyscape.com.

I was playing around with Copyscape for a couple of days, and quickly hit my free searches per month limit. They only charge $.05 per search on the Pro plan, so it may be a good purchase if you’re especially worried about being ripped off. It searches all content on a whole web page, rather than unique phrases, and it looks for any matching or near-matching phrases, not just ones you specify.

You can also drop in blocks of text to search for, which is useful if you work with freelance writers or teach high school and college classes.

The same company also has CopySentry.com, which will do regular searches on pages you’ve already written. It does a regularly scheduled search for any possible matches, and emails you the results.

3) Put a copyright statement with your name on every piece

Admittedly, this is like putting a sign on your window that says “please do not steal my TV,” but this may have the desired effect on one or two people. It also gives you a leg to stand on if you ever have to defend it legally. After all, the thief had to remove the copyright statement in order to publish it, so they can’t argue “It was like that when I found it.”

Two caveats about plagiarism

1) It’s not plagiarism if your name is still on it. If you find someone has lifted your stuff and left your name intact, that may be a copyright violation, but it’s not plagiarism. You’re still getting credit for your work.
2) You can’t steal an idea. Someone else may have — and probably has had — an idea on whatever it is you wrote about. If you’re talking about “five ways to rock your next presentation,” it’s been done. If you’re writing about “paintings you must see before you die,” it’s been done. In fact, any idea you had has already been done. Unless you invented something that has never been done before, you’re going to have a tough time proving that you had your idea first. If this is the case, speak to an Intellectual Property attorney.

Once you’ve found out your stuff has been lifted, your first instinct may be to go on the warpath and hammer the thief like the fist of an angry god. Hold that thought. Tomorrow, I’ll talk about what steps to take if you find you have had your stuff stolen. (Preview: It’s not to immediately confront the thief. There’s some work involved.)

Photo credit: jamesmorton (Flickr, Creative Commons)

How Google Caught a Plagiarizing Newspaper Editor and Ended His Career

I’m baffled at the fact that, when we live in a day and age where you can find anything — anything! — on Google, people will still try to plagiarize and steal your stuff.

It just happened to me yesterday, when I was alerted by a fellow humor writer, Dave Fox, that 28-year newspaper veteran, Jon Flatland, had stolen at least two of my past humor columns, word for word, and passed them off as his own.Photo of a raccoon on a trash can

To make matters worse, Flatland had done the same to Dave and four other writers, including a friend of mine.

Flatland didn’t just paraphrase our ideas, or copy a joke or two. He copied-and-pasted entire columns, changed a couple of details, like replacing his wife’s name for my wife’s, or changing the name of a city where an event took place.

Dave immediately got in touch with the publisher, as well as a state newspaper association who had given the writer an award for best humor last year (I’d love to know whose columns actually won the award for him).

One of the writers also called Flatland up and confronted him. Flatland said he didn’t believe he had plagiarized, but that he had found the stories in an old folder, thought he had written them, and published them as his own.

I’m not buying it. One of my stolen stories, ‘Twas the Month Before Christmas, was written in the exact same rhythm and rhyming pattern as the original Night Before Christmas. You don’t forget writing something like that, as much as I’ve tried.

Apparently Flatland knew something was about to hit the fan, because he sent an email of resignation to the publisher — admitting to only one column, even though we have proof of eight — and was gone before the publisher ever got into work. The publisher has since removed all of Flatland’s columns, and has notified his state’s newspaper association about the incident, blackballing Flatland and preventing him from working in newspapers ever again.

That all went down yesterday. I heard about it at 11:30 am, and by 11 pm, it was done. A career died in less than 12 hours.

What’s sad about this is Flatland was a 28 year veteran of the industry. He’s someone who knew better. He was one of the people who was supposed to teach young writers all about journalistic ethics. Flatland has had a long and impressive career in the community newspaper business, and has been the president of at least two state newspaper associations. So his name has carried a little weight in his corner of the world.

And he ended his career in disgrace, because he violated the one rule, the one foundational principle, the entire media business is built on: don’t steal someone else’s shit. In fact, Rule No. 9 on the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics is never plagiarize.

I feel sympathy for Flatland. His career has ended in the most embarrassing manner possible. Former colleagues and association members will be talking about him, shocked that he would do the one thing that journalists are never, ever supposed to do.

But what makes it so stupid and senseless is that WE CAN FIND THESE THINGS OUT! Holy sweet jebus, it’s so freaking easy to find anything on the Internet! There are entire companies that have built multi-billion dollar empires by making it possible to do exactly that.

Want to see Portlandia’s “Put a Bird On It” video? Google it.

Want the lyrics to Inna-Gadda-Da-Vida? Google it.

Want to see if a phrase you used in a humor column in 2006 has been used anywhere else? Google. It.

Enter a unique or uncommon phrase from one of your posts or columns, and put quotes around it. That tells Google to look for exactly that phrase, with all those words, in that particular order.

If the phrase, along with most of your words other words, shows up without your name on it, it was stolen. If it doesn’t, it wasn’t.

It truly is that easy. And why Flatland didn’t know that or couldn’t figure it out is probably the most staggeringly disappointing part of this whole mess. He didn’t think he would get caught. He didn’t think that people might/could/would look to see if any of their stuff was appearing anywhere that it shouldn’t be.

And now, because Flatland didn’t know that one basic fact — that, and he’s a column-stealing thief who benefitted financially from my years of hard work, while I got nothing — he’s ended his career in the worst possible way, ensuring he’s never going to work in that industry again.

If you get nothing else from this column, please burn these two lessons into your memory forever.

First, don’t steal people’s work.

Second, if you do steal, please know that there are giant f—ing search engines that will find you out, no matter what tiny part of the globe you’re in.

Just write your own stuff, or don’t turn it in at all.

Photo credit: Adam Thomas (Flickr)

Use Communication Theory to Boost Search Engine Optimization

The persuasion theory behind celebrity endorsements is the same theory behind Google’s new social media search.

It’s called Balance Theory, and when you understand the essence of it, you start to understand why Google is putting so much stock into Google+. And how Google+ can enhance your own search experience.

Balance Theory and Celebrity Endorsements

Without getting into all the scientific language we used when I was in graduate school, balance theory basically says this:

  • I like Celebrity A.
  • Celebrity A likes Product B.
  • That means I should like (and buy) Product B as well.

(Fellow philosophy majors will also recognize this as the 2 premises/1 conclusion logical construction.)

In other words, I like Eminem. Eminem likes Chrysler. Therefore, I should also like Chrysler. (The danger is that if I don’t like Celebrity A, I’ll purposely not like Product B just to restore that balance. It’s why a lot of sponsors drop celebrities who get into trouble.)

This is what marketers are counting on when they put a celebrity’s name and face on a product or company. It’s why Eminem is schlepping Chrysler on the Super Bowl. It’s why Reebok is clamoring for contracts with the NFL. It’s why Nike puts famous basketball players on its shoes.

This is the same basic idea that goes into Google’s personalized “My World” search results. If you’ve used Google lately, you’ve noticed that a lot of your friends are appearing in those results. That’s because Google is relying on Balance Theory to help improve your search results. (Maybe not intentionally, but that’s what’s at play here.)

Here’s what they’re doing with it:

  • I like Douglas Karr.
  • Douglas Karr has talked about corporate blogging.
  • That means I should check out what Douglas has said about corporate blogging.

And if I like what Google has shown me, I’ll continue to use Google.

Google's Personal Results for Corporate Blogging

These are the PERSONAL results for "corporate blogging." But that is not really Jason Falls in the 2nd picture from the left.

How Can You Use Balance Theory in Search Engine Optimization?

If you’re building your personal brand, or you’re doing social media marketing for your company, the best way to use Balance Theory for your search engine optimization is to use Google+, and develop relationships with key decision makers at the companies you want to do business with.

  • Connect with the decision makers at the companies you’re trying to reach.
  • Write blog posts about the key areas and problems they’re dealing with at their company. You can find that out just by paying attention to their conversations on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google+.
  • Continue to share important articles with them related to those same areas and problems. (This is all part of that “be a valuable resource” stuff we’ve talked about before.)

Then, as these people search for those particular keywords, your blog posts and your articles will rise to the top of their search engine results page. End result? “Hmm, this person seems to know an awful lot about this topic. I wonder what else they can help me with?”

However, this is not a reason to connect with everyone you can find on Google+ or to spam the bejeezus out of them with all kinds of articles and blog posts. You do that, and you’ll most certainly be blocked and ignored by everyone you’re trying to reach. Just write about what you want to write about at an acceptable pace, and connect with a reasonable number of people on a level that doesn’t seem creepy, desperate, or spammy.

With a little effort and just by following some common sense, you can use the Balance Theory — something usually only used by marketers with millions to spend — to start winning higher search engine rankings on your chosen keywords.