Why Writers Need to be on Google Plus…Plus a FREE Tutorial on How to Use it Effectively!

A lot of writers seem to find Google Plus as mysterious as I do, so when I met Google guru and SEO expert Johnny Base in a Google Plus group a couple of weeks ago, I jumped at the chance to get him on the blog. 

Not only does he have a great blogpost for us, but we've imbedded a mini-webinar that walks you though signing up for Google Plus and gives you a bunch of tips on how to use it. 

Personally, this what I know about Google Plus.

1) Once you join, you want to turn off most of your "notifications" or your inbox will be glutted with them.

You can still get notified if you turn it off. All you have to do is look up in the right corner of your gmail program or your Blogger blog and you'll see a little icon of a bell with a number in it and a + sign. That's your notifications. Check them or not as you want.

2) If you put a + in front of somebody's name on Google+, it works like an @ symbol on Twitter. Use it and the person will be notified that you're talking to him. (I just learned this from Johnny.) 

3) If you go to your profile page and click on the big "G+" it brings a dropdown menu with all sorts of great options, like "communities." Joining communities is how you meet people. I'd joined some in the past but could never find them again. Now I know. 

4) As I said last week, there's much talk of Google+ going the way of Facebook in invading our privacy. They're even talking about using our images to endorse products. But you can opt out here.


So heeeeere's Johnny (AKA John Allen: no, no relation)...

What Is Google Plus And Why Should Writers Use It?

by Johnny Base

Let's start with what Google Plus is not.

It is not a social media platform filled with teenagers and people with too much time on their hands. It's not a vortex which only wastes time. It is not Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter.

Google Plus is a business tool.

Because of new changes occurring within Google and online search. Google Plus is where all writers will need to be if they want to be relevant in the Internet Age. These changes will affect anyone who publishes online content, e-books, or is interested in earning money writing online.

Here are some of the aspects of Google Plus that make it an entirely different experience from other social media:


Google Plus is a collection of professionals from many disciplines—who discuss, engage, disagree and collaborate quickly. They're building knowledge in their field of interest on a global scale. It is unlike anything I have ever experienced.

The people you are engaging with, in my experience, are not amateurs. I've had the pleasure to video-chat, comment on posts, and share articles I've written with people who are leaders in their industries from all over the world.

I'm deep in the changes in Google and how they affect writers, and anyone else who publishes online content, e-books, or is interested in earning money writing online. I've never had this kind of professional engagement on any other social media platform.

Networking with Influencers

I have an online business creating websites. I'm self-taught and have achieved a small success in the world of search engine optimization. I'm able to get websites in competitive niches on page one when people search on Google for specific terms.

But the people I engage with daily on Google Plus are much further up the food chain than myself. The other day I spoke with a group of amazing people in my field for more than an hour—experts from around the globe who are acknowledged leaders in the field and published in the leading trades. It was like a seminar at a top-level university.

There are writers on Google Plus—as well as attorneys, entrepreneurs, business owners, physicists, professors, and photographers. They're accomplished people who are open, helpful and eager to engage with you no matter what level you are at in your profession. I've never had this kind of professional engagement on any other social media platform.

Here's an example of how it's worked for me: I wrote an article about the SEO marketing community on my website, which I posted on Google Plus. Because I'd built a trusted relationship with other “influencers” (people who have authority in a given subject) a big influencer in SEO reposted my article and shared it. He had a ton of SEO people in his circles, so they shared it. And other people shared it.

My blog usually had five to ten visitors a day. That day, 106 people visited. Then I received 187 backlinks to that article. Backlinks are when other websites post a link to your website. They help with ranking and getting your site found on search results.

Google Plus is also how I met Anne R. Allen. Our conversation led to a quick invitation to guest-blog, which I realize she and Ruth don't extend that often. 

But meeting other professionals is only one aspect of the power of Google Plus.

Google Plus Hangouts

Not only can you post articles, short stories, (photos/videos) you've written or found. (On Google Plus it's always good etiquette to source any material you post: give credit to the originator of the content and or the people who originally posted the content.)

But you have the added benefit of being able to speak directly to these people you engage with via Google Plus Hangout.

What's a Google Plus Hangout? Imagine Skype on steroids. Real-time conferencing online. They work great for book launches.

Here's an example of how they work: bestselling author Wally Lamb held a Google Plus Hangout "preview" of his new novel We are Water through Booktalk Nation on Wednesday Oct. 16th. It was advertised in Publishers Weekly and people could order signed, personalized books. Anybody could join in the live Google Hangout video chat with the author, more than a week before the book is going to hit stores....Anne

Google Authorship Program

When you create and share content online, you want people to know you're the author— no matter how far that content may travel. With the Google Authorship program, not only do you get the credit, you can also grow your audience over time.

Several Google Plus platform features help authors do both — on Google, and across the Web.

Explaining Google authorship would take another post, but on my blog I have a number of videos that explain its use and function. If you want more, check out my website's page on Google Authorship

Semantic Search

This is the biggie. It's about to change everything.

Since Google's beginnings, all search results were keyword based. Specific rules ruled how Google searched websites. They looked for words placed in specific locations, on each page of a website.

Google's algorithm, after scanning all the words and code on each website, determined where the site should rank, whenever someone typed a query. The results were mostly the same for everyone. Anyone searching for "red apple" would receive basically the same results in the same order no matter their location. 

But Google is in the process of changing their algorithm so each individual on the planet will have different results, based on many factors. It's called "Semantic Search" And it's a huge tectonic shift in the way information is found online. Now, Google's algorithm will assign a reputation score based on topics, relationships, sharing, comments and connections. 

For an overview of the semantic search revolution check out "How to Rank on the First Page of Google Search Forever: Get Social. Feed the Brain." by George Williams.  Semantic Search is replacing Keyword search as I type. It should be fully implemented within the next six to twelve months. Leaving keyword-based search results in the dust. 

Here's what you need to know: Google Plus is the key to Semantic Search.

Verified Google Plus Authors who create quality content which other Google Plus influencers (people who are trusted authorities in given niches) share will be looked at by Google as trusted authorities.

This is all new. It was only confirmed this August 2013.

Writers who position themselves now will bear fruit for years to come. And currently the only way to become a verified Google Plus Author is to first create a Google Plus account.

Other benefits of Google Plus. When you post to your Google Plus profile:

1. Posts are crawled and indexed almost immediately by Google

2. Google Plus posts pass link equity and Google Plus 1's
(only if you add a link into the post) Let's say you write an article and you create a post on Google Plus. As with Facebook you can write a comment about the article. If anybody clicks a plus 1 on your post, that plus 1 will show up on the article you have posted, increasing its value. Shares do the same thing and are recognized instantly. This is huge for ranking your blog or website. If someone shares your article on social media like Facebook, Google does not have that information. But on Google Plus they recognize it right away and consider it a social signal and it becomes a ranking factor.

3. Google Plus is optimized for semantic relevance. (See info on Semantic search above.)

4. Verified Google Plus Authors will be accepted by Google as trusted authorities who create quality content.

Below is a link to the video I created which guides you step by step to create a Google Plus account. 


Johnny Base Created his first website in 1996. He's a Search Engine Optimization Specialist and Website Designer. He studied Art History under Irving Sandler at SUNY Purchase. A professional artist, blogger, loves writing and writers. Currently he's been involved in the Google Plus Community and working on an article on "Genetic Algorithms and Semantic Search" with his father who has a PhD in Physics and has worked at NASA. Johnny invites you to join the Google Plus For Writers Community .

John Allen 
SEO Consultant
Google + | SEO Richmond | FaceBook

Okay, scriveners: Do you feel smarter now? Are you going to join Google Plus? Do you have questions for Johnny? He'll be here Sunday afternoon to answer questions. 

Book Deal of the Week

This month, Sherwood, Ltd is 99c for Kindle US, UK, Nook, and FREE on Smashwords and on Kobo. And for book-sniffers (I have to admit to some closet book-sniffing myself) it is available in paper for the marked-down price of $8.09 (regularly $8.99 on Amazon and $12.99 in stores.) It's also on sale in paper in the in the UK for £6.81.

"A wily tale of murder, deceit, and intrigue that can stand with the best of them. Her characters are all too real and her dialogue took me from laughter to chills to suspicion of everybody in the book...Read this book. It will be well worth the time."...David Keith

"One uses the term 'romping good yarn' advisedly but in fact this tale is exactly that. Aspiring author and failed A-lister Camilla, desperate for funds and affection, joins forces with a publishing team that beggars description. The similarities between the legend of Robin Hood and this story are subtle, the links never overdone or cliched. The narrative leaps from one twist to the next turn with pace and energy. The characters are delightfully off-centre and the hero? Well, he is definitely of a kind to swing down from the trees armed with bow and nocked arrow."...Prue Batten

 Opportunity Alerts

New literary journal accepting submissions. CHINA GROVE debuted this August and will publish twice in 2014 and go quarterly in subsequent years. The editors are looking for unpublished short fiction, poetry and essays. The first issue features an exclusive interview with National Book Award winner Ellen Gilchrist, as well as a previously unseen letter from Mark Twain about an unpublished work called “The Great Republic’s Peanut Stand,” and a love letter from Pulitzer Prize winner Eudora Welty to crime-fiction writer Kenneth Millar (Ross Macdonald).

CHINA GROVE will also award two new literary prizes: The Gilchrist Prize in Short Fiction given biannually starting Fall 2014 with a monetary gift of $2,000, and The China Grove Prize in Poetry starting in 2015.  - submit online: www.ChinaGrovePress.com Next deadline is February 2014

EBUK Bargains UK now has a blog! Get all the most up to-date info on the international book marketing scene from the guys who wrote one of our most popular guest blogposts ever.

The Sherwood Anderson Fiction Award
from the Mid-American Review. $10 entry fee for a story up to 6000 words. First Prize: $1,000 and publication. Four Finalists: Notation, possible publication. You may submit online or snail mail. Details at website. Deadline is November 1, 2013.

J.F. POWER PRIZE FOR SHORT FICTION NO ENTRY FEE. The winner will receive $500. The winning story will be announced in February, 2014 and published in Dappled Things, along with nine honorable mentions. The word limit is 8,000 words. Deadline is November 29, 2013.

MYSTERY AUTHORS! The Poisoned Pen Press, one of the most prestigious small presses, is open for submissions for one month. They open for submissions twice yearly, once during the month of October, and once during the spring. During October, they will accept submissions for regular publication. During the spring submissions period they open for the Discover Mystery first book contest. Please note their entire submissions process is electronic via the online submissions manager, Submittable. Mailed or e-mailed submissions will not be read. They will be accepting regular submissions during the period between October 1 and October 31.

The Lascaux Prize for Short Fiction: Stories may be previously published or unpublished. Length up to 10,000 words. Entry fee is $5, and authors may enter more than once.The editors will select a winner and nineteen additional finalists. The winner will receive $500 and publication in The Lascaux Review. Both winner and finalists will earn the privilege of displaying a virtual medallion on blogs and websites. Deadline December 31, 2013.

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