Many changes in Google took place over the last seven days.
Google+ was announced
Google changed their user interface
Google and Twitter got a divorce... but we don't know who ended up with the engagement ring and wedding band.
Since October 2009, Google and Twitter had an agreement to supply a direct real time feed from Twitter to Google. This feed was an important part of the Google SERP when breaking news was searched, or for times when someone happens to search for a hot Twitter topic.
Any time a TV show suggested to join them on Twitter for a live conversation, you could be assured that the Twitter feed would appear in the SERP when someone searched for the TV show's name while it was broadcasting.
On July 3, 2011 Google's agreement with Twitter expired. Google has turned off all real-time search results in the SERP, even though Twitter wasn't the only source for information.
The loss of the Twitter live feed doesn't have an affect on the other social signals that Google is presenting in the SERP. If one of your friends shares a link in a Tweet, it will still show up in the SERP.
In fact, have you noticed how much more prominent this is becoming now? About six months ago, we explained that the Google SERP was starting to show a mix of results pulled together between your friends that were somehow connected to you. The connection was created by simply adding your Twitter account into your Google Profile.
The connections you have with your friends on Twitter are starting to have a large impact on the SERPs they see, and it's time that the jewelry industry wakes up and stops making a seriously egregious mistake that we've been shaking our heads at for a while. So let's explain it.
For many years, we've seen retail jewelers trying to understand the emerging social nature of the internet. As a jewelry retailer, what was the first thing you did when you created a MySpace account, then a Twitter account, then a Facebook account?
Don't remember? Most likely you connected with your friends, family and other jewelers you've met at trade shows or in buying groups. It's social, right; so why not connect with your jewelry colleagues?
As we peek into the Twitter friends of some retail jewelers, we see that many have friends like @stullerinc and @theknot and many other jewelry stores. If you use your Twitter account to socialize with others in the industry, this is all great.
But if you intend to influence customer decisions with your Twitter account, then you need to pay attention to us!
You need a dedicated Twitter account that you ONLY use for your customers. Do not add your friends, do not add friends from your buying group, and do not add your family. CUSTOMERS ONLY!
Once this Twitter account is set up, you need to associate it with a Google Profile. Unlike Facebook, Google allows you to create multiple profiles, so set one up using your name as the jeweler professional. Use the contact details for your store and make as much information public as you can.
Next, start telling every person who walks in your front door, and every person on your email list to follow this new account on Twitter.
Change your Facebook page to reflect the new account.
Put the new account on your website and all your marketing material.
Keep inviting customers to follow you. When they do, you need to make sure to follow them back.
As soon as you create the new Twitter account, you should begin Tweeting generic jewelry information every few days. This could be the price of gold, or the birthstone of the month. Every once in a while share a link to your website. BUT ONLY TO YOUR WEBSITE! Start by doing this only a few times a week.
Keep your weekly tweets limited until you have nearly 100 customers following you. At that point, you can start an automated Tweeting of 2 per day, still sending generic jewelry information but also a few more pages from your website.
Don't ever send Tweets regarding industry news like that from JCKonline.com. Your customers don't care about industry news. On the other hand, you could Tweet fashion news.
The process described above is a sneaky way to influence the SERP results your customers see. When they search for something jewelry related, they will see the pages you shared from your website even if your SEO is otherwise horrendous.
This strategy may also allow you to outrank your organically ranked competitors.
It's a tough, laborious strategy, and it will take a long time, perhaps even six months. But we're seeing it have a huge impact recently.
When Google+ enters the mainstream, this strategy should become even more obvious, but for now just go do it!