Wednesday, 13 May 2015

How to CREATE GOOGLE+ COLLECTION: Tutorial & Discussion


On 1st May 2015 GooglePlus posted its first tweet (after 4 years of silence) then on 5th May it launched its most major GooglePlus update in months, viz. GooglePlus COLLECTIONS.

This feature allows you to collect and organise your posts into whatever categories you desire.

Some people have gone to town with this and have created a ton of collection folders already!

While it is remisnecent of Pinterest boards, it is not quite the same:
  1. Within each collection is a feed - that is where your posts "reside" if you choose to post to a COLLECTION as opposed to posting to CIRCLES (profiles and pages) or COMMUNITIES. In effect users are creating streams of mini-feeds, each one is based on a theme, concept or category according to the user's intent or interest. Your mini-feed can accept anything, from visual creatives to text so in this respect is more versatile than Pinterest's feed. If you are successful in driving tons of traffic to your 'niche' collections there could be other benefits to come...
  2. On a minor note, you cannot manually organise your collection folders as you can on Pinterest say, with regard to your personal or business priorities. On the positive side, you can pin each of these collections onto Pinterest which is useful. 
  3. You cannot change the PRIVACY OPTION of your collection once you have set it - during creation, that is, it is permanent.
  4. No doubt things may change as it's still very early days and Google does tweak its platforms regularly so it seems.
  5. Do I think it's a good move?
    Yes! Here's my rant on SEO and other implications after testing collections:
Firstly this should quell all the rumours about how Google+ is dead or dying (just because it's founder has moved on from Google) - a successful company with great longevity has solid succession plans that involve a team so it and / or its parts, can carry on, regardless of what happens to key people.

Posts on feeds can be notoriously short-lived - here now, then gone the next second especially if you are following prolific posters. The Collection feature allows your posts to have longevity - anyone searching for your posts (if they are public) would only have to surf over to your profile to check out your COLLECTIONS TAB. How about that for a traffic booster, especially for old, blog or other posts that may be buried so deep that even the search bots struggle to uncover (without a site map)?

And then if you amass a large enough 'cache' of relevant posts within a COLLECTION wouldn't it make sense that search bots can sniff it out more easily (like a huge bag of T-Rex bones with a maladorous scent, that's irresistible to a bloodhound's olfactories as opposed to a tiny chicken-claw-of-a-standalone, blog post with it's almost undetectable whiff of a pong, vying desperately for some attention from that same nose?). In other words, wouldn't an excellent collection of relevant, quality content have greater search significance than a lone post? (However, don't get too hung up on any one factor as size / quantity isn't everything - yes, it's that quality, user-factor aspect again). And wouldn't that have an impact on your SEO strategy meaning it could be good for SEO (your collections offer additional ways to rank plus additional entry points on SERPs and all this accomplished with speed perhaps)? Don't take my word for it. Test out the theory for yourself - the actual results might surprise you!
If you plan your collections strategically you can dig up and serve good, relevant but old and deep content in a conveniently categorised and locatable way for your users and search engines. This can only do wonders for your SEO? This assumption needs to be tested out. As a matter of fact, new content ages as soon as they are published so all collections will eventually have old, maybe even ancient content, if not now, then later in the future, for as long as these collections exist. Aging is therefore a given, the million-dollar question is if you have ancient but evergreen content, and you place it in a collection 'folder' so there's no chance of it being invisible, will that help your overall SEO? And by how much? No doubt Google will come up with some interesting analytics for your collections too?

The collection feature gives your categories (own plus curated content) not only greater longevity of shelf-life, but also increases your VISUAL DIMENSION and EXPOSURE for all kinds of post content especially if you create cover pages and titles that pop - in context, form and aesthetics - as well as the 9 tiles of videos found on your YouTube Tab. Currently you are not limited in the number of collections you can create for each profile or page so you can be as prolific and as creative as you like.

Note that even when you post to your collection a blue link appears above the post on the top LHS, and a blue diamond icon on the corresponding RHS of the Home Feed of Google+ so that people can still find your collection posts this way (so long as your folders are not set to "TO ME ONLY" aka "PRIVATE"). This makes content-access so handy - just one click away - similar to other Google platforms that have seen improvements, eg. Youtube, which is awesome for users. 
For this reason I would post to a Collection rather than to Circles as it has all the advantages of being seen on the main feed and by all (cf. PUBLIC setting) plus it's easy to locate & recycle in the future.

Now we know why Google removed hashtags from the feed several weeks ago. Did you notice? Besides these were not as effective as they are on Twitter. The AI of the Internet Juggernauts are impressive but none more so than Google's. When you have the brainiest elves around you can stay on the cutting edge of technology and continue to delight your users... hopefully for years to come. 


Creating and editing collections is a straightforward process and below I have incorported a short, video tutorial for those who prefer to learn by video instruction. 

How to Create & Edit a Google+ Collection

TIP 1: When you POST you can do so to just ONE COLLECTION, any or all of your CIRCLES or ONE COMMUNITY GROUP (further drill down to SUB-GROUPS with very specific agendas, eg. 'DISCUSSION', 'Q&A', 'FOR SALE'). So POST once then click on the SHARE button a few times if you wish to share to circles and groups as well as collections.

TIP 2: It's now easier than ever to CURATE CONTENT from the GooglePlus feed. Click on the share button of the post and share to your designated Collection folder (which can be shared again later). So SHARE to collection then to circles (no limit) and groups (one at a time).

TIP 3: Find the RESHARE button conveniently located next to the share-button on the RHS and represented by a drop-down menu icon. When you click on this icon, a pop-up menu shows "Reshare" Arrow at the top and your LIST OF COLLECTIONS below. Select and click and voila, you get this message that: "Shared to Name of the Collection." for posts that are not yours. If yours, the message will read "Moved to X Collection".
If your post was originally posted to public or other circles or groups, then moving to a private colletion will not keep it private (the cat's out of the bag!) but if you posted in the first place to a PRIVATE COLLECTION ('Only You Can See' privacy option) then that post will remain invisible to everyone but yourself. It will not be found on the main stream or on your post tab, or on collections since the existence of your private collection remains a secret. This could be useful to prevent the oversharing of sensitive info.
So RESHARE to collections (only given option). Can also add new collections on the fly.

TIP 4: Don't share too much in any one sitting or you could be suspected of being a spam bot.

Related Reading:
Google+ Relaunch (since this post was released there has been changes on the Google+ platform (17-Nov-2015) - check out my article for changes re posting and re-sharing on Google+)

Further Reading:
Announcement of Collections on 5 May 2015 by Google's Dimitri Shapiro
Google+ Collections: A new way to curate your digital life.
GooglePlus Daily - article on Collections
Google+ Launch Announcements
Official collections welcome page

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