With the introduction of Google+ authorship, it’s quickly becoming important in the world of SEO and social media to demonstrate who you know. Not only do users want to see that you are connected with industry leaders, but Google wants to see this as well. The more advanced blogs where your content appears and the more advanced people that share your content, the better chance your content has to succeed.
In short, you want to be able to connect with influencers—people in your industry who are well respected, widely published, speak at important conventions, have a success story, etc.— so that you can someday become an influencer yourself. It won’t happen overnight, but there are ways to slowly break into the world of the experts.
How to Track Influencers with Google+ Ripples
One of the lesser known ways to connect with influencers is through Google+ Ripples. The great thing about Ripples is the idea that you can see not just who is sharing your SEO content , but who your specific influencers really are and how to connect with them. You can see who shared your content and gave that content good visibility. That person is absolutely a social media influencer for you, so he/she is someone you should want to meet.
It is the analytics section where you can really check out how you can find influencers and improve the visibility of your content. A great way to start your search is by having a few influencers in mind, and then checking to see whose content they are sharing. Find someone who has a smaller following, and target them first. Take the below example:
If you’re hoping to get Louis Gray of Google to share your content, you might want to first connect with Vicky Gallardo and get her to share your content. This will put you on the radar of someone bigger, like Louis Gray.
If you are unfamiliar with the basics of how Google Ripples work, check out a detailed article I wrote on Search Engine Journal .
Tips and Tricks for Connecting with Social Media Influencers in the Industry
Connecting with influencers is one of those things that works like a domino effect—once you connect with one or two, others will soon follow. Below are a few examples of ways that you can further your connections with some top SEO minds:
- Start commenting on their content and sharing their content, and then connect with them when they really know who you are. It’s all about getting your foot in the door. Mention other high-profile relationships you may have or send over some great sample articles when it comes time to send an email.
- Use Google+ Ripples as discussed above. Don’t just find the social media influencers this way, but manipulate your content in a way that gets it shared by influencers so that you can make a more meaningful connection easier.
- Build up a portfolio of content before you try and pitch something to these influencers. Remember, it’s OK to guest post  on lesser-known blogs first (in fact, this is usually how most success stories start).
- Reference them in all your social shares. If you’re going to share someone’s content, reference him/her in the content. Share something on Google+ and tag the author in the post and explain why you like it. The same goes for Twitter and Facebook if possible.
It’s also important to note that all of these tactics work great whether you’re trying to connect with an influencer or not. You should try and treat everyone you talk with in the industry with the same persistence and thoroughness—influencers are just a bit harder to reach sometimes.
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Top Books By Some of the Most Popular Influencers in SEO
I recently wrote an article detailing all of the great SEO books written this year and last year and found that there are more choices out there than many might realize. The following few books are a great way to hear from these influencers when you want to give your eyes a rest from staring at a computer screen, and they’ll give you another outlet to find those really important people in the industry:
- The Art of SEO by Eric Enge, Stephen Spencer, Rand Fishkin, and Jessica Strichhiolia
- SEO Fitness Workbooks by Jason McDonald
- The Link Building Book by Paddy Moogan
- SEO for Content Writers and PR Pros by Phil Byrne
- SEO for Beginners by Amit Bhawnani
- Search Engine Optimization for Dummies by Peter Kent
It’s important to realize that many of the tips discussed above will work for any industry. If you’re interested in health, use Google+ ripples to follow those involved in the health field online or consider finding books written by these influencers.
Do you have any tips regarding connecting with industry influencers? How do you find and connect with those you feel are influential in your industry? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
Amanda DiSilvestro  writes for Highervisibility.com, a nationally recognized SEO consulting firm that offers national and local SEO services to a wide range of companies across the country.