By now, you’ve probably heard that social media is important for SEO. Yet most advice around social and SEO seems rather vague. How, exactly, does social media impact SEO? What can you do about it? How can you use social media to improve your own SERPs?
This question can actually be broken down into two parts: Part one is getting your social media profiles, like your Twitter feed and your Facebook page, to rank. The second part is how to use the power of social media to get your primary site ranked higher.
Let’s explore both of these avenues.
How to Boost Your Social Media Profile SERPs
Imagine owning the top three spots for your primary search term: Your main site ranks, as well as your Twitter feed and your Facebook page. You’ll effectively destroy any other site(s) trying to rank for that position.
Of course, this is a dream scenario that rarely happens. However, getting your social media profiles to rank is certainly a worthwhile goal to shoot for. So how is it done?
The first and most important thing to do is to link to your social media profiles from your home page. This lets the search engines know that your social media profile is linked to you. This is actually perhaps the most important thing you could do to boost your social media profile rankings.
Next, build backlinks to your social media profiles. After all, they’re also webpages and need to be ranked just like any other page.
Get as many likes or follows as possible. The more likes or follows you have, the higher the perceived authority.
Use your product’s names and your brand’s names in your tweet. This will increase the relevance of the page to the keywords you want to rank for.
Finally, make sure you have your brand name and/or your keywords in your profile’s shortcode or URL. Having the keyword there will help with the rankings, help Google identify the “official” page and help users find your page.
If you follow all these steps, your social media page has a very strong chance of ranking.
Most business owners and entrepreneurs have extremely packed schedules. If your calendar is already full to the brim, where can you find time for social media? How can you manage your Twitter account, your Facebook page and your blog without over booking yourself and stressing yourself out? The answer: To add social media to your lifestyle. Instead of viewing it as another task, integrate it into how you live your life.
Here’s how to do it.
Tweet or Facebook on Your Smartphone
Wherever it is, there are going to be times in the day where you’re simply not doing anything else. Instead of wasting this time, use your smartphone or your iPad and turn it into social media time.
Use this time to write 140 character Tweets. Use this time to update your Facebook page. Use this time to come up with new blog ideas or to write the outline for your next blog post.
For most people, the first thing they do in the morning is grab a cup of coffee and read the newspaper.
But the reality is, reading the newspaper isn’t going to do all that much for your business and professional life. Instead, what if you made tweeting with coffee your daily habit?
This would allow you to reach out to your audience while you’re just going through your everyday routines. You won’t ever miss a day of tweeting, because it’s part of your daily schedule.
For every blog that succeeds and builds a solid following, you have at least a hundred blogs that end up in the graveyard. Building a high quality blog following requires both dedication over the long haul as well as an in depth understanding of what actually works and what doesn’t work in the blogging world.
Here are six tips for building a blog following that follows your each and every post.
Tip #1 – Stop Using “Get Traffic Quick” Tactics
Stop trying to circumvent the traffic generation process. Building a solid blog following is a process that does inherently take some time.
Tactics like gaming StumbleUpon or Reddit, writing deceptively attention catching titles and so on are not the answer to getting high quality long term traffic.
Instead, aim to provide quality content that people will actually want to share. Create content that inspires people to come back time and again. That’ll get you more blog traffic than any quick fix solution.
Tip #2 – Tap Your Customer Base
One place people often neglect is their existing customer base. Often time’s people try to separate their customers from their blog.
For example, they might only send marketing materials using email to their customer list, while they try to use their blog to attract new customers. This is counter productive.
Your customers need to be sold just like anyone else. They need to continually be reminded of your credibility and expertise. Furthermore, by continually providing value in the form of free content, you increase the chances that they’ll buy again.
Try and get your buyers to become readers. Let them know about your blog in your promotional emails and perhaps even in the product itself.
Tip #3 – Narrow Down Your Audience
Does your message hit home? Do your customers feel like you’re talking to them directly?
Many blogs try and be far, far too broad and generic. For example, a blog that’s targeting “internet marketers” is almost definitely going to get lost in the crowd.
On the other hand, a blog that’s dedicated to helping new stay at home moms create a second stream of income could work very well.
What is your core audience? Try and narrow your audience down to the people who would most likely relate to you. Then speak to them directly.
Having a strong online content strategy is integral to the success of any web company or a website. Your content is what keeps people coming back. It’s what gets people to tell their friends about you. It’s the reason they link to you. It’s the reason they “share” or “like” or “retweet” you on social media.
That’s why getting your content strategy right is so important. If you’re making any one of these five mistakes, chances are you’re destroying your website’s chances at success.
Mistake #1 – Not Owning Your Content
It’s very common for people to publish content on websites other than their own. For example, you might publish content on other people’s sites through guest blogging or article marketing.
There’s nothing wrong with this. The mistake comes in when you don’t own any of your best content.
The majority of your top notch content should be on your own website. It shouldn’t be out on the internet. Your best content should be used to build your brand, not someone else’s.
Mistake #2 – Not Knowing Your Target Audience
Who are you talking to? What are their needs? What have they already heard before and what are they dying to hear? What kind of words and language do they use?
If you don’t have a crystal clear sense of who your target audience is, you aren’t going to be able to speak to them in a way that has them feel understood.
Try to get a solid sense of who your target audience is by asking them as many questions as possible. Browse internet forums to see what kind of questions they tend to ask.
Mistake #3 – Relying on Content with No Link Strategy
It’s true that high quality content is important. Yet, webmasters who focus only on the quality of their content and not on SEO are invariably disappointed.
Your content won’t spread virally on its own. You won’t get ranked just on the merits of your content. As great as your content may be, you still need to understand the basics of SEO.
It’s like the parable of the inventor who didn’t know how to sell his invention. It doesn’t matter how great your invention (your content) is, if you can’t sell it, it won’t make an ounce of difference.
Come up with a great linkbuilding strategy to help get your high quality content in front of your readers.
One of the biggest counter-arguments to social media has always been “What’s the ROI?” After all, does it really make sense to spend time, money and other resources on something whose results can’t actually be tracked?
Though a lot of different metrics have come and gone in the social media world, there’s still no definitive way to measure the return on investment in the social sphere.
So is social media worth the investment? The key thing to remember is that social media really isn’t a ROI-based activity. Here are a few things to keep in mind when you’re trying to decide whether or not social media is a good investment for you.
#1: You’re Beginning a Relationship
It’s extremely difficult, in large part due to how difficult it is to quantify relationships. Someone you meet at the party could introduce you to a new friend, who 6 months later refers you to a big client. If you had never gone to the party you wouldn’t have met this person, but it’s very hard to quantify that client as a “return” on your investment in going to the party.
Social media is very similar. It help you create and cultivate social relationship, which can have a domino effect that can’t always be measured.
#2: Learn From Your Customers
If you were just running TV ads, you’d get the same branding effect, but you wouldn’t get to hear back from your customers about how you’re performing. You won’t get to hear suggestions about how to improve your product or get early warnings of potential problems.
Social media is one of the purest ways you can stay in touch with you customers. It’s just not realistic for most businesses to stay in one-on-one contact with their customers; but through social media you can easily stay in touch with a lot of people at once.
This article is a follow-up to our earlier post How to Use Google+ to Promote Your Product or Service.
In social media, Google+ brand pages are the way of the future. Using Google+ brand pages, you can create an informative, interactive profile for your fans on Google+ to connect with you. Few companies today are taking full advantage of what Google+ brand pages have to offer.
The easiest way to access your brand page is to go to your own Google+ page. Just click the drop down menu under your username to switch to your brand page’s view. Here you can edit the page, add people to circles and post status messages.
Here are top 9 tips & tricks for using Google+ brand pages to their full potential.
#1 – Creating an Easy to Reach URL
By default, Google+ gives you a custom URL that’s fairly difficult to read or remember. For example, your URL might be something like “plus.google.com/8723570370197390157.”
To make this easier for people, create a redirect on your own website to your Google+ brand page. For example, people should be able to reach this page by going to www.yourwebsite.com/googleplus/
You can also use Google+’s URL shortener to create a better URL on Google’s domain.
#2 – Add Buttons to Your Site
Want to make it easy for people to find your Google+ page on your site? Want to put live feeds of your status updates on your sites? Want to make it so people can re-post whatever you said with one click of a button?
It’s easy. Just add the respective Google+ buttons or widgets to your site. Access these under the “Get Started” menu in your brand page.
#3 – Don’t Share Your Visitor Count for the First Few Months
If you see that a page only has a handful of visitors, chances are you’re not going to want to visit that page. In other types of social media, like Facebook or Twitter for example, there’s not a whole lot that you can do about this.
However, with Google+, you can choose to hide your follower count. While this isn’t a good long term strategy, it can be very useful in the short term.
#4 – Give Great Resources
Google+ gives you the ability to add as many links as you want to your profile. The links can point back to content on your own website or to other people’s sites.
Make liberal use of this feature to point your users to the best possible resources for their problems.
There’s one thing that separates LinkedIn from all the other social media networks out there: Everyone who comes to LinkedIn is there for a professional purpose. Your future employers, your future investors and your future business partners all likely have a profile on LinkedIn.
If you want to network professionally online, there is no better place than LinkedIn. Spending time to perfect your LinkedIn profile is therefore a high ROI activity.
Here are seven quick tips to help boost your LinkedIn profile.
Tip #1 – An Attention Catching Headline
Your headline should be written so that anyone who sees your profile in the search results would want to click on your profile and learn more about you.
It should say something either unusual or incredible about you. It should stand out from all the other results. It should speak directly to your target audience.
Tip #2 – Have Someone Proofread Your Profile
Your LinkedIn profile is your chance to make a professional impression. Having misspellings, grammar mistakes of factual inaccuracies on your LinkedIn profile is like going to a professional networking event with a mustard stain on your shirt.
Don’t blow the all-important first impression. Even one little mistake you miss could cost you a future job or client. Hire someone to proofread your profile before going live.
Tip #3 – Make Liberal Use of Recommendations
Recommendations are one of the most powerful things you could have on your profile. It’s the one thing that people trust the most on a LinkedIn profile, because it involves other people recommending you.
Getting a few good recommendations can change your entire profile. Contact a few former employers, employees and co-workers to ask them to leave you a recommendation. Most of the tie they’ll be happy to do it.
Google+ is the newest social network in town and the fastest growing social network in history. As more and more people come onto Google+, it’ll become more and more important for businesses to be well versed in Google+ marketing strategies.
By learning about Google+ today, you’ll put yourself ahead of the curve. Not only will you be seen as progressive, but you’ll be able to establish your brand long before others have even realized the importance of Google+.
Here’s how to use Google+ to promote your product or service.
Create Meaningful Circle Segments
Perhaps the most valuable thing Google+ offers that Facebook doesn’t is the ability to sort your market by different segments. Using Google+’s circles, you’ll be able to choose exactly who gets to see what messages.
So how should you segment your customers?
Ideally, you should create a different circle and therefore a different segment for each different kind of “mindset” of customer that you have.
For example, you might have one circle for people who’ve bought your product, one circle for people who haven’t bought yet, one circle for people who’re affiliates of your product and one circle for people who’ve entered into a contest but didn’t win.
Each of these people might respond to different messages. For example, offering customer-only discounts to your past buyers could be a stellar strategy to get repeat buys. On the other hand, with people who haven’t bought yet, you might want to provide primarily trust building content.
Take Advantage of Google+’s Posting Features
One thing that’s inherently different about Google+ than Facebook is the length and style of your posts.
On Facebook, you can only post 420 characters in a status update. That really puts a limit on what you can post. Essentially, you can only post short thoughts, short content and links.
On Google+ however, the limit is well over 2,000 characters. (There’s no set limit yet.) In addition, you can link to several videos, links and pictures within your post.
That means that unlike Facebook, on Google+ you can post entire pieces of content for your network to see. You can use Google+ as a direct way to publish useful information to your circles without having to refer people to an outside link.
Use this feature liberally. If you want to build a brand as an expert, Google+ offers a much more suited style than Facebook does.
Social Media Marketing (SMM) a tool for getting across the right information to your target audience through social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, has truly arrived and is here to stay. Top search engines worldwide, like Google and Bing have already begun crawling for data from such social networking sites and are even using them for the final search ranking.
This was recently witnessed by the website SEOmoz.com, which not only got a huge surge in traffic after one of its posts “Beginner’s Guide to SEO” was tweeted by Smashing Magazine and then retweeted by followers, but it also reached among the top results (No. 2 in the 1st page as of today) in the Google search for the unusual term “beginner’s guide”. While the initial surge subsided after the first few days, the page nonetheless continues getting consistent traffic weeks after the initial tweet by a figure of authority such as Smashing Magazine.
The more number of times a particular page gets linked through the “Share” feature for various social websites, the higher the chances of a better search ranking. In fact, for the search engine Bing, the higher the number of “followers” or “friends” for a particular account or website on a social media site, the easier it is for the website to achieve a higher search ranking.
It is clear then that the importance of social media websites like Facebook and Twitter can no longer be ignored. SMO thus has to be a crucial component of your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy. Let’s take a look at how you can optimize your activities on websites like Facebook and Twitter to get the best search ranking.
• Stay Active
Having a presence on social media alone is not enough. You need to add meat to the bone of your online presence. This can only be done by staying active consistently, by posting or tweeting content, relevant images, and informative videos. You can also supplement this activity and stay active without too much effort by responding to comments, commenting on other relevant posts and pages, using the “Like” feature on Facebook, and retweeting. By investing a few minutes every day (as opposed to being online only once in a while) you can see really good, long-term results.
• Yes, Content Is Still the King
For an optimal search engine optimization strategy, content is still king. Ensure the content you publish is good quality content. While posting often is good, ensure you don’t lose grip on the type and relevance of your content. If the content is interesting and informative, the hits will appear. For example, the Travel Channel has managed to make the most of their Facebook profile by asking readers who enrol as “Fans” to share their Facebook-related travel stories. Needless to say, the content is interesting, unique, and highly relevant to the readers themselves.
You also need to ensure your content is free from plagiarism, is 100% original, and does not violate any copyright laws. In addition, your posts need to reflect an optimal density of keywords related to your business for search engines to take note of your website. Make sure your tweets or posts consistently talk about your business and do not lose focus, subject-wise. Examples of the type of content you post could be updates from your business, changes on your website, offers, deals etc. This will increase your brand value as well.
Maybe it is a matter of convenience, or in this age of zero patience, it could be a matter of instant gratification even, but the number of people turning to mobile devices to access the web has been steadily increasing. The increasing popularity of smartphones only underscores this emerging trend. Last year saw iPhone sales doubling while the worldwide sales of smartphones shot up by 24%, and by the end of 2011, they are expected to outsell PCs. So, you get the picture, we are smack in the middle of the smartphone boom, (in hindsight, this should have been foreseen the minute we learnt Google was venturing into the phone business). We will more than likely, see a paradigm shift of a kind in the way people access the web. As web-forecasters predicted earlier this year, mobile internet is inevitably taking center stage, and now is the time for you to remold your Internet marketing strategies to fit the mobile space.
If you don’t want to take my word for it, here are five compelling reasons to optimize and calibrate your site for mobile devices.
1. Mobile Search is for Mobile Sites – That’s right, when one searches from a mobile device, the query accesses a separate index maintained for mobile content. And mobile search being still in its infancy, the indices are relatively smaller, and what that means is, way lesser sites to compete with. So, optimizing your site and building a mobile presence will certainly help you rank high now, and in the future too when the indices get bigger and the competition grows fiercer. You’ll still have a better chance of ranking high, thanks to the authority you would’ve built over the years.
2. Think of your Customers – Non-mobile sites or ‘full’ sites, to put it bluntly, are a pain to access from mobile devices, and greatly hamper usability. Full sites are often rich, usually include flash and video content, and do not render correctly on a mobile platform. By not making available a mobile version of your site, you are deliberately providing poor user experience to customers who may access your site through mobiles, and thereby risking customer dissatisfaction. And dissatisfied customers mean only one thing – lost sales leads.