Do you know that social media is changing the way your website is optimized and ultimately how you should brand your company on search engine sites? Social engagement and interaction on social media platforms builds brand awareness and loyalty that will ultimately pay off in the long term.
Whether you’re a blogger, a site owner, a content manager, an entrepreneur, or a business owner, online visibility is your goal, and social media is a contributing factor to SEO success. In a related article, I talked about how to let your online visibility do the selling for you. In this article, I’ll discuss ways to use social media to optimize your site for better results. You can optimize your website using SEO proven techniques to improve better indexing of your site content and achieve a better ranking in search engine results.
Investing in social media and SEO can be daunting. It’s not an overnight process; it takes time and patience to see results. Knowing and using the right techniques, tools, and even SEO provider can prove to be powerful in connecting you with your prime consumers who are looking for products and services you and your competitors are providing. You have to know how, where, and why. Below is a list of my top 10 investments in SEO. This is a long read, but I bet the effectiveness of your social media and SEO initiatives that this article will make this a worthy read. I put a lot of details into this because I want you to be successful in your investments.
1) Invest in Social Media. Social media is changing the way search engine algorithms are defined, requiring companies to tweak things if they wish to continue to get the right outcome or the best page ranking. Google changed its algorithms to incorporate social media usage into website’s ranking and placement. Prior to the change, website’s ranking and placement was determined solely by content with pertinent keywords and phrases, as well as backlinks from other websites. Nowadays, the frequency of social engagement and interaction on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus (Google+), and Pinterest now has become a heavily contributing factor for website’s ranking. Content still plays a role; however, social media is now fundamental in search engine optimization. What does this mean to you and your bottom line? If you haven’t done so already, it means do the following because it’s worth the investment in the long term:
a) Have and implement a social media strategy to maintain or improve your website’s ranking. Define boundaries, effort levels, and personal commitment. How much time do you want to commit to tweeting, updating, etc.? How often do you want to update? What do you want to tell your followers and prospects? These are some examples what should be included in your strategy. Set realistic, measurable, and actionable goals that you and your team can accomplish.
b) Hire a social media and SEO company to help design, create, and implement with your strategy. Unless you have a full-time dedicated team that expertly specializes in social media and SEO, you would need and want an outside expert or consultant on your team. Click here for more information on the types of social media and SEO services that are available that will meet your business needs.
c) Once implemented, dedicate your time and energy to focusing on your social media success. Just because you implemented a social media strategy doesn’t mean that your work is done. It’s just begun. You’d need to actively participate in social media sites that you and your hired consultant decided. That means you need to actively tweet, post updates on your Facebook page, engage with your consumer, etc. Do not be one of those companies that minimize the time and resources invested in social media, and thereby, may have experienced a decrease in their search ranking – below that of their chief competitors’ ranking. Invest wisely in social media.
d) Evaluate your ROI of your social media program or strategy and adjust accordingly. Your company’s search rankings should be a factor in evaluating your social media’s return on investment.
e) Define how you would measure your ROI upfront. It’s important because it will help you and your team defines what measurable goals you’re trying to accomplish and what you want to measure.
f) Check out these articles for more information on what types of investments you should make, how to make your online visibility do the selling for you, and what to consider for your own social media program:
- Company: Top 9 Investments Your Company Should Make
- Social Media and Branding: Top 9 Tips to Let Your Online Visibility Page Do the Selling for You
- Social Media: 7 Tips for Using Social Media to Build your Knowledge Network
- Social Media: 15 Tips for Successful Blogging
- Business/Social Media: 14 Facebook User’s Personas to Note When Marketing and Advertising
- Business/Social Media: 10 Facebook User’s Personas Your Business Can Learn From
2) Monitor your competition. Major search engine sites such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo get billions of queries per month. Consumers are using these sites to search for products, services, ideas, information, ideas, and so forth. Therefore, you’re competing with any sites that are using your keywords. These sites can be other retailers, news sites (i.e. Mashable), personal sites, social sites (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Ning, Orkut), social bookmarking (i.e. Delicious, Diggs, StumbleUpon, Dihitt), blogs (i.e. Blogspot, WordPress, Tumblr) or microblogs (i.e. Twitter, Plurk), content sharing sites (i.e. YouTube, Flickr, Vimeo), and any other relevant sites.
3) Research Relevant Keywords. What keywords and keyword phrases are relevant to you, your brand, image, and industry? Play around with major search engines. What do you notice? Notice how they:
a) Use title tags to display page, post, or blog title as a headline in their search results. Make sure your title tags are optimized for search engines by ordering them in the correct order preference. Since search engines read left to right, you may have to adjust your title tags to ensure what you want to appear first will appear first. For example, maybe you, as a blogger, want to show your name first before your blog title.
b) Display a description or excerpt from the source page. They either get it by reading the meta description, if it exists, from the site, or by extracting up to the first 150 characters of that page or post.
4) Invest in the right words. We live in a culture of “Just Google it”. As you can see from above, contents matter. Keywords matter. Determine what keywords are relevant to you and your brand, blog, or expertise. Implement a strong keyword strategy for your site.
a) If you don’t know what keywords to use, check out Google Keyword Tool for suggestions and ideas. This tool shows you keywords that are relevant to the words or phrases that you entered. It also shows you the frequency of use in searches and the level of your competition in terms of low, medium, and high.
b) Make sure your pages, page titles, and contents reflect your chosen keywords. They should reflect how you want your site visitors and search engines to see you. Your site (or blog) titles, title tags, alt tags, image titles, and permalinks should be keyword rich and descriptive so that search engines can read them when they crawl your site. Be concise in your title so that unnecessary details are not captured by search engines. Your targeted keywords and phrases also need to be part of your content. Learn to work effectively with the limitations of whatever tools you use for your site or blog while using search engine best practices.
c) Make your site (or blog) content pertinent and relevant to your website and products or services. The more relevant and pertinent your contents are, the more likely they will get spidered by search engines.
5) Create the right content and page design. Site designs matter. Search engines needs to be able to read your pages. Be descriptive with your images. Don’t clutter your pages with irrelevant ramblings and massive images. Remember, it’s also about user’s experience. Visitors do not want to go a disorganized site. Guarantee that they will be your returning site visitors by creating a user-friendly experience, contents with relevant, SEO searchable keywords, and posts that matter. Your page should encourage engagement from your visitors who may turn into your consumers.
6) Have links to your site. Have blogs, whitepapers, affiliates, partners, social media sites, and other sources link to your site. Use backlinks, or incoming links to your site. Search engines use these to assess the popularity of your website.
7) Get your site or blog listed by major search engines. If you want to get traffic from search engines, you’d need to add a sitemap or your blog to Google, Yahoo, Bing, and other search engines. Also consider including dmoz.org and Alexa in your listing. Check out iPageRank.org for more information.
8) Invest in statistical tools. Sites such as Google Analytics, Omniture, WebTrends, and Coremetrics will allow you to measure your keyword results and see the changes over time. They are good for benchmarking. If you’re a serious SEO investor who wants to stay relevant in a competitive marketplace, sites such as ComScore, Hitwise, and Compete are a great way to monitor your competitions.
9) Invest in the right metrics. Assess your social media initiatives effectiveness. Do so with the right mindset. Don’t get all caught up in the numbers of people who have clicked “Like” on Facebook, who followed your Tweets or Retweets, or who shared your posting. It’s not just simply about the size of your fan base. Just because you see an increasing number of followers, likes, and shares does not necessarily mean that this will significantly impact your bottom line. Don’t let vanity get the best of you. Instead, measure in terms of percentage. Consider actionable metrics that measure the percentage of Twitter followers who regularly tweet and retweet, the percentage of followers and fans who click on your website via social media sites, the percentage of these individuals who share your postings with their networks, and the percentage of any social media activities that speaks about you and your brand. Also, identify the channel (i.e. Google) that brought them to your company’s Facebook page or other social media pages as well as the percentages from each of the source channels. For those fans or followers who visited your page through a social media site, measure how long they spent on your site, what pages that they viewed or purchased from, and whether they only visit to view videos or consumer ratings, for example. You can easily determine their behavior by measuring these actionable metrics.
10) Know social media and search engine acronyms. It’s important to know what the common social media acronyms mean, especially in context of SEO. Knowledge is power – your best weapon is to know what these acronyms mean and how they impact you, your business, and ultimately your bottom line. When you come across these that you don’t know, Google it. You’ll find the most commonly used acronyms all over the web since the advent of social media and internet.
If you read through this article in its entirety, I congratulate you for investing in your brand and its success. The fact that you’re reading this says you want to have the right information and gain the right insight to help you succeed in your social media and SEO efforts. Best of luck in your initiatives. Please share your comments. We all like to hear your experience, thoughts, and ideas.