SEO for the Social Web
The Web 2.0 phenomenon has evolved over the years—social sites have changed how we interact online and market to leads. Google Social Search, now ranks sites based on their social media popularity. This allows small businesses to have stronger rankings than traditional search methods, because a few referrals can carry enough weight to shoot you higher up the rankings.
This should go without saying, but if you haven’t jumped on the social marketing bandwagon, you now have an even stronger business incentive to do so. Add social media buttons on your site and blog so visitors can promote your content easily. Don’t let your Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Pinterest accounts go stagnant – the activity and connections you build through these sites gets you higher rankings in Social Search.
For those of you who are directly or indirectly charged with website optimization, let’s look at how you can get SEO benefits out of social networking.
While search engines present a tremendous opportunity to attract new business, support existing customers, attract new employees and media coverage plus a host of other search outcomes, it’s important to diversify online marketing in a way that also benefits overall search marketing.
A segment of search marketers are using social media in ways that focuses on leveraging networks and influential “power” accounts to drive popularity and traffic to content. The boost in visibility exposes the content to blogs and online news sites, resulting in traffic as well as mentions and links from credible sources.
The advantage of adding social media search to your market research tool set is that you’ll get near real-time information that can help you get a head start on the competition on upcoming trends and get much richer detail than a list of generated keywords from search data can offer.
The power of a Social SEO program focused on content marketing enables companies to realize search engine marketing benefits as well as long-term, meaningful connections with a community of customers. “Meaningful connections” means more word of mouth referrals, more purchases per customer, lower attrition and the opportunity to tap into an active fan base for research, consumer generated content and customer evangelists.
When it comes to social media marketing, it’s important that you first reserve your brand’s name on the more popular social networking sites including Twitter, StumbleUpon, Digg, Reddit, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest and YouTube. You don’t necessarily have to be active on these websites; however, it’s important to reserve your name on those sites. Many of these sites allow you to put your site’s URL on your profile page. Some sites, like LinkedIn, allow you to add more than one link, so take advantage of those links.
Linking over to a few of your more important profiles and asking your site visitors to “follow you” on a certain social networking site is fine. However, keep in mind that real people will follow those links (this isn’t just for SEO purposes), so link only to social media profiles that you update regularly.
I cannot stress this enough: your social media accounts are almost worthless if they are not offering value, stimulating conversation, and accumulating followers.
Brands are quickly learning to integrate traditional SEO methods with social media. The intent is always to increase visibility, and so in many ways, the concepts behind traditional and social SEO efforts are similar; however, in the quickly evolving world of social media, there are some newer, strictly social SEO strategies that all brands should implement.
Refresh Relationships with Followers
Building relationships with customers and fans has always been a primary interest for brands on social networks. Many companies lose sight of this goal after building a strong follower base; this is to serve as a reminder that you need to nurture those relationships, or your early efforts will become relatively meaningless.
Welcome new followers to your circle on G+, make lists on Twitter, and increase your outreach efforts overall, and your followers — and potential customers — will not come to question whether your page makes quality contributions to their news feeds.
Share Content & Make Content Shareable
Twitter, Google+, Facebook, and LinkedIn feeds are all indexed by Google now, so it’s more important than ever to share the content you put out. Whether it’s articles, coupon offers, or media, setting your content to automatically publish to your social profiles will earn you better and faster SEO results.
Additionally, make sure your content is mutually shareable. That may sound obvious, but providing shareable content extends beyond getting it re-tweeted or re-blogged. While having your social network updates shared is effective, the content you link to should also provide visitors with the option to share it directly. When someone shares something directly from a website, as opposed to re-tweeting a brand sharing their own content, it tends to better encourage a second glance among their circles.
Expand Your Social Networks
Every brand and their parent company is on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. These are the social powerhouses, and deserve the majority of your attention when focusing on social SEO strategy; however, once you’ve established a following on these major social networking platforms, it may be time to branch out.
Look towards the “underground” social networks that are not yet considered mainstream — even those that are focused less on follower interaction and more on sharing, such as Pinterest. It turns out that this newest social platform sends referral traffic comparable to that of Twitter, so it’s worth the consideration. Other social sites to connect on include YouTube, LinkedIn, Tumblr, StumbleUpon, and Reddit.
Good Search Engine Optimization begins with good content and good content is distributed and engaged upon via social media. The business which can create and distribute great content is going to rank well provided that they run with integrity and use best practice online marketing techniques.