If you’re selling something online, or even if you’re selling something offline but use a website to help drive traffic you have probably heard the term ‘SEO’ (Search Engine Optimization) but are you aware of what this is and how it relates to your website?
What You Want To Know:
“97% of consumers use the Internet to research products or services in their local area”
What You Need To Know:
How to rank your website on Google, especially since Bing and Yahoo tend to follow Google, so when you rank on Google you tend to rank well on Bing, Yahoo and other search engines.
What You Are Probably Now Asking:
How does Google determine my page position?
Google, technically speaking, determines rank based on two things: on-site optimization and off-site backlinks.
And now, for the first time, Google is starting to add social media signals to their algorithm.
Let’s put this in language I understand!
Google, relatively speaking, runs a popularity contest and list sites based on how popular they are. The idea being that, if you are popular, what you have to say should be heard more so. On the other hand, if you are not then you likely don’t offer what people want or need to hear. Google determines this by looking at your site and how you define yourself. Key words on your site and your site’s description and meta tags tell Google what you say your site is all about. Then Google looks to your affiliations with other sites in your same category. These are the back links. After all, the more other sites link to you, especially authority sites, the more Google thinks you must know your stuff and be popular. When an authority site’s links to you it raises your rank, since, in Google’s eyes, the authority site has a well established reputation.
Thus, you are probably trying to determine how social media fits into your goals for your website and business as well. How do you use the tools of social media to raise awareness of your site and drive business?
The good news is that the best practices for both search engine optimization (SEO) and social media optimization (SMO) and marketing overlap in several key areas.
Social Media Marketing
While the goal of SEO may be to attract your audience through search, the goal of social media marketing is to foster relationships with new and existing clients leading to more awareness of your business and more traffic to your website. By maintaining a dialog with your customers you are more likely to be remembered when it comes time for them to make a purchase.
Good Social Media Marketing tactics include:
- Create Viral Content – With over 845 million active users per month on Facebook* sharing photos, information and “Liking” 2.7 billion times per day, providing useful and dynamic content that makes customers want to share your information is imperative.
- Increase Your Reach – With 2 billion views per day on YouTube* and one out of ten internet users getting on to YouTube, it is more and more important to demonstrate yourself and your brand through video marketing on youtube.
- Twitter, the second largest social media site with over 465 million accounts*, is another great place to increase your reach. Tweet valuable content, of which 92% is re-tweeted*, and your informational, interesting or fun update can go viral.
- Become Image-Friendly – Look out for the new kid on the block- Pinterest! - “Pinterest is generating more referral traffic to websites than YouTube, Google+, and LinkedIn combined.” A picture with few words will take people on Pinterest (with over 13 million users as per http://onlinemarketingbits.blogspot.com/2012/03/pinterest.html) to your website to see the original image.
- Notice: The population of the USA is 312 million people, which is smaller than the populations on Facebook or Twitter, and Pinterest’s users are rising at record rates.
While other elements of social media campaigns will vary depending on the customer base and the industry, these core elements should be present in almost any social media campaign.
Now Google also looks at the popularity of your sites on social networks. The more your site is mentioned or seen on social networks with a link to your site, the higher Google will rank it.
The Sweet Spot
Branding and advertising yourself today is multi-faceted. Customers want content whether they find you though a search engine or are a part of your existing social networks. What kind of content? If you can answer a question, provide valuable insight into your product or even entertain them, then you have something of value.
Even better, proper use of both SEO and Social Media Management will improve both efforts:
- Customers arriving via search who find useful content are already engaged, making it a great time to display your social media links on your website to strategically convert them into social media followers.
- Place your best and newest content in front of your social following. Good content gets talked about and shared, thus creating the links that lead into your website and boost your SEO.
- The content on both your website’s blog and your social media will increase awareness and traffic of your business and increase your SEO, your search ranking.
Search engines look for authority sites, and by interacting with customers you can build your authority as a key resource. When used properly, both efforts boost the other. Search engine optimization and social media marketing really are better together.