Photo by Jean-Pierre Dalbéra
This is a guest article from Brian Spero, an Internet marketer and contributor who writes about social media, SEO, and content marketing.
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither were the rules and best practices of SEO. In fact, the art and science of search engine optimization is continually evolving with new technologies and innovative techniques as SEOs adjust and respond to the ever-changing and deeply complex algorithms of the Google search engine.
While it is often difficult to predict which cutting edge techniques will lift businesses to the top of the search pages, we do know from experience that doing the little things that make good sense on a comprehensive, consistent basis can achieve sustainable, cost-effective results.
The good news for businesses looking to generate traffic from organic search rankings by utilizing social media as part of a multi-channel campaign is that there are certain tenets that not only naturally support SEO, but never seem to fall from favor. If you wish to utilize social media campaigns to boost your SEO, consider these tips that are sure to help your business achieve more fruitful search results.
1. Optimize Your Content and Profiles
Many of the fundamentals of onsite SEO directly apply when setting up your social media profile pages on channels such as Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. It really pays to take the time to add as much relevant and descriptive content about who you are, where you are at, and what you do, as well as accurately filling out any backend registration details.
Apply keywords you have focused on for your main business website, as well as strategies such as including a physical address and location for local and mobile search purposes.
The content you produce expressly for social channels or share to social networks from your website or company blog is a great vehicle to not only expand brand awareness and build consumer relationships, but also to extend and enhance specific search terms, phrases, or long-tail keyword strategies.
2. Seek Third Party Endorsements
When people are talking up your brand or business online, the positive vibrations are destined to show up on the search engine scanners. Google (or any search engine) successfully serves its users by providing the best possible list in terms of relevance to the search terms and the quality and authority of the source.
So if you search for a business or for a piece of content, the top of the list not only closely represents what you are looking for but also takes you to a safe, reputable, and highly-endorsed business or website. There are few more definitive clues that a business is worthwhile than if members of the online community are frequently mentioning you in articles, endorsements, or even in passing conversation.
From calling your customers to action to submit reviews on third-party websites to using outreach to attract the attention of online influencers, broad name recognition and a favorable sentiment from a diverse audience inevitably helps your business remain on the search engine radar.
3. Get People Talking About Your Brand
The dynamic nature of social media lies within the power to turn a target audience into 24/7 marketing affiliates. Rather than looking at content as a sales pitch or advertisement (even when it is), think of it as an opportunity to start a conversation that continues naturally and travels to expansive networks across the web.
From running promotions that call for creative user participation, to making news through involvement in supporting heartfelt causes or conducting important research, the more your activity stirs the pot, gets people talking, and brings exposure to your business and brand, the firmer your standing as a trusted authority to the online community.
4. Invite Your Friends Home
An element of everything you do as part of your offsite campaign – whether email marketing, content marketing, and especially social media marketing – should be geared to bringing consumers back to your official URL. Always include a direct link to your website on posts, tweets, blogs, and videos, as well as a relevant reason for users to heed your call to action, be it to access additional free content, or to capitalize on a special offer.
The EKG of a healthy online business shows not only a steady flow of visitors, but balance in traffic from natural search, paid advertising, direct access, and incoming links.
5. Feel Positive About Google+
If you are trying to tap dance to the Google algorithm, it makes sense to invest some time creating a presence and exploring the ins and outs of its namesake channel. You will once again want to optimize your profile and company page with descriptive, keyword-rich content with links back to your company website, but you will also benefit by actively expanding circles and promoting targeted content.
Google+ not only responds to your preferences, profile, and activity to deliver a more relevant online experience, but also provides an avenue through content promotion, event engagement, and +1 referral sharing to boost your business’s online relevance and exponentially expand your brand name and image.
6. Publish Visual Media
Visual media ranging from photos and videos, to slideshows, graphs, and infographics not only have the power to make a deep at-a-glance impression with the online user, but also holds the ever-desirable potential to generate viral traffic that quickly catches a SERPs attention.
By creating unique content and redistributing quality visual brand collatoral to popular image driven channels serves the double purpose of selling your products/spreading your marketing message and boosting natural search traffic. Channels such as Pinterest are especially SEO friendly for building both inbound and referral traffic and making your content more visible to search engines, providing the ability to include keywords in pin and board names, utilize description text, and include links back to your e-commerce website.
7. Make Everything Sharable
If you learned anything in preschool that you can apply to Internet marketing, it’s that sharing is good. When people decided to share your social media content to their networks of friends and associates, the message to the search engines is clearly positive, as they are providing their indelible stamp of approval.
Whether you are publishing industry insight on a popular blog, running a promotion on Facebook, or posting a how-to video on YouTube, make it something that contains tangible takeaway value that your targeted audience can benefit from and feel compelled to pass along.
Beyond making it simple to promote your content with single-click sharing buttons and email-to-a-friend links, include a strong call to action and incentives such as an additional discount, loyalty rewards, or entrance into a sweepstakes for giving your posts the thumbs up.
It can be frustrating for online businesses to keep up with a set of rules for SEO that often feel as though they were written in sand, only to be washed away with the next wave of search engine algorithm updates. While many things have and continue to change in SEO, there are certain elements that will always make good sense, such as providing relevant, accurate information and building an excellent online reputation.
By extending the tenets of onsite SEO best practices to your offsite campaigns while following your mission to grow your consumer base, increase inbound traffic and referrals, and solidify your place of trust and authority, you can use social media activity to boost natural search results.
What else can you suggest to boost SEO via social media?