Posts Tagged ‘social media profiles’

How to Optimize for Social SEO

How to Optimize for Social SEO

Optimizing your website for search engines is no longer a question of filling it full of keywords and exact-match anchor text while madly blog-commenting in other people’s blogs to create relevant back-links.  In fact, following this formula will almost certainly leave you down in the rankings under Google’s Panda and Penguin algorithmic changes – and more are coming.

But you shouldn’t just pay attention to Google:  SEO nowadays involves maintaining an active social media presence and profiles.  Hence the term “Social SEO”.  Social media actions can actually improve your Google rank, if done right.  And you need to pay attention to what people see… and what’s behind the scenes.

Here are ten highly relevant Social SEO practices for today…

1.  Remove or Revamp Your Traditional Meta-tags

Google’s Penguin algorithm filter tends to take meta-keywords and other traditional tags as keyword-stuffing.  It won’t help your site ranking – and it could hurt.

If you use the Thesis theme, check out instructions at Binary Turf on removing the meta description tag correctly.

how to remove meta description

According to SearchEngineWatch, Penguin isn’t actually an algorithm, but a “link quality filter” that “is designed to take out sites that use manipulative techniques to improve search visibility”.

Bottom line: If you have too many repetitions in meta data, your site may be penalized.

2.  Adjust and Correct Your Anchor Text

If your anchor text is an exact match to your keywords and doesn’t make descriptive, readable sense, scrap it and give your anchor text more clickably-appealing, descriptive words.  (That goes for the Alt Tag text for your graphics, too.)

You need to do this because Google’s Penguin filter now targets and de-ranks exact-match domains (e.g. “highproteinfoodsfatlowcarb.com”), after Google clued on to the fact that names like these were evidence of attempts to manipulate.  Anchor text has been affected too.

The less spammy you can make your anchor text and Alt tags, the better.

twin babies

For example if you were displaying the above photo on your blog, you might want to change:

<a href=”page.html”><img src=”graphics/twinmatchinggirlgreen.jpg” alt=”twin matching girl green“/></a>

…to something more descriptive and real, such as:

<a href=”page.html”><img src=”graphics/twins.jpg” alt=”twins in green”/></a>

Again, if you’re trying to manipulate rather than describe when using keywords in anchor text, domain names or Alt tags, Google will penalize you.

3. Familiarize Yourself with Graph Search

Facebook graph search

The old way of searching involved keywords.  Facebook’s new Graph Search combines keywords plus your Friends’ Facebook content.

This way, you can find out what connections you share with them, causes you both support, Pages you “Like”, places you’ve both been connected with, common interests and just about every type of connection you can think of.

 (Graph search results did dip recently, but Facebook assures the “dip” has been corrected.)

4.  Optimize Your Facebook Page “About” Section

This is the one part of your Facebook Page where you can put your best keywords, descriptions and anchor text.  Make the most of it, as artist Steph Dix has done here.

FB about page

She has included in her description:

  • Specific keywords (pencil portraits, free shipping worldwide, guarantee, website)
  • A link to her website
  • Email contact details

In addition, her text is not too long – it doesn’t run off the page, with vital sentences hidden. It’s clear and well-optimized.

5.  Use Facebook Social Plugins

Once you click on artist, Steph Dix’s link, you are taken to her website http://www.stephdix.co.uk/… where those who have “Liked” her page immediately see a widget from the Facebook social plugins, containing their own Profile photo plus a selection of other fan photos.

FB social plugins

Anyone who clicks on hypertext within the widget will be taken to her Facebook Page – and that is a high-quality backlink, as far as Google is concerned.  She is leveraging the power of Facebook very efficiently.

6.  Make the Most of Google+

SEO author Simon Penson predicted recently  that Google+ will play a much more prominent role in validating social links over the coming months, so if you haven’t created a profile there yet, do so.

And if you have signed up, but visit Google+ only sporadically or not at all, start exploring Google+ and spending time interacting and exploring its SEO-powerful platforms, apps and features daily.

One of its most powerful features to explore:  Google+ Hangouts.  If you live-stream them, they will be automatically recorded and posted to your YouTube channel, which is now also automatically linked with Google+.

Google+ hangout

If you haven’t yet bothered with Google Hangouts, learn more about them right now.

7.  Make Sure Your Titles Match Your Content

Again, it’s all about not being carried away, trying to include keywords.  Titles that don’t feel natural and don’t match the post they headline not only will displease Google, but will not get shared via social sites (as well as losing trust).

Here’s an example of a simple but effective title followed by relevant content from Copyblogger.

Write magnetic headlines

Your best bet is always to make sure your blog post or web page title are:

  • Attention-grabbing
  • Easy to read
  • Descriptive
  • Clean

A truly interesting and intriguing title is your best route to making sure your posts and pages are found and shared.

8.  Make it Easy for Visitors and Readers to Share

Make sure you’ve included social media plugins, widgets, share and follow badges, buttons and icons to help people share your content with one click.

Place them above the fold on all your web pages in the upper right-hand side of your page.

social share buttons

For extra effectiveness, include calls to action in or with your social media buttons, such as Daylan Pearce does in the right hand side of his blog, above.

9.  Clean Up Your Guest Blogging Practices

Last year saw Google over-zealously penalize exact-match domains and anchor text, akin to thousands of healthy trees in a forest being chopped down to make sure a dead one in their midst is culled.

Now, just as their Search Evaluation team is reassuring us that they’ve learned from this and will be toning down the axe use, it looks as if Google has a new target:  Guest blogging.

A recent YouTube video from Google’s Matt Cutts warns of what to expect – and what you can do to comply with new guest blogging rules.

on guest posts

To sum up what seems to be in the wind…

  • Make sure guest post writing – to and fro –  is of the highest quality
  • Use guest bloggers who either are terrific, professional-level writers or who have a well-established and validated reputation in your niche
  • Write or accept longer posts – Google now frowns on short guest posts under 400 words, seeing them as excuses to link
  • Don’t accept guest posts that are published elsewhere.  When someone wants to write for you, make sure you ask that the content be original and exclusive to your blog
  • Posts from and to other blogs should be relevant to the blog’s overall mission.  Posts should be eloquent and well-thought-out
  • Make sure your guest posts are from writers who run high-quality blogs.  You may be penalized for spammy back-links in your guest poster’s blog, so check that blog out first, if you’re not familiar with your guest.  (Hint:  See how well she or he ranks in a Google search.)

And from Jeff Foster of WebBizIdeas (in an actual guest post in Problogger, February 2013):

  • Stop using terms like “guest posts” and “guest bloggers” (if you have to spell it out for readers, he suggests calling the writer a “guest author”)
  • Don’t let your guest author put “unnatural links” in their post or author bios
  • A simple link to their website is okay

One last thing to do:  Create a rel=author tag for yourself, allowing Google to validate your own blog (and use guest posters who are also validated this way).

10. Optimize Your Social Media Profiles (and Claim your Pages)

It’s not enough simply to use social media in 2013:  You also need to make sure you optimize your social profiles to the max.  Fill out all Profile sections across all social networks as fully as possible.

Think of doing this as an investment.

For example, if your local business appears in a Google Plus Local search for your city, make sure you claim it and add your photos, your logo, your description and your contact information, the way you want it.

Make sure no sections are left blank.

Google+ Local

Social profiles with missing elements are not ranked as highly as those with complete profiles and validating elements such as business logos and clear descriptions.

It is as important to optimize what people see as much as it is to optimize HTML and meta-tags, just as it is as important to optimize for your social networks as it is to optimize for Google searches.

Creating a well-balanced, SEO optimized web presence for both the search engines and social sites – but most of all for the benefit of your ideal viewer – will have a visibility effect worth more than the sum of its parts.

10 Reasons Why You Need Social Media in Your Marketing Mix in 2013

10 Reasons Why You Need Social Media in Your Marketing Mix in 2013

Those who predicted that the leading social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn would fade away or gradually start to lose members in 2012 couldn’t have been more wrong. Those social media websites continued to grow, becoming an even stronger foundation of our online lives. Furthermore, new social media sites like Pinterest were able to become incredibly popular just over the course of the past year.

Social media is here to stay. This means that in order for your business to be successful, you’re going to need to make those sites part of your marketing efforts. Here are the top ten reasons why social media absolutely must be part of your marketing strategy in 2013.

1.         Time Spent on Social Media is Increasing

Perhaps you’ve noticed it happening to your teenage children, or even to yourself. People are spending more time on social media sites. In fact, according to a 2012 Report by comScore (http://www.comscore.com/Insights/Presentations_and_Whitepapers/2012/The_State_of_Social_Media), social media usage now accounts for 18% of all time spent online. If you want your business to be successful then you can’t neglect marketing through social media – your potential customers spend too much time there.

time-spent-on-social-media

2.         Connect with Potential Customers

New customer acquisition is often the biggest hurdle for many new businesses. Not only can it be expensive to reach potential customers, it can be difficult to know exactly where might be the best place to reach them. With so many people logging in to Facebook and the other social media sites every week, those sites can be the best first place to start your marketing efforts.

connect with your customers on social sites

3.         Build Relationships with Current Customers

As you seek to connect with new customers, don’t forget one of the best sources of business – your existing customer base. Through social media websites you can easily connect with people you’ve already done business, and forge relationships that can help you improve your existing products and services, as well as come up with ideas for new lines of business.

hand shake

 

4.         Social Media Influences Search Engine Rankings

While the process and methods aren’t entirely opaque, it’s generally agreed that the scope of your social media presence has an influence over your businesses. In addition to improving rankings to your website, people also share various links and content through social media sites – and this sharing can further boost your standing with the search engines. This influence can be seen directly if you happen to use Google as your primary search engine (as most of us do), and have enabled personal search results.

Wikipedia also has information about social search at (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_search)

social search

 

5.         Conduct Customer Service Operations

One of the best ways to address any service issues with your customers is to first consider how you and your friends deal with any problems you have when you are the customers.

Chances are you don’t always call the company you bought something from in order to lodge a complaint. In fact, there’s a good likelihood that rather than contact the vendor, you take to Twitter or Facebook and let your friends and contacts know about your negative experience. If you proactively monitor these social media sites for mentions of your company then you can immediately address any negative customer experiences, and demonstrate to others that you’re responsive to your customers’ needs and feedback.

You should also consider setting up Google Alerts (log in at www.google.com/alerts) to monitor individual blogs and bulletin boards for the same reason.

google alerts screen

 

6.         “Social Media is the New Search”

You might hear some market observers refer to social media as being the “new search.” This means that for a larger number of individuals, when they need to look for an answer to a problem or need they have, are more likely to look to their online social networks for possible solutions rather than use a search engine such as Google or Bing.

social media is the new search

 

7.         Highly Targeted Marketing Opportunities

Because people share so much about themselves on social media sites, you already know a lot about your potential customer base. Just a decade ago, if you wanted to target potential customers you might be forced to purchase or rent a mailing list, and you’d never really knew how good that list was. These days you can target demographic groups with pinpoint accuracy through social networking websites.

highly targetted bullseye


8.         Social Media Can Be Cost Effective

You can set up your own social media profiles for your business for free on all the major websites. This gives you a no-cost method to start implementing some of your social media marketing efforts almost immediately. In addition, if you choose to utilize the targeted advertising and promotional opportunities that are offered by Facebook and LinkedIn, you may find that the cost to reach targeted prospects is surprisingly competitive to other online advertising options you may have used in the past.

marketing cost effectively

 

9.         Commerce Will Be Conducted Through Social Media

In the long term, social media sites need to become profitable in order to survive. Trying to charge their members a fee to use will almost certainly be a non-starter, so it’s anticipated that their revenue will come from taking a commission of any real-money transactions or ecommerce that’s conducted on the site. While many of these ecommerce channels are not yet up and running, you can be sure that they’re likely to become a big part of doing business online. By becoming established on social media sites and learning the best ways to reach new customers, you’ll be in a strong position to take advantage of these ecommerce channels when they become active.

ecommerce on social

 

10.       Social Media is Replacing Traditional Media

As the time we spend on social media websites increases, the time we spend reading newspapers, listening to the radio and watching television decreases. This means that you might want to reconsider any marketing efforts you may have been planning for traditional local media.

As you participate in social media sites, always strive to be professional, helpful and honest. Putting forth the best possible image will do wonders for your business.

traditional marketing and social marketing

Upcoming Facebook Marketing Webinars

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Thursday, August 16th at 1:00pm PST / 4:00pm EST

social media intensive - mari smith

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Fabulous Facebook

Tuesday, September 11, 2012
 

facebook-marketing-webinar

In this webinar you'll be able to "Learn how to MAKE Facebook a POWERFUL Marketing and Referral Source for your Business"
 
Topics:
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  • Find out whether it’s quality or quantity of fan base that counts!
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You will also receive: A Facebook "quick tips" Guide, A Fast Action sheet and Recording of the full webinar for later reference.  
 
Investment $97.00
 

Free Webinar: The Science of Facebook Marketing

Thursday, September 13, 2012 at 1pm EST
 

free-facebook-marketing-webinars

In this webinar, you'll "Learn how to use Facebook to get people to talk about your business online."
 
HubSpot's social media scientist, Dan Zarrella, will discuss the sociology of the Facebook community and the scientific way of leveraging marketing opportunities on Facebook.
 
Topics:
  • The behavior of demographic groups on Facebook
  • The sociology of the Facebook community
  • The difference between men and women's interactions on Facebook
  • Scientifically proven ways to get your content shared on Facebook
Duration: 
60 minutes, including Q&A
 
Speaker:
Dan Zarrella, Social Media Marketing Scientist

 

 

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