How often do we hear someone say “Just Google it!”? More and more, search engines are the number one way people find answers to their problems and find businesses that can help them. It is important to try to make your website one of the top listings when someone “Googles It.”
Usually the big search engines, Google, Yahoo, and Bing have ten listings per page. Websites compete for those top spaces and the businesses that are effective in improving their website’s ranking receive the benefits of increased traffic and visibility.
You may have a wonderful website that reflects your branding and your goals. Your blog might be consistently offering readers a place to learn about content affecting your business, and the comments section is offering a way that your customers can connect with you and each other.
But are people coming to your website? Are they reading it and commenting? If they aren’t, your website is not offering your business the kind of help in the social media world that it needs.
Search Engine Optimization, SEO, or social SEO, will solve this problem. Here are four ways you can use SEO to make your website, and therefore your business, more productive.
1. Be Active on Social Media Sites
Chloe Mason Gray specializes in digital marketing and growth strategy for small businesses and solopreneurs. In a recent article about social media and SEO, Chloe talked about the importance of employing social search engines. Sites like Facebook and Twitter have their own search engines.
One way a customer may look up you or your business is to find you on social media sites. This can be a huge help to your SEO. Chloe explains:
“If you’re active on Twitter, it’s entirely possible that people will discover your company’s newcontent distribution app after searching for content marketing-related tweets with Twitter’s search engine. Likewise, brands that lend themselves to beautiful visual content can benefit from making their content visible in Pinterest and Instagram by using hashtags and properly categorizing their pins.”
2. Have an up-to-date social profile
Social profiles matter to search engines. If you search for a major company, you will see that their Instagram or Twitter profile is one of the top ten listings. Having your company’s social profile be up-to-date and active can make your brand online more fun and engaging.
Customers who are interested in the style of your company may visit your Instagram site to see branding in pictures. Search engines take note of this and make it a part of their algorithms.
3. Make an effort to attract vertical search engines.
Think of Google, Bing, and Yahoo as horizontal search engines. Vertical search engines are ones that are specific to one group such as Jobs.com, Monster.com or Expedia.com. The way to make it to a vertical search engine is to make your data feeds accurate. Vertical search engines look for information that is key to their topic and information that is complete.
4. If your company is a local business, emphasize that aspect.
More and more searches are done on mobile devices. People search out local restaurants and events. If a traveler needs a car part, they go to the internet on their phone and search for local auto parts stores.
“Proximity-based searches will likely start to become popular, and local searches will be based on hyper-specific locations, rather than just on a regional or neighborhood-specific basis. In effect, wearable devices will drive a much more geographically relevant network of information and eliminate even more barriers between the digital and physical worlds.”
So, if yours is a local business, capitalize on that by being vigilant that accurate information concerning your company is displayed on your website and other local websites that list businesses. Build relationships with other local businesses so your comments can be found on their websites. And, make sure you include good reviews on your site.
SEO is important to your business simply because you don’t want your company to be lost in the listings of thousands of others. Do your research and make SEO a priority for your company’s website. It would be wonderful when someone says that familiar “Google It!,” your company provides the answer they are looking for.
Search, SEO, content marketing, and Google standards can all be scary words when you are a business owner. When you have an SEO company telling you they are going to buy backlinks or get you in all the link directories, it might sound good, but what does it all mean? How can you make these decisions without a degree in “Geek Speak?”
It’s really not that difficult once you understand a few of the standards Google has set up. And before you start complaining about Google and their constant changes that keep us all changing the way our websites are designed and optimized, consider the fact that they are making it easier for good and honest businesses to be found, and penalizing those overly stuffed-keyword sites that used to come up first in search but had little, if any, real value to them. Staying on top of these changing standards could be the difference between online marketing successes for you and online marketing failure.
Here are 7 Tips You Need to Know to Keep Your Website Ranking High:
Don’t Buy Links
The practice of buying links or backlinks is not just looked down upon by Google, but many websites have found themselves actually blacklisted for this practice. (Meaning their sites will not be served up by Google when someone is looking for them—Like a spy movie, where one’s identity is scrubbed from all systems.) Placing a link on a site filled with ads for Viagra, porn or other, spammy content is NOT helping you one bit! Generally speaking, if a company promises you hundreds of links for a paltry rate, you should RUN! It is most likely a link buying scam which could really hurt your marketing efforts. It’s like getting into a scary white unmarked van with someone promising you candy. Don’t do it.
Watch Out for Bad Link Directories
Do you remember when your mother or father told you that you will become who you associate with? Well the same rule applies when you associate with sleazy or spammy link directories. One of the most important things you should remember about signing up for link directories is that if you choose spammy link directories, Google will consider you guilty by association. A few questions to ask yourself if you are looking at link directories: 1. Would I trust this site if I came to it or does it look spammy? 2. Is this site relevant to my potential customers? (An online gaming site sending links to your real estate site is not necessarily a good match!) 3. Is the list curated by a human? If you find a list of links to great restaurants in Chicago and the list is put together by a food critic, it makes sense to try and get on that list or directory, but generally speaking, directories are not the best strategy for your business.
Don’t Fall for Bad Article Marketing
Using content marketing or article marketing is an important piece in your marketing puzzle, however, Google has advanced over the years in their technology and are now better than ever at tracking down spun articles. Spun articles are pieces of online marketing content that only have small variations made to them so that they may be posted at different locations all over the internet. The correct approach to article marketing is to create great, relevant content that your visitors will find valuable, and then share it on your site or someone else’s site that targets the same types of clients you do. Guest blogging is also a great way to ensure your content gets shared around in the appropriate ways. Of course as with most valuable tools, article marketing is only truly valuable when it is done right and that entails hard work. Again, sounding like advice your parents probably gave you, Google rewards those who work hard and penalizes though who look for shortcuts.
Walk Away from Keyword Stuffing
Keyword stuffing is the unpleasant and wasteful practice of using important keywords or keyword combinations in an article or website copy, over and over in hopes of making the content more attractive to search engines. In the early days of online marketing and content marketing this might have technically worked, but today Google algorithms are far too sophisticated to be tricked by such practices. Google search engines today are not simply looking for a certain combination of words, but the engines can detect quality content as well.
Even if Google were not upholding the standards of quality for marketing content, ethical business owners are more concerned with providing quality to their customers and users than they are with simply hitting a certain traffic number each day. For this reason, you should avoid keyword stuffing because it no longer works with Google and it never worked with your customers. If you want to see great traffic and high conversion rates then you should provide great content carefully balanced with keyword use.
Double Check Your Anchor Text Selection (hyperlinking out to other content)
Another important aspect of your online marketing is the anchor text which you choose to use for hyper linking. Linking can be a really powerful SEO tool, however, it must be done wisely. Hyperlinks should lead to authoritative sites which are actually relevant to the content you are providing. If you randomly link sites that have no real relevance for your readers, they will quickly catch on to what you are up to and will tune you out.
Fix Broken Links
Keeping an eye out for broken links is a really easy way to keep you on Google’s good side and hopefully, keep your website ranking high. Links die out and become obsolete or even change owners and content. If the links on your website are no longer viable then they should be taken down and replaced with more profitable links. This can easily be done by keeping up with regular website maintenance. Plug your website into this free tool to see if you have any broken links.
Staying active on your social media sites is also another way to prove to Google that you are a viable presence and not simply a spammy entity sneaking around the internet. Use social media to point people to content on your website (blogs, videos, and other content make great social pieces).
If all this has you wanting to drop out of Geek School, contact us. We can help you stay on top of it all and manage the madness. With offices in Denver, Chicago and San Antonio, we have you covered!
Everyone looks for the ONE thing, the magic pill, the easy button, the golden key, that will turn all of their social marketing efforts into dollars with little, if any, effort. You’ve heard us say many times, social media is a set of tools that you are adding to your overall marketing, sales, and customer experience tool belt and there are certainly no simple or magical shortcuts that bring REAL results. It takes good old fashioned work and a little savviness.
The savviness comes in the form of understanding how people look for answers and how Google dishes up those results, whether from your website, blog or social media sites. You need to do a bit of work to discover what people are searching for when they are looking for your services so you can incorporate those same words and phrases into all of your content, even adding those SEO elements to your social media posts. Implementing solid SEO practices (search engine optimization- it is what allows your posts and web content to be found by Google, Bing and other search engines), starts with these KEYWORDS, knowing your customers and what they search for.
Today more and more people are on their mobile devices and they aren’t always typing in their search queries, they are speaking them. They are “summing” SIRI or Google Now to find the information they desire. Today when we say keywords, we really mean key words, phrases, entire questions or statements that people are typing or speaking into Google or Bing to find what they need. Keywords can be any of the following:
Buying a home in Santa Clara
Need to sell my home
Where to find the best realtor in Atlanta
Best Mexican Restaurant in Denver
What hotels are near Red Rocks Amphitheater
These are the keywords/phrases/questions that need to be sprinkled throughout your website, your blog posts, video content you create and of course….your social media posts. Don’t forget that these keywords and phrases change based on consumer behavior and you will want to do regular keyword analysis.
Now that you know what words and phrases people are using to search, you want to weave these into all of your content…including your Social Media Networks.
Here are 5 areas where keywords in your social media marketing can be easily improved:
1. Social Media Bio
This is prime real estate to not only inform potential clients exactly what your business offers, but, more importantly, to make sure you are found when someone is doing a search for your type of product or service. If you bio is full of empty words, you will not be found. Take time to write out exactly what your business offers then condense it into the allotted space in your profile bio. Check out these FAB bios:
2. Blog Posts
You know the importance of blogging, but are your blogs reaching the people you want to target. The way to reach the seemingly unreachable is with those keywords. The title of your blog posts needs to be in the correct format to be found, but it also needs to have the right words that your potential clients are searching for. What are the top FAQs people search for when looking for your products or services? Those should become blog post titles!
EXAMPLE: FROM THIS: Real Estate Blog July 2014 TO THIS: 10 Tips for Finding the Best Realtor in San Jose
KEY PHRASE: BEST REALTOR IN SAN JOSE
Take time in Google Adwords or KeywordSpy.com to find out what keywords people are searching for and use them in your blog titles & posts. And don’t forget the Meta Descriptions or Meta Keywords. These are other areas that Google uses to crawl your site and let searchers know if the post is relevant.
3. Posts on Social Media Sites
Your tweets, social posts and pins will show up in search results, many times before your website SEO efforts will begin to pay off. If you’re sending out 5-10 posts a day across your social networks, those posts are showing up in Google search results and if you are utilizing the keywords for your brand they will be showing up where you want them to. Be sure you have most of your posts on the topic(s) that your audience followed you for and incorporate those keywords IN the posts.
4. Video Names, Tags, and Description Areas on YouTube
Video is king of content right now and there are a few things you can do when loading videos to ensure you get the maximum SEO juice from each one. First, like a blog post, your video TITLE is key. Don’t name your video, “Video from June 2015.” I’m pretty sure NO ONE is searching for that topic! Take those FAQs you identified earlier and incorporate those into your video titles whenever possible. Adding a key-rich title is the first part. The second area is your TAGS. Pack them in here. Select 10-15 different keywords that apply to your video topic and that tie into your keywords. The third area on your YouTube videos that you can pack with SEO juice, is the description of the video. Don’t write one sentence and leave it at that. Start with a link to your site and then write what this video is about–at least a paragraph that includes your keywords and phrases that you think people will be searching for and that this video answers.
The last place that packs a BIG SEO PUNCH, is the Closed Captions area. Google will have captions for those who are hearing impaired, but just know that Google doesn’t always interpret your words correctly and we have had times where Google puts something TOTALLY INAPPROPRIATE as their interpretation!
Have your video transcribed and then upload the word document into this area as a NEW CAPTION. Now, not only will Google not be able to embarass you, but you have yoru keyword packed SEO document that can be crawled by Google and other search engines! WINNER!
5. Naming Photos Properly
Before you post a photo on your website or blog post, name it with a keyword rich description. Visuals are the “it” thing for your marketing, so make sure you’re getting the biggest bang for your buck. There are a couple places on your photo that Google uses to bring up in a search result—the name of the photo (The name 2013-03-28-2014.52.14.jpg does you no good. Rename the photos with some of your keywords), and the ALT tags given to a photo (in a blog post AND on each web page). ALT tags are words that will appear if, for some reason, a browser does not display your photo. You’ve probably seen this when a little red x is in place of a photo on some sites. ALT tags allow the computers to give information when the images don’t load. They are also intended for the visually impaired to be able to “read” what the photo is. So add a few keywords and they will become SEO juice for your photo. On your social media posts the photo itself can pull up in a search if it is named correctly.
Where else are you adding keywords or where else do you now think you need to add them? Please share your best tips with us in the comments section.