Nearly everyone who works in small business PR or marketing knows that they need SEO (search engine optimization) for their website. And we’re all aware that a social media marketing program is essential. But putting the two together is a newer idea.
Social SEO is the idea that social media links and interactions are a huge part of your website’s search rankings. This is true for both websites and blogs. The mathmatics behind social SEO are really, really complicated, but luckily you needn’t understand the algorithms to use these five simple, practical social SEO strategies to put your social media posts to work raising the search engine results page (SERP) for your website.
Why does that matter? Because most of us add social media content far more often than we update our websites. So making sure to iclude the keywords and prases that are the most relevant to your prospective customers and posting new social media content regularly can make a big difference in how the serch engine ranks your site.
Here are five simple social SEO strategies you can put to work for your business today. Just remember that even though you start the process today, it takes time to improve SEO takes time. SERP changes don’t happen overnight.
Make Your Content Shareable to Build Links
Good website to website relationships through links are key factors in SEO. You want quality sites linkint to your website, and you want to link to quality websites. You also want to make sure that the trash links that unethical companies try to attach to your website or blog through nonsensical “comments” and even content hijacking aren’t allowed to hurt your page rank. So always make sure your site is protected from the “comment spammers” with a good tool like the Askismet plug-in for WordPress or a comparable tool for your content management system.
Likes, comments, +1s, repins, retweets, and links in the Paper.li, ScoopIt, Zite, Twylah and other “curated” news summaries that pick up social media content to share all play into the weight that Google, Bing, and Yahoo give to the links to your site. So the first step is creating content that people want to share.
The word “content” doesn’t always have to mean a blog post, white paper, or web page. It can also mean a tweet or Facebook post, a comment in a LinkedIn Group, or an answer in an online forum. The math for this is simple: quality content = more shares, more shares + frequent updates = more links, and more links = higher SEO.
Adding social sharing buttons to individual pieces of content on your website or blog. Social bookmark sites like Reddit and StumbleUpon are great places to build links that the search engines value.
Sign up for Google+, Google+ Local, and YouTube
Google loves YouTube, and it loves Google+ and Google+ Local even more. If your business doesn’t have a YouTube channel with at least a few short (<2 minute) videos with keyword optimized descriptions and titles, post some now.
On Google+, the key to social SEO is to complete as many fields as possible in the “About Section” with keywords that describe your business, add links within your profile that lead back to your website and blog, and you’ll soon find that you’ve hit social SEO gold.
Spend 10-15 minutes per day sharing your content to your Google+ page, and your Google SERP will begin to soar. It’s absolutely essential to keep your information on Google+ up to date, because this is likely to be the first information that your prospective customers will see.
The search giant says that over 95% of customers search for local businesses on line, and in order to perform well in local search results, it’s essential that you optimize your Google+ Local listing. Google used to call this “Google Places”, but the revamped system is different from both a Google+ Business Page and the old Google Places listings because it’s designed specifically to lead a searcher to your physical location. There’s a handy tutorial to Google+ Local on Google (of course).
Optimize Your Social Media Profiles & Updates
What does it say in the “Category” field on your Facebook page? According to Facebook, almost half of the Facebook business pages out there don’t say anything at all. That’s a shame, because the category field is the key to Facebook mobile searches.
Having an SEO-friendly social media profile starts with the basic information. Facebook’s tutorial on completing the “About” section doesn’t get all that much traffic, but it should because it explains how to fill out the vital “About” and “Information” sections of Facebook’s profiles – and the same strategies and tactics will help on almost any social platform.
Be as descriptive and detailed as possible, making sure to use the keywords that your target audience uses to search for your business. This isn’t the place to get cute or creative: you’re writing for robots that are trying to match the exact phrases that ordinary people enter into a search engine.
Don’t forget to include your address, city, state, and zip. After you’ve optimized your profile, keep up the good work by including the relevant search keywords in your status updates, tweets, pin descriptions and so on. Tip: Use your business’s name in your social posts. Writing, “PR and social media management platform MyPRGenie shares social SEO tips” with a link helps Google associate the keywords used to describe your business with your business’s name.
Avoid These Common Mistakes
It’s hard to believe how often our customer support team finds these common errors in client sites. Don’t make them yourself if you want to use your social media efforts to boost your SEO.
- Not making your business’s social media sites public. This usually happens when a small business owner is trying to mix their personal and business lives on social media. Three words of advice: Don’t do it.
- Creating a Facebook Profile instead of a Facebook Page. Constant Contact’s blog explains why this is so bad: it can even get you banned from Facebook. Luckily, the same blog post tells you how to fix the mistake if you’ve made it.
- Uploading photos with file names like “DSC_001” or “IMG1277”. Images with meaningful file names help your search engine rank, whether they’re on a social sharing site or your website.
- Not customizing your Facebook URL, or not using your business’s name as your Facebook Page name or Twitter name.
One of the reasons that Pinterest is so popular among small business owners is that it’s a great way to build links, create shareable content, and improve your keyword strategy. High-traffic websites are indexed faster and higher in a SERP, so adding keywords in the title of a Pinterest board, description, and the 500-character individual pin descriptions can increase content visibility.
Uploading your own high-resolution images to Pinterest is a good way to improve the SEO value of your Pinterest boards. Like Google+, you might not see a lot of traffic coming directly from Pinterest to your website, but the few minutes it takes to add a new pin to the board every day will probably pay off in a higher SERP.