Reviews, SEO

Optimization for Social Media Integration

Optimization for Social Media Integration
SEO and Social Media optimization are pretty much integrated these days.

As promised, though delayed a bit, here is the follow-up to SEO & Social Media Integration with some tips for optimizing your social media and integrating it into your overall SEO mix. Naturally, the more social links you have, the more you’ll be noticed (Hey, I’m here!) and linked to and crawled, natural SEO in any book.

  • Complete your profiles and put your web site or blog URL in ALL of your profiles. Including your web site link should be a no brainer, but LOTS of folks forget this. Social content is definitely showing up in search results. For instance, a search for my name in Google comes up with several of my profiles (LinkedIn, WebPro News, Plaxo, etc.)  as I write this. Include jobs, use keywords, never turn down interview or podcast opportunities that can be included.
  • Check industry trends through services like Google Alerts. Jump into breaking subjects with blog and social media posts.
  • Promote blogs, social media and RSS feeds of those who link to you through your own RSS feeds. This has a viral effect that sends more links to you.
  • Develop a series of “How to” videos and post them on video sites like YouTube (now 25% of Google searches). People LOVE these and will embed the videos or link to them. Post them on your own blog and in the social sites, too.
  • Content is king on Twitter, just like in standard, run of the mill SEO, so use keywords and hashtags (like the #bsg tag for Battlestar Galactica fans).
  • Utilize Facebook fan pages. These can have unlimited followers and can be optimized.
  • Subscriptions are gold! Social Media Content = Subscriptions + Links!
  • Transcribe your podcasts and post them on your blog.  Include keywords and links.
  • Create widgets that will pull your RSS feeds from blogs, social media and news feeds. As a rule, links in RSS feeds are direct links without redirection or the dreaded “nofollow” tag!
  • Re-optimize blog posts after their “shelf” life. Rework them and monetize them for breaking subjects. Any given blog post URL or page has history and links, so update them to keep current, ranking and posted in the social media.

OK, as always, these just scratch the surface, but you can see the optimizing for SEO and social media are pretty much one and the same these days. What you do with one totally effects the other.  Anyone who thinks they can be an SEO and ignore social media is, well, NOT an SEO.

Next up: Optimization for Social Media Integration: News

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SEO

SEO & Social Media Integration

Social Media and SEO are both about search

Take a look at the following and see what you think:

  • Create great content, including articles
  • On page optimization
  • Links from authority sites
  • Get content on industry sites, providing contextual links
  • Get noticed in Social Media
  • Get noticed in search
  • Get into niche sites

Sounds like the basics of SEO, right? Well, these apply to Social Media, too. Any SEOs out there who are still avoiding the Social Media bandwagon are, well, stuck at the bus stop without a token.

Social Media and search engine optimization have become so integrated that you can’t really separate them anymore. Social sites like Twitter, which many of us laughed at when it first came out, are pushing a revolutionary shift in how information is found on the Internet because they add interaction and community to the equation. In addition to the basics above, they throw in features like:

  • Participation
  • Voting
  • Comments
  • Friends
  • Trust

That last one, Trust, is a BIG one. Social sites are working more like search engines these days and there’s a huge difference between they way they dish out results and the way the search engines do. The social sites look at what your friends think about a subject and their results are based on that. You trust your friends, right? A perfect example is Twitter search. It’s based on tweets from folks you can check out and follow or who can follow you. And, look out Google, it’s really fast! And, it’s immediate. You can catch what is happening right now. Wanna see what the fans of Battlestar Galactica are tweeting? Check it out in real time (Or, if you’re a real Twit, check out by the hash tag #bsg).

The search engines dish out results based on the trust of folks you don’t know (PageRank, back links etc.).

Which begs the question, will trust kill the algorithm?

So, think of Social Media sites more like search engines that can help your visibility in, well, search engines.

Confused?

Don’t be. It’s simple. The more social links you have, the more you’ll be noticed and linked to and crawled. It works pretty much the same way as SEO.

Next, Optimization for Social Media Integration. Look for this post soon!

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SEO

SEO Today: Adapting and Evolving

Keeping up with SEO today is not for the faint of heart.
Keeping up with SEO today is not for the faint of heart.

There’s one thing that I can say about search engine optimization (SEO) today – it’s not for the faint of heart.

Anyone in the trenches these days knows that SEO left the era of tweaking title and meta tags a long time ago. With universal search, personalized search, social media, a global economy and a little thing called Twitter (who would have guessed?), keeping on top of things on a daily basis takes almost Kryptonian endurance.

Rather than going the way of the bell bottom, SEO continues to grow and expand into previously unknown territories, adapting with each. Anyone who says SEO is dead must be hiding in a cave waiting for the economy to revive. Those of us not hiding and continuing to fight the fight know that, if anything, SEOs are busier than ever in this economy, some even passing up business because they can’t handle any more work.

What’s keeping them so busy? Continue reading

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SEO

Maybe We’re All Web Optimists?

Maybe we're all web optimist - what?It appears to me that “SEO” is going to have to be replaced by something else in the very near future.

No, it’s not that some folks who are not very Internet savvy think it stands for “senior executive officer.” Nor is it because one not-too-popular geek decided to try to trademark the term.

Search engine optimization, for which it stands, is, well, no longer just about search engines.

In the old days, everyone just wanted to be at the top of whatever search engine was the biggest at the time and we’d all merrily tweak and link and hold our breath whenever updates happened. In recent years, thie focus has been on Google updates, but several things are happening that are taking the “search engine” out of the picture. Among them:

    1. Although Google is still the biggest and baddest, ranking at the top is going the way of, well, Yahoo (as I duck and run for cover). Google’s increasing use of personalized search results means that a site can rank #1 for you when you are logged into Google, but #25 for someone else. Heck, you can even customize your own Google search results with their new SearchWiki.

    2. Search very often has nothing to do with search engines these days. Frequently, searchers are finding what they want through what are perceived as trusted sources on social media sites like Facebook, StumbleUpon, Digg and so forth or through product reviews on shopping sites like Amazon.com. Rather than take what the search engines dish out, they get their information from friends or peers.

    3. Even Google thinks you want to socialize. For instance, Google Reader allows sharing with friends. Then there’s Knol, kind of Google’s version of Wikipedia.

Anyway, my point is that the web is heading away from searching through search engines as the primary way of finding information. Yes, we’ll still be using “Google” as a verb for years to come, but we as Internet marketing professionals will need to adapt. We need to know how to not just optimize for the search engines, but the entire web.

So let’s see. What can we call ourselves? How about web optimists?

I like the sound of that!

😉

Happy holidays!

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SEO

Social Media Tactics

Social Media TacticsFor those of you who have read my blog in the past, you know I love to give quick tips on search engine optimization and web marketing. So as not to disappoint anyone, here’s a quick list of Dos & Don’ts for your social media campaigns (you ARE including social media in your online marketing, right? If not, find out how to get started in social media.)

1. Don’t go into it just for the links. You’ll get shot down by the community instantly. Social media is all about conversation and creating advocates for your brand, so share and engage in the conversation. Active conversations about specific topics attract passionate audiences.

2. Give your visitors a voice. Social media gives consumers some control and a voice. If your site doesn’t include a way for visitors to comment on or rate your content, you’ve got some work to do. A static web site that’s one-way (the visitor can only read it) won’t cut it anymore. Interactive sites are the norm these days, so you need to join the 21st century.

3. Join in on the top social activities. These are currently watching videos and sharing photos. In addition to posting and sharing on YouTube and Flickr, consider adding video and photo sharing to your own site, if appropriate, and create videos that can be shared (see Video Optimization). Just be careful with Flickr. They are cracking down on accounts set up by companies and deleting them. They only want personal use of their service.

4. Social media is NOT a substitute for SEO or PPC. Social media optimization must be integrated into your complete marketing plan.

5. Great customer service. This is a natural outlet to social media. Visitors can leave comments or questions on your site or on other sites like Facebook and you can respond. It is essential to monitor the various social outlets, not only to provide service, but to head off any problems or complaints before they build into something difficult to manage. Among the many tools that I use are Google Alerts and Tweetscan to send me alerts for Google and Twitter mentions.

6. Lock down branding. Combining SEO, PPC and social media can be great for this. Great rankings in the organics, advertising and social presence are a dynamite combination.

7. Grab your Twitter name. Twitter is incredibly powerful for weighting in the serps so use it! Just be sure to grab your name before someone else does!

8. Link to your profile pages. Make sure visitors can find your social site pages. Make your first weighted link to your profile pages a link from your company site.

9. Treat your YouTube videos just like HTML pages. In other words, give them a title, description, tags and make sure the very first thing in the description is the URL you want folks to land on.

10. Last but not least. If you don’t know where to start, go for videos and move on from there. In addition to YouTube, videos can be distributed and shared through Metacafe.com, Yahoo Videos and scores of others. Heck, even Flickr has video now.

Keep in mind that many of the top traffic sites these days are social media sites and that Web 2.0 is really about empowering users, not promoting you. And, take note that social search is different than web search because in social search, it’s about sourcing information from trusted people as opposed to general information that is dished out by a search engine.

Once further tip – using cloud tags can give you an idea of what is generating conversations as well as alert you to trends. I use one on my own blog, but there are a ton of other WordPress tag cloud plugins available.

Until my next list of inspirations, good Internet marketing!

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SEO

Coming Soon: Shopping Site Search, Social Media Tactics & More.

My apologies to those recent blog and Twitter followers of The Web Optimist. I’ve been swamped lately so some of the SEO articles I have planned are a little slow in coming. However, here’s a preview of what will be blogged about in future weeks.

  • Shopping Site Search
  • Organic Stategies
  • Vertical Search
  • Social Media Tactics
  • Content Development
  • Landing Page Tips

I’ve got lots of good stuff in store for the blog. Finding time to put it all together will fall into place soon, I hope!

In the meantime, feel free to download my Search Engine Optimization 101 ebook and 65 Quick S E O Tips Even Your Mother Would Love.

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Training

SEO 101: Beginning Viral Marketing

Give your viral campaign a shot in the arm with these tipsWe’ve all heard of something going viral, meaning it gets picked up quickly and spreads like crazy all on its own. Big companies pay big bucks for marketers to come up with viral campaigns, so how do you as a beginner viral marketer compete?

First, let’s take a look at the most recent definition of viral marketing on Wikipedia.

Viral marketing and viral advertising refer to marketing techniques that use pre-existing social networks to produce increases in brand awareness or to achieve other marketing objectives (such as product sales) through self-replicating viral processes, analogous to the spread of pathological and computer viruses. It can be word-of-mouth delivered or enhanced by the network effects of the Internet. Viral marketing is a marketing phenomenon that facilitates and encourages people to pass along a marketing message voluntarily. Viral promotions may take the form of video clips, interactive Flash games, advergames, ebooks, brandable software, images, or even text messages. The basic form of viral marketing is not infinitely sustainable.

For our purposes, using pre-existing social networks can be a key in getting started. One thing to keep in mind is that not every viral marketing attempt will take off, so don’t get discouraged if you flop the first time around. For the beginner, a lot of learning has to go into using social media in the first place, so cut yourself some slack and have fun with it.

Here are some ideas to give your viral campaign a shot in the arm.

Start with your blog. Post about your campaign on your blog to get the word out in your RSS feed and to e-mail subscribers. If you’re lucky, your posts will be picked up by other blogs and subscribers. Use a Twitter plugin like Twitter Tools to pass your post to Twitter at the same time.

Look for niches. Start out with big social media sites like Facebook and MySpace, but also look for smaller ones serving a niche. For instance, if your viral campaign would be attractive to baby boomers (I happen to fit into that category), look at sites like Eons.com, which is smaller, but like Facebook with a few age lines. 😉

Make a viral video. Videos are hot and a great way to promote your campaign. Although YouTube is the biggest, also post to other video sites for the widest distribution. Try TubeMogul.com, which allows you to submit to several video sites at once.

Join in on forum conversation. Seek out forums related to your topic and get involved. Don’t just jump in and push your campaign, but provide feedback and information that is useful to the forum members. These communities can be passionate about their topics and maybe, just maybe some of them will pick up your news and spread the word. You can search for niche forums at http://rankings.big-boards.com/.

Join in blog conversations. As with the previous suggestion, find related blogs and jump into the conversation, providing good content and information, not sales pitches. Your comments can help you gain trust in the commuity, especially if you listen to and hear what the other community members want to know.

Bookmark it. Utilize bookmarking sites like Delicious and Digg where people can see what you are interested in and bookmark those links themselves. In addition to these two big sites, there are lots of niche bookmarking sites out there, too. Bloggers grab stuff off of these for content, others see it, bookmark or IM to others and if the stars are aligned right, it snowballs. The more eyes to your content the better.

Cross promote all of the above across social media sites. For instance, don’t just upload your video to YouTube, plug it at Digg, Delicious, StumbleUpon, etc.

Develop relationships. People with influence can get your information in front of more eyes. Create a relationship with these folks. Send them information that will help them. Later, you can send them information that will help you, after you establish trust. For example, you could approach a respected blog and offer to write a good guest article for them to get your foot in the door.

Contact by name. Nothing worse than trying to cozy up to one of those persons of influence using “To whom it may concern” or whatever. Send them an individual e-mail. Make sure you are pitching something relevant to their blog/site. Read their blog/site first!

Buy advertising. No this isn’t for SEO ranking purposes. Buying advertising to promote something simply is another way to open a dialogue with the blog/site owner, that person of influence.

Spread the word. Utilize your customers to get the word out through your web site, customer service e-mails, letters and newsletters.

Free is good. Give away something as part of your promotion – a white paper, resource, video, widget, etc. Make it great, quality, quirky, fun, whatever you can do to make it a desired, wanted freebie. Other attractions include how-to videos and articles, surveys, lists and tools.

Make sharing easy. Put up links to aid your visitors and readers in sharing the wealth – a bookmark this page link, forward to a friend link and social media links. See addthis.com for easy to use and build bookmarking chicklets.

Get recommendations. Getting these from consumers is gold and where better to get them than on the web, which is top heavy with consumers. See my previous post on user content generation for tips on getting reviews and ratings.

Remember, most viral campaigns don’t take off. Learn from your efforts and try, try again.

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