The search box that changed the world… it’s hard to type in website addresses, when you can just Google it (or Bing or Yahoo it, if that’s the way you roll). A website’s rank on search engine result pages (SERPs) remains crucial, especially when attracting consumers new to your business.
Social media accounts are valuable channels that help you reach people who want to connect with your brand. If you cultivate your voice on those channels and interact with fans and followers, you can grow your marketing base tremendously. They also give you the opportunity to improve your page ranking.
I can hear you asking, “But how?” Manipulations such as link-farming and keyword-stuffing to inflate search ranking are not effective. One of the key changes in search over the last few years has been the balancing of popularity signals with relevancy.
Creating interesting content is the most effective way to optimize for search engines.
Popularity Signals = the quality and quantity of links and the context in which they are shared
Relevancy Signals = combinations of terms, also called phrase indexing, help search engines deliver more precise results to searchers
What You Can Do
Step One – Include your website link and links to your other social channels across all your accounts.
Why? – Including links will help search engines identify the legitimate relationship between these disparate channels, creating strong inbound and outbound links. It also makes it easier for users to find you on their preferred channels.
Step Two – Use the same description of your business as often as possible, and in that description use keywords you want associated with your business (ahem, content in context of course!).
Why? – The consistent description helps strengthen the relationship of those social media accounts with your business, which directly impacts search results. Want be known for more than just music? Then say so!
Step Three – Regularly create new content via social media. Don’t be boring, spend some time on those posts!
Why? – You want user engagement with your content. Social actions such as shares, retweets, and comments about posts increase the visibility of your channels to search engines. It indicates there is interesting new content to crawl on these accounts, and those are tied to your website.
Step Four – If you are a brick and mortar business, claim your Google+ business profile and your Yelp profile. This is critical with the new introduction of sidebar knowledge panes in Google search results and Bing results.
Why? – Initial Google search results for phrases like “music venues Philadelphia” include a filmstrip list of venues. Once a venue is clicked, Google Places and Google+ power the knowledge pane on the right hand side of Google search results. Reviews of your business from Google-owned Zagat will display there, as will any known details of your business. Google explicitly state thats linking a Google+ profile to your website provides information used “to determine the relevancy of your site to a user query in Google Web Search” (Google Webmaster Tools). Own that profile!
The filmstrip of search results
The Google knowledge pane
Bing search results include sidebars with Yelp user reviews of your business, and Bing is the seearch engine used by Facebook. Bing searchers who connect their Facebook accounts see messaging from friends about your venue. You should own the messaging, it’s that simple.
You want to control the search results so that you are either driving traffic directly to your site via your website link, or indirectly to your site via your social media outlets. The goal? End up with a search results page that is covered with your channels.
Now go forth and optimize!