In a recent Forbes article from contributing author Jayson DeMers, Founder and CEO of AudienceBloom, the keys to content marketing and optimisation were reinforced as being no more complicated than building a quality experience, earning industry validation, and creating satisfied customers. In SEO parlance, for those of you trying to figure out the mysteries of search engine optimisation, showing up prominently in search results is as simple as unique / quality content, links from credible and related sources, and social media coverage from your advocates, influencers, and customers.
Over the past decade and more, search engines have engaged in a constant tug-of-war with the search engine marketing industry. In the nascent years, marketers learned how to leverage link building and content, replicated across dozens or even hundreds of different owned domains, to capture as much of a search results page as possible. As search engines evolved to understand when these tricks were taking place, web developers and marketers uncovered different techniques to hack their way into search results: keyword stuffing, buying links, and other “black hat” methods.
At the end of the day, Google and other search engines are trying to do one simple thing – to deliver the best search result possible. An engine like Google simply wants to be comprehensive and relevant while delivering the very result that you expect to find. The easiest way to understand how to optimize your content is to appreciate Google’s own goals and align your tactics accordingly.
In more recent years, Google has accomplished this with localisation and personalisation of search, improving the likelihood that the result you see is the result appropriate to where and who you are. But even understanding personalisation and localisation, businesses and websites are still struggling with creating the ideal content experience such that Google knows where and when to present them.
Consider the reason for this challenge from the search engines’ perspective. You can create quality / unique content and you can earn links but if businesses can buy or barter for links, links from websites to your site lose their credibility. To ensure the ideal search experience, the engines need other indicators of the relevance, popularity, and merit of a businesses’ website and content.Over the past few years, social media has increasingly replaced links as that indicator. The fundamentals haven’t changed: a quality experience, industry validation, and satisfied customers – rather Google has increasingly learned how to validate the quality of your site by referring to the opinions of your customers more than links from websites: social media coverage from your advocates, influencers, and customers. That begs the question, are you leveraging social media to help support your content?
DeMers captures simply the role that social media plays in supporting your website and how search engines interpret that role:
How on earth do you do that?
According to Catalyst Search Marketing, those mug shots you increasingly seen next to some search results, deliver a 150% increase in clicks on YOUR search results. Getting your face there isn’t an SEO technique, it’s a result of Google+
Introduced a few years ago by Google, the first social media tool you must learn about is called Google Authorship. It establishes legitimacy of your content, as well the author(s), by linking Google’s social media, and the fans and social engagement there, with both your brand and the content author (be that you or someone else). This isn’t too hard to set up, you start with a Google+ Profile and add a tag to your website. Adding that tag can be a little complicated, so start here and give yourself some time to figure it out (or tweet me and I can steer you in the right direction). If you’re using a content management system (CMS) like WordPress, which you should be, this is pretty simple.
The next great tool to consider was introduced to me by Shawn Collins, founder of the Affiliate Marketing Summit. Getting a little more technical than you might want/need, Collins discovered KnowEm which analyzes not just your Google+ setup but social graph markup (as it’s called) in a report that also give you some insight to traditional search engine optimisation. A quick run through of your website by KnowEm and you’ll have some intel on how to proceed with Google-like integration of Twitter, Facebook, and other networks to ensure your content gets the most out of social media integration.
Now that we have you integrated, consider how you can leverage social data to explore industry trends and keywords related to your business. The Dachis Group platform is unmatched at doing this for your brand and related terms, competitors, and products. You may want to complement it with other applications as well, one I like is SocialMention’s free tool. With SocialMention, you can get an indication of basic sentiment and the top social keywords associated with a query and optimize your content using the terms that are hot.
The last most important tool to embrace is that which enables your readers to share content. Stay away from the laundry list of share buttons or the plugins that present your audience with every network imaginable. Remember your platform focus, encourage your readers to share content where you participate most. The best way to do this is to add the code for the specific network on which you want content shared. Let’s focus on the big three and if you prefer another network, I think you get the idea: Google +1, Facebook Like, and the Tweet button.
Another often overlooked resource for capturing the credibility of social sharing are your own employees. By definition every company is composed of people and you’d be hard pressed to find any of them inactive on social channels. If you can efficiently activate those individuals as amplifiers of your content, you can reap major rewards in your search rankings. The Dachis Group Employee Advocacy platform module is designed to explicitly do just that.
Social media marketing has become a critical path to content optimisation and no longer can you think of SEO alone in optimizing your website. Much like Google’s own goal, delivering the best result possible, content optimisation is as simple as delivering the best online experience possible, and the pervasiveness of social media means that business have to embrace the social media tools that ensure Google treats you right.
This article was originally posted here, we are thankful to Paul for letting us repost it to share it with you.
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