Social Media and SEO: Content Distribution

Often I am asked questions like “Does posting on my Facebook page build me links?” Or “Does social media help with SEO?”. These are great questions and the general answer is, yes. However, it is important to understand which social media platforms help the most and how each one assists with search engine optimization. Each social media platform has it’s own benefits and treats content differently. Here are some of the most utilized social media services and a breakdown of their SEO value.

Facebook

Screen Shot 2013-08-29 at 4.25.33 AMFacebook is an interesting breed. Does Facebook have a direct impact on SEO? The answer would be, maybe. Part of Facebook is currently blocked from Google’s crawlers, which means a lot of the content on Facebook is not read or indexed by search engines. So it can’t be stored in Google’s virtual filing cabinet. If users have adjusted their privacy setting within their account, Google is completely banned from crawling their personal profiles and information. However, according to Search Engine Journal other Facebook posts seem to be finding their way into the Google index including limited view profiles, Fan Pages and their associated comments and posts, and comments left on third party websites using a Facebook widget or plugin. Also, when an article on your blog is liked or shared on Facebook using a social media add-on, it is highly likely that Google can read this, sending out a social signal. And as it’s been said, higher shares and likes correlate with higher rankings.

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Twitter

Twitter’s links are tagged with a no-follow, meaning they do not pass any link value. The key with Twitter is having the right people follow you. If an influential person is following you and retweets your content, the likelihood of getting links built to the content within is high. Often when an article we write is tweeted and retweeted by highly influential people, other writers will write blog posts in response to ours and cite our original post as a reference. Overall, the relationships built through Twitter are much more powerful than Twitter itself.
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Google+

Screen Shot 2013-08-29 at 4.39.21 AMSharing content on your Google+ page has the largest direct impact on search engine rankings. There are some obvious reasons for this. First, Google is a little biased (aren’t we all) and they are pushing users to utilize this platform. However, there are other reasons Google+ can be valuable from an SEO perspective. Posting on G+ allows your content to be indexed immediately. This was one of the promises given with the Google Buzz product, which has essentially been gobbled up and incorporated into Google+. And as we all know by know, getting your content indexed is key.

Pinterest

Pinterest has the potential to spread content like wildfire. When we pinned a image incorporated into a guest post for one of our clients, it was repinned over 40 times in 30 minutes. Again, like many other social media platforms, Pinterest’s links are nofollow. So the value of the link comes from its ability to be cited in someone elses blog or website, not in the link from Pinterest.com itself.
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LinkedIn

I love LinkedIn. I believe LinkedIn is a golden nugget for business’. I don’t care if Google does or does not crawl it, every business should utilize it. With that said, it is reported that Google loves to crawl LinkedIn Profiles, which makes it a double whammy! Having a LinkedIn profile for your business is a big win. It adds legitimacy to your website and company, it creates another method of entry for your site, and it gives you a link. In fact, I have seen ranking changes simply because a LinkedIn profile was created and linked to the business’ website. The link itself is again a no-follow. However, this may be a good example of co-occurrence, where a legit authoritative site is citing a company or person so Google gives it weight.
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In the end, social media is best used as a tool to distribute content, not build direct links from. In SEO, two things are certain. One, Google loves great content and two, Google likes links. Turns out these two things go hand in hand! Distributing award winning content provides opportunities for earning links. And the more a webpage is shared, liked, tweeted, pinned etc. the more visibility is has, which means the chances of people reading it and building natural, relevant authoritative links to it increases ten fold. I find it no coincidence that shares and links have the highest correlation to website rankings, and neither should you!


What does Social Media really mean?

Just for fun, ask a few people how they would define social media, and see how different they reply. More than likely their response will be determined on how much that individual uses social media.

“Hey Mom, I need your help. How would you define social media?”

She replied, “It’s that thing on the Internet. Where people can see what you’re doing and stalk you.”

My mother obviously has a negative idea of social media, as shown by the word “stalk,” that is usually a term found to be unwanted by most people. With that said, I bet you can guess how many Facebook friends she has…that’s right, zero.

What does social media really mean? By definition…

Social Media: forms of electronic communication (as Web sites for social networking and microblogging) through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content (as videos).

In simple terms, social media enables you to socialize through the Internet; Internet is the “medium” through which this socializing is accomplished. Further, social media is an interactive way to communicate.

Now, the term “social networking” goes back further than you might think. The theory of social networking is dated back to the late 1800’s and the ancient Greeks.

Dating back to that time period, social networks relied on word of mouth, and it wasn’t until the invention of the telephone that these social groups had more than one medium to communicate.

Without giving a whole detailed account of technology and inventions of new mediums (Internet, email, chat rooms, ect.) to connect social networks we’ll jump into present time.

Social media is way to communicate and network with a large audience through the means of the Internet. Some might perceive it as an opportunity to share news with family and friends, that if not for the ability to type and click to share, would take hours or even days to pass on.

For example, “I’m engaged!” Within seconds you just let hundreds of friends know the good news. Obviously, you share the news in person or on the phone with a handful of close family and friends, but overall you saved a ton of time of informing those who might be offended if you forgot to tell them.

The same principle can be used for a business. Inform your clients and consumers of new policies, products and procedures in seconds. To advertise a “Special of the Day” required an ad in the newspaper, or on the radio and television. Businesses can save their advertising money and push specials to hundreds, thousands even millions of followers with just a click of the mouse.

Although there are those who do use social media for “stalking,” the real reason social media is available is to be used as a tool to communicate with networks, through faster and more reliable means.


5 Social Media Mistakes to Avoid

One of the greatest things about social media is that it is out there for everyone to see…

One of the scariest things about social media is that it is also out there for everyone to see.

The use of business social media is used for a handful of different reasons. From marketing to consumer relations to SEO, and at the end of the day, it won’t even matter if you are losing credibility by making mistakes that can easily be avoided.

Here are five tips to pay attention to as you engage more in social media this year that will help to avoid mistakes that may hurt your brand image.

Spelling and Grammar

One of the newest tools computers have these days is this thing called “spell check.” It can be really helpful when there is a big word you might miss a letter or two in when writing it out. Seriously, don’t get lazy when it comes to spelling, run spell check and always reread everything you put online. Still, use your free online dictionary to always double-check the spelling and the meaning of your principles/principals or effects/ effects. Do not lose credibility on a word that your child could spell correctly.

“Social Rules”

There are what should be called different “social rules” when it comes to businesses using social media. Posts, tweets, and shares should always keep your audience engaged with your message. Avoid statements and opinions that are impossible to stir up conversation or attention from your followers.

  • Example: “New blog post is up.”
  • Changed to: “Hey everyone, we added a new blog post. Check it out and let us know what you think.

Always try to build conversations with your followers, and make them feel involved with what your business is doing.

Keep it Relevant

Unless you are in the business of breeding and training dogs, your business Facebook page could live without the YouTube video of the cute puppies. Keep your social media professional and relevant and avoid losing followers who might be annoyed by the “junk” that appears in their live feed.

Remember, just because you cheer for a certain team or might be voting for a certain Presidential candidate, doesn’t mean your followers are. Avoid sports, politics and religious posts on your businesses sites, unless your business is sports, politics or religion in which case post away.

Check once, check twice, check a third time

This can be tied to keeping it relevant but deserves its own section due to the problems it can cause if not avoided. Make sure and always check to see if you are logged into your business account or your personal account before posting anything. As you are posting double-check again, and after you post it, you got it, check again. The last thing you want to do is slip up because you’re not paying attention and inform all your business followers that you had the craziest dream about Lady GaGa. Has funny or crazy as your friends might find that, your business following probably won’t care.

A Red Cross employee forgot which account he was logged in to, and told the millions of Red Cross followers that he was so wasted last night and didn’t remember a thing that happened…Oops.

Stay Updated

A social media site that hasn’t been posted on in the last month says only one thing, “we don’t care.” Your followers choose to follow you for a reason. They want to know what’s going on and stay updated with the goods and services your business has to offer. We live in a world where yesterday’s news means nothing. We demand the most up to date and relevant news, and when we don’t get it from one source, we find it somewhere else. Let your followers know that you are thinking of them and share information that they would be interested in.


10 Reasons Small Businesses Need to Blog

Yes, 10 reasons your small business NEEDS to blog, with the emphasis on the word needs.

Now I’m not talking about your everyday “mommy blog,” as that is the impression most people get when hearing the word blog. The word blog should actually be used in your business vocabulary more than you think. Blogging is a very versatile tool, and can serve a bigger purpose in areas of your business that you already spend lots of time, energy and money in.

For those that already blog, I hope you’ll agree with these 10 reasons. For those who do not, my goal is for you to start up a blog for your small business within hours of reading this.

1. SEO

Blogging, when done correctly, can rank you higher on Google and other search engines. The secret is to use your businesses keywords strategically and consistently throughout posts. Not only does a blog give your business another platform to be found on, but also if done regularly, provides current and fresh content.

2. Social Media content

Most, if not all, businesses have adopted social media into their business plan. The issue that most of these businesses are facing is finding valuable content to share. In fact, most of these businesses are posting and sharing content from other businesses blogs driving traffic and clients away from themselves. Why not use content that drives those potential clients to your website?

3. Credibility

Every business out there believes they are worthy of the business they bring in. Blogs give you an opportunity to quickly establish yourself as an industry expert in their field. But be careful, this is a double-edged sword…if not careful you can lose credibility just as fast.

4. Visibility

Blogs can be a great source to remind consumers you are out there. So many small businesses are not visible online. The use of certain plugins can automatically attach a link to your Facebook, Twitter and Google+ account to remind your followers that you are still there.

5. Public Relations

Press releases are and will always be very important when communicating with the media and your targeted audience. Unfortunately, small businesses don’t attract the media very often. Blogs give you the opportunity to release information as well as receive feedback.

6. Customer Service

As stated above, blogs can give instant feedback on issues or services your business offers. If monitored correctly, businesses can address conflicts and concerns just as fast as they hear about them. At the same time use positive feedback to understand what your consumers like, and use that feedback to build stronger relationships.

7. Marketing

A blog can be your best friend when trying to establish your brand image. You control the content and voice of your business when you blog. Your blog will brand your business whether you are trying to or not. Just for fun check out the blogs of a few businesses and see if the first impression they give off matches the audience they are trying to reach.

8. “Free Sample”

You know what I, and 99% of people love about Costco and Sams Club…free samples! There is nothing that sells frozen egg rolls better than sampling one while it is hot, fresh and free. Your goods and services are no different than that little frozen egg roll. The Internet gives consumers the opportunity to research a business before they buy or invest in what they offer. What better way can you think of to showcase your knowledge and strengths than a blog that you control? Remember, no one ever buys nasty samples.

9. Education

I’ve already hit on the idea of educating your audience, but blogging is an educational tool for yourself. As you start to blog you are going to want to stand out in your field or areas of expertise. By putting your thoughts and ideas into words your knowledge will grow. This is not a new concept and will expand your mind as you research new ideas to blog about for your audience.

10. History 101

If we have learned one thing in the last few years, it would have to be that our economy can flip like a switch. One week business can be great and the very next week dead. Blogs are a great way to record and study your own business. Looking back how you adapted to a certain issue could help avoid certain bumps down the road. You can leave posts up on your blog longer than a lifetime if you choose. Who knows, just as we look back at history to solve problems today, others will be doing down the road…your blog might just be the answer to solve their issues.