Blog items tagged with "social-media"
Ecommerce SEO Tips for Local Brick-and-Mortars
Ecommerce SEO and selling product online (to wider geographic market) is not limited to big retailers, warehouses, affiliates and drop shippers. Whether you're selling high-performance road bikes or kids scooters, there are many ways local brick-and-mortars can capture a share of the greater search market and grow their businesses.
In fact, there are many SEO strategies that local retailers can use to increase their search visibility. While some of the following ideas can be taken in different directions, each tip is designed help brick-and-mortars use ecommerce SEO in a creative and actionable manner.
It's All About Branding...
The first tip to a thriving ecommerce SEO campaign is to understand that a great deal of success hinges on brand building and cultivating a reputation. From your social media image to the content a business produces, underscoring your efforts with a brand-centric approach is the way to go.
Marco Laterza gets it. This guy built a brand around The Vegan Project and he's monetizing through product sales.
Bloggers, related brands, and other web users link to and mention brands (not just websites.) Establish a reputation for something your business offers, and offers well. And make the brand behind your store the foundation to it all.
...and Niche Targeting
Like I mentioned above, establish a reputation for something your business offers well. Think of this as your wheelhouse. Are there any products that your retail store is recognized for? Do you specialize in a select brand or exclusive line?
Take a look at what Better Triathlete has done to position itself as an triathlon authority for bikes, coaching, training, and gear. Using a simple blog format, the site has been able to position itself as an niche authority in the space for all things triathlon.
Take these ideas and try to niche-them-down even further. Ecommerce SEO can be a fierce battlefield, so it's critical to target and optimize for very niche keyword categories. While incubating on which direction to take with this, you may find that you're best off starting with specific products. And perhaps products you know very well.
Go Deep With Product SEO
A local health food store is going to have a difficult time competitively ranking for keywords like "vegan protein powder." However, that same store could stand a better chance with phrases like "sunwarrior warrior blend raw plant-based complete protein powder," (yes, that long-tail phrase does get searched in Google,) Or perhaps, "best plant based protein powder for weight loss."
Sure, there are tons of undefined variables that could impact this site's authority and ranking. The idea here is that it can more effective to build, optimize, and share content for specific products and long-tail keywords.
When you search for specific products, Google will often favor popular review posts, videos, and other great forms of content marketing. High-value content that gets social shares, links, and other heavy ranking signals are true assets for SEO.
Construct a Content Strategy
The nice thing about local brick-and-mortar SEO is that these businesses can practice better pacing. What do I mean by that?
The common scenario when investing in an expensive ecommerce SEO program is targeting 1,000+ keywords and swimming in many different seas. This can be effective for authoritative domains and big brands (or retailers who work with the best-rated Atlanta SEO companies. However, for local brick-and-mortars, it's often best to start smaller, and invest quality efforts over volume.
In short, you don't want to spread yourself to thin. Focus on actualizing (a handful of) high-value content strategies (i.e. in-depth product reviews, videos, blogs, etc.) that yield high levels of engagement. Long-form content often wins when it comes to SEO and high page rankings, especially when infused with subtle keyword targeting and social media.
Infusing Keywords & Social Media
The last tip I am going to offer is the icing on the cake. So much so that you might find yourself confidently investing in social media advertising (i.e. promoted Tweets and boosted/sponsored Facebook posts.)
Here's an example: let's say the local health food store writes a great product review for Amazing Grass Protein Superfood (a fine product if I might say so myself.) The store tags @Amazing Grass when sharing the review on Facebook. The folks over Amazing Grass love the review so much, they decide to share it with their 98,895 followers.
In just a couple weeks, the review post earns 392 likes, 12 comments, and 25 shares, as well as a few backlinks from other bloggers. And because the health food store's web marketer was SEO-savvy and infused the blog post with keywords around Amazing Grass Protein Superfood Review, the page ranked in the top 3 for that keyword phrase.
Again, this is just an example, but a realistic one that sheds light on the possibility of infusing your content strategies keywords (for SEO) and social media (by earning social signals and backlinks.)
For more information about this topic, check out an article I wrote titled Infusing SEO Into Your Content Marketing Strategies. For best practices on ecommerce SEO, local SEO, and search marketing, check me out on Twitter, Google+, or LinkedIn.
3 FAQ's About Social Media's Impact on SEO & Web Presence Optimization
Social media is an integral component of SEO and web presence optimization. Not only do some social media platforms have a direct impact on search engine exposure, but social media is essential to develop a cohesive and unified web presence.
Below are three common questions that I get asked regarding social marketing and it's impact on SEO. I will answer each question to the best of my professional knowledge and supported by my research based on the best practice of SEO and web presence optimization.
1. What are the Best Social Media Networks for SEO?
It's important to understand that social media can influence SEO in few different ways. Social media profiles and posts (e.g. Google+ pages, Pin boards, or Tweets) can appear in the organic search results. Although this might not seem like SEO, this content is indeed appearing in Google's results which can benefit a brand's search engine exposure.
From this perspective, almost all social media networks can influence a brand's search engine exposure. Pinterest pin boards, Facebook profile pages, Tweets and Twitter accounts, LinkedIn profiles, Google+ posts and profiles - all of these social media elements can get ranked in the organic search results. This would emphasize the art of web presence optimization.
Conversely, social activity can help promote optimized webpages via links (which is a more common and traditional perspective of how social activity can impact SEO.) For instance, a link from a popular Tweet can help increase the rankings of its destination URL. Similar, a Google+ profile can link to a great article. As a result, the article may obtain better rankings in Google.
With respect to the latter approach, only a few social platforms offer link value for SEO. I touch on this subject in the next question below.
2. Do Links from Social Sites Influence Keyword Rankings?
For most social media platforms, outbound links do not have a high degree of SEO value. An example of this is Facebook. Virtually all links deriving from Facebook are no-follow links and carry little to no weight for SEO. The core purpose of Facebook for you online marketing efforts should emphasize inbound marketing and web presence optimization. That is, marketing on Facebook should focus on building recognition in your brand and steering direct traffic to your content.
However, Google+ and Twitter are two common platforms that can offer SEO link value. Google+ profile links are in fact do-follow and many SEO experts have claimed to have seen increases in keyword ranking after implementing links to their pages from their Google+ profiles.
Additionally, Twitter links (especially when Tweets get re-Tweeted) can offer value for SEO. It's important to keep in mind that these platforms should be more focused on web presence optimization, and not SEO link building. This will only diminish the integrity of your business and brand.
3. What's More Important: Search Optimization or Social Marketing?
Both SEO and social media are drastically changing. In short, these mediums are merging into a more unified effort called web presence optimization. That is to say SEO and social media marketing is a holistic strategy, and neither SEO nor social marketing holds greater value. Rather, both of these mediums should be embraced for the best results.
Just do a little research on Google's Search plus Your World. This is a clear indication that search is coinciding with social. As a result, your brand should focus on a blended campaign that emphasizes web presence optimization, a combination of social engagement and search marketing.
Redefining the Best Ecommerce SEO Company
Here at Click Centric SEO, we're focused on shaping what defines the "best ecommerce SEO company". That query is actually a popular keyword phrase that is searched in Google (most likely from ecommerce stores and other ecommerce SEO companies checking their rankings.) Let us be honest: we're really interested being the best SEO company for ecommerce sites.
In actualization of our core competencies here at Click Centric SEO, we've defined the ideal SEO program for ecommerce sites. It's a cohesive blend of technical SEO, website optimization, backlink building, and social media marketing.
Technical SEO centers on the nuts and bolts of your ecommerce site - HTML coding, scripts, Schema, etc. While there are many approaches to technical SEO for ecommerce sites, there are a few primary areas worth mentioning.
One of which is renaming URLs to be keyword relevant (and 301 redirecting the old URLs to the new). Instead of sloppy URLs like /product-id=321/, it would be more advantageous for SEO to have URLs that read something like vintage-cycling-jerseys (or whatever the keyword targets for each page page.)
Schema is also vital component of technical SEO that's becoming increasingly important, especially for competitive ecommerce SEO landscapes. Schema is dedicated sub-set of HTML markup that is used to define certain pieces of content on a page.
There are various tags that tell search engines what a
page is all about (i.e. Brand, Product, etc.) as well as what specific parts of content are on those pages (i.e. Price, Units in Stock, etc.)
Schema can give your ecommerce SEO program a significant advantage over your competitors. Although Schema has been active for a couple years now, most ecommerce SEO's have yet to leverage Schema. In an effort to be the best one of the best SEO providers in the business, we value Schema and technical SEO a key components to our ecommerce SEO services.
Website optimization is similar to technical SEO in that the central focus is to improve the performance of your site from a technical and usability perspective. Website optimization is best defined as strategic mix of techniques to:
- "optimize" the content of your website to ensure it's unique, keyword relevant, compelling and speaks the voice of your brand
- improve site load speed and how fast your pages render (load speed can actually correlate to better rankings)
- enhance the usability and blueprints to your site's navigation
- integrate a conversion rate optimization (CRO) strategy and intelligent use of call-to-actions (CTA's)
In short, website optimization is the foundation to actualize the fullest potential investing with ecommerce SEO. Without the latter pillars deeply rooted into your website, the other SEO components will have limited potential.
As the powerhouse to any SEO program, links that come from social profiles, blogs, websites, directories, etc. (and direct to your website) are like votes of credibility and popularity. Earning and building links from authoritative and relevant sources can drastically increase your domain's authority. In other words, domain authority and backlinks improve your ecommerce site's potential to rank in Google.)
Additionally, the link anchor text can also impact keyword relevancy. See the example above of a "keyword-optimized backlink" that intentionally use keywords in the anchor text. While some keyword-optimized anchor text is good for ecommerce SEO and improving rankings, it's vital to ensure a natural balance of links - in terms of the source and the anchor text of those links.
A natural looking backlink profile for ecommerce website would include links from various sources (i.e. articles, review sites, blogs, press releases, web directories, etc.) Further, creating a natural backlink profile uses variety of anchor text (i.e. www.DomainName.com, (Brand Name), Click Here, (Product Name), Website, etc.)
Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing has profound influence on SEO, and as a result, it's an integral component to us becoming the best ecommerce SEO company. Social signals (shares, likes, tweets, pins, +1's, etc.) are like backlinks in how they function to attribute quality content that may be worthy of increased search engine rankings.
The social media marketing of our SEO company focuses on the following action items.
1. Optimize your brand's social profiles - establishing, claiming, and/or verifying your Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Facebook, and Pinterest is the starting place to organizing your social media presence.
2. Follow influencers - sharing great content ultimately contributes to your popularity and growth. We can help by fully managing or consulting your team with strategies on how to go about connecting with other influential people, brands, and organizations.
3. Establish various content sources - pinpoint several websites and blogs to pick great articles worth sharing. Ideally, the blog on your ecommerce site will the strongest asset for an SEO-driven social media strategy.
4. Create a social media posting schedule - In addition to defining how many posts to do in a week, try to cap your daily posts at 2-3. At minimum, shoot for 2-3 per week on each social platform.
The best ecommerce site SEO company can help your business achieve these objectives by providing done-for-you ecommerce SEO services or consulting programs. At Click Centric SEO, we offer both of these options to improve your social media and ecommerce SEO efforts.
Actualize Your Ecommerce SEO Strategy
If you're interested in help increasing your brand's search engine exposure, then learn more about working with our experts at Click Centric SEO and contact us. We can help you actualize your ecommerce SEO strategy for sustainable rankings that generate results.
10-Step SEO Checklist for Ecommerce Sites Entering 2016
With 2016 soon approaching, many ecommerce sites are restructuring their approach to SEO. With SEO strategies and best practices continuously evolving to the new standards of Google's search algorithm, there is no better time to revamp and optimize an ecommerce SEO program.
To help shed light on the vital areas that could use attention, below is a brief 10-step SEO checklist for ecommerce sites entering 2016.
10-Steps to Better SEO for Ecommerce Sites
While you could hire a SEO expert to conduct an ecommerce SEO site audit to address most of these elements, most of the following aspects can be handled with basic knowledge and access to the right tools. They include:
1. Pinpoint HTML Errors
Ecommerce sites are deep and highly technical. Any issues negatively impacting search engine crawling and indexing can plague SEO. Check Google Webmaster Tools to pinpoint any obvious HTML errors. Further, use tools like W3C Markup Validation Service to ensure the ecommerce site is error free.
2. Check for Broken Links
Similar to the latter process of pinpointing HTML, make sure all broken links and 404 errors are corrected. These can hinder SEO and should be fixed with proper redirects.
3. Scan the Site's Backlink Profile
Using tools like A href's, Majestic, or SEO SpyGlass, get a full picture of the backlinks pointing to the ecommerce site. Audit both the sources and anchor text of the links. Spammy links can be disavowed. Further, too much optimized anchor text (keyword-stuffed anchor text) can indicate that any future link building should be done in natural fashion (using anchor text like "domain.com," "click here," or "learn more.")
4. Are You Using Schema Markup?
If you're not using any form of Schema markup (i.e. Product Schema for product pages,) then this is the year to get on board. While Google has yet to admit any correlation of using Schema and seeing better rankings, many ecommerce SEO's claim to experience dramatic improvement in search engine visibility.
5. Enhance Titles & Meta Data
Writing new page titles and meta descriptions for each page might be a bit much for an ecommerce site. But take a look at your top 10-20 pages generating the most organic search traffic and assess the page titles and meta data.
Are your titles keyword-relevant and under 63 characters? Are you meta descriptions creative, compelling, and under 154 characters. Writing great copy for these small yet significant page attributes has been shown to increase click-through rates, as well as uplift rankings.
6. Audit Your Page Copy
Similar to auditing the page titles and meta descriptions (which are visible in Google's search results), read over the copy populating your top pages. Does the copy reflect the voice of your ecommerce brand? Is it accurate, grammatically correct, and unique? Do you have at least 200 or so words on your key money pages?
7. Evaluate Your Ecommerce Site's Footer
Because footers are site-wide, or on all pages of your site, any links in the footer get special search engine attention.
Not all footers are created equal. For this reason, make sure your site's footer is aligned with your ecommerce SEO strategies. For example, having a section labeled "Most Popular Posts" is a great place to link a few of your best, traffic-generated blog posts. Further, you can link to "Top Products," "Video Reviews," and other linkable SEO assets in your footer.
8. Expand Your Sitemaps
Using a sitemap, or many segmented sitemaps, is essential for ecommerce SEO and ensuring proper crawling and indexing of your key money pages. If you current sitemap only contains a few major pages in your site's navigation, then it's time to expand. Because ecommerce sites often have thousands of pages, try developing segmented sitemaps based on various product categories or brands. There are no rules, but do apply a layer of logic and organization to constructing your sitemaps.
9. Assess Your Social Media Status
If you've been slow to embrace social media in 2015, now is the time to establish a presence on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram, and LinkedIn (at very least.) These social media platforms can greatly help fuel your ecommerce SEO efforts.
10. Craft a Content Strategy
In addition to being powerful channel for inbound marketing, content marketing is one of the best supplements to ecommerce SEO. First, determine the various types of content that you're capable of creating (i.e. articles, blog posts, video, graphics, etc.) Next, make a list of questions, problems, solutions, and topics that you want to convey in your content. Lastly, create the content and get it published, whether on your ecommerce site, or on another relevant sources (preferably one that gets a lot of traffic.)
Web Presence Management for Ecommerce: 3 Keys to Success
Here at Click Centric SEO, we often focus our work on ecommerce SEO and search marketing (PPC advertising, etc) Any yet, when we work with ecommerce clients, we advocate a more cohesive approach that centers on managing an ecommerce brand's complete web presence.
Parallel to the evolution of SEO and Google's algorithmic changes is the needed to embrace a comprehensive strategy that focuses on various aspects of web marketing and online brand building. Web presence management is one of the best ways to define this new approach as it takes into account several key variables which we go into greater detail below.
Embracing Web Presence Management Cohesively
What's different about web presence management compared to other forms of managing and building an online brand is cohesiveness. This approach brings together several aspects of Internet marketing and branding, and each work together in unison to grow a company's online presence.
The questions below reflect the primary components of web presence management. Answering each questions honestly might shed light on where you can improve the optimization and management of your ecommerce brand's web presence. For additional resources for web presence optimization, visit our sister company, WebPresenceGroup.net.
Are You Investing Enough In Social Media?
Investing in social media comes in many forms, such as:
- investing time and energy building a social media presence on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc.
- investing in social media advertising to reach new people to grow your audience
- investing time and energy finding quality content to share
- investing in the interaction and engagement with your audience
The social media presence of your ecommerce brand will ultimately influence its growth in many ways, particularly SEO and domain authority. How?
This is the role having a content strategy will play in web presence management.
Do You Have A Content Strategy In Place?
A content strategy is the glue that holds together your social media and SEO efforts. The creation of kick-ass content that resonates with you target audience provides the tangible means of having something awesome to share on social media.
Not only can this awesome content conjure a lot of likes, shares, tweets, and other social signals (making your content more legit in the eyes of Google,) but any links stemming from your content can be magnified, especially when they direct to key money pages or product pages on the cusp of high rankings.
While there are many ways to embrace content marketing and creating a content strategy, get creative and tap into interesting means that will spark the interests of your target audience. For ecommerce, in-depth articles, product review videos, image-packed and idea-rich blog posts are just a few good places to start.
What Are You Doing To Improve Your Search Engine Presence?
Sure, you've done some SEO on your ecommerce site and made your product pages are keyword relevant. But that's just 20% of the SEO equation.
What are doing off-site to support your SEO objectives (i.e. link outreach, network, blogging, etc.)?
Are you experimenting with PPC advertising to market your money products on search?
Where are most of your links coming from and how can you diversify your site's backlink profile.
Again, web presence management centers on cohesiveness and exploring all avenues to cultivate success. Focusing only on link building, or only on social, will only pose limitations in the growth of your web presence.
What It Takes To Cultivate a Sustainable Ecommerce SEO Strategy
Ecommerce SEO is a battle that many retailers fight (often times for years) and lose within time. Achieving sustainable search engine placement and out-ranking the Amazon's and eBay's of the web is incredibly tough. But it's not impossible.
What does it take to be atop these heavy hitters and hold high search rankings for the long-haul? Below we delve into some of the primary pillars that are vital to cultivate a sustainable ecommerce SEO strategy that delivers results for years (not just a few weeks.)
The On-site SEO Basics
There's on-page SEO and there's on-site SEO. Although many in the industry find these terms synonymous, they are actually a slightly different.
You can think of on-site SEO as the all-encompassing effort of ensuring your ecommerce site is properly optimized across all pages (i.e. sitemaps, schema markup, internal linking, etc.) While on-page SEO focuses more on the specific details and intricacies of optimizing a page (i.e. keyword-relevant titles, Meta data, copy, etc.)
To cover the on-site SEO basics, follow our Ultimate SEO Checklist for Ecommerce Sites. Here you find a quick run-down on the basic necessities of on-page and on-site SEO for ecommerce sites.
Growing Social Media Presence
Growing your social media presence should be equally as important as growing your keyword rankings in Google. A strong social media presence on Google+, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and other relevant channels is a powerful asset that can have a profound impact on your store's bottom line.
Not only does social media fuel direct traffic and sales for your ecommerce site, but it also helps to ignite your SEO efforts and content strategy (below). There's also an emerging buzzword called "social authority," and it makes a lot of sense from an SEO perspective.
In short, an ecommerce brand with loads of Facebook page likes, Google +1's, Twitter and Pinterest followers, etc. is attributed with great social authority. And what better mechanism for Google to determine ecommerce sites worthy of higher rankings?
Invest some marketing dollars in social media advertising and build your audience. Naturally growing a social media presence (via a content strategy) is pretty challenging, but not impossible. Your team can accelerate this process by getting new followers on-board to help share and spread awareness of all things awesome about your brand.
Fresh, Audience-Focused Content (On The Reg)
The next primary pillar to a sustainably-performing ecommerce SEO strategy is devise and implement a content strategy (or "content marketing strategy"). There are many possibilities to create audience-focused content, but ultimately, originality (evergreen content) and value are vital aspects to keep top of mind.
Product review videos are always a great approach, as evergreen videos (produced by your ecommerce store) placed on key product pages or rank-worthy money pages brings SEO value to those pages.
Focusing on long-form content is also a great content strategy, particularly if you're selling high-dollar items that require deep customer research and contemplation. Long-form content is comprised of in-depth articles that focus on specific topics, products, and applications.
Get your ecommerce marketing team together and brainstorm some stellar ideas to cultivate a content strategy. Just make sure to create a schedule and keep pushing out brilliant content on the reg (regular, that is ;).
Authoritative, Relevant Backlinks
While your awesome content should hopefully earn the likes of your social media audience (and thus earn some backlinks as a result,) this practice is often much easier said than done. Earning links requires an exceptional content strategy that's executed to perfection.
In most cases, manual link generation is need to produce results. And while we don't always recommend link building, when we do, it's absolutely important to take a very natural approach and build links mindfully using relevant sources and a very balanced anchor text profile.
While the best links are earned naturally via brilliant content that people link to, it can be beneficial to jump-start an ecommerce SEO strategy by manually publishing content on quality sources to direct links back to your site. Although this a consider "gray-hat" SEO, there's really no other option to be a strong contender in a competitive search market. In short, authoritative, relevant backlinks will help to build domain authority all while helping to establish keyword relevancy (two key drivers to sustainable rankings.)
Last but most certainly not least, the nuts and bolts behind the ecommerce site (the HTML backend) needs to be fluid and free of HTML errors and warnings. In essence, a technically fluid website enable search engine spiders to seamlessly crawl and index a site without getting choked up on broken code, flash media, or other roadblocks negatively impacting performance.
A good place to check the technical fluidity of your ecommerce site is the W3C Markup Validator which will highlight HTML errors and warning present throughout your site. Another good place to look as your site's Google Webmaster Tools account. Both of these sources can help you pinpoint problem areas that are hindering the technical performance of your ecommerce site (and thus its ability to rank as hard as possible.)
Why Web Presence Optimization is the Future of Online Marketing
The future of online marketing is changing. Diminishing are the days when keyword optimization, link building, and other traditional SEO strategies were all that was required to successfully rank in search engine results. As we enter 2015, SEO will slowly fall by the wayside as savvy Internet marketers use a new term: web presence optimization.
What is Web Presence Optimization?
Web Presence Optimization (or "WPO" as many are starting to call it) is a new online marketing strategy where businesses optimize content across all online platforms they are involved with. This is mainly via business blogs, social media pages, press releases, or the business website itself. Businesses now have to converge all their advertising platforms to improve their online brand visibility.
Why is WPO Approach Important to Business?
The greatest revelation in eCommerce today is that consumers are no longer looking for flashy advertisements but tangible information that can be used to make crucial purchase decisions. Consumers want to be educated about the product beforehand and know what they can gain from it. In other words, consumers want fresh, discoverable and relevant content about any product or service they are interested in.
Web presence optimization takes the focus away from mere advertising and channels it into building concrete and entertaining content that will generate new leads while maintaining old ones. This is not to say SEO is completely being tossed out the window. SEO is still at the core of internet marketing, only that WPO aims at spreading the various strategies of SEO on all search platforms used by internet consumers.
Components to Optimizing a Solid Web Presence
As a business, the first step to successfully initiate web presence optimization is to put more effort in its three key aspects namely content marketing, social media and search engine presence. Search engine presence will still rely heavily on the usual SEO tools to ensure your business remains visible to consumers on Bing, Yahoo! or Google.
Search engine algorithms have grown stricter and require diligent use of SEO techniques and strategies like generating backlinks, content keyword optimization, and SEO mapping to increase organic search listings. If you need your online content or social media campaign ranked highly in SERPS (search result pages) then you will need to pay attention to your search engine presence approach.
Content marketing is the new secret weapon for the business yearning to push through the cut-throat online competition and rich a substantial client base. Consumers are in need of new information every day thus it's the mandate of the business to update their content on blogs, article directories or press releases.
Google will also rank great content high-up on search results boosting your brand visibility. Content marketing accomplishes what advertising could not-educate consumers about the product, get them to like the product and trust it enough to buy it.
Social media is where business happens most today and every ecommerce company is looking for new ways to get users engaged on social media to create leads. Social media offers a ready advertising platform for company products and also an avenue to continue your content marketing strategy to potential clients. Your social media sites will require visibility in search engines. This means you will employ both SEO tools and fresh content marketing skills to get customers to notice your brand.
Web presence optimization is the future of business and all its three aspects-content marketing, social media, search engine presence- integrate together to boost brand visibility for businesses.
Do Social Signals Impact Search? Yes, but...
There's been a lot debate in the search marketing community regarding the impact social signals have on search rankings. Most professionals are under the impression the more tweets, likes, shares, pins, and +1's a page receives, the higher the likelihood the page will rank well in the search results.
Last month at SMX London, John Mueller of Google and Duane Forrester of Bing cleared the smoke with some rather interesting statements. They both denied that asocial signals have a direct impact on their search engine algorithms in determining ranking. However, they didn't offer insight has to how social media is indeed used in search.
Both Mueller and Forrester explained that there's a reason why a large number of people would share, tweet, like, etc. a given page: it's good content that offers value. Although this doesn't necessarily mean that the page will rank highly in search, the large number of social signals does serve a purpose in evaluating the page.
Social Signals Help to Evaluate the Legitimacy of Content
Contextual (or keyword) relevancy and links still hold true to attaining top search rankings.
If an article gets 100 links but no social signals, this can raise a red flag.
However, if an article gets 100 links and 323 likes, 86 shares, 134 +1's, and 432 tweets, the relationship makes sense.
In short, there's a very strong correlation with socially-favored content and the amount of inbound links it gets. Google and Bing can leverage this relationship to spot obvious signs of over-optimized content that offers minimal value to users.
What do you think? Does this shape your SEO practice? Let us know what you think in the comments below.
Tips to Create User-Centric Content That Earns Links Naturally
The foundational value of a website is largely determined by the quality and presentation of its content (such as the nature of the copy, media, graphics, and images.)
Ultimately, giving visitors a solid sense of purpose that answers the question "why I am here?" can help position your online brand as a legitimate, trustworthy, and enlightening resource.
Whether via SEO or other inbound marketing strategies, the righteous path to realizing success online is through your content. It's essential to create user-centric content (whether via blogging, crafting landing pages, or designing the homepage) that resonates with your audience on a meaningful level.
Furthermore, awesome content can actually earn your site valuable links. This can play a huge role in driving higher keyword rankings for SEO and keeping your online business thriving.
Below we share a series of tips and techniques you can use to inspire brilliant ideas for your content strategy.
Incubate & Empathize With Your Target Audience
The first step of the planning process is putting yourself in the shoes of your target audience. Learning exactly what your target audience likes, laughs at, and loves, (although difficult sometimes) can generate some of the best ideas for content creation.
A good approach is to chat with your existing clients to get an idea what jives with them. In short, pick their brains on what forms of content will spark their interests and captivate their attention.
Engaging with your target audience is key to learning more about their tastes, perspectives, and preferences. For instance, after publishing a blog post, try ask questions (whether in the blog post [depending on how many readers you anticipate] or in the social media posting when sharing the content.) Not only does this help generate feedback, but it enables you to interact with your audience on a deeper level, thus instilling your brand deeper into their subconscious.
Consistent communication with your clients and prospects also helps to establish long-term relationships and higher levels of trust. If you're regularly seeking the feedback of your clients, it sends signals that you truly care.
Dive Into Research & Read Up
One of the best sources for inspiration are other successful ideas. This can be in the form of research or other articles published throughout the web. Using these resources can help you get generate valuable ideas and facts to share in your own words (or imagery via video or graphics.)
Here's an example: fitness guru Ben Greenfield has created a massive following and a prominent online brand by diving into health-related research studies. He shares topics of interest on his blog and podcasts, which organically grows his audience and cultivates sincere followers whom of which are loyal.
In addition to reading up and researching other related ideas for content creation, finding good studies or articles provide excellent pieces that can simply be shared via social media. Not only does this give you something good and tangible to share with your audience, but by sharing other authors' (or influencer-generated) content, these powerful individuals might befriend, like, follow, or encircle you on their social media accounts. These are meaningful connections that can later be of incredible value for your content strategy.
Stay Current & Up-to-Date
Dovetailing aspects of your content strategy on news and current events is also a solid means to create link bait-able content. Often times, busy marketers don't have the time to visit and explore websites and other sources of news and events. Using an RSS feed, Google Alerts, or Talkwalker are great solutions to be shown content that relates to specific interests you can define.
With these alerts and feeds, you can notified whenever something relevant and important comes up. You can then take timely action to re-purpose these happenings into your own content.
Think Locally. Execute Globally.
Producing content that favors a local audience is highly effective in engaging specific in-market users. However, in order to draw the interests of larger audiences, you need to develop and share content that can be absorbed by people of diverse cultures.
For example, if you operate a website that provides natural health supplements, you can find relevant news of local interest to cover, but also tailor your content to also be relevant on a grander scale. Just a hint of locality in your content can spark a connection regional prospects and customers (but you also want to respect the entire clan.)
Don't Forget to Serve Existing Clients
As much as expanding the client base is the primary goal of most businesses, it's important never ignore existing clients. In fact, it's equally important that your currently clients are happy, loyal, and satisfied with your product or service.
Be creative and come-up with ways to reward your current clients. This can be as simple as a social media shout-out or even deeper by offering incentives or discounts on their investment with your company. The objective is help them feel appreciated, which can lead to repeat purchases and, most importantly, referrals.
As you can see, generating user-centric content should be..... well... user-centric. In other words, deliver value to your website visitors and don't obsesses about the links. If your content is truly awesome and resonates with your audience on a meaningful level, the links will come, naturally.
7 SEO Tips to Deliver Greater Value to Your Website Visitors
Having a successful website that provides a great amount of value isn't as hard as many people think. There are plenty of ways to attract new audiences and hold their attention; it just takes some time and effort. Another big part of having a site that is successful is making sure it is optimized as best as it can be for search engines. Now SEO isn't the easiest thing to do, but once you are ranked high in SERPs, you will see much more traffic and it will have been all worth it. So to help you out, we are going to take a look at 7 tips that will not only increase the overall value of your site, but also help you get ranked higher.
Use a Great Navigation Structure
The spiders that search engines sent to crawl through our sites rely on our overallnavigation to be able to index everything properly, so when there isn't a good navigation system put in place, we risk our pages getting ranked incorrectly.
Unfortunately, there are millions of sites out there that have pages that aren't connected to their site or may have accidentally placed a broken link, making it impossible for spiders to crawl and index them. We can ensure this doesn't happen to us by creating a great navigation structure and also including a site map. Once your navigation is complete, you should run an audit on your site to ensure that spiders are able to easily access all of your content.
Navigation also helps people find the content they are looking for. It helps to decrease your bounce rates, increase conversion rates, and gives them a much better experience in the end.
Ensure Fast Loading Times
Having a fast website is very important due to the fact that so many people use their phones and other devices to load up websites. This means that their internet connection could be running much slower than the average person on a regular computer. If they start to see that the site is taking way too long to load, you can expect them to just leave and find another site that is more reliable. Search engines are starting to take this seriously as well and have implemented load times in their algorithms, so if your site is slow, you are going to get punished for it. As much as possible, stay away from cheap web hosts and optimize your images to help make your site load faster.
Add Social Media Aspects to Your Site
Don't forget to add social media into your site. You can have your own social media profiles, add social media widgets to your content, or anything else you may want. It's important to have these types of things on your site because social media is such a big aspect of our everyday lives, that people now expect to be able to like and share content directly from your site. The shares and likes that you get are all counted by search engines, so the more interactions you get, the better you will be ranked.
Create a Community
Let people talk to each other! It doesn't matter what type of site you have, you should allow people to comment on your content, have a forum, or allow reviews on products & services. By having these things, you are letting people create their own personal connections to the site, which will help you have steady traffic and more conversions. If people are able to read product reviews from other customers they will see that they have had a good experience, trust your website much more and buy your stuff. If you are just trying to have people subscribe to a blog, allowing people to express themselves will create a much more welcoming atmosphere and will convince them to sign up. Search engines will also look highly on sites that allow these types of interactions because the site is always being updated, and they provide more value and a better experience.
Use Plenty of Internal Links to Connect Relevant Content
A great way to keep people on your site and engaged with your content is if you use internal links to help them find other pieces of content they would be interested in. If they know that your site has more content available that they like, then they are more likely to be converted once they gain more trust in your site. If you use relevant anchor texts, implementing an internal link strategy can be quite easy and will help with your bounce rates, overall navigation, and conversion rates.
Implement More Multimedia
Using videos, images, and audio in our sites is a must because of how popular they have become over the last decade. People would much rather interact with a website full of multimedia than just sit there and read an endless amount of text, so give them what they want. Search engines also understand how important multimedia is to a website, so they have started to index them and rank them very high based on their success. So, if you can come up with a great video, you can expect some good results.
Use Call to Action Buttons and Other Techniques to Increase Your Conversion Rates
It's important to always have your ultimate goal in mind when changing your site around. If you have an online business, then you are probably looking for more sales, while a blog would be looking to have people subscribe. Either way, both need to have strategies implemented to help new visitors become converted. You can use call to action buttons, catch people's attention by using contrast effects, or any other technique you feel would work best for your site.
The important part is that you use these techniques to make your site more appealing to your viewers, which will keep them on the site much longer. Since they are interacting more with your site once they start to be converted, you can expect that search engines will start to increase your authority.