Blog items tagged with "social-signals"
Ecommerce SEO and selling product online (to wider geographic market) is not limited to big retailers, warehouses, affiliates and drop shippers. 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 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.
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.
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.)
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.