The In’s and Out’s of SEO – Search Engine Marketing Relevance
Search engine optimization and ways of driving website traffic have changed dramatically over the last few years. It used to be all about the algorithms. Then Google’s all-powerful algorithms were over-ridden by the phenomenon of social search as social media developed, grew and exploded into the collective consciousness.
Google fought back, creating, scrapping, re-creating and refining its own social media platforms and apps to compete with its major competitor, Facebook. In fact, the two giants are running neck and neck, miles above every other social network. Facebook holds # 2 ranking – both at home and globally, according to Alexa.com.
The emphasis Google has been putting on its own social networks should give us the biggest clue why social media is important for search engine and website traffic.
Namely, it works.
1. Social Media Keeps Up with – and Enables – Trends
What’s the one consistent fact about internet culture, social platforms and technology nowadays? It’s always in a state of change. And one fact that is quickly becoming self-evident: Whichever social network can adapt to the cultural mindset the quickest draws the biggest audience.
Have you ever seen documentaries that show how certain fish not only school together, but move as one fluid entity, shifting this way and that as if they possess one mind? Well, social networks in today’s cultural climate operate exactly like that.
These networks go with the flow and are not manipulated by algorithms. In fact, algorithms are being feverishly adapted to keep up with popular online connection practices and habits.
Both social media developers and Google programmers know this. Changes in algorithmic practices have resulted in a shift away from rigid formulae to the phenomenon we all know by now as “social search”. If even Google is rushing to follow social platform leads, that’s a powerful message about the importance of social media.
2. Social Sharing is the New SEO
What makes Google sit up nowadays is the sharing capacity and performance of a site – not backlinks. In fact, Google now penalizes backlinks from exact anchor text, boosting sites in the ranks if their content is fresh, original, authoritative, comprehensive, spam-free – and above all, shared.
Want to rocket up in search rankings the easy way? Follow the example of top-ranking sites such as Social Media Examiner here and install the Google+ “+1” button, as well as the “g+” follow icon.
And do install share buttons for the other major players – Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and LinkedIn.
3. Social Networks are Where People Spend Their Time
Hanging out on social networks has become as common in this era as watching “I Love Lucy” on TV was in the 1950s. If you aren’t sure what “I Love Lucy” is, at least now that times certainly have changed. It’s what people did, back then, to unwind after their work day.
Nowadays thanks to mobile phones, people don’t have to wait until “after work”: They can – and do – quickly check Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter feeds any time, day or night.
People now habitually ask friends for opinions, check in at local businesses, complain about poor service – and visit websites promoted through social ads and social media Business Pages.
4. Social Networking Improves Your Google Rank
There are two things you must do, to quickly advance in Google’s search rankings. Number one is purchase a domain in your own name (if that is not already taken). Next, join the top social networks and optimize your profile within each one.
Let’s take an extremely common name – say, “MARY JONES” – and type it into Google’s search bar. We have 368,000 results. And out of that 368,000, which results come up in the top four positions?
Let’s take a look…
Top place goes to the Mary Jones who was smart enough to get her name with the .us domain extension.
Third place results belongs to Mary Jones with a profile on Facebook. That’s a great example of leveraging the power of strong social sites – and the particular Mary JOne featured here didn’t just sign up and create any old profile.
She optimized her profile, right down to creating a custom URL, “https://facebook.com/public/mary-jones”.
It’s likely that “https://facebook.com/public/maryjones” was already taken, so she had to use the hyphen in her name. Which didn’t hurt because she knew how to optimize her profile to get found in search.
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