TAG | SEO
There is absolutely no question that in the rush to get a piece of the social media marketing market a lot of weak products are hitting the market, resulting in a saturation of social media products. There are now 300 plus product platforms that class themselves as Social Media.
I focus on what I consider to be the most important social media networking platforms and I define that in terms of the return on my invested time with respect to my business goals; and my shortlist is:
- LinkedIn personal profile: a professional network from which I have developed business wins. I only network with people I know in some prior business capacity to maintain the value of the contacts.
- LinkedIn company page: the value of this page is that it has great search engine strength and is a tactic to drive off-page SEO. I connect this blog to this page via Feedburner to ensure that the content gets updated automatically.
- Facebook personal page: while I limit this to only ‘friends, I promote my business activities occasionally. Facebook is my personal playground
- Facebook company page: this is where I use the power of Facebook to promote my business. This page is connected to Twitter, every time I post to this page it sends out a tweet.
- Twitter: I use twitter both to take part in personal micro-blogging and to promote business activities via keyword rich tweets. By doing this, I can make my tweets appear on relevant Google searches. This can be powerful if used strategically.
- Digg, StumbleUpon and Reddit are used to drive the popularity of my articles , which in turn increases my off-page SEO performance.
- Tecnorati is a real-time search for user-generated media by tag or keyword. It is quite a process to get approved by Tecnorati but the effort is worth it for off-page SEO performance.
- Slideshare is used to both to share PowerPoint Presentation but it is also a great tool for the occasional time that you nave technical issues and allows you to pull us a PowerPoint on any computer with an Internet connection.
- Flickr is a platform that I recommend to my clients to undergo image-marketing program as a tactic to build brand awareness. I do not use Flickr because of the strength of my photography web site but it makes sense for my clients.
While there are hundreds more these are my platforms of choice. At the end of the day it is about return on invested time. D I believe that the status quo will prevail? Absolutely, not I suspect that the mix will change as newer, better products arrive.
To update these, I use the social media icons at the bottom of the blog entry each and every time I make a new entry. Yes, they are not just for your use.! If this is too cumbersome for you or you use many social media networking platforms then I suggest you use PING.FM – this tool, once set up, permits you to make a social media update and them broad cast it to all of your platforms with the click of a mouse. While convenient, I am not a great fan as I like to see my posts tailored for each media platform but it is nice to have a choice.
Once DandyID have gathered all of your social media accounts they provide you with a ‘How Social are you score’. I score 87/100, which is pretty high, and it appears that I am much more social than I thought that I was.
One of the great failings that I see all too often in the use of Social Media as a marketing tool, is the lack of understanding of what it can do for the organic search performance of a businesses products and services. Why? Because the Social Media user rarely looks beyond the communication services offered by the media. Take Twitter, and the world of micro-blogging as an example. The average user believes that the strength of Twitter is the ability to broadcast a marketing message or campaign to that users follows with the great desire that the campaign is so exciting that it goes viral through Retweets.
That is all well and good but Twitter, as a content-delivery media, can be hit or miss depending on how many of your followers see/read your tweets.
However, Twitter can produce high search engine rankings per this example below. I was searching for a recent photo shoot of the ‘RITCA Coaches meet’ and because I loaded these keywords into a Tweet, one of my search results came from Twitter. Great stuff!
Now that’s marketing, and it’s free! How does this work? It is simply an extension of your web site/ blog’s Internet keyword marketing strategy. Carefully craft Tweets, which include the keywords that your prospective clients will search for while using Google, Bing etc. While some of your followers may miss ‘that important Tweet’ we can use the search engines to make sure that they do not miss your marketing message.
The power of Twitter goes well beyond Tweets; it can push you up the organic search rankings.
The importance of the Title tag is one of the most effective aspects of search engine marketing but the value of the Title tag is greatly overlook and is often abused. What is the Title tag? When you log into a web site the title tag for each web page appears at the top of the browser but is most commonly noticed when seen on a search engine return page, per below (for my Sports photography web site):
The Title tag is the top line in blue. The bolded words reflect the search term used “George Ross” and this means that the most important keywords for each web page must be included in the title tag for great search engine optimization performance. It is important to state the obvious that by simply having a great, keyword rich title tag alone does not guarantee great organic search engine performance but it is a very important component of a search engine optimization strategy.
The title tag should:
- not exceed 60 characters
- include the most important key words for that web page ( every page on a site should be unique)
- include a location, if you business is regional (state or town)
Most Title tags are badly written because the importance of them is under recognized. I adjust my clients thinking by asking them to look at their own title tags and the to consider the keywords that a prospective client would use to find their business. If they match great….but they seldom match.
The title tag should be uniquely crafted for each page, it is tedious and challenging but it is an extremely effective marketing action.
The use of the title tag is considered the 4th most important aspect of search engine marketing, see this blog entry http://webdesign-ri.com/web_site_design_and_SEO_blog/2009/09/24/top-search-engine-ranking-factors/
If you ant to market your web site, embrace title tags.
There are many tools available to all for SEO and internet marketing and my primary tool is a free plug-in for Firefox...the SeoQuake toolbar.. While I do use other products and techniques to evaluate the search engine optimization of client web sites, SeoQuake is my first stop as it provide a snapshot of the key search engine parameter. These parameters are detailed below:
* Google PR
Google PageRank of current page
* Google Index
Number of indexed pages. Google version.
* Google link
Number of links, pointing to the current page. Google version (Except links from concerned domain).
* Google cachedate
Date of current Google cache.
* Yahoo Index
Number of indexed pages. Yahoo version.
* Yahoo link
Number of links, pointing to the current page. Yahoo version (Except links from concerned domain).
* Yahoo Linkdomain (LD)
Number of links, pointing to the current domain. Linkdomain (LD) operator finds pages linking to domain, as opposed to link which finds references to a single page. Yahoo version.
* Yahoo Linkdomain2 (LD2)
Number of links, pointing to the current domain (2-level domain). Linkdomain2 (LD2) operator finds pages linking to an entire domain, as opposed to linkdomain (LD) which finds references to a current domain (subdomain for example). Yahoo version.
* Yahoo Directory
Domain presence in the Yahoo Directory.
* MSN Index
Number of indexed pages . MSN version.
* MSN link
Number of links, pointing to the current page. MSN version (Except links from concerned domain).
* MSN Linkdomain (LD)
Number of links, pointed to the current domain. Linkdomain (LD) operator finds pages linking to domain, as opposed to link which finds references to a single page. MSN version.
* MSN Linkdomain2 (LD2)
Number of links, pointing to the current domain (2-level domain). Linkdomain2 (LD2) operator finds pages linking to an entire domain, as opposed to linkdomain (LD) which finds references to a current domain (subdomain for example). MSN version.
* Yandex CY
Yandex Rank of current page.
* Yandex index (russian SE)
Number of indexed pages. Yandex version.
* Yandex link
Number of links, pointing to the current page. Yandex version.
* Yandex catalogue
Domain presence in the Yandex Directory.
* Rambler index (russian SE)
Number of indexed pages. Rambler version.
* Rambler top100
Domain presence in the Rambler top100 catalogue.
* DMOZ Directory
Domain presence in the Dmoz Directory.
* Alexa Rank
Traffic estimation index
* WebArchive age
First date in Archive.org
* Del.icio.us index
Link to del.icio.us history for current url.
* Technorati index
Link to Technorati history for current url.
* Digg index
Link to Digg history for current url.
* IP lookup
Current domain IP.
* Whois link
Link to the Whois record of current domain.
* View source
Link to the source code of current web page.
* Check robots.txt
Check if robots.txt file exists and if it does show link to it.
* Page links
Dispaly quantity of internal/external links with the link to the link list.
* Baidu index
Number of indexed pages. Baidu version.
* Baidu link
Number of links, pointing to the current page. Baidu version.
* Wikipedia (EN)
Number of search results found in Wikipedia (EN)
* Ask index
Number of indexed pages. Ask version.
Number of search results found in Bloglines
I do not use all of these parameters as that would be overwhelming, so I have selected the parameters that are appropriate for my method of working. However, if none of the above parameters meet your needs SEoQuake provides a ‘custom parameters’ module. Great tool, thank you SeoQuake
When web designers publish a web site it is often only after many, many, client project reviews and page edit after page edit with a focus, a sole focus, on how the web site will appear in a browser. Few clients have any interest other than how the web site will appears in a web browser and they just assume that everything else is in place that will make the web site perform on search engines.
However, in the months that follow publication the client observes that the web site simply is not performing well on search engines!. What to do!
One of the first steps is to understand how a search engine reads you web site.
A great, efficient and simple way to evaluate your site is to look at the site in the same way that a search engine spider would… checking each page with a text browser using a Lynx Browser. This tool reads all the text on a web page including the ‘Alt’ text assigned to images.
It is quite common that web sites that look spectacular have little-to-no content and this occurs because of a dependence on images and flash files and very little use of text. Spiders read text.
If your web site must be image intensive then please read this blog entry for advice on image optimization for search engines…http://webdesign-ri.com/web_site_design_and_SEO_blog/2009/09/18/how-to-search-engine-optimize-images/
In order to achieve a high Google page rank, you web site must be seen to be popular amongst the users of the Internet and there is a very complicated algorithm that is used to complete the page rank calculation.
Popularity is often thought of as the number of backlinks (inlinks) to your site but there are other methods of increasing your site’s popularity ( off site SEO) and one such method is delicious.com: a Social Bookmarking service, which means you can save all your bookmarks online, share them with other people, and see what other people are bookmarking.
So, the more people that bookmark your web site on delicious.com the more popular your site will be; and this is one important tactic to increasing the page rank of your site.
You can adopt a passive strategy and wait until browsers bookmark your site or you can adopt a pro-active marketing strategy by:
- Encourage all of your company employees to bookmark your site
- Encourage all of your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and myspace contacts to book mark your site
- Ask your social media friends to spread the good news about your site through their networks
Delicious should be a component of any social media networking marketing program.
Hotels on the Las Vegas strip clearly get much more traffic than the hotels that are located in the lesser attractive off-strip areas; and it is with this very simple analogy we have the objective for our internet marketing strategy, we want our web sites to be on the strip!
Okay the, so how do we move our web sites high up the search engine rankings to be exposed to maximum eyeballs? The answer is pretty simple, if not a little confusing at the outset, and that is ‘indirect’ Internet marketing.
The problem with indirect Internet marketing is quite simply the word ‘indirect’ because most businesses expect, and measure, their marketers on some form of direct marketing. However, with Internet marketing, the only part of the marketing process that we control is the on-page search engine optimization (SEO) of our web site and that may only count for 30% to 40% of the elements required for a complete search-marketing program. We must pay attention to ‘off-page’ SEO.
However, while SEO is not an exact science, it is the off-page SEO activities that separates the web sites from those that are ‘on the strip’ from those that are ‘off-strip’; and it is this off-page SEO that calls for an ‘indirect’ internet marketing strategy.
Search engines measure the value of a web site by the number of other websites that link to that site and this is where it is imperative to develop and execute an aggressive strategy that falls within the guidelines laid out by Google. If two web sites have identical on-page SEO, it will be the site with the best off-page SEO that will rank higher with the search engine.
So, what should the core of an indirect Internet marketing strategy look like?
1) Connect with friendly web sites to link back to your site.
2) Join many forums and become active in many discussions; and ensure that your URL is included in your signature.
3) Develop and host groups on all social networking media web sites to promote your business and update on a regular basis.
4) Issue press releases on a regularly via paid, and free, PR web outlets
5) Write article for ezines
6) Add a blog to your site but do not use it to sell your products directly, use the blog to position your brand as being expert in your field. Every time you make a blog entry you will increase both the size and the freshness of your site and if you can get subscribers to your site you will be well on your way.
7) Take part in all industry associations.
8) Be relentless
These tactics could be considered to have little value individually, but collectively this a is a powerful force.
To accomplish the above you have to pursue it, as it will not come to you. There is a lot of work, much of it mundane, involved in executing an indirect marketing strategy but if executed you will move you business onto ‘the strip’ where the foot traffic is great and opportunities abound.
In many regards, search engine optimization is a black art because there is not a set of definitive rules to follow, therefore, much is left to both interpretation and emotion. Emotive decision factors are never a good thing! Google publish a set of best practice guidelines but there are many nuances above and beyond the guidelines that define them as that guidelines not rules.. However, SEOMOZ.org publishes a list of the top SEO factors as assessed by a panel of experts and below is the top five from their overiew, for search marketers this is an invaluable report. Read the full report here What is interesting about this survey is that even that panel of experts cannot agree and where consensus is not achieved a contentious factor is assigned. This is good reading for the search marketer.
Keyword Focused Anchor Text from External Links73% very high importance
External Link Popularity (quantity/quality of external links)71% very high importance
Diversity of Link Sources (links from many unique root domains)67% very high importance
Keyword Use Anywhere in the Title Tag66% very high importance
Trustworthiness of the Domain Based on Link Distance from Trusted Domains (e.g. TrustRank, Domain mozTrust, etc.)66% very high importance
A commonly missed opportunity when building web sites is the failure to search engine optimize images. In a competitive world, any edge that you can gain over your competition should and must be taken. If you fully optimize your images it is more than likely that your competitor has not, because seldom do, and you will gain an edge and this edge may push you higher in organic search rankings. We need focus our attention on two attributes: the file name and the HTML ALT tag.
FILE NAME: Most images on web sites have generic names either the nomenclature which is assigned by the camera (IMG_1234, DSC_7897 etc) or are assigned the generic name of a web template e,.g photo1, photo2, image1, image2 etc. While these are extremely convenient that are useless from an SEO perspective. How many people with search for IMG_1234? It is important to rename all of your photos which include the primary search keyword. For instance, I am sports photographer and as such it is important that I include the name of the event in each photo. So, if my camera outputs file# IMG_1756, I will rename that to CVS_Downtown_5K_09202009_IMG1756.jpg now we have a file name that makes sense to a search engine by carrying the event name and I retain the file name for my library purposes (which is very important, trust me!) If you can be more specific with your file name, you should be, but as I may shoot 1,000 to 4,000 images at an event, I have to take a more general approach.
ALT tag: this allows you to assign description to an image in the example above – CVS_Downtown_5K_09202009_IMG1756.jpg – I would add a more specific description e.g ” Shalane Flanagan winning the 2009 CVS Downtown 5K in Providence, Rhode Island”
Now, we have both our image name and image ALT tag with descriptions which include search terms.
Also, make sure that you turn on the search images attribute in Google.