Are you following the Social Media Summit Speakers?
Are you following the Social Media Summit Speakers?
Over the years you’ve probably heard a lot of different advice for how to rank your website higher in the search engines. While it’s still possible to manipulate your search ranking, a more sustainable approach to search engine optimization is to get back to the basics and focus on a positive user experience giving your visitors a reason to share your content. This social sharing is the new face of SEO and will continue to play a larger role in the future. The following presentation provides a good framework for an optimized website.
As you see it all starts with a reliable hosting company. You want to ensure when the search engines are looking for your content they can find it easily. Server load times matter! By using Rackspace or Amazon, you will have a much better page load speed than on GoDaddy or other shared hosting.
A content management system (CMS) is a tool used to manage the content of a website easily. A good CMS such as WordPress can give your site a really solid framework to build an optimized site. The following are my recommended WordPress plugins to help with your optimization efforts:
Mobile friendly websites matter! Today it is more than just avoiding Flash like the plague, a good looking website on a desktop does not translate to a mobile device well without building it responsively.
Learn more about responsive web design here: http://clearlym.com/
Remember that the search engine’s role is to serve the most relevant content with a quality experience. You can think of a search engine like a concierge at a nice hotel when you ask for their recommendations on good places to dine. If you have a horrible experience based on the recommendations of the concierge you probably won’t go back and ask for more advice. This is the same for a search engine. They don’t want to send you to a website with tons of broken links, poor grammar and poor content. There are a number of tools available to help monitor the user experience, the two most helpful are Google’s Webmasters Tools and Google’s Analytics.
Now that you have an optimized platform it’s time to showcase some really great content on it. Do not underestimate the need for quality content. You want to be compelling and informative (or entertaining). The more engaging the content, the more loyal the visitors. The byproduct of great content is that it begs to be shared. If you create a great article, infographic or similar you will earn inbound links which directly impacts your search ranking.
It is important to build authority both as a brand and also as an author.
The first step to establishing your authority is to claim and connect your social media profiles. Even if you or your company does not plan on being on each social platform, for the sake of reputation management, you really need to claim your name on all social channels. There are a number of services such as knowem.com which can help claim all of the platforms for you.
Historically, Google’s has used their PageRank algorithm to identify authority on a website. A big change currently happening is the shift from a domain to the author of the content. Google has announced:
“Within search results, information tied to verified online profiles will be ranked higher than content without such verification, which will result in most users naturally clicking on the top (verified) results.”
This shift makes having a Google+ account and building your authorship critical. Authorship is established by linking your Google+ account to the various domains you contribute content on with a reciprocal rel=”author” link back to Google+ profile. Once this connection is made you can test the connection using Google’s Rich Snippets tool. Learn more about the Authorship program on Google’s website.
Harness the power of social media by sharing your content and making it easy for others to share it!
After you create content, leverage your social networks to promote its visibility. If you create a blog post, be sure to post it on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and other relevant networks. Leverage a featured image in your blog post so that when you share it out it will be accompanied by a thumbnail. Open Graph meta tags allow you to control the content that displays when a page is accessed through a social channel. For WordPress, consider using the WP Facebook OG plugin or similar to easily integrate these tags into your website. It will make it more visual when you share content out to the various social channels.
By placing social buttons (similar to the ones on the left) sharing becomes very easy! Really, go ahead and try it out The plugin we use is DiggDigg for WordPress but there are a number of other plugins we use as well:
In the last blog post on the power of brand advocates I discussed the importance of leveraging your customers and employees to further your reach and generate word of mouth marketing. One feature of SurroundsMe that has helped me rank #1 in Google for “Search Engine Optimization Expert” is a tool which visualizes how many social shares each of the pages in your website have and makes it easy to validate the content socially.
As a general summary, the secret to SEO is to start with an optimized web hosting provider and content management system. Then create quality content which attracts inbound links and reinforce your content with social shares.