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Social Media and SEO – how effective is your website?

social-media-seoYour business SEO strategy may currently be based around link-building – where specific paths are created to lead directly to your website and increase your search engine ranking – but this is no longer the best way to promote your website.

Although Google once allowed the tactic of using link generation as popularity votes, it wasn’t long before they realised that fake link-building could lead to some websites gaining an unfair advantage in terms of popularity and ranking. The old system of link-building could in fact be easily manipulated by web builders to enhance their SEO ranking which led to Google introducing penalties to counteract the problem. Google has now discovered a smarter way of measuring the popularity of your website – and it’s called social media.

If you have a Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn account for your business, you probably already have a group of “fans” who are willing and able to share your content. Not only can you share content from your website or blog, you can use social media “like” or “share” buttons as a brand new voting system! These are the tools that Google now employs to measure SEO as they are more effective and much tougher to manipulate.

The old method of link-building often created multiple pathways to your website but how would people find them? Chances are, you were churning out hundreds of links to your pages but nobody was paying attention! The beauty of social media is that conversations, events and interactions are constant and they are happening in real-time. The best (and quickest) way to increase your online influence is to have a presence where people are active and ready to engage. Once you start to generate consistent, quality posts on social media, you will begin to find the right audience for marketing your business.

Google is now also using social media to monitor the popularity of your website. It can calculate how many people visit your website; how many users share your content; how many followers/fans you have and whether you have social media interaction links built into your web pages. These are known as “social signals” and they are Google’s new way of measuring your website ranking.

It’s also been proven that social media links drive quality traffic to your website, whereas the majority of links from SEO building would fail because they would do nothing except act as a signpost for your website. Social media links have the potential to connect with real people (not bots or spammers); they increase the number of followers/fans in your social circles and can help generate sales for your business.

Google is now taking a stance against link-building because it can be manipulated and therefore does more harm than good when it comes to SEO. When promoting your website, focus on providing value and quality across your marketplace – and the best way to do this is via social media.

Here are a few things to remember:

The best digital marketing strategies for your business include both SEO and social media

SEO is no longer about building links and using keywords – strong content and quality web design are now essential tools

Social media plays a big part in customer service, reputation and generating recommendations (all of these have an impact on purchasing decisions)

Don’t forget to optimise your website for mobile phone and tablet as well as desktop computer use (you can also explore location-based marketing and apps)

Google+ is also a social media site and although not as popular as Facebook, it can be used to boost the search ranking of your website

If you’d like some help managing your social media accounts and campaigns, please get in touch!

 

The importance of having a creative Social Media strategy

So, what is ‘social media’? Some have already labelled it as ‘a fad’ but for business, it’s a revolutionary new way to reach out to potential clients.

Social Media works for business because it enables connections with a wide range of people. Engaging directly with existing clients, suppliers and potential customers helps to create trust and a reliable, relevant network. It is the online equivalent of the traditional networking event but instead of swapping business cards, companies can develop mutually beneficial relationships via websites such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and Pinterest.

For online marketing purposes, building the right image is key. Visual content works brilliantly with social media as users respond to images which help them to recognise products and brands. This is especially true of Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest. Networks such as Twitter are perfect for engaging with a wide range of people in a short space of time whereas LinkedIn can be utilised as an online CV for showcasing individual as well as company expertise. Businesses can use a range of social media accounts to publicise their brand, products and services with maximum impact but  without the financial burden of a traditional advertising campaign.

If a business has a creative nature, photography and info-graphics can be used effectively on a range of social media platforms. The trick is building connections and therefore engaging with as many people as possible to get noticed and regarded as a trustworthy, reliable organisation. Social media is utilised by a high percentage of businesses in the UK (according to The Social Media Benchmark by The Chartered Institute of Marketing,71% are currently using Twitter) so it makes sense it is widely used as a successful marketing tool.

But not all social media platforms are suitable for every business. The best approach is to be selective and focus on the networks where potential customers are likely to be. Also, the key word here is “social”. To get the most out of social media marketing, companies need to engage and not just announce news or updates. They should also be prepared to be responsive – establishing a presence on social media means making an invitation for people to communicate. Ignoring them would be a waste of time and highly unprofessional!

Just like the business world, social media is constantly changing and evolving. Businesses should make sure that they regularly measure responses and monitor activity on their social media accounts. If visual content generates a lot of interest, keep using it! If articles or editorial aren’t working, be more creative with content and create links to websites/blogs which provide the best examples of your Unique Selling Point or USP.

Remember: Business is all about relationships. Use social media to be generous and interested in other people. Although social media is largely cost-free, a large amount of time and effort should be invested to ensure the best results.

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