Friday, November 29, 2013

SOCIAL SEO Article on

November 29, 2013

Using Social Signals to Boost Your SEO

Social signals are a hot commodity these days; without them, your SEO and overall traffic won’t be all it can be. Socials signals are any promotion or mention of your brand or products through tweets, Facebook “likes”, and related blasts. The more you engage your audience in commenting and sharing your social media and content, the better your overall SEO results will be.
Both Google and Bing have shown an increasing interest in the value of social signals, making an overall strategic social media plan an essential part of your marketing landscape. Understanding how and why social signals are so crucial to SEO will assist you in planning your overall SEO tactics.
How Social Signals Can Increase Your Rankings
The level of social interaction your customers have with your brand directly and indirectly impacts your SEO clout. Organic search rankings have been increasingly affected by social signals, and while it’s arguable to what degree (and varies by search engine as well), it is abundantly obvious that overlooking this aspect of SEO is flat out foolish.
How do social signals directly impact SEO?
The following are critical:
Google+ Circles – Yes, it’s apparent many folks have challenges with the popularity of Google. The thing is, Google loves its social platform, so if you learn to embrace it too, your SEO results can see a boost. Note that the number of people you have in your own circles is not as important as the number of folks who include you.
Facebook Shares – Get your Facebook followers engaged in your content. How? By creating truly valuable posts, ideally rich in graphics and video.
Twitter Followers and Tweet Mentions – Remember that a bigger audience isn’t necessarily better. You again want a demographic that is engaged and active with your content. Retweets and social mentions are golden – getting folks to write #yourbrand is extremely valuable.
Facebook Likes – Quality over quantity rules here too. 1,000 active followers are better than 2,000 fans who ignore your posts. Engagement is always key.
Social signals increase rankings in an indirect manner too.
Examples of these actions include:
Positive Reviews – If folks are saying nice things about you on sites like Yelp, Google Local, and various prominent blogs, your SEO will show it. In fact, Sam McRoberts of Vudu Marketing says the number and tone of these reviews are two of the three most substantial factors in determining local search. It’s integral that your social media strategy include near real-time responses to users that have issues or questions; many people now use social profiles for brands as their go-to for customer support. These interactions can then assist in your overall SEO results, so make a commitment to be very active in this space. You won’t just see an increase in your rankings through this policy, but in overall customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Inbound Links – These help increase your visibility and credibility, and have been the darlings of SEO efforts for some time. Matt Cutts, the Google search spokesperson, has repeatedly hinted that links are still SEO-critical. Although some feel this impact has been lessened in recent months, links still should not be ignored. Creating a strong social presence and a website that extends the feeling of credibility and professionalism is your best bet to attracting link support from equally reputable partners.
Advice on How to Improve Your Social Signals
You get it – social is crucial. So how do you increase your social signal power?
Here are some practical tips:
On-site Updates – Make sure your website has oodles of opportunities for folks to share your content. Let them tweet articles, Google +1, recommend, bookmark – you name it. Encourage visitors to follow you on the various social platforms too. Blogs are also essential – they not only give visitors lots of options to share, but frequent high-quality and current content makes search engines very happy.
Updated Social Profiles – Choose only those social networks that actually pertain to your business, and dedicate a member of your team to keeping it current. Profiles should be complete, and monitored daily for comments and questions. Facebook and Twitter are a must, as is a LinkedIn profile. Sites like Vine and Pinterest are hot too, and relevant if your demographic fits the bill.
Integrate Your On and Off-site Efforts – Every time you publish content on your blog or website, you should in tandem alert your social stratosphere. Give viewers the ability to follow you on your social spaces, and to comment as well. You don’t just want eyeballs, you want clicks, comments, and shares. The quality and frequency of your content is essential, as is your willingness to engage in return. Make sure everything you do is reflected appropriately on all your social channels. And please take the time to treat each social network separately – status updates and content shares on LinkedIn, as an example, need to be professional and concise. Facebook can be more informal and wordy, and Twitter is obviously short and sweet. Respect the nature and demographic of each network and your efforts will be rewarded.
All the tactics above will not only increase your SEO rankings, but your brand credibility and reach as well. Focusing on social signals is that proverbial win-win.
How have you seen your SEO impacted by your social reach – either positively or negatively? What tactics do you feel are the keys to success?

Monday, November 25, 2013

Reprinted from

Prediction: The Future of Search Engine Rankings

Search engines . . . mysterious, frustrating, and unpredictable. Nearly every webmaster would love for their site to rank well in the search engines and have the staying power to last beyond the next algorithm change. Unfortunately, too many people try to get there using shortcuts instead of building for long term success.
In the past, that meant things like:
  • Stuffing keywords into the page and source code.
  • Content and article spinning.
  • Automated mass link-building.
  • Showing the search engine spiders content customized for them.
  • Mass quantity doorway pages. name just a few. Of course, a person has a right to do those things with their own website. But at the same time, the search engines have the right to rank your site poorly or not to index it all if you do.
All those "tricks" worked at one time, but the search engines took action against every one of them, and they're still fighting web spam as vigorously today as ever.
Webmaster's whose sites are de-indexed or lost their rankings often cry foul, and then go right back to searching for more shortcuts.
One of the "in" ways to cheat now is to hide content out of site by using CSS to move it off the visible page. Those who use this trick don't realize the search engines have a large staff whose job it is to hunt down web spam in the search results.
They view the source code. They also use browser plugins to easily turn off JavaScript and CSS so anything a webmaster tries to hide becomes immediately visible.
And which sites do they check?
Sites that are reported, usually by a competitor. And . . . sites that start ranking well. That's one reason cheaters who make it to the top don't usually stay there very long. They have no reason to check sites that don't rank well, so they check the sites that do. As soon as a spammer thinks he or she the beat the system, the hammer falls.
And here's another newish dirty trick...
Have you ever went to a website and tried to click the back button and it doesn't seem to work? That's because some webmaster's are using redirects and other tactics to try to trap you on their page longer. Some of these guys will redirect you dozens of times, making it impossible to use your back button. Why? Because the time spent on a site after following a link in the search results is one of the ranking facters. The longer you stay, the better it is for the site.
The search engines will catch on to this trick, too, if they haven't already.
Do you see a pattern here? Webmasters figure out a way to cheat. It works temporarily, then the search engines catch on and penalize them. Then those who cheated look for more cheats.
It's a never-ending cycle, but there is a better way. First you have to know what the search engines want. That's an easy one...
They want to show the most relevant search results to their users, and they want the best of the relevant sites listed first. So ask yourself...
Why should your website be on the first page of search results?
Hint: It isn't just because you want it to rank on the first page.
The answer, ideally, is that your content is the best, and that may be the case one day. Right now though, we don't live in an ideal world. There are other factors that do matter. Things like:
  • Slow and natural link building using varied anchor text.
  • Good intra-site link practices.
  • A mixture of no-follow and do-follow links.
  • On-page optimization.
  • On-site optimization.
  • Social signals.
  • Page load time.
  • Good keyword selection. name just a few, but there is one factor that matters the most. Do you remember what I said the search engines wanted?
To show the most relevant search results to their users, and to show the best of the relevant results first. This is what the search engines have been working toward from the beginning, and it's what they will keep working toward. While the steps they take to meet this goal aren't always predictable, the goal itself is very predictable. You can count on that.
The seach engines keep getting better and better at determining quality content from spam. While the still have a long way to go, the effectiveness of dirty tricks will keep going down as they continue to make progress.
Why do I say that?
Two reasons. First, because the more parameters there are that factor into the search rankings, the less effective any one cheat will be. And second, the better they become at discerning quality content from junk content, the less effective ALL cheats will be. The first reason is more of a factor now, the second will become the most important factor in the future.
And with quality content as the historical trend and the long-term goal, that means we should create content that DESERVES to be ranked highly on it's own merit, rather than because we found a temporary shortcut. And that is the secret to long-term success.
If those who chased the quick tricks would have built for the long term from the beginning, they wouldn't have to keep starting over every time there's a significant algorithm change. They'd have valuable web property right now. They'd have a successful business or hobby site, whatever the goal is.
Yes, it takes time, planning, and effort—but that beats constantly fighting against the trend toward better content and the elimination of web spam. If you want long-term success online, you have to build it one piece at a time; short-term cheats won't help you build a sustainable web presence.
In the next issue, we're going to take a hard look at just what "better content" really is as far as the search engines are concerned.