Tag Archives: social media optimisation

4 ways to drive web traffic with SEO

This fourth and final part of my SEO series considers how to drive traffic to the website ‘off the page’. This involves getting links to your website on as many other websites as possible, the ethical way!

1. Link building: Search engines place importance on incoming links and, as a result, ‘link building’ has emerged as a critical part of the optimisation process. Explained simply, 100 websites offering a link to your website collectively implies that your site is relevant and worth visiting. So start thinking creatively about where your target audience congregate online.

2. Indexing: Make sure your website is correctly indexed with the major search engines. Most search engines have an address like Google where you can input your website’s domain name for ranking.

3. Social media optimisation: If you haven’t already, you should consider setting-up profiles with major high traffic sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube and Flickr. They consistently feature on the first page of most searches alongside company websites.

4. Digital PR: In line with the thinking behind social media optimisation, often a top ranking position in a search belongs to a reference or article on a well visited news or media site. This could be in a specific b2b sector (for example, in the food sector – Food Navigator) or Yahoo! for more general, b2c searches.

Summary: An unrelenting global news cycle, the rise in self publishing and the ‘always on’ nature of the internet means there will always be somebody, somewhere interested in what you have to offer. Having content distributed more widely, with more back links, gives browsers a better chance of finding you when they need to.

Image: iPhoneMatters

An extended version of this post originally featured on the BDB Blog in October 2010. Click to read it in its entirety.

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Searching for the SEO pot of gold

In a recent B2B Marketing magazine article (Feb 2011, Best Practice) SEO experts in the b2b marketing sector mused on the forthcoming changes in this space. Here I lay out the essence of what they said and discuss why I agree and disagree with some of it.

Mobile, undeniably, is the growth area. Smart phone use in particular (which asa device is slated to outstrip the computer in providing Internet access by 2013), is growing at phenomenal rates. Companies need to reconcile the importance of search to business customers in tandem with understanding how search is conducted differently ‘on the go’.

Google Instant Preview, was slated as the biggest change in search, completing search strings when browsers entered terms. I’m not sure. Doesn’t this take more time and need more clicks, just like when predicative texting was first introduced?

The main point about Social Search focused on how the recent tie up between Facebook and Bing could mean more search activity takes place within Facebook meaning more people stay within the site longer. Though important, social media optimisation is more than just Facebook based.

Sitemaps are undeniably crucial in directing visitors to relevant web content, and their role is growing as more rich content is used by website owners. And having greater visibility over incoming and outgoing social media links will make them more relevant.

New generic top level domains like .eco .sport and .music are going to fuel a goldrush scramble by existing domain registrants to secure the new variants that might impact on their business. Whether they will become mainstream remains to be seen.

Local focus will continue to grow in 2011 as the various geolocation services incorporate offers, benefits and other time sensitive and loyalty affirming promotions. Google already returns local searches, integrating mapping functionality. Ensuring your business is correctly indexed with Google Places, Yell, FreeIndex and other online directories is key to this, but often overlooked.

But without giving marketers to0 much to think about, I’d also add the following to the mix as critical in 2011.

Long tail search involving the use of longer, more specific phrases rather than overused, but increasingly generic single word terms garner more targeted results. Each of the main search engines has a keyword tool which can be used to inform your SEO efforts. Use them. And check them regularly.

Links are still strong currency, and it is an important strategy to build a credible bank of incoming links from related and high traffic sites to boost your own visibility and overall search rank. Linked to social media, it makes sense, in this respect to create profiles with back links to your website to support this.

Integration remains central to any and all marketing effort. Only when all your marketing activities are joined up, pointing in the same direction, formed around the same messages and using a consistent vocabulary can truly effective SEO have the right conditions in which to thrive. Remember that the visitor who has arrived at your site through search has probably been influenced by advertising, direct marketing, email, a trade show, editorial, a forum posting or other reference elsewhere online OR offline.

Interestingly, the article also made no mention of multi language SEO and regional domain hosting, presumably because no b2b companies operate abroad…but that is a point for another day!

Twenty Reasons Why Facebook rocked 2010

Facebook marches inexorably towards dominating the battle for attention raging on the Internet.

This excellent presentation shows how Facebook has not only innovated in a number of areas but also taken on new startups in a bid to attract and retain its audience of over 500m users, half of whom log in and spend time on the site every single day.

The line between social and business is blurring ever more and Facebook is in part responsible. If you don’t have personal and business pages set up on Facebook you are really missing out on lucrative audience access, potential business and valuable search engine optimisation.

Why just dipping your toe online doesn’t work

Time and time again we see companies making a hash of their online presence and the opportunities afforded to them by the Internet. To some it can be a place to make a quick buck, to others it is a terrifying place only entered with extreme caution. To others it represents an incredible opportunity to reach and engage with likeminded individuals.

From a business perspective, you are doing your company’s future success online more harm than good if you are just dipping your toe and using the latest in-vogue digital marketing tools rather than joining them up strategically.

Limiting your reach and exposure to a single website, the odd profile on a social networking site or a couple of banner ads on key industry portals really inhibits your ability to shine online and draw customers to you.

A term that is already in use in digital marketing circles is ‘social media optimisation’. This takes the notion of search engine optimisation one stage further and in using high traffic social media sites to in essence provide a backlink to a nominated web page, means you are optimising your site through social media.

As a weekend challenge, visit the website namechk and enter your vanity url to see whether it is already being used. You might find in some instances it has already gone. If not, I really recommend reserving it on the following so it is yours for the future if not right now: Linkedin, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, Twitter, Vimeo and Foursquare.

And if you want to really go to town, you should also consider reserving your vanity url on Delicious, Digg, Disqus, Reddit, StumbleUpon and bag yourself a WordPress blog handle too.

All these tools will help you not only create durable profiles and content, they can host and distribute your content, driving inbound enquiries to your business. Which ultimately makes it easier for prospects to find you on platforms they prefer to use.

Summary: A strategic approach to using everything the web has to offer (just like any other approach in marketing) might be more protracted but keeps you focused and pays dividends in the end.

Image: My China Connection

Best b2b social media tools: Linkedin

Linkedin is the pre-eminent business networking platform. In a post in 2010, I outlined a ten step approach to setting up a profile, seeking out, connecting with and engaging other likeminded people. This, just as the Linkedin platform has been deliberately conceived, was aimed at the individual – and it remains one of my most read pieces.

But as a social media business tool (especially in the UK), Linkedin is often totally overlooked and viewed as an online CV.

So why use it?

Fortunately, there has been significant investment in functionality to afford some of the usability that users with accounts on other sites like Facebook now increasingly expect online.

This means that Linkedin does operate more like a network now. Users can search for people, connect with them, engage with them in groups, ask and answer their questions, target them with adverts and other content, and access their networks. And all this is basically free!

And with engagement increasingly being seen as the dominant social media currency, the enhanced group discussion functions really allow relationships to form in a safe environment.

Current thinking is to really hone your group activity down to 5 groups, to check in a few times a week, to interact in the most popular discussions and to ‘like’ and ‘share’ the comments of others as well as posted responses. From there, start to add comments to drive your profile and to really cement it, start creating discussions of your own, again around content relevant within the group.

Linkedin groups (and the status bar) both offer a great platform to place content and links. Linking to your Twitter account sends updates out, whilst blogs can be fed into a profile with the addition of a simple widget. Much of the traffic to my blog comes from threads I create in relevant Linkedin groups.

Company profile pages have recently been given a makeover to include more information about brands, products and services and not just a list of past and present employees for recruitment professionals to headhunt. This means there is now an opportunity to host a company page on Linkedin for the first time that carries sufficient information to optimize. Feeding website news, a blog or  Twitter feed through the page creates additional stickiness and engagement.

Summary

In summary, I love Linkedin and the reach it offers. I believe any business professional should take the time to set up their profile and promote their (and their company’s) expertise through the sites’ many features.

Most people with one hundred connections can quickly access several thousand and then several million with a couple of clicks. Yet most don’t because it is seen as aggressive. Done right, Linkedin embodies the concept of six degrees of separation and may even help make your uncomfortable cold calls a thing of the past.

Best b2b social media tools: video

Video hosting online has been greatly simplified thanks to sites like YouTube and Vimeo. Companies and brands can now be brought to life with engaging moving content in a way not even possible five years ago.

And with emerging digital tools including email, Twitter, Linkedin and blogs, finding an audience that will view, like and in turn share your content is easier as well.

Hence the explosion in online video. It is estimated that 24 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every second of the day and that billions of videos are watched every day.

Why use it for b2b?

YouTube is now a search engine in its own right. Video search is accounting for more and more of online search, with some commentators putting the figure as high as 50%. This makes profiles on sites like YouTube and Vimeo an essential part of your digital strategy. Call it social media optimization – where you use social media and file sharing sites to post content and boost your search engine optimization.

Consider using video if you have a compelling story to tell and the written word just doesn’t cut it. Or, if you need to deliver key messages in a more informative, engaging format. Or, if you actively want content to go viral.

The added attraction of online hosted video is that if it hits any of these buttons, the available options to browsers are huge – from embedding it another web page to tweeting, emailing and posting links all over the Internet.

But, don’t look to video if it is a one-off project, if you don’t like being in front of the camera, or if you don’t want to risk the video’s popularity running away with itself.

How to get started?

This isn’t a post about the mechanics of creating a video. For that, I recommend you visit the excellent Social Media Examiner site and this video blogging post in particular. That will set you off down the path with the right equipment, shooting and editing, together with some guidance and further reading on uploading and sharing elements.

Instead, this post concentrates on the why, how to get started and the sorts of content that you might consider as a b2b marketer.

As a starting point, register accounts with both YouTube and Vimeo. Aim to reserve the same profile names as other online and social media platforms as this makes it much easier to integrate and for people to remember you. Once this is done, you will own those profile names.

The challenge is then to either repackage and reformat what you have, or create new content. On the repackaging side, consider existing video material, animations and presentations that are already available within your business. Could these be edited, captioned and set to music or a commentary and uploaded as new content? Are there opportunites to refocus existing blog articles, press articles, conference presentations into bite-size ‘how to’ videos?

Some ways you could effectively use video to build interest in what you do include

–       Hosting conference presentations

–       Trade show highlights (whether it involves you, customers or the media)

–       Providing customer testimonials

–       Delivering relevant industry and expert interviews

–       Introducing key staff with video profiles

–       Video blogging

–       Video ‘how to’ guides

–       Product demonstrations

–       Corporate video

I’ve deliberately relegated ‘the usual stuff’ to the bottom of the list, which isn’t exclusive. Above all, have some fun. If your video is contrived, it will look contrived.

An example

It’s consumer but kitchen blenders are perhaps one of the dullest appliances in the home. But, not if it’s a Blendtec. Sales have increased 500% as a result of their innovative ‘will it blend’ site and promotional videos which have seen anything from phones to ipods and golf balls to shovels tested in their blenders.

Blendtec’s YouTube account hosts 103 short videos, has 344,000 followers  and has been viewed over 6 million time on YouTube – with many millions more on aggregation!

Summary

Like all other content, approach video from the perspective that it will endure, it could go viral and it will represent your business in an exciting way.

Stylistically, try to avoid talking heads by mixing establishing shots with head shots and audio. Think about the two minute videos on the regional TV news. If there is lots of content, split it across several uploads.

And remember, you’re not making a Hollywood blockbuster. The best viral video is rough around the edges.

What examples of great video content have you created or found online?

Top image www.viralblog.com