For small businesses and startups, SEO can be a tough game to play. When companies compete against larger, better-funded competitors with sophisticated SEO strategy, it can take several months, if not years, to challenge them for search engine visibility. One way to accelerate SEO is to fully leverage the social media potential. Here are the five best ways to boost SEO through social media.
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1. Target the Right Blogs With Strong Social Following for Off-Site Content Submissions
Acquiring high-quality backlinks to your company website is essential for SEO. A great way to do this is through off-site article publishing. Here, small companies may have an advantage over larger ones, in that owners and top execs can do the writing (or inputting). This makes the content much more insightful and useful — and as such, very appealing to publishers.
By targeting websites and blogs with big audiences and substantial social media content sharing, you can piggyback on these established social networks to make your content more visible. Also, high volumes of social shares correlate with higher SEO performance, and the social sharing of your content may produce other valuable backlinks, when people like your content and mention it on their websites/blogs.
2. Ramp Up an On-Site Blogs To Get More Social Shares
An on-site blog is the linchpin of an SEO-social media strategy. Blog posts are far more often and widely shared than standard product and service web pages on social media, because they are seen as being less self-promotional. Again, higher volumes of social sharing correlate to better rankings, and indirectly produce backlinks. In addition, Google likes business websites with blogs, especially when those blogs generate original, fresh, high-quality content. An active blog signals to Google the entire website is up to date and offers valuable information — exactly the type of Web content it wants to serve to its search engine users.
3. Use the On-Site Blog to Target Long-Tail Keywords
Another big SEO advantage of a blog is gaining the ability to optimize for long-tail keywords — i.e., longer, more specific keywords with a high potential for conversion. On the regular website, it will be hard enough to optimize product and service pages for a small number of relatively general, high-volume keywords. Though on the blog, by going after long-tail phrase after long-tail phrase, a small company can gain broad coverage for very valuable search terms. This is possibly “under the radar” of larger competitors concentrating on much larger, more competitive terms. For example, a startup packaging company may focus on optimizing for “packaging boxes” on the main website, and optimize blog posts for terms such as:
- Packaging boxes for retail
- Packaging boxes for cosmetics
- Packaging boxes in northern Ohio
- Packaging boxes at discount prices
- , etc., etc.
4. Encourage User Reviews on Social Sites
User reviews are important for SEO, especially for local SEO. Though whether your business serves a local, national or global market, user reviews on social sites will improve SEO performance. In particular, positive reviews on sites like Yelp, Google Plus, Citysearch, Urbanspoon, and social sites in your niche or related niches, are seen by Google as clear signals of a company’s credibility and value in the marketplace — signals that again influence Google to make a company’s content more visible in organic search.
In addition, these user reviews are likely to have very high-quality backlinks pointing to the company’s website, which further accelerates SEO performance. Of course, it takes a bit of work to coax customers into writing reviews, so making this work entails taking the time to coach customers on how to set up their social media accounts, and perhaps even what to say in the review. It probably goes without saying, this is a poor strategy for companies that provide poor service and products!
5. Don’t Forget LinkedIn
When companies think about social media marketing, they turn all too often to Twitter and Facebook. This is usually a mistake. First, Twitter and Facebook are very competitive because every company in the world is trying to stake out a position there. Rising above the noise to get noticed is difficult. Second, Twitter and Facebook are primarily entertainment networks, and people don’t like to be sold to there. They serve a purpose for extending brand awareness, but for lead and revenue generation, they could be weaker channels (generally). Third, Twitter and Facebook take an enormous amount of time to nurture, and can be a time suck that small companies cannot afford.
LinkedIn (or SlideShare), in contrast, is a social site that means business. It can be used to generate referrals, open doors with important prospects, and greatly help extend brand awareness. From an SEO perspective, a company’s LinkedIn page should rank very highly on branded searches, making it an important page to optimize with strategically important keywords, as well as fill it with extremely valuable content. Check your website analytics: Are you getting a lot of referred traffic from LinkedIn? If not, it is a golden opportunity. If so, keep improving your LinkedIn presence; it is probably paying off already!
About author: Brad Shorr is the Director of Content Strategy at Straight North. They are a Chicago-based Internet marketing company that offers services to business across the nation in SEO, PPC and web design. Throughout his industry experience, Brad has been featured on sites such as: Smashing Magazine, Moz and Forbes.
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