2 Executive Overview Your brand needs friends with benefits. Content plus keywords equals more traffic. It s a widely recognized onsite formula to effectively boost your website s rankings on Google, Yahoo!, Bing, and beyond. But as platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Digg, and Flickr continue to monopolize the time and attention of millions of users, brands must go above and beyond traditional optimization practices to maximize exposure on search engines. Today, social media marketing should be considered a more integral part of your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts. The most successful brands move offsite and participate on a regular basis, communicating, collaborating, and sharing with users on the most prominent, popular platforms. As a result, they re able to: Generate quality inbound links A successful campaign can result in hundreds of new inbound links to your site. Moreover, those links are natural, meaning they aren t reciprocated, bought, or solicited. Boost rankings Most social media websites own the top spots in major search engines thanks to an abundance of content. By increasing your brand s weight within social networks, you have a better chance of achieving top rankings in major search engines. You ll also avoid the traditionally long wait for your website to be indexed. You may even rank for more competitive keywords. Ultimately, a social media marketing campaign that works in concert with your SEO efforts will boost traffic, brand recognition, and conversions. This white paper takes a closer look at how to launch a successful campaign within three of the most prominent, popular platforms to date. SOCIAL MEDIA CAMPAIGN GUIDELINES Make a good impression. There are literally hundreds of millions of users on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, communicating, collaborating, and sharing with one another in real time. Status updates. Blog posts. Tweets. Videos. Content is constantly flowing, changing, and growing organically. Additionally, that content typically ranks high within search engine because it updates more often quite literally, it is created, distributed, and compiled at an exponential rate.
3 Brands that permeate these platforms and add value (read: worthwhile content) to conversations, without interrupting the natural flow of interactions, are able to effectively boost SEO rankings. As you launch your social media marketing campaign, the key is to make a good impression. Listen. People are talking about your brand and your competition (even your employees are part of the conversation). This is a unique opportunity to learn what they think. The upsides. The pitfalls. Like that of a traditional focus group, consider their feedback carefully. Check out blogs, major influencers, and beyond for ideas on how to manage your brand s reputation and optimize your campaign accordingly. Participate. Build recognition by stimulating a two way conversation with current and potential customers. But rather than force feed a sales pitch to users, join the conversation surrounding your brand and be responsive in a natural way. Set User Expectations. When creating a company profile on any platform, be as transparent as possible. Let the end user know what to expect, whether it s company related information, industry data, endorsements, or beyond. Message. From tweets to status updates, provide useful information that acknowledges your customer s needs. Just as vital, use a personal tone of voice in your messaging. Monitor. Measure the ROI of your social media campaign by implementing analytics and establishing metrics prior to launch. Your Brand & Twitter How to tweet your way to the top. At the time of this writing, Google is experimenting with real time search, which indexes web data faster than ever. Essentially, news articles and web pages, as well as live tweets, stream to the result pages of your query. The update, which will garner more attention in the future, makes microblogging an even more effective method to increase exposure of your brand. For example, Twitter can increase your Alexa rankings (i.e., the popularity of your website) by redirecting users to certain web pages. Most search engines, like Google, record and reward usage data, including number of unique visitors, number of page views, and time on site. And to combat the growing number of SPAM and black hat SEO strategies used to increase inbound links and keyword density within content, these stats are more heavily weighted when your website is being indexed.
4 Higher rankings, however, start with quality tweets. In other words, focus on creating a Twitter account that garners the attention of your target audience. It s easier said than done, but there are 10 steps you can take to increase its popularity Choose a good handle - Register a username that is relevant to your brand. It should be short and succinct, making it tweetable (i.e., high recall factor), as it will become the static address for future indexing (e.g., twitter.com/yourtopic). Select an account name wisely - Choose an account name that best reflects and promotes your brand. It will appear next to your profile, which can be different from your username (though it doesn t have to be). Consider variations that generate the most searches each month. Write your bio carefully - Search engines will constantly index the content of your bio, making it crucial to relevance in search results. Optimize it by including a mission statement or a similar elevator pitch, as well as brand relevant keywords. Spread the word - Build link reputation by promoting your newfound presence on Twitter. For example, add a call to action to your website that prompts users to view and follow your tweets. You can also integrate your Twitter URL within your website s footer. Both tactics will help increase your visibility on search engines.
5 Yoursite.com - Add a link back to your company s website in your account profile. This is an ideal way to drive traffic to the destination of your choice. Tweet carefully - Research has shown that the first few words of tweets play a significant role during indexing. More specifically, the first 42 characters are factored in to the TITLE tag of search results. After your account name, users will see your entry s lead in. When possible, write keyword rich tweets - Without compromising the quality of content, start your tweets with a primary keyword phrase. If possible, capitalize on timely searches using buzzwords and common lingo as well. Balance the delivery of your message (i.e., word choice) with the growing necessity of optimization (i.e., long term rankings). Re-tweeting - To ensure your messages proliferate on Twitter, keep your posts around 120 characters. This allows users to and re tweet. Obviously, the longer your username is, the shorter your tweets should be. Provide links Redirect users to your website s content through back links using online resources like TinyURL and Bit.ly. The latter tracks the click through rates of the links you share. 10. Give the people what they want- Most important of all, your tweets and your links should provide users with rich experiences and valuable content on demand. Your Brand & Facebook Friends now. Rankings next. According to a recent letter from founder Mark Zuckerberg, more than 350 million people around the world use Facebook to communicate, collaborate, and share. Not surprisingly, a majority of brands treat the social platform as a primary tool for communication. Fortunately, the creators of Facebook are offering more and more opportunities to optimize your page, boost rankings, and generate more traffic.
6 While certain features of Facebook - news feed, invitations, and messages - play an integral part in distributing your content among friends and fans, a specific set of SEO techniques will generate awareness among the entire user database Choose a name and stick with it - Creating a brand appropriate name is crucial. Staying consistent is equally important. The name should be memorable. Avoid over saturating it with keywords, but don t be so generic that users can t figure out in an instant what your Facebook page has to offer. In short, be catchy, simple, and authentic. For example, use your company s name. Register a vanity URL - A few months ago, Facebook started offering users the ability to create a vanity URL (e.g., One of the most significant changes for brands SEO efforts, vanity URLs give you another opportunity to boost rankings by including keywords in your company name. Note that in order to mitigate username squatting, Facebook requires that your page have at least 100 fans before it s eligible for a username. Take advantage of the About text box - Place keyword dense content in the About section of your page. It currently represents the most prominent area, with regards to indexing, where a significant amount of custom text can be added. 250 words, to be exact. Take advantage of the Info tab - Boost your rankings even more by including important keywords, text, and high priority links in the Info tab. This content could feature contact information, company overview, mission statement, or product offerings. Create Static FBML boxes and tabs - You can include additional content, such as text, images, and links, by creating dedicated Static FBML page sections, which will in turn boost your page s ranking. Post direct links within your stream - Status updates are an easy, effective method to include direct links within the top of your page s CSS structure (i.e., highly indexed content) and boost rankings within Facebook as well as major search engines. Create more inbound links - Similar to traditional page rank methodologies, posting links to your page on your brand s website(s) will increase its weight within search engines. Facebook has even created a Find Us on Facebook badge, which users are encouraged to implement. Acquire more intra Facebook inbound links Facebook includes links to pages on the default version of users profile pages, which are visible to search engines. That means with more fans comes more link weight for your brand s page. Additionally, to increase reciprocal linking, simply prompt users to comment on content in your stream. This will boost your page rankings quickly.
7 Your Brand & linkedin Networking for number one. LinkedIn, arguably the most prominent social network for businesspeople, has become a popular tool for increasing brand visibility on major search engines like Google, Yahoo!, and Bing. Similar to Facebook in quantity and quality of content, LinkedIn includes millions of profiles and receives high rankings as a result. By creating your own account - company or employee related - and actively networking with peers, you ll see significant results. Five key elements will help you create an SEO friendly profile Anchor Text - Creating anchor text (i.e., the visible, clickable text in hyperlinks) that includes keywords is crucial. The text should avoid generalities like My Website, incorporate brand specific terms, and link to your website. Keywords - Incorporate the most relevant keywords in your profile, including the headline, personal interests, summary, and job descriptions. Avoid over saturating it with keywords to maintain readability. Connections - Establish connections with as many LinkedIn users as possible and you ll increase exposure among the general public as a result. Custom URL - Include your name, the name of your company, or another brand related term in a customized URL string. With a more memorable profile, you ll increase visibility within LinkedIn and abroad. Be Relevant - Create or participate in conversations that are timely and topical to your industry or profession. Networking with prospective clients, partners, and experts will boost your website s SEO rankings as a result.
8 Conclusion Social media marketing works for SEO. While onsite tactics are highly effective in supporting SEO efforts, the immense popularity of social networking platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn offers brands additional opportunities to boost rankings offsite as well. The most prominent and most visible of those brands participate on a regular basis, communicating, collaborating, and sharing with customers, employees, and vendors alike. Follow these simple guidelines and you ll be able to not only build relationships but solidify a top position in search results on Google, Yahoo!, Bing, and beyond. Ultimately, you ll boost traffic, brand recognition, and conversions.
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