Building Social Media Profiles Impacts Search Engine Optimization
Trying to get more exposure online? Want to connect and engage with fans and customers better? Boost or rebuild your online reputation? If you answered yes to any of these questions regarding your personal or business brand online, then creating social media profiles are an absolute must. Social media nowadays acts as an extension of your brand and enables your customers to feel closer and have more ways to contact and interact with you as well as fellow customers. It’s in many ways an extension of your company’s branding, PR, marketing, and customer service departments. Creating this easy access to you helps build customer loyalty and consumer trust, two things that lead to acquiring good reviews and therefore a good online reputation. It’s also worthy to note that the number of online reviews and the positivity of those reviews are also big factors in local search rankings.
Why are social media profiles so important?
Think of each social media profile as another landing page for your brand. You never know how someone will have that first encounter with you. It could be direct to your website, through an online review or perhaps via a social channel like Facebook or Twitter. However they reach you, that first impression must be first-rate so the visitor will want to learn more about you or your business. Consistency across your social networking profiles is also essential to maintaining your brand recognition.
One of the most important reasons for having comprehensive and up-to-date social media profiles is that it improves SEO (Search Engine Optimization). SEO may seem complicated, but it’s mainly all about optimizing content, on a website or on a social media platform, in order to appear higher in search rankings. Creating strong social media profiles across various channels will boost your rankings on the search engine results page (SERP), that is when people search for you or for words or phrases relevant to content on your website.
Create top-notch social media profiles
• Guidelines & Specs – Know your social media network design guidelines and specs. Although, various channels may have similarities, each social network has its own image specs and limitations. A profile image for your Facebook page may not work for your Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google+, or Instagram page.
• Imagery & Media – Add pictures, video, audio, etc. pursuant to social media design specs and guidelines. Incorporating show-stopping images and multimedia (where allowed) makes your profile stand out and more interesting for visitors as well. Hire a professional if needed because this is critical for your brand identity.
• Update – Be sure to update and refresh your social media profile images from time-to-time (monthly, quarterly, or other time frame), depending on your needs in order to keep current and relevant images/information on your social networks.
The bar has been raised and in order for you to be memorable, creating compelling, well-designed graphics and media are essential and should be coordinated with all social media, branding, and marketing efforts.
SMO or Social Media Optimization
SMO or Social Media Optimization is about optimizing a website and its content in terms of sharing across social media and networking sites. SMO, a term first used in 2006 by Rohit Bhargava in his article “5 Rules of Social Media Optimization” is a lot like “social SEO.” It’s the notion that social media links and interaction play a significant role in a website’s search rankings. It’s similar to SEO in that the goal is to generate traffic and awareness for a website, however, SMO suggests that the use of a number of social media signals will generate more publicity and increased awareness. SMO is more concerned with quality of content, expertise of author and the user experience all of which helps to improve SEO performance.
As social networks continue to evolve and search engines look for these social signals to help rank content, the relationship of SMO with SEO is becoming more and more important. Social signals are becoming the new “link” in terms of overall importance in search rankings. The value of links as a ranking signal will more than likely not completely disappear, but the impact of social signals will eventually surpass links as the more valuable ranking factor. Check out the Social Media Marketing Optimizer (Infographic).
Improving your website’s social impact
The social media elements to focus on in your website include items/buttons that allow visitors to:
• Share Content – Recommend, like, tweet, etc.
• Connect to Social Media Profiles – Use buttons to connect through to your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn pages, etc.
• Access a Blog – For updated and relevant content on your blog page.
You should ideally engage in all social media platforms that are relevant for your business. If you’re just getting started, then you may want to begin with a Facebook or Twitter page to get familiar and then later add new social media profiles. The more you’re out there with an online presence the better it is for business and brand integrity.
• Facebook page
• Twitter account
• LinkedIn company page
• Pinterest account
• Google+ account
• Youtube account
• Other social media platforms
Once you have a presence in each of these social channels, it will help to establish the credibility of your brand. Here are additional tips:
• Be social! – Network and start a dialogue with people. Start by spending some time visiting other people’s profiles, adding new friends/connections and commenting. You must engage and reach out to build new relationships.
• Content – Content is key but what’s more important is to add new content regularly. With social media, posts are quickly archived and can disappear within a few days or hours even. Create an editorial calendar or schedule for posting regularly, remember quality is better than quantity so don’t post for the sake of posting something new. Make it count.
• Shareable Content – Add share buttons for all of your social media sites. Integrate these buttons as much as possible on your website, blogs and other content to leverage traffic you already have. In addition, if you’re creating interesting, relevant and useful content then encourage your visitors to share it! When your content goes viral it can result in a lot of exposure for you.
• Keyword Optimization – Get your keywords and key phrases into your profiles and posts but only when it works. That is, incorporate your keywords naturally. You don’t want to compromise the “user experience” because you’re focused on keywords and SEO.
• Be Thorough – Search engines show preference for profiles with all the details filled in. Be sure to be as detailed as possible in the “about”, “information” and “bio” sections. Doing so also creates a more professional and comprehensive appearance.
• Timing – Be mindful of the timing of your posts and monitor results. You may find certain times of day get you a better response therefore focus on those high traffic time frames.
• Analytics – Use the analytics tools provided by the social media sites, Google Analytics, and pay attention to what people are doing. Monitoring behavior will tell you what’s working and what isn’t. If some features aren’t being used, then you can eliminate them, revamp or try something new.
• It’s Not All About You – Not all your posts should be about self-promotion. Of course there’s an element of self-promotion in social media but remember to also focus on topics that are helpful to your network and/or that offer advice or beneficial information.
It’s important to be personal and sincere on social media. By consistently providing interesting and exciting content, you’ll inspire others to share your posts and attract more search engine traffic.
Common mistakes to avoid:
• Don’t forget to make your business’s social media sites PUBLIC.
• Be sure to customize your URL. Use a vanity URL.
• Don’t forget to use your business’s name as your Page name.
• Upload images with meaningful titles or file names rather than Photo1 or IMG1287. Image SEO can also help your rank.
• If something appears to be a fast and easy way to improve your SEO it’s probably a black hat tactic (i.e. bad). Google frowns on these unethical techniques and penalizes those who implement them.
Remember, if SEO and SMO sounds overwhelming you’re not alone! These don’t happen overnight. Developing strong and optimized social media profiles takes time. Be patient and always focus on developing an eye-opening and exciting experience for your customers, as this will help you build your business through natural word-of-mouth, online and offline.