Search engine optimization (SEO) has been a historically intriguing and contentious subject, in part because of the misconceptions surrounding the strategy, and in part because of the many ways to approach its execution. One of the most contentious SEO elements I’ve encountered is link building—the process of placing or earning links pointed to your site to build your domain authority.
Is it because link building improperly can lead to a Google penalty? Or because link building used to be a spammy tactic? I’m not entirely sure. But I do know there are many of you out there who may not fully understand link building, and may have questions you don’t know how to ask (or who to ask).
For those of you out there, I’ve collected 10 important questions about link building that I commonly hear from clients—and am answering them to the best of my ability:
1. Why does link building matter? First, let’s tackle the big question; if doing link building “wrong” gets you penalized, why bother risking it in the first place? The simple answer is that links are like votes of confidence that search engines use to evaluate your site’s trustworthiness and authority. They’re known to be one of the strongest ranking factors in the ranking algorithm, consistently proving to be at or near the top in weight. The more links you have, and the more powerful the sources of those links, the more authoritative your website will appear to search engines such as Google, and the higher it’ll rank in search queries. Of course, higher rankings result in higher organic search traffic. On top of that, links pass indefinite referral traffic to your site, which peripherally helps you meet your traffic goals.
2. Is it enough to let links come to your website naturally? Some search optimizers advise producing the best content you can, and allowing the links to come to your content as naturally as possible. If you’re patient and your content is exceptional, this can work, but it’s faster, more reliable, and more efficient to build at least some of your own links. It’s also more pragmatic to work on building links in addition to passively “earning” them; if your competitors are conducting link building campaigns (and if they’re doing well in organic search then they almost certainly are), but you’re sitting on the sidelines, it’s going to be tough to keep pace with them in the rankings.
3. Why can’t you just post links pointing to your site? While I don’t advise taking a passive approach to acquiring inbound links, I also don’t advise you to go out and place links to your website wherever you please. If you post links to your site indiscriminately on external forums, blog comment sections and similar free-for-all type locations, you’ll risk running into several problems. Your links will likely be removed by those site’s editors, your user accounts will probably be banned for spamming, and on top of that, your site could be penalized for breaking Google’s webmaster guidelines.
4. Which links are most valuable? Not all links provide the same benefit to your site, so which ones are the “best” to receive? In general, the more authoritative the site linking to your site, the more valuable the link will be for your own website’s rankings. That means your link building strategy should favor sites that already have a high domain authority—though that also means they’re generally harder to acquire links from. You can measure the authority of a publisher by measuring its domain authority using a tool like Open Site Explorer.
5. Does anchor text still matter? Anchor text refers to the text that contains the link (the clickable part of the text). Prior to the launch of Google’s Penguin algorithm in 2012, there used to be tremendous advantages to embedding links in specific keyword-rich anchor text. Today, this practice will almost certainly result in a warning from Google, as it’s by far the easiest way for Google to spot manipulative links. With that said, it’s still helpful to include relevant anchor text for your links, but super important to vary your anchor text sufficiently.
6. Are nofollow links worthwhile? Nofollow links are links that are specifically coded to pass no PageRank (sometimes known as “link juice”) to your site. They were originally introduced as a way to help blog owners combat comment spam, but today they’re commonly used to prevent Google from assigning PageRank flow to links within body content as well. There have been numerous studies to try to determine whether nofollow links help your rankings or not, and they have differed in their findings, with one author at Search Engine Land going as far as to say that they are, in fact, “central to good SEO.” The debate will continue on, but my official recommendation is to not discriminate between nofollow and non-nofollow links (sometimes referred to informally as “dofollow links”). Even if nofollow links yield less SEO value than “dofollow” links, they have a number of other benefits that make them worthwhile.
7. Why isn’t my link building working?There are many reasons why a link building campaign might appear to not be working, and I covered them in-depth in a recent article that you can find here. With that said, the most common reasons are that 1) you haven’t given it enough time to start noticing the benefits yet, or 2) your website has technical errors that are preventing it from rising in the ranks. Be sure to check out 101 Ways to Improve Your Website’s SEO to ensure your link building campaign isn’t being held back by technical problems.
8. What happens if I build a “bad” link? If you build a spammy, irrelevant, clearly unnatural, or otherwise “bad” link, you might see it removed by an editor. If it isn’t removed, then it’s unlikely to affect your search rankings (ie, it’ll be ignored) unless it’s deemed to be one of too many such links to your website. If you have too many bad links to your website, your website could be penalized by Google. I’ve written a comprehensive guide on Google manual actions and penalties here. As long as you aren’t deliberately spamming people, you’ll probably be fine.
9. Should I avoid building more links on places where I’ve already built links? Building subsequent links on a single source yields diminishing returns, but that doesn’t mean you should explicitly avoid building links in places where you already have links. Remember, you can still generate referral traffic with every link you build. With that said, all else being equal, it’s generally better to get links from new domains on which you don’t already have inbound links. This is because “domain diversity” – the number of unique domains from which you have inbound links, divided by the number of total links you have pointing to your website – appears to be a strong ranking factor.
10. What’s the best way to build lots of good links? I’ve written a long blog post (or a short book, if you choose to look at it that way) covering this topic which you can find here. Essentially, it all boils down to two main strategies: 1) publishing phenomenal content that people love to link to, and 2) building links to your content through your own authorship on external publications. #1 requires a sound content publication & promotion strategy. #2 requires you to become an author at various publications within your industry expertise and publish content that occasionally references your published work on your own website. I covered how to do that in a half-hour video presentation titled “How to Become a Guest Author On Major Media Publications.”
Hopefully, these 10 questions and answers give you a better sense of what modern link building is, and how it can be effective for your SEO campaign. I’ve barely scratched the surface on the topic of link building, but it’s impossible to fully explore the subject in the span of a single article.
Do some more research, read up on my latest content, and don’t be afraid to experiment.
As we enter 2018, it’s time to say goodbye to some old SEO habits.
These are SEO tactics that just plain don’t work, or even worse, can get a website penalized.
Below is a list of the top nine habits that need to be kicked to the curb.
1. Creating One Page for Each Keyword Variation
With semantic search, we are well past the days where we optimized one page for one keyword.
The focus is now on the overall topic for each page, which can help support themes within a website.
There is still remnants of the one keyword, one page approach, though, and it often shows up with local pages.
Barry Schwartz talked about the issue of “keyword permutations” in December 2017 after an unconfirmed Google update (the Google Maccabees Update).
After reviewing websites that people submitted to Schwartz to review, one common issue found was related to local landing pages, such as [city name] + [service A] and then [city name] + [service B].
The additional issue that often comes up with these types of pages is that they provide little value for users.
You need to have content that is valuable to your visitors.
That means no more boilerplate content!
2. Aggressive Link Building
Links. Will we ever get away from them?
Before we talk about poor link building habits, it’s important to mention that links still mattertoday.
Eric Enge wrote a great article here on Search Engine Journal, Links Are Still Fundamental to Organic Search Rankings – Here’s Proof, about the subject.
Links are a public endorsement and reflect that a website has valuable information.
Google gives a lot of weight to links as a ranking signal.
Where the problems occur, though, is when links are gathered in an unnatural way, such as through link schemes, poor link directories, purchasing links, and other spammy tactics.
As we start the new year, these aggressive link building techniques should be abandoned and the focus should be on a link strategy that is more marketing and user-focused.
3. Adding Marginal Content for SEO Purposes
You can’t have SEO without content.
SEO and content are intertwined.
If you don’t optimize your content, searchers won’t find you.
So, there is no question that we need content, but there is still a problem.
Marginal content is often added to websites simply for the purpose of “improving SEO.”
However, having just any content isn’t good enough.
The content has to be considered high quality, especially when compared to the competition.
Glenn Gabe talked about this issue over the summer after checking out multiple sites following an unconfirmed Google update.
4. Not Fixing (or Identifying) Harmful Technical Problems
After doing countless technical SEO audits, I can confidently tell you that most websites have some type of issue that hurts their search performance.
Adding content and attracting links is great.
But if your website has underlying technical issues, rankings could still be negatively impacted.
The most common technical problems include:
- Improper redirects (i.e. redirect chains, 302s instead of 301s, non-use of redirects, etc.).
- Slow page load time.
- Mobile errors.
- Duplicate content.
- Unintentional blocked pages.
Here is a great Search Engine Journal article with more insight on technical SEO: Most Common Technical SEO Mistakes: How Severe Are They?
5. Forgetting to Optimize Images
One of the often-overlooked SEO opportunities has to do with images.
As SEO professionals, we need to take every opportunity to show up in search results, including optimizing for image search.
When adding images to your website, don’t forget about the image filename and alt attribute.
Instead of an image filename of XYZ123.jpg, consider including a keyword that is descriptive of the image, such as organic-coffee-beans.jpg.
As far as the alt attribute, it should not be keyword stuffed, but should be descriptive of the image.
If the image is in line with the topic of the page, which it should be, then it would be natural to have a keyword in the description.
6. Linking Excessively Between Your Websites
I’m including this one because not only do I get this question when teaching SEO workshops, but I heard someone recently give the recommendation to link frequently between your websites because it will help you rank. That advice is inaccurate.
Linking excessively between your websites with the intent to boost your backlink profile has the potential to hurt you more than it does to help you. It’s an outdated SEO technique.
7. Trying to ‘Trick’ Google Versus Playing by the Rules
“Good” SEO means you are in the business of earning rankings, not exploiting the search engines.
While it’s important to know what Google rewards and focus on those areas, by no means should those areas be exploited.
I have heard people make comments that they are implementing techniques that are getting them ranked while flying under Google’s radar.
That doesn’t work for long.
Usually it’s only a matter of time until a site is hurt by those tactics.
For example, after AMP rolled out, some websites started creating teaser pages using AMP technology. These pages would show just a snippet of the content and then direct users to click through to the original page.
Google eventually enacted an AMP policy that went after these sites. You can read more here: Google to Go After Sites That Use AMPs as Teaser Pages.
Changing article dates to show content freshness is another trick that could come back to bite you. Read more here: Safe or Risky SEO: How Dangerous Is It REALLY to Change Your Article Dates?
8. Focusing on Keyword Rankings as the Main Measurement of Success
In a world of personalization, location tracking, web history, and now voice search, keyword rankings don’t always give us a true picture of how we are doing.
People use a wide variety of queries to search for products and answers.
I’m not saying that you ignore keyword rankings, but what I am saying is that you have to start diving deeper into the data.
- What type of traffic are you getting?
- What are the conversions?
- Are people engaging with your website?
These are the questions you should be answering.
9. Practicing SEO as if Nothing Ever Changes
The fact that you are reading this article likely means you are someone who keeps up with changes in SEO.
Failing to stay up-to-date on best practices, algorithm changes, and webmaster guidelines is detrimental to your SEO success.
A habit that you should take into 2018 is to spend time weekly (even daily) reading up on the latest in SEO.
Here’s to an exciting 2018 in SEO. Cheers!
Think the PPC playing field is too uneven to compete? Wrong. Small companies absolutely can compete against big brands. Find out how here.
It isn’t easy to compete against big brand advertisers in PPC. They have deep pockets, large in-house marketing teams, and contracts with high-priced ad agencies.
As a smaller competitor, you might conclude that the advertising playing field is simply too uneven to compete.
While you may not be in a position to buy full page print ads in national newspapers or produce commercials for TV, pay-per-click (PPC) marketing is a channel that still allows small advertisers to play on the same field – if they know how.
In this article, I’ll give you some tips on how to compete against big brands in paid search – using one anonymous advertiser as an example.
1. Monitor the Competition
In the face of overwhelming competition, the tendency is to ignore what your competitors are doing and strike your own path.
Although you won’t necessarily want to go head-to-head with them, you should still have an awareness of what they’re up to, especially in terms of their online promotions.
Let’s take a look at the following example:
As you can see, this search returned four ads. The top ad is for our anonymous garage storage system company, which we’ll call “Small Garage Co.” for simplicity.
The remaining ads are for big brands competitors: California Closets, Lowes, and Home Depot.
From these ads, we see that California Closets is featuring 20 percent off selected finishes. Home Depot is offering 30 percent off its storage solutions.
Judging from its ad, Small Garage Co. isn’t running any promotions. But in fact it is! When you click on the ad and visit its site, we learn that it’s running a summer promotion of $250 off garage cabinets and flooring!
Why isn’t this information included in the ad? Especially when their competitors are running promotions?
This isn’t to say that Small Garage Co. has to match the big brands on discounts or promotions. Ideally, it should offer something. But to do that it needs to know what its competitors are doing and strategize accordingly.
Higher prices and less attractive promotions aren’t necessarily a deal breaker, especially if you’re offering higher quality or better support. A good portion of the market will be willing to pay a higher price to get what they want.
2. Improve Your Messaging
The above example illustrated the importance of monitoring competitors and communicating promotions. Now, let’s take this point further.
Take a closer look at the “Small Garage Co.” ad:
Has the company used its ad real estate wisely? They state that they’re “experts” and “committed to quality.” But in my opinion, that doesn’t carry much weight. (Especially when it’s the company describing itself. It does carry weight when someone else describes the company in those terms.)
They state they have “10+ years of experience.” Again, this might not count for much when competing against well-known brands.
They repeat “garage storage” and “garage flooring” multiple times in the headline, body copy and sitelinks, which is a little redundant.
And their “About Us” and “Contact Us” sitelinks are another wasted opportunity.
What could they have done instead?
They could have communicated their competitive advantages over big box retailers.
By visiting the company’s website, you’ll find many of these advantages, including:
- They’re a local company (i.e., local to my location near Boston). Many people prefer to support local companies rather than big national retailers.
- They specialize in garage flooring and storage systems. They don’t offer unrelated services, such as bathroom renovations or heating system replacements.
- Their products have a lifetime guarantee!
- They provide a free onsite consultation to measure your space and give recommendations.
- Installation is done by the company itself. They don’t subcontract the work out.
- They offer additional garage-related services, such as garage painting, onsite storage units (to store your things during install) and garage lighting.
But unless you clicked on the ad and dig into the company’s site, you would never know these things!
This may seem like a lot of messaging to stuff into one ad. But I’m confident that a skilled PPC team could do it by making smart use of all ad elements, including headline, body, sitelinks, callouts, and structured snippets.
3. Work With a Skilled PPC Ad Agency
Getting the right messaging to compete against big brands isn’t easy. You have to:
- Know what your competitors are doing.
- Understand your competitive advantages.
- Be able to communicate those differences in your ad messaging.
- Monitor your data and test like crazy to make sure it’s working.
In most cases, I don’t think it’s reasonable to expect a smaller company – especially a company with no in-house marketing team or maybe a team of one or two people – to compete against big brands with high-end digital advertising agencies on their side.
This is especially true with PPC advertising. PPC is in a constant state of change. Strategies and tactics that worked well last year may not work well today.
Lessons learned in different markets or industries may no longer apply. In addition, advertising platforms, such as AdWords, change rapidly too.
You may not have the budget to bring in a big-league advertising agency. But you may have the budget to bring in a smaller PPC agency or specialist and collaborate with them closely. By working together, you may uncover little tricks and tips that give you an edge.
For example, we worked with a client that sells their products both directly and through big retailers. When given a choice, many customers prefer to purchase directly from the company because they know they are experts in their products. (Companies usually prefer this arrangement as well because it cuts out the “big box” middle man.)
Working together, we came up with the idea of using the headline “[Company Name] – Official Site.” At first, I thought this headline too boring to garner many clicks. But to my surprise, the technique worked really well for this client and drove more sales.
This is exactly the kind of little gem that a PPC pro can help you uncover.
4. Give Your Small Website a Big Brand Feel
I can’t stress this point enough. If you want to compete with big brands, your website needs to have the look and feel of a big brand.
You don’t need to deceive anyone. But you are trying to inspire confidence. And to inspire confidence, your site needs to be modern, mobile-friendly, functional, and look good.
If your site hasn’t been updated in some years, now’s the time to do it. And then keep doing it!
Put website updates and redesigns into your budget and keep them there. Today’s top website design will need to be updated in a few years as aesthetic preferences and functions change.
Even if you write a killer ad that draws clicks, you’ll lose conversions – big time – if your site doesn’t build trust. If it sews a seed of doubt, “Who are these guys?” “How big is this company?” “Do they know what they’re doing?” you’ll lose the sale.
In fact, you need to make sure your site has a big brand feel before getting into PPC advertising – even if that means foregoing PPC entirely for a period of time. Yes, you heard me right!
You Can Play With the Big Brands!
I hope I’ve convinced you that your company can compete against big brand PPC advertisers. You simply need to keep an eye on the competition, communicate your competitive advantages (preferably working with a PPC pro), and build a website that inspires confidence.
It all comes down to knowing your market, products and customers — and then finding an edge you can leverage.
This article contains some of the most useful, on-site SEO recommendations. Learn more about what you can tweak on your website in order to improve your SEO ranking.
Create Long and Unique Content
There is a saying that “content is king,” which refers to the importance of quality content for SEO optimization. Unique content that covers a specific topic, in-depth, ranks much better in search engines, so direct your time and effort accordingly.
Use Keywords in Appropriate Places
SEO ranking of a website can be significantly improved with the right keyword placement. The keyword should be located on the following places:
- Title tag
- Page title (which should be wrapped in H1 HTML tags)
- Page content (ideally in the first 100 words and a few more times throughout the text)
There are a lot of SEO analysis tools that can detect whether these parameters are optimal.
Use LSI Keywords
LSI (latent semantical indexing) is a mathematical method used to determine the relationship between concepts found in the content. Google usually gives better ranking to the pages that are rich with these keywords.
Having that in mind, LSI keywords should be scattered over page content. Although the writing process is mostly manual, there are some tools, such as the LSI keyword generator, that can help you create a list of synonyms for the desired keyword.
Make Website Mobile-Friendly
Mobile-friendliness became an SEO factor in 2015, when Google introduced it to its algorithm as a ranking criterion. One of the most important aspects of mobile friendliness is responsive design, whose main characteristic is that your website content should adapt to the width of the user’s screen, thus improving the browsing experience of the users of mobile and tablet devices.
More details about what Google considers a mobile-friendly website can be found after analysing the website with Google’s page speed test.
Use SEO-Friendly URLs
There are two SEO factors which are related to the URLs:
- Keywords — they should be present in the URL — position closer to the domain name is better
- URL length — shorter URLs rank better
That basically means that you should use URLs such as yourdomain.com/page-title-goes-here instead of yourdomain.com/post.php?id=101. Most popular CMS software and PHP frameworks support SEO-friendly URLs by default. However, if you have one that does not, or you are developing a custom application, check tutorials like this one.
Optimize Internal Linking
A good internal linking strategy offers a couple of advantages:
- It makes it easier for search engine “spiders” to index the pages on your website
- Improves user experience when navigating and finding content on the website
- Internal links “pass link juice” between pages. A good ranking page that links to another page will improve the ranking of that other page (i.e. it will pass link juice to that page)
The ideal structure of internal links should have a pyramidal form. Minimizing the amount of links between homepage and any other page on the website improves the flow of the link juice.
Improve Website Speed
Fast loading speed not only improves SEO ranking, but also user experience. A few studies have confirmed this hypothesis. One study found that 57% of visitors close the page after waiting 3 seconds for it to load, while Amazon has concluded that an increase of 100ms in page loading speed would lead to 1% higher revenue.
Fortunately, there are a few things that can be easily fixed to achieve better website performance. For more information, check out this article.
Although these recommendations can improve your website ranking alone, it is advised to combine them with off-site SEO techniques, such as link building, to achieve even better results.
You may be the best in your business or practice but, without search engine optimization, you’re either average or a nobody in your field.
As digital marketing consultant Alex Chris writes, “Search engine optimization or SEO is a set of rules for website (or blog) owners to follow for the proper optimization of their websites to improve their search engine rankings.” He also added that “millions of users per day are using the internet to look for answers to their questions and solutions to their problems.”
With a proper SEO guide, any website and business can grow into one of the most trusted brands on the internet.
Unfortunately, there are some issues with SEO that you should know about before you hire an expert. In Bob Sakayama’s article “When SEO Failure Results in Google Penalties or Rank Suppression,” he pointed out that the professionals are the ones who often trigger most of the severe Google penalties. In short, these “experts” who were hired to prevent such problems from happening in the first place are the ones who really trigger the penalties. If that is the case, why should we even consider the idea of hiring an SEO expert? In my years of experience in the search engine optimization industry, there are many factors that can trigger penalties due to the constant changes in rules. Whether you’re an optimizer or a website owner, you should know the factors that can cause serious problems in the long run.
We can live with owner-triggered rank issues because they won’t affect your established traffic, rankings and profit the way penalties would. On the other hand, Google penalties can ruin your business. There are many different types of penalties; you could get a penalty for unnatural (spam) links to your site or an over optimization anchor text penalty from using a piece of software to build links. You could also be penalized for using the same exact content from another website or using a keyword too many times on a page, which is known as “keyword stuffing.”
Penalties are also due to the constant changes in the rules. With the rapid changes, most SEO agencies can’t keep up with the latest improvements. Most optimizers are passive which is bad because you can’t make proper adjustments in time. Here are some tips for beginners and old professionals on what to look out for to avoid a penalty from Google.
Unnatural Links To And From Your Website
If we take a look at the link schemes section of Google’s Quality Guidelines, we’ll find out that any links made by an SEO with the intention to manipulate a website’s ranking are clear violations of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. In short, unnatural links to your site can get your website in trouble.
Google also warns about unnatural links from your site. Google is now capable of determining natural links from unnatural links. It focuses on links that act as editorial votes for a site. If you somehow manipulate links from your site, there’s a high chance you’ll receive a penalty. My firm recently helped water filtration company AquaOx (which I am a partner in) recover from a major Google penalty. The previous SEO company used a link-building software to create unnatural links from the website. Unfortunately, the company got caught and the site was pushed far down in the search engines to page 10. We had to go through a list of links, tag the ones that were really bad and disavow those links in Google Webmaster tools. Our next move was to build high-quality links from the site. Once Google noticed our cleanup operation, the search engine made some adjustments in the search rankings. Although penalty recovery is not a quick process by any means, the accomplishment is rewarding.
Publishing Keyword-Heavy Content
Spamming keywords into compelling content is an old trick that used to work for many SEO agencies. Unfortunately, Google made the competition tougher with its frequent changes. My personal belief is that the search engine prefers a website with about 2% of the content being keywords. If it is annoying for users to read unnatural keywords in a website’s content, the same thing is true with the search engine. Website owners or SEO companies should keep track of their keyword count by using keyword counting tools. In my practice and belief, high-quality content does not need many keywords to rank higher in Google. Avoid many of the top 10 Google penalties by investing in other tactics like proper keyword research and keyword placement instead of spamming with keywords.
Spammy Structured Data Markup
Although schema markup (structured data markup) can boost your search engine content discovery and make other improvements, this strategy can get you slammed by Google. A spammy structured data markup can potentially hurt your site as you will receive penalties from the search engine. The best way to avoid structured data markup penalties is by following the rules set by Google. You can either adhere to the guidelines of the search engine or use a structured data testing tool. Either one is better than getting into serious trouble.
Deliberately Cloaking Web Pages For SEO Or CTR Purposes
Cloaking web pages for your personal interest is a big crime against Google. Cloaking is where one version of the site is shown to search engine spiders and a different version is shown to the user viewing the site. Once caught, your site will face serious challenges and issues. The search engine discourages any form of manipulation to level up the game and keep the credibility of websites on the search result.
Being penalized isn’t the end of the world for website owners, though. There are ways to get your website back on track. As a professional SEO, my first recommendation would be to look for the right people for the job.
If you spend a few minutes online searching for articles about search engine optimization, you’ll find one marketing expert after another saying SEO is no longer effective.
In fact, many of them will tell you this traffic generation method is dead.
Others will tell you it’s outdated and obsolete, but the overall consensus will be SEO is no longer worth your time.
It’s on its way out and you need to focus on other ways to get traffic to your website.
Now you could look at the current landscape this way or you can recognize SEO is always changing.
Some methods which used to be really effective no longer work, and Google continues updating their algorithms while leaving search engine specialists banging their heads against a table in the dark.
On the other hand, there’s still a group of experts who believe in SEO.
They realize if you’re willing to make adjustments, you can still top the search engine rankings with enough time, patience, and attention.
These experts believe SEO is going through a period of growth, but when all’s said and done, it will come back bigger and better and be a huge winner for those who don’t give up on it.
At this time, search engine optimization is still a great approach for local businesses looking to drive targeted traffic to their sites with an investment returning a huge ROI.
We’ll take a look at the top 14 reasons why SEO is still a killer marketing tactic, hands down.
In boosting your search engine ranking, it’s almost criminal to exclude social media marketing, especially given its pervasive presence online.
Last year, nearly 70% of people worldwide used social media in one form or another. Also in 2016, 2.34 billion people had a social media presence, and stats predict that this will increase to 2.67 billion by next year.
Number of social media users worldwide from 2010 to 2020 (in billions)
It’s not clear how Google really gauges social media when it comes to ranking websites. That’s understandable, considering the search engine has always been very secretive about its algorithms. What’s clear at this point, however, is that social media does help in driving traffic to your site, albeitindirectly.
The correlation can be found in the top ranking websites, which also have very strong social media signals. So even if Google says that social media shares don’t really count as one link, a large volume should account for something.
Below are just some of the ways social media marketing can boost rankings:
Cultivates Relationships With Customers
Social media provides an easy platform where businesses can directly interact with their customers. More than superficial interaction, it actually allows you to develop a relationship with your clientele. Successful use of social media even gives the power to the consumers to dictate how product value is offered. It’s not just about numbers, but rather making them feel that they have a stake in the company. Cultivating your customers through social media will drive more traffic to your site, resulting in a better ranking on Google.
Links to Your Website
The main purpose of social media is to raise awareness of your product or service. The main goal of Google, meanwhile, is to give the most relevant result when users submit a query. Posting your web address on your social media page—and asking your customers to share it—will also drive traffic to your website.
Businesses are always trying to figure out where their customers are, especially if their websites fail to get traffic even when they have existed for quite some time. Social media offers a ready customer base, with its almost three billion population. The trick is how to harness it.
Means to an End
You should keep in mind that social media is just a means to an end, as Google doesn’t really recognize any of it in its search engine results page (SERP). Knowing this, it’s important for you to make great content that can possibly go viral. YouTube, in fact, has become the battleground for marketers to create the next viral video. It may not directly lead traffic to your website, but it does make for perfect brand recall. Of course, knowing the attention span of Millennials, you’ll need to routinely churn out great content to be effective.
In sum, just remember these simple steps to boost your Google rank with social media.
- First, create an account on social media—particularly the big four of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube—which can help drive traffic to your website.
- Second, fill your social media account with great content, with proper search engine optimization techniques, to make sure Google crawls through the page and indexes it in their search engine results page.
- Third, make sure that the viewers or readers can see the share button to make it easy for them to post your content on their own social media accounts. Afterward, just wash, rinse, and repeat.
Customers, however, are not as keen to forgive on social media, as compared to websites, when the company fails to respond immediately. As such, it’s best to appoint an administrator tasked to respond to queries or complaints on your social media page so your customers walk away happy. This increases the chances of visitors recommending your business to their families and friends.