While the concept of search engine optimization (SEO) is relatively new, only dating back twenty years or so, it’s seen a lot of changes in those years.
SEO was designed from the start to bring order to a world of chaos. Imagine millions upon millions of pages of data and no way to organize them or find what’s relevant to what you need now. Chaos, right?
So SEO was born to alleviate that problem. SEO was developed to rank high-quality, relevant websites in the best order possible.
Of course, original strategies were general at best. Because our technology skills and understanding were on a different level, we started organizing using basic data. This was easy for marketers to figure out, and they began manipulating their content, their websites accordingly.
So both sides of the table have been playing the game, launching new tactics and strategies over and over again until we’ve wound up right here, where we are today.
Search engines want to deliver search results in the best possible way. They want relevancy. They want high quality results that their customers want to receive. They look for ways to improve their results. They want to deliver the best content possible.
Which of course means that you and I as searchers play our part too. If we find sites that are manipulated and deliver content that is anything but informative, we back out and look for other things.
So it’s up to the search engines to refine over and over and over again, ensuring results.
Now let’s enter social media into the picture. You know, Facebook and Twitter and Instagram and such.
Social media isn’t about content as much as it is about developing a persona. This isn’t where you dish out content randomly without thinking about the end user. This is where you consider who your customer is on each of the platforms and what they’ll benefit most from. Think of it as your publicist to the world. It’s how your content reaches out and touches your target audience.
They could be casual users, dropping in once in awhile when they need something. Or they could be power users, staying up on technology every moment of the day.
Are you reaching both kinds of customers?
Develop Your Keywords
Keywords play a significant role in SEO. If I asked you what your keywords are, chances are you have a list of what you THINK are your own.
Although they may not take on the same role they did even a few short years ago, they still have an impact on your online presence.
When Google ranks sites in search results, it uses more than 200 ranking factors to determine its results. It uses keywords in a variety of ways, including:
- Does the keyword appear in the top level domain?
- Is the keyword used as the first word in the domain?
- Are the keywords used throughout the content on the page being ranked?
- Are keywords in title and description tags?
- How is the keyword ranked according to other keywords ranked on the page?
Although you should never create a page of content solely for a keyword (repeating “keyword” again and again gets a little old – would you read it?) it is a good idea to keep it in mind as it’s being created.
You can think of your keyword list as your master list for what you do.
Social Media Fits In Like This
When you tweet or post a photo to your social accounts, keywords aren’t a part of the process. How many times can you use “keyword” in just over 100 words?
And if you post again and again throughout the day, “keyword” is quickly going to be overwhelming and … boring. There’s only so many times you can take someone talking about what a great HVAC company they are, for example, and not tune out, right?
Still, people are looking for keywords every day. And social media ranks high in Google’s world. Reporters use them to look for information about your industry. Potential buyers use them when they have needs.
While you don’t have to place them consistently in your posts (and you shouldn’t), you should have them in your social accounts in other ways.
- In your bios
- In your profile pages
- When you mention your brand
- In press releases
- When you’re interviewed
- In reviews
- In industry publications
I often laugh when I see people prominently display their work titles as top concern in their social sites. Let me ask you a question: When you need a service, do you ever search for the president of a company, even if you don’t know that company exists?
But do you search for a plumbing expert if your sink backs up, or a business coach if you are growing your business? You bet.
That’s where it pays to hone in on your keyword and use it predominantly in what you do online.
Align Your Message
We know you’re doing one thing online: looking for customers. As business owners, that’s key in our minds, every day, all day. We want to find prospects and convert them into business. We want to make customers happy. And when they can refer us to their friends, we want them to do that too.
That means we have to provide the tools to do that. If we make the process easy, our customers are more likely to “help” us every step of the way.
This is where your brand consistency matters across all platforms. This is where your persona comes into play.
And keywords can help with that too.
Because getting your message out isn’t always left up to you.
What if a customer talks about you?
What if someone in the industry talks about you?
What will they say?
Will they use the proper keywords? Will they understand your message as well as you do?
You can direct that with everything you do online. You can do it with:
Words – your company name, your tagline, your brochures, your web copy, your blog, your newsletter content, your ads, your email communication
Images – graphics, website theme, avatars, gravatar, advertising, marketing, package design
Experience – website presentation, responsiveness, navigation, process from beginning to end
Interaction – tweets, posts, shares, reviews, blog content, comments
If your message remains the same from place to place to place, your brand’s core message will become apparent to all that receive.
They will contact you because they understand it. They will rely on you because it’s what you do.
Can you currently see all of that in what you do online?