Especially in context to 2011, social media has solidified itself as an integral part of any sustainable businesses’ strategic business model. As we
speak, universities across the country are revamping their classic textbook marketing curriculum to give their business students a marketing education from a digital perspective – marketing is much more than “product, place, promotion, and price.” As we move farther away from outbound to inbound marketing, many businesses (the best ones) are continually looking for ways to leverage the power of social media to connect with their end consumers – with an end goal of ultimately moving their bottom line at a relatively low cost. Concerning SEO, businesses have even more of a reason (as if they needed another one) to integrate social media objectives into their marketing plan with Google’s announcement late last year: Google will now factor in “social signals” in regards to organic rank. So what does this mean for your business? It means that by actively engaging in social media, businesses can now kill two birds with one stone: improving return and organic rank by reaching out to consumers. A recent article by Kevin Gibbons, “How To Use Twitter To Boost Your Google Rankings,” via SearchEngineLand outlines basic steps any business should take to get the most from their tweets.
Being Active in Twitter
In the beginning of his article, Gibbons stresses the idea of being an active Twitter participant – “Your Twitter account cannot exist in isolation.” In a nutshell, in order for your Twitter account to have a positive impact on your PageRank, you need to interact with customers and market peers as much as possible – simply opening an account and tweeting your own content will not give you the results you’re looking for. From a relevance standpoint, this makes complete sense. By taking the time to truly engage with your customers, answer and ask questions, discuss your brand and product mix, share links etc. the more your content will ultimately be retweeted, and the likelier it is that Google will find your content relevant to a user’s search query. In my opinion, all of this hits home with the basic SEO principle of creating unique content. By posting quality content on your site on a regular basis, the higher chance you have of that content being shared (and the likelier it is you’ll increase your followers). In Gibbon’s words “Building high numbers of followers will enhance your authority in Google’s eyes, meaning, any links you post will carry more weight.”
As Gibbons continues to point out, Twitter competitions are a quick and easy way to give your organic rankings a boost – but they are not the most sustainable. We’ve all seen these competitions before – a vast array of companies are continually asking consumers to retweet messages (including a link to the company website) in hopes of winning a prize. Twitter competitions are an effective way of building links and followers, but as Gibbons points out Google will soon begin addressing the value of tweets, and not necessarily assign relevance based upon sheer number. Lastly, Gibbons ends his article by suggesting two (sustainable) further strategies companies can employ in the long term to improve organic rank via Twitter: targeted keywords and retweetable tweets.
The strategy behind targeted keywords is the same one employed while optimizing your website for SEO purposes: ensure your Twitter account is optimized for keywords you wish to rank for by including them on your page and in your tweets (relevance!) Lastly, ensure your tweets are retweetable by leaving enough space for users to make comments without having to edit the tweet.
The aforementioned points represent only a handful of ways companies can use social media to improve organic rank, but it bears significance in regards to how much social media is influencing search in general. As social media use continues to increase, so will its influence on how search algorithms rank your website’s page. In closing, I came across an interesting article via Experian Marketing Services titled “Americans Spend 2 Hours, 12 Minutes Per Month on Twitter.com.” According to Experian, the average number of site visits per month rose an incredible 37% during 2010, however average time on the site fell from 15 minutes down to 13 minutes, 12 seconds as of late November of last year. What does this mean for your business? Content is key. Consumers are less interested in spending great amounts of time browsing through information and more interested in seeking out the content that is directly related to them. Interacting with consumers and publishing new content on a frequent basis are two key strategies to keep Twitter users interested in your page.