SEO is a self contained discipline which requires understanding of the way Google ranks sites. As many know its about understanding the way Google treats content and in bound links and a few other important factors.
Increasingly however SEO is becoming viewed as a component in a wider ‘inbound marketing’ context….
The diagram above implies a close overlapping between other important online marketing spheres – collectively the above are often considered the three main cornerstones of inbound marketing. They are all valid and useful in their own right but the combination of these areas and the interrelationship leads to a result which is substantially greater than the sum of the parts.
So let’s examine this synergy and look at how we can optimise the relationship between them and see if we can improve our SEO as a by-product of other activities.
In its simplest form this just means getting as much content out as a many different and relevant places on the web as possible – guides, whitepapers, ebooks, press and new releases, articles, blog posts, posts on related blogs, product reviews, directory listings forums etc – there are many different types of content and lots of places on the web to direct them; for most small businesses it’s a question of resources to produce this content but it starts with a review (audit) of what electronic content gets produced already (quite often a lot more than you might think).
Additional content types can be identified as important and resources put in place for its production. Using outsourced third parties to produce this content is also an option.
(Incidentally we’ll be sending out a Create Great Content tutorial over the next couple of weeks so sign in to our Google Plus VIP circle if you want to get a copy automatically – Jan’s VIP Circle)
How does Content Marketing impact SEO?
In two ways:-
- In bound links are still one of the main – if not the main – factor in your Google rankings. Ensuring there are links back to the website from this content – and more importantly ensuring there are keyword rich ‘anchor text’ links back to relevant pages of your site is very important. It can be argued that this ‘content based’ approach to link building is more effective than other forms since it involves a range of different types of sites to get links from for a wide range of phrases so it’s more ‘natural’
- The other way of course is that just the sheer tasks of getting more content out on the web increases your visibility. Depending on what keyphrases people use in their search you may get content displaying in the Google hitlist from a variety of sources rather than just your web site – from article sites, Youtube if you distribute videos, , your LinkedIn profile and so on. Even from ‘directory’ sites like the one below if you have sent your content to them….
So, as a first step look at the content your organisation already produces and work out where to distribute it to on the web, who will do it and how often it gets done…..then you can build from there.
Social Media Marketing
Again, important in its own right for marketing. If you are not using any platform at the moment look at how your competitors are using social media as a starting point. If you are B2C Facebook may have strong relevance; if B2B the LinkedIn may be a good start. Of course there are others to consider like Twitter (see www.twellow.com the Twitter directory to see what others in your sector are doing) and YouTube which is now a major platform for business promotion.
Incidentally we’ll be sending out a LinkedIn for Business tutorial over the next couple of weeks so sign in to our Google Plus VIP circle if you want to get a copy automatically (Jan’s VIP Circle)
How does Social Media Marketing impact SEO?
In four ways:-
- Directly in the search results – as above – quite often social media sites will show in search results as well as, or instead of, your website – depending on the keyphrase searched for…
- Link Building – Some Social Media sites will transfer ‘link juice’ to help your rankings. Its important to note not all will do this – particularly the major ones like Facebook for example. This is because they use the ‘no follow’ tag to tell the spiders not to crawl. You can check by viewing the ‘source code’ and searching for ‘no follow’. Many blogs and Social Bookmarking sites do count however (and bit.ly does although Twitter doesn’t!)
- Better ranking through social signals. Here’s a scenario….Let’s say a new product from Dell gets announced and unfortunately there are problems with it with grievances and comments shared all over Twitter. Someone does a Google search for product reviews –what’s more important for Google to show in the results? – is it the product description on Dell’s website (which may be weeks out of date depending on when the spider last visited ) or the bang up to date discussion on Twitter? Google of course wanting to show the most relevant and recent would not be happy showing just Dell website information. So this is a simple example of how social media activity should, and is, impacting search results. So Facebook Likes, Twitter retweets and many other signals are now used by Google to display the most important results and why we should encourage social media interaction with our brand.
- Integration of Social with search. The example above shows how important it is for Google to access information on social media sites, and much of the information on a major social site – i.e. Facebook – is not available to Google which is probably one of the reasons Google has launched its own very important platform ‘Google Plus’. We’ve posted previous blogs about the importance of this and how to set up a good Google Plus Business Page yourselves. But the most significant thing is that we are already seeing strong integration of Google Plus activity within the search results. At the moment in the US you have the option of including G Plus results in the search results– soon it will be here and soon after it won’t be optional – Google will intersperse G Plus content within the search results when it sees fit. The take away here is to set up a G Plus business page (like 100 million others already have), start using it to communicate with your audience and encourage people to Plus One you.
So just to put things into perspective – SEO is still the jewel in the inbound marketing crown. There are 10.3 billion searches on Google every month from people looking for stuff; on Facebook, the largest social media platform by far, there are (only) 850 million people communicating (generally not looking for stuff). But – by participating intelligently with Content and Social Media Marketing activities as well as SEO, and because of the inextricable interrelatedness of all three we surely have a 1 plus 1 plus 1 equals 5 situation. (or possible 7!)