As 2010 came to close and we rang in the New Year, it’s good to look back at the year and think about what we accomplished and where we need to improve. I’m sure that is where the concept of New Year Resolutions came from in the first place, but have you applied the idea to your marketing strategy and business website yet?
2010 will certainly go down in the record books as a year of uncertainty and change for businesses across the globe. Looking back at all the fresh ideas of last January, it seems that technology had a different plan all together. Most businesses seemed to be clinging to traditional marketing techniques; print ads, direct mail, and television commercials. The tech-wise concepts included online marketing with Google Ad’s and banners – but a year later, you have to ask “Were they effective?”
The smartest businesses began to realize the answer was “No” almost immediately. Something was happening on the internet, but that is always the case and many were unsure which direction to take. Twitter and Facebook were still considered fads. Very few people even understood the concept or purpose of a tweet — and Facebook was nothing more than a glorified High School reunion playing Farmville and Mafia Wars. SEO was about keyword weight, algorithms and linking campaigns.
This is the point where you look back at last year in amazement and say WOW! The shift started gradually with talk of more accurate search engines. People started analyzing the tweets on Twitter and the users on Facebook realized that they finally had a voice as consumers. New phrases began to pop-up like Real-Time, Geolocation, App’s, Graphs and Privacy. Still, nobody really understood what all of this meant? Do you get it now?
In a recent interview conducted by Technology Review, Google made a very strong statement regarding the increasing influence Social Media has on Search Engine Rankings. Google representative, Amit Singhal stated “It is ‘definitely, definitely’ more than a popularity contest”.
Social Media platforms aren’t just about friends and followers; they are about influence and authority. What does that mean? Well, anyone can build a list of Zynga game friends and post the ever-annoying application requests — or create a Twitter account and accumulate a massive number of followers, but those things aren’t important to the search engine algorithms. The one trend that will never be outdated is “Content is King”. That is exactly what counts when it comes to social media’s influence on page rankings.
The new algorithms have ways to conclude who is or is not an “authority” on Twitter and Facebook. This is wonderful news for well-known entertainers and professionally branded businesses, but what does a new business website need to know in order to compete? The answer has become more simple than it has ever been – engage with consumers!
Interact and Engage with Consumers
2011 will be all about social media engagement and the increasing weight it carries with the search engines. Whether you are sharing a business website blog post or a random article that you felt was interesting and informative, this type of interaction with consumers is what will establish you as an authority and earn you higher rankings on the search engines.
Although good SEO techniques are always important when building a website, the face and even the name of search engine optimization is changing. This is a real world, we are dealing with real people and everything is in real time – the best advice you can follow is to BE REAL.
The competition within the vast market of search engines is so aggressive that learning how to incorporate social media into everything you do is going to become more and more important. The modern day consumer no longer trusts traditional media and advertising. When consumers want honest opinions they trust their peers.
Do other consumers like this company?
Do other consumers like this product?
How responsive is the business to the consumers needs?
How interactive is the businesses Twitter and Facebook page?
Tweet and Share
These questions are important because the more a person connects and interacts with a business, the more likely they are to share and retweet the links that the business posts. According to Singhal, “As high-quality pages link to another page on the Web, the quality of the linked-to page goes up. Likewise, in social media, as established users follow another user, the quality of the followed user goes up as well.”
When people use the new real-time search feature of Google, the search engine picks up on all of these different social signals. They calculate each shared Facebook link; each tweet and count the number of retweets and times the link is shared on Facebook. Many websites and news sites now feature “Shared By” figures next to each post and news story, which greatly increases the websites authority as a legitimate source of valuable information. Even more weight is awarded to the link if it is shared in both places. Google confirms that links shared through Twitter and Facebook directly impact page rankings, a trend which is not likely to end soon. Facebook marketing studies have shown that 35% of ecommerce companies already use the Facebook Like social plugin — Open Graph protocol is the number one business must for 2011.
Points to Remember in Social Media
- Diversify – To increase a links weight in the search engines it is much more important to have numerous tweets from different accounts, rather than from one site or Twitter account.
- Old is IN – Everybody shares what is new, but there often unique older links that provide valuable information. Pay attention to what is trending and post something relative and informative that is distinctive.
- Use strong Keywords – Posting just a link is not nearly as effective as including a message that includes weighted keywords, especially if they appear as anchor text on the website you are linking from.
- Pick Powerful friends – Dedicated attention and engagement on the social media platforms will earn you authority and carry higher weight. Having a high number of friends with authority is even better! To check you and your friends authority visit Klout or other social media influence tools.
Don’t get left behind in 2011! Marketing has never been more important to your company website’s success. So do some research, pay attention to changing technology and start implementing new social media strategies as soon as possible. You will be amazed at the difference just a little socialization can do to boost your business sales.