Solving Google’s algorithmic puzzle is harder than ever, making search engine optimization a full-time occupation; companies are hiring crack programmers just to stay on top of the search rankings.
While ecommerce enterprises spend hours manipulating meta-tags and embedded HTML keywords, the most cost-effective SEO resource goes unnoticed: social media. Contrary to common belief, SEO is not limited to behind-the-scenes maintenance.
To earn that highly coveted search engine visibility, merchants have to spread themselves across wider plots of Internet real estate.
Here are five, non-coding-experience-required tips for using social media to your SEO advantage:
Institute reputation management
When someone searches for your brand, the first result should always be your primary website—over that you have some measure of control—but what about the second, third and fourth results? Instead of leaving those spots susceptible to negative Yelp reviews or unhappy customer forums, be proactive.
Facebook pages, Twitter accounts and Pinterest boards are not only ways to engage your audience, they’re preventative measures to ensure that the positive extensions of your brand are most prominent.
“Theme” your website
One of the many ways Google interprets websites (and subsequently ranks search results) is by placing them in hundreds of potential categories, from “Arts & Entertainment” to “Sporting Goods.” The more content you provide for search engines to associate with your brand, the easier it is for them to classify your pages.
Blog post tags, retweets and customer reviews give search engines more keywords to detect. Including links to your products or social media pages on your internal site can flesh out your “theme” even further.
Open more doors to the buying cycle
It’s so straightforward, but so underappreciated: The larger your social media presence, the higher number of “doors” into your virtual store. Before seeing (or searching for) your website, someone may read a friend’s Tweet that included a link to your Facebook page, click through, and if they like what they see, follow through to your site and products. That virtual trail of social breadcrumbs presents the opportunity to convert visitors into customers.
Collect social validation
People who shop online typically perform their own extensive research before adding to a cart. Most look for endorsements from Regular Joes, shoppers just like them. They find that endorsement in customer reviews.
Instead of leaving it to Yelp or Google platforms, take control of your message by leveraging social media. Using Facebook or Twitter to poll your customers puts the results directly in your hands. An internal page of your website that highlights these reviews will show up above other rating platforms, extending your reputation management and giving consumers the reassurance they crave.
As you may have realized, Google has a knack for knowing what’s trending or newsworthy, and tailoring search results to those benchmarks. Google accomplishes this through QDF (Query Deserves Freshness). Simply put, Google checks up on websites’ content to determine if anything is buzz-worthy. If so, your SEO inflates.
And while social media links are more temporary than those on major news sites, they are perfect for generating buzz. When launching a campaign or a product, it’s helpful to get audiences talking, tweeting and linking to your content beforehand to ensure that, come debut time, your site is the number one hot spot.