Posted by Aaron Wheeler
Social media is becoming more and more important as the days go by; how else would I get my tri-weekly fix of XKCD delivered to me? Many people know about the marketing benefits from social media profiles, but sites like Facebook and Twitter can make a significant difference in your SEO campaign, too! This week, Rand shows us five great ideas for using these sites to help with your SEO strategy.
Hi, everyone. Welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. This week we’re talking about social media profiles. A lot of marketers, a lot of people in the SEO field know and realize that social media profiles can be valuable for their marketing efforts on the Web. But they don’t know exactly how to use them or where to use them. That’s what I am going to try to help you with today. So, what we have are five great ideas around how to leverage your social profiles to help with SEO and then some specific tactics and recommendations on each one that I think even some of the advanced folks will find pretty valuable.
So, let’s start here with direct links. You can see that, basically, I can take my profile on a LinkedIn, a Twitter, a Facebook, a MySpace, a Digg, a Reddit, a Hacker News. There are tons of these, hundreds of these. In fact, I’ll link you over. We’ve got sort of a list going on SEOmoz somewhere. You can take these, create profiles on here, and these profile pages oftentimes will have a followed link, sometimes will have a no followed link, but even that’s okay, and point that link over to your website. So, essentially, MySite.com is now getting some credit. And this pen is getting thrown in the trash. Oh, I missed. Sadly missed.
When you do this, you do a couple of things. Number one is, when they are followed links, obviously you are getting direct link credit. When they are no followed links, sometimes people are picking these up and scraping them and you get credit from elsewhere. Sometimes you are just seeing the fact that, oh, someone finds you on those places. You’ve commented somewhere. They’re checking out your profile. They can follow that link over to your website. So, having these profiles exist and having the links point back to the right kinds of places on your website is critically important, very valuable.
Number two, SERPs domination. Now, when you are doing SERPs domination, what you are essentially trying to achieve is to fill up the top results with results that are let’s say positive or at least that you control what goes into those results. Places like Twitter.com, LinkedIn, Facebook, and even places that are a little mor
e random in the social media sphere, like a deviantART or a Drawer.com, those types of places will all help you to potentially fill up these results. There are a few critical things that you are going to need to do if you want to get these ranking well though. You can’t just create them. Tons and tons of people just create them. Lots of spammers just create them.
You need to fill up the profile with good information. You also need to participate relatively heavily in the site, at least initially. What you want to get going, if this is LinkedIn, you want to participate in LinkedIn Q&A. You want to actually import your email address book so that you form all of those connections. If this is Twitter, you want to start following people and topics. You want to start getting listed into the Twitter lists. You want to start having people following you and tweet at you. If this is Facebook, you’re going to need those same sorts of connections. Whatever the community is, you need to build up a robust profile with actual content. Fill out all the minimum requirements. Maybe even go overboard and start adding lots of content yourself to your profile. Also, you want to contribute heavily so that this gets indexed by the search engines. It becomes popular on the social site and it gets you into the SERPs.
It is also very valuable to link to these. This is one of my sort of pro expert tips. What I personally love to do is everywhere I speak, everywhere I am asked to give a talk, everywhere that features a quote from me or features my profile for a webinar or something like this, I always ask them to use the same biography. That bio quote includes, it will say, "Rand Fishkin is the CEO and cofounder of SEOmoz." That links to our website. And, "He wrote ‘The Art of SEO’." That will link to the O’Reilly site. Then, you know, "You can follow him on Twitter at RandFish," and that will link back to this Twitter profile site. Every time I give a speech, give a webinar, or participate in something offline, those links add up and help to make my profile rank better. It is a great, great way to go in terms of building links to those individual profiles. A really smart way to leverage offline and online marketing together.
Number three, so, brand awareness. On a lot of these sites when you are participating, when you are doing good things to get those direct links and doing good things for SERPs domination, you are also getting a lot of brand awareness. This is really important from the perspective of you don’t want to contribute to social media sites, particularly if you are a brand representative or a representative of your company or a representative of your personal brand in a way that would be contrary to how you would like your brand to be perceived. I know this is more sort of a marketing communication discussion, a little bit less SEO. But it is critical for SEO as well, because people who find a divergence between who you are on Twitter and Facebook versus who you are on your blog are going to be put off a little bit. There is that emotional disconnect that happens when you see that a brand or a person isn’t being authentic to itself. That is why it is critical to maintain those.
The other thing is you do want to make sure that you are leveraging these in smart ways. If you have a Facebook profile that you’re trying to build up, you are definitely going to want to link to it from your own website. I want this site over here pointing to Facebook and referencing it and making this sort of a conversion focused action that will drive people to participate. Remember that you can get network effects out of these. When you are updating your statuses, when you are providing information on these, you want these to be followed by people but you want to make sure that they are the kinds of things that people want to see, that they want to share. You can’t just be adding junk content.
It has to be updates not only that are sort of interesting and valuable, but updates that will make other people look good when they share them. We’ve talked about this principle a few times at SEOmoz. The idea in the social media world is even bigger. When you look at what gets re-tweeted, what gets re-shared on Facebook, what gets re-blogged on a platform like Tumblr, it’s the stuff that makes the person who is sharing it look good. Right? So, when I tweet out something about SEO, if it is just self- promotional, not a lot of folks are going to tweet that. But if I tweet out something that is interesting research about the field, a lot of other SEOs are going to tweet that because it is going to make them look good to their followers. That is what you are trying to achieve.
Number four, drive traffic and second order links. Right? So, with a lot of these social pages you have the opportunity when you produce content on them — when I tweet, when I do a Facebook status update, when I blog on Tumblr, when I contribute a LinkedIn status update, even when I contribute a post on a social news site like a Reddit or Hacker News or Digg or Delicious or something like that — to potentially promote a link. Those links will drive direct traffic, usually in proportion to the number of people that are following me.
But there are lots of other principles at work here, too. That’s I why I recommend you check out something like "The Science of ReTweets" by Dan Zarrella over at HubSpot. It will tell you things like there are certain times of day that are more optimal. There are certain words that are more optimal and less optimal to use. There is certain phrasing and formatting. In particular, this is a pro tip for Twitter stuff. Make sure that you don’t start the tweet with the link. Start the tweet with some copy. And you actually want to make sure that you have some extra content at the end of it. Potentially, one of the things that we’ve seen is that having either a hyphen or a colon before the link, announcing it, is really good, and that having hash tags, if you put a hash tag here right after the link, it will sometimes make the link stand out less. So the optimal way to go is text introducing the link, link, some additional text, and then if you want a hash tag or a reference or a via or those kinds of things.
Remember that if you do a direct re-tweet, it won’t show as coming from you. So if you can make those tweets unique when you are sharing a URL, you are likely to get paid more attention as well. The great part about this is you don’t just drive traffic with these, you also drive these sort of second order effects. I’ll show you an example. My friend Kang here from up above has found this link. I’ve tweeted it out. Then he goes to MySite.com. He visits whatever page I’ve tweeted there. Then he thinks, "Oh, well, that’s actually pretty interesting." So, Kang’s blog now links directly to it. This is why it is so important to be building that type of content that is share worthy, which we talked about a second ago, and to be tweeting, sharing, linking to, and Facebook status updating and LinkedIn status updating with those types of things. They are the kinds of things that will drive those second order effect of links and that will help you do SEO in the long run.
All right, final one here. Number five is that social media profiles can be a source of content for your site, both direct and inspirational. This means that social profiles can help you build the content that you need to have on your site in order to perform well in the engines, in order to target the long tail in a lot of cases. I’ll show you what I am talking about. And even to do some exciting link based stuff.
One of the tactics that I really liked is a specific one, and I’ll talk about a couple, is to use YouTube. YouTube sometimes will have very popular videos. When they are reference videos, or they are longer videos, or they have sort of tougher to understand content or the kind of content were someone might actually want to pa
rse it in text form, you can personally transcribe. Add some value, right? Break out the things that are important. Bold them. Highlight some quotes. That kind of thing. Build, essentially, your own version of that video. You can embed the video from YouTube on your site, have a commentary and transcript. Do an SEO friendly title. Now you’ve created great content using, leveraging someone else’s YouTube video. This kind of thing is just a phenomenal way to build content in a scalable way. You know that this is interesting stuff. You know this is stuff people care about because it has lots of views. It has become popular. Lots of people are tweeting it and sharing it. So you can follow up and capitalize on that.
You can do this as well with things like Twitter. If people are tweeting links or tweeting a conversation back and forth — you’ll see TechCrunch do this all the time, where they’ll take an interesting conversation or Media Gazer, those kinds of sites — they’ll take an interesting conversation back and forth and they’ll republish it with sort of screenshots of the tweets back and forth between people. They’ll do a little bit of analysis. That will become a blog post. A permanent piece of content that other people will reference and link to and comment on and add content to. That means you can potentially earn rankings and traffic for those in the engines as opposed to tweets, which dissolve. I really liked a quote that was tweeted today that was for Brett Tabke. He said that the instant a blog post is created that content starts living forever and producing SEO forever. The instant a tweet is created it starts dying. Right? It starts going away. It becomes temporal. It fades in the background.
You can also use this for more direct kinds of content generation. That is to say, particularly on sites like Twitter, which essentially are very temporal in nature. As we’ve discussed, you can take this content that you produce, I tweet a few times a day, some of them are very interesting links, some of them are interesting content, and I can reproduce them in sort of a daily digest on my site. A blog post if I’d like. An archiving system. That content is priceless, right? I’ve carefully crafted those 140 words, but what are they doing for my SEO? Nothing. That is why it is so valuable to potentially releverage the content that you are creating in a walled garden environment, like Facebook, something like LinkedIn, particularly something like Twitter that is temporal, into this format on your own site and have the opportunity to rank for it.
All right, everyone. I hope you’ve enjoyed this edition of Whiteboard Friday. We look forward to seeing you again next week. Take care.
Video transcription by SpeechPad.com
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