SEO from Caterpillar to Social Butterfly

Search Engine Optimization and Marketing is growing up. In fact, the past several years has seen basic tenants of search, meta tags and DMOZ inclusions, wane in importance as the ability to bridge the gap with search and social has emerged.  According The Social Media Industry report March 2009, social media was viewed as helping the “rise in the search rankings.”

How do you build on page presence and websites with searchers in mind while developing off page strategies and tactics driving traffic to your highest priority content and converting pages.

Good site design and search engine optimization techniques used five years ago still apply and have relevance today on varying levels. Search algorithms are looking at content on the pages, how many folks are coming to the site,  from where and links that go back to your site.

Content Ranking: There is no substitute for good content and yes, content is still king. No matter how you slice it or drive traffic to your content, users must find value when they land on the page, otherwise you are wasting everyone’s time including your own.

The more unique your content the higher value an engine will place on your site and page. Video and conversational elements added to your site will infinitely add to the user experience. User generated content in the form of comments and conversations add dimensionally to your sites value for users and in the eyes of the search engines as well.

Usage Ranking: Once the user lands on your site what else lives there to create moments of engagement and further the user through your sites content. Forums and social communities will further enhance the users ability to engage with your site and create longer lasting sessions and potentially incremental pageviews. Focus on the conversation. This is where SEO and Social meld beautifully. The more comments your blog post receives the more traction you gain. To quote Seth Godin. “to get a remark, you need to be remarkable”

Link Ranking: There are several elements to links and their inherent value.

Quality Backlinks. There are three main factors considered in a link:
1. Anchor text. These are words and phrases used in the link.
2. Link location. Where is the link placed in comparison to the rest of the page elements? Links near the first few sentences of the content tend to have greater weight more than navigation links or links at the bottom of the page.
3. Link Intention. What page your user will end up on when they click on the link.
If a link has all three of these elements and they are relevant to each other it is considered a high quality link.

Here is where social meets search. Check out the new Like button metadata for Facebook

To customize how your site shows up when users share your page with the Like button, you can add meta data to your web pages:

  • og:title – The title of your page; if not specified, the title element will be used.
  • og:site_name – The name of your web site, e.g., “CNN” or “IMDb”.
  • og:image – The URL of the best picture for this page. The image must be at least 50px by 50px and have a maximum aspect ratio of 3:1.

For example if you are creating a page about the movie ‘The Rock’ you would include this meta data:

  • <meta property="og:title" content="The Rock"/>
  • <meta property="og:site_name" content="IMDb"/>
  • <meta property="og:image" content="http://ia.media-imdb.com/rock.jpg"/>

As you can see the sophistication around search and social integration  is becoming increasingly important.

More on search meets social soon. TTFN

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