As search engine algorithm updates continue to integrate social content to deliver the best results to users, brands and SEO agencies setting out to maximize the impact of their online campaigns will almost certainly be looking to explore more and more ways to embed social search into their wider campaigns. In light of this, below are five key considerations for implementing social search techniques across multiple online campaigns.
Make it easy for people to "like" you. Integrate/reposition social media signposts throughout your campaign website. While many brands will already have social media buttons sprawled across different areas of their websites, to ensure these are effective, it is key to position social media signposts in the right areas, while maintaining consistency across the site. For example: placing clear "join" buttons for key social profiles in the top right-hand corner of the homepage header, giving good visibility to social profiles rather than hiding them in website footers. Additionally, utilizing "share" and "+1" buttons to extend the reach of your website's content, links, and keywords throughout the social space can be highly effective. There is also a balance to be had here too; not all content on your website is shareable, and a result, "share" buttons will not always be appropriate. Instead, use "share" buttons sparingly and in-line with content that users likely want to share, such as video or image content around new products, special offers, or exclusive promotions.
Include keywords within the copy published on social media platforms. As with any offsite content creation -- blogger outreach, article marketing, or the distribution of press releases -- any SEO-loving content creator will tell you the importance of including target keywords and relevant links where possible across trusted sites. The same is true of content created for social channels. With regular outreach on multiple social channels comes two opportunities for social search. Firstly, keywords and links can be integrated into any post, tweet, or YouTube video. Secondly, these posts or tweets can be shared or retweeted, widening the reach of keywords and links through to your site. While many links within social posts are "no follow" links, the opportunity to widen your backlink footprint throughout the social sphere and stimulate an increase in click-throughs to targeted landing pages is one that shouldn't be overlooked.
Utilize high-engagement triggers within social SEO posts to create a higher level of user engagement on posts. It is currently thought that the higher the level of engagement on a post, tweet, or video, the more search value is passed through from the link/keyword within the content. For example, if a Facebook post is created that includes a brand's target SEO keyword as well as a link through to the relevant landing page for that keyword, and this post receives thousands of "likes," comments, shares, and click-throughs, more value will be placed on the link, source, and landing page from search engine algorithms than would have been the case if little or no interactions occurred on the post. In light of this, brands creating social SEO-specific posts should look to include effective high-engagement tactics and triggers to spark engagement on such posts, further increasing engagement, reach, click-throughs, and as a result, the social SEO benefit. For example: posting unique shareable visual assets alongside copy, creating intriguing copy stimulating click-throughs on links, or asking an engaging question to create conversations around the post.
Utilize the Google+ platform and "+1" features. Since Google places even more social SEO value on content created on the Google+ platform, as well as content receiving "+1s" on both brand websites and within posts, making the most of the Google+ platform and features as part of social search activities is paramount. A number of key elements here include: publishing regular social SEO posts including keywords and relevant links on your Google+ page; maximizing engagement on Google+ posts; a fully optimized "about" section with target keywords and anchor text links; and the integration of "+1" buttons across your campaign website.
Consider "Author Rank" as part of blogger outreach. Both Google and Bing are starting to integrate the concept of "Author Rank" within their algorithms, whereby trusted, highly influential social media writers (content creators) will be given more weight in terms of social and search visibility. Essentially, content created and shared by social media users with a large, engaged, and active following will carry more SEO value. As a result, brands should look to maximize opportunities to engage with such users, whether these are bloggers, journalists, or even celebrity brand ambassadors, to secure target social SEO links in blog content, blogger tweets, and posts, further increasing the value and benefit of backlinks to your website and campaign landing pages.
George Guildford is an account director at Punch Communications.
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"Social search" image via Shutterstock.