Panda and Penguin, two search engine algorithm updates from Google, have wreaked havoc on many small-business-website search rankings. Google designed these changes so its highest-ranked search results delivered both quality content and a good user experience. Unfortunately, many businesses that depended on old SEO (search engine optimization) practices, such as keyword stuffing, purchasing backlinks and low-quality article directories saw their search results plummet when Panda and Penguin rolled out.
When businesses hire an SEO company in Kansas City, for example, to help them boost search results, one of the first steps will involve beefing up their social media strategies. Many SEO experts believe Google will reward companies with a strong social media presence.
Panda and Penguin Are More Than Black-and-White Animals
Before Panda and Penguin, many low-quality SEO providers encouraged content that was stuffed with targeted keywords. They also encouraged business owners to choose quantity over quality when publishing Web content. Another common SEO strategy involved collecting as many incoming links as possible. Some SEO companies, for example, paid spammy websites to link to their clients’ pages. By doing this, a business could cultivate thousands of incoming links. This would often help its search results.
As SEO became more common, Google became concerned about the user experience. When customers clicked on a business link or a link related to a research topic, they often pulled up poorly constructed websites covered in useless text and ads. Having low-quality websites at the top of its search results reflected poorly on Google’s brand. In 2012, Google deployed Panda to weed out low-quality content. Penguin was designed to root out spammy incoming links.
While Google’s changes undoubtedly improved the quality of its rankings, many small-business websites have become collateral damage. Small companies dependent on Web traffic have lost a significant amount of revenue as a result.
How Social Media Can Help
A recent SEO study found that seven out of the top 10 SEO ranking factors now come from social media. These seven factors include:
Based on this information, you get the biggest bang for your SEO buck by focusing on your Facebook presence. After Facebook, boost your Google Plus, Pinterest and Twitter accounts. The other social networks such as Tumblr, Instagram and Reddit can also help if they’re getting other people to share your content.
The point of social media is to engage your customers. As more people share your content and connect with your company, you should notice a significant SEO boost.
What Should Businesses Post on Social Networks?
The following types of posts work best on each Facebook, Google+, Pinterest and Twitter:
Facebook. To engage customers on Facebook, keep your posts limited to about 100 characters. Also, time your posts so you’re posting when Facebook has the most traffic. Experts suggest posting at between 1 and 3 p.m. Finally, engage your audience. Ask questions, post fill-in-the-blank sentences or use action words like “tell us.”
Google Plus. When you post to Google Plus, focus on learning opportunities. Many people access Google with the goal of learning something. Logically, Google Plus users are more interested in content that teaches them something. Two other pieces of advice about Google: Post positive comments about Google Plus and post GIFs. For some reason, Googlers love GIFs.
Pinterest. Pinterest is visual, and it’s perfect for businesses that sell attractive products. In addition to posting new products on a pinboard, some companies post their seasonal catalogs on Pinterest. If you run a service business, then try posting memes related to your business.
Twitter. Avoid over-advertising during your tweets. In fact, tweet one promotion for every 10 tweets you post. Use Twitter to share something useful about your industry or geographical area. Also, research your business on Twitter to find out what others are saying about you.
Social networking requires commitment and persistence. Consider using a program that allows you to manage your social networks in one interface. Many of these programs also offer analytics that will help you to judge the success of your social media strategy.
Get social with your customers to boost both business and rankings. Then, watch your search results improve as your social engagement grows.
Photo credit: sidduz / Foter / CC BY
About the Author: Reilly Jackson blogs about social media engagement and outreach. He’s working on an MBA with a concentration in Social Media Marketing, and he spends way too much time on Twitter.