Five plus years ago an SEO strategy consisted of optimizing on-page factors such as meta data and title tags. Then backlinking became super important as Google considered references to your site an indication of its relevance (and still does). As our world constantly evolves, so too does Google’s ranking algorithm. In December 2010 Google and Bing officially announced that they factor ‘social signals’ into how content is ranked. These social signals primarily come from Facebook, Twitter and more recently, Google +1.
I talk with many business executives who find SEO frustrating because Google constantly tweaks its algorithm, which changes how content and web pages rank. For example, a web site can rank #5 one day then #7 the next.
Here’s why I believe this is a good thing, along with 11 steps to creating a conversation with your SEO strategy to maximize your content’s reach across your web presence to create relevance and to build your reputation and relationships.
At the core of Google’s organic search business is the objective “to get you the most relevant results as quickly as possible.” Pretty simple. Social signals are now being factored in because according to Google, “relevance is about relationships, as well as words on webpages”. In effect, your prospects and customers have a say in defining your relevance.
So how can you align your SEO strategy to match Google’s view on the importance of fresh content and a social presence?
11 Steps to Creating a Conversation with Your SEO Strategy
Demonstrate to Google that you’re serious about relevance and relationships by socializing your content and creating a conversation with your SEO strategy with these 11 steps:
1. Content Strategy. Just like any successful lead generation campaign, you need to start with a strategy and set goals in order to measure the success of your efforts. SEO is no different and should be thought of as a campaign.
Because ranking in search engines requires accurate content that optimally describes what you want to be found for, you’ll need to produce a content strategy. A baby step, is to take inventory of your current web site and tweak the content so that each web page exists for a specific purpose and is optimized to rank for a specific keyword phrase.
Besides your website, your content strategy should include items such as producing: one press release per month, one case study per month, one blog post per week, 10 tweets per week, etc.
2. Keyword Research. How do you know what keywords you should rank for? Make use of a proven keyword research tool such as WordStream or Google Suggest. Keep in mind that there’s a difference between what you think you should be ranking for versus what your prospects are searching on to try to find you. We call this the Keyword Gap. (Download our free keyword workbook: Getting Your Keywords Right)
3. Benchmark. Take a snapshot of your rankings and your web presence footprint today to compare in future weeks and months.
4. Syndicated Press Releases. Once you’ve determined the keyword phrases that are going to drive the most targeted organic traffic and are going to convert the most qualified leads (accomplished through research, testing and technology) then insert these keyword phrases into your content strategy and blatantly optimize for them in a press release.
Include keyword-rich backlinks to your web site from within the press release. These keywords are your anchor text.
Make use of press release technology such as PRWeb to distribute your press release to the sources that matter the most to your business.
5. Email Marketing. Use email marketing software to distribute your press releases to your own contacts. Ensure you include social media links located in your email, which will provide your recipients with the ability to ‘Tweet’ or ‘Like’ your content.
6. Socialize It. Tweet your press release. Connect your Twitter account to your company profile account in LinkedIn so it shows up there as well. Add it to your Facebook Page. And if you’re feeling super eager, video record someone in your organization talking about the news story. Optimize that video entry in YouTube for the keyword phrase in question and, what the heck, Tweet, Facebook and LinkedIn the video submission.
7. Client Case Study. A week or so later, publish a case study on the same keyword phrase you are attempting to optimize for. Reference the press release from within the case study.
8. Socialize your Case Study. See #5 and #6.
9. Blog Post. A week or so later, produce a blog using the same keyword phrase you are attempting to optimize for.
10. Socialize the Blog Post. See #5 and #6.
11. Measure. Review your analytics to see what effect all of the above noted activity has had on your rank for the keyword phrases and if you have experienced an increase in website traffic and conversions.
By socializing your SEO strategy using the steps above you will be:
1. Creating fresh content which Google loves.
2. Building a solid backlink strategy to confirm relevance.
3. Creating a social presence that will build relationships.
All of this will help convince Google you are relevant for the keyword phrases you are trying to rank for and that your organization’s reputation is strong. More importantly you will demonstrate to potential clients that you’re serious about establishing a relationship with them.