Why should social media be a component of my marketing plan?

What are social media used for?

Social media are a major component of the lives of the majority of Americans. People use a variety of channels to share daily updates about their lives, their beliefs, and their families. Posting to social media allows them to air their opinions of service providers, businesses, and current events. Individual citizens are not alone in their use of social media. Even the president of the US takes to Twitter to share his thoughts before he shares them with his closest advisors.

Many news outlets lead their breaking news stories directly to social media. Twitter has practically become a news ticker with late breaking events cresting and being amplified by retweeting. Additionally, customer service arms of major brands monitor social media and consumers expect to have their concerns listened to and answered by representatives from them.

The majority of people in the US use social media

Seven out of ten people use social media to connect with one another. A great majority of these social media users are in their prime years, between 30 and 64. The most popular social media platform is Facebook with 68% of adults in the US holding accounts on the platform. People of both sexes use social media actively. People with incomes greater than $75,000 are the most active users of Facebook – with 76% of them on the site. [Pew Research Fact Sheet on Social Media]

The percentage of US adults who use each social media channel

Why your business must not ignore social media

As a business, ignoring social media’s importance seems wrong headed. Instead of ignoring social media, you can actively listen. By actively listening [curating topical lists around hashtags, topics and individuals] to social media, you can learn what people think of your business, your competitors, and be among the first to spot new trends. You’ll learn about complaints and peeves so you can strategically align services to fit consumer expectations. Social media is a great resource of business intelligence for every type of business.

How does social media activity impact your website’s SEO?

Social media are also a way to drive traffic to your website where consumers can learn about your firm’s expertise and services. Visits to your website are an important factor to help increase your website’s ranking in search results.

According to SEMrush Ranking Factor Report, “Out of 12 factors we have analyzed, the number of direct website visits seems to be the most important page-ranking factor. Websites with higher authority consequently gain more traffic, and as a result, have a better chance of getting into the top.”

Your activity on social media not only increases awareness of your website and your authority, it (hopefully) provides others in positions of high reputation the opportunity to share your content. As an off page ranking factor which influences SEO, shares by those with solid reputations helps increase your content’s trustworthiness and SEO rank.

According to Alexandra Tachalova writing for MOZ, while “social media signals don’t influence site rankings, SEO isn’t effective without harnessing social media channels.” Ms. Tachalova further notes, “When you share content on SMM channels you’re not only getting engagement, but also bringing visitors to your site. This in turn helps you boost your site’s visibility: SMM [social media marketing] corresponds to SEO and indirectly influences website performance in Google.”

SearchEngine Land agrees with Ms. Tachalova. “Content that gets socially shared can, in turn, pick up links or gain engagement, which are direct ranking factors. As a result, paying attention to social media is important to SEO success.”

What role does quality play in the development of website content?

Social media in service to SEO depends on the highest quality content which is actively clicked and shared. This puts a large burden on small businesses to strategically develop and deploy content, monitoring and adjusting to tweak results that improve performance. To be avoided are “quick fixes” and too-good-to-be-true solutions which claim to automatically build your content in order to boost your search presence.

Content development should take a considerable amount of time, research and thought. Your goal is to create highly authoritative, insightful blog posts on your site, which can be shared across social media, and  which generate the type sharing behavior described.

How does a business go about building a social media relationship?

When it comes to audience development, your goal is to develop relationships with people who care about the causes, services or sector you represent. Finding strong advocates for your content will enhance engagement, improve virality and lead to better standing in search results. This is where your active listening streams and lists come into play. In addition, there are solutions which claim to help identify influencers so you can follow them. However, if you simply follow them, without significant interaction, with only the goal of getting them to share your posts, you’ll fail miserably. No one likes to be used for their position or influence, whether in real life or on social media. Cultivate actual interaction with individuals.

If you’re at all active on social media, no doubt you’ve seen hashtags such as #followback or people who proclaim that they can get you thousands of followers for no money. Remember, there is no quick fix. Cheap is as cheap does. Do not be distracted from the diligence you need to build your followers one at the time. Take to heart this guidance from SearchEngine Land, “participate on relevant social platforms in a real, authentic way, just as you would with your website, or with customers in an offline setting.”

Every business needs social media as a part of their marketing

The research is clear. Social media are a major influencer on website search presence and higher ranking. Any business who wishes to be found in search results by their target customer for the services they need must use social media as a component of their strategic marketing.


Header Featured Photo by Kait Loggins on Unsplash

Voice Search, Longer Queries, Locality, Drive Search and SEO

Mobile search drives voice queries which impacts your SEO

In 1966 on an episode of Star Trek titled, “The Conscience of the King,” Captain Kirk uses voice search to locate information about Anton Karidian, a protagonist in the episode. Kirk’s manner of search is, like most things Star Trek, predictive of future technology. Star Trek was also the source of the personal communicator which, itself, was an evolution of a two-way radio, commonly used in the 1960s. Today’s personal communicator is the mobile device which performs both voice search and mobile calls. We keep our mobile devices with us most of the day, using them in lieu of desktops. 

Mobile search dominates

We already know that the great majority of searches in the United States are conducted  using mobile devices. It’s been said that perhaps 60% voice searches are done on mobile devices. As reported in Search Engine Land, “A recent report from Hitwise (registration required) argues that in the US mobile search is roughly 58 percent of overall search query volume.” With the increasing use of mobile devices, we also have the increase of voice commands which are common. These days people are searching the web with mobile devices and they are doing so using verbal (voice) search to either Siri or Google.

According to Search Engine Land, “The range of virtual assistants, such as Siri, Cortana, Google Voice Search/Now, Viv, Amazon Alexa, and now, Google Home, are collectively training people to search using their voices and to become more “conversational” with search and mobile devices.” Not only are voice searches being conducted more frequently, they are longer containing more characters than typically used by users performing a search using a desktop. The ease and convenience of voice search is driving us to ask more detailed questions.

How does voice search affect your SEO?

When people voice search, they use natural speech rather than boolean search terms or simple keywords. Years ago, people seeking a sushi restaurant, would have searched for “sushi restaurants in Charleston, SC.” Today, all we need to do is ask Siri or Google for “sushi restaurants near me.” The search engine returns a map, populated with pins locating restaurants serving sushi. This indexing of GPS enabled data from the phone, combined with local restaurant types gathered from both Google My Business and website indexing, drives a powerful result and you get the sushi you crave quickly.

SEO, content and website development

Google’s stated aim is to provide users the information they desire immediately. To this end they have developed all the tools which allow users to reach their goals quickly. These include the use of structured data and snippets, as well as latent semantic indexing (LSI) [Click to read our article on LSI] which analyzes the words on a page and immediately recognizes the corollary phrases and words relevant to your search.

What actions can you take to make certain that your content is helpful, useful and findable to search engines?

As you develop content for your website, recognize that you must now structure your content to contain key phrases. Key phrases are those which are used in spoken searches. For example, someone searching for specialized insurance for their automobile, might voice search using the query, “I want to buy automobile insurance for a collectible car from 1960.” Optimizing your content (if you are a firm selling such insurance) with a post or page or even a subhead marked up as a headline [H1, H2, H3, H4], with a question or statement: “Why is it important to purchase insurance specifically for collectible cars” will help your website visitors find you more quickly via voice search. Questions, statements and phrases emulating what a user will input during a voice search enhances your content’s attractiveness and usability for site visitors. Phrases are indexed and used to provide the answers you see in search results as seen in the image below.  PRO-TIP: Extend this analogy to your industry, services, or products in order to help build helpful content (which can be text, images, and/or videos) for your website visitors.

An example of structured data results from a Google voice Search

Add your business to Google My Business

Adding your firm to Google My Business provides local searchers the relevant information they need [Click to learn how it works]. Not only that, it allows you to see when, how, and what searchers interact with. The tool allows you to consolidate location, product, and frequently requested data into a single place and you are able to manage reviews right in the dashboard of Google My Business. It’s critical to add images that are helpful. These images are shown to users performing map searches. You can allow your prospective customers to see inside your business, see product photos, and view images of your key personnel. You can update your listing anytime you need to with seasonal hours, and up-to-the-minute information. You have the power to affect how your business is listed by Google. Take advantage of it.

Use a structured data markup tools in your website

If your website is based on self-hosted WordPress, you can add tools such as Yoast SEO, and Local SEO from Yoast to enhance your content and seamlessly and easily insert the right metadata to signal to search engines where your business is located. If you prefer to include structured markup yourself, Google has a tool to give you the assistance marking up your metadata. If you have already added the right markup to your site you can also test it using Google tools. Click to test your website’s structured data markup.

If this information is more technical than you care to digest, call us. We’ll be glad to have a look at your website and provide you with a few ideas about how we can help make certain that your website is properly indexed, and helpful to your site’s visitors.