Target audience: Marketing professionals, SEO specialists, PR pros, brand managers, businesses, nonprofits, educators, Web publishers, journalists.
Search has changed dramatically in just a few short years. Google now severely penalizes sites that are buying links or are invested in private blog networks. Sites that have dominated search in the recent past are being penalized or de-indexed, going from the first page to page 20 or being removed completely, stripping many ecommerce sites of millions of dollars in revenue.
Let’s unpack some of the recent developments.
Site optimization: This includes copy rewriting, internal linking, keyword research, Google Analytics and Google/Bing Webmaster Tools integration, integration of Sitemaps, structured data, title and description rewriting and organization, image ALT tag development, site submission, and content recommendation development strategies, etc. Much has changed, but site optimization is as important as ever.
Social media strategy for social signals: A site needs to be organic (never static), as Google tends to spend most of its attention on sites that are constantly changing and updating. In addition to editorial “blog” content, it’s always worth developing content, maddafella.com style, in addition to producing content only for social media. Using platforms like Pinterest, Google+, Facebook, Instagram, and other sites, are essential. Actually, MaddaFella is really underutilizing its YouTube site with its expensive videos.
Authentic, organic, inbound linking: Content marketing is an essential part of developing a strong organic search reputation online. It must be unassailable, and completely white hat instead of being invested in tricking Google. That doesn’t work anymore – and will work less and less well into the future.
What does Google want? Google wants to know that you, the site owners and employees, and your community, your prospects, current, and past customers, are engaged in the success of the store. This is in response to people’s time, talent, and treasure being spent more on automated systems, advertising, link-buying, and savvy inbound marketing programs than on doing what brick and mortar businesses have been doing for generations: community engagement.
Bloggers: while they may no longer be the only kings of the kingdom, bloggers have a lot of bang for the buck because not only do they have a lot of SEO mojo associated with their blogs, they tend to be shameless self-promoters and minor deities themselves. As a result, if you’re able to woo them with your message or pitch, they’ll spend an inordinate amount of their own sweat equity promoting their own content across their own social media platforms and profiles such as their own Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, and even sites like Reddit, Digg and whatnot — including cross-posting onto LinkedIn, Medium, and other aggregator sites like Business2Community, Google News, and Yahoo! Do it! It’s worth it!
Facebookers: Everyone in the entire world is on Facebook. If you can find the right Page or Group, you could be as good as gold. And, if you’re willing to give it a go, you can become the go-to guy. You can become your very own influencer.
Tweeters: Twitter’s hard but worth it, if you can make the right connection. Don’t waste your time on small fries. It might even be worth it to search and discover the right hashtags, or even really spend your time and maybe a little money wooing one of the top Twitter influencers. They’re out there but they’re unicorns. I, myself, have over 50,000 followers but nobody really listens to me in a real way (though I do have my secret weapons).
LinkedInners: Apparently LinkedIn is a thing. You’re on your own there.
Pinners: Ask someone else, though I really think becoming an expert in Pinterest would benefit you immensely, especially if you produce beautiful things.
YouTubers: My inner millennial is in love with all the top YouTubers except for Hannah Hart and Grace Helbig (not a fan, and they’re bloody everywhere, they’re YouTubiquitous!).
Social Media Marketing
Facebook, Twitter, Google+: You’ve probably got these sorted out already; though I seriously doubt that you are actually doing anything with Google+, though you should be.
Pinterest: If you offer products, you need to share your products on Pinterest, just make sure to link everything back from each product page of your website. Pinterest allows you to pin links and then choose photos that are featured on that page. If you’re just uploading product pictures to Pinterest, you’re doing it wrong.
Guest blogging: I hesitate to recommend this because there are so many d-bags doing this wrong. Be nice, be generous, be useful, be helpful, and make sure you tailor-fit your post to their site and their needs. Don’t lead with links, lead with valuable content.
Collaborative blogging: I used to just have ChrisAbraham.com (RIP) and then started MarketingConversation (RIP), a collaborative conversation marketing blog. Then JD Lasica invited me to contribute to Sociamedia.biz, Mike Moran invited me to write for Biznology, Bob Fine invited me to write for The Social Media Monthly, and I’ve written for AdAge, Rosetta Stone, Huffington Post, and some other spots. Stop trying to be such a one-man-band: many hands make light work.
Editorial writing: A lot of my friends have serious success when it comes to writing for Fast Company, Inc, Business Insider, Huffington Post, AdAge, and all that — if you have the juice to command it. If you’re not already a known entity, you had better start off writing in earnest for your own blog or on sites such as Medium and LinkedIn.
Article cross-posting: One of the best things you can do, after you start producing content (for brand promotion, not SEO), is to do a little strategic cross posting. I think you should start with Medium and Linkedin.
Message boards and forums: Only do this if you’re already someone who loves and uses message boards. Forums take a long, persistent ride — a commitment to becoming part of a longer-term conversation, to become a member of the community. PS: this is the year of the message board!
You need to start now. You need to shift the money you’re wasting on SEO and advertising and spend it on setting up your other world, your social media doppelgänger, your social media shadow. Do it now.Chris Abraham is a partner in Socialmedia.biz. Contact Chris via email, follow him on Twitter and Google Plus or leave a comment below.