When I started out as an online marketer, I knew I had huge challenges ahead of me. I didn’t know web design and I didn’t know a thing about copywriting. All I knew was I wanted to make a decent income on the side by selling my own or other people’s stuff online. Then I discovered blogging and affiliate marketing. I made small gains, but when I encountered SEO, my first reaction was “I can’t do this.” SEO intimidated me. I thought you needed tons of technical know-how to get a decent online marketing campaign up and running. Nevertheless, I tried to learn the stuff until I got a handle on several decent tricks to get my affiliate products in front of customers during search results. I was just getting comfortable when out of nowhere came social media. Once again, I hoped I could avoid the next new thing. Social media didn’t look like something I needed to explore because proper SEO seemed sufficient. Boy, was I dead wrong. When I tried out Twitter and social bookmarking sites (this was before Facebook exploded onto the scene), my conversion rate and traffic increased. Sales from social media far exceeded those from SEO. I was converted! Now I have been doing online marketing long enough to see the importance of running both social media and SEO campaigns to get fabulous sales results. Sad to say, many marketers remain stuck in a dilemma over whether to prioritize social media ahead of SEO or vice versa. Some abandon one for the other altogether. Let me tell you, folks: SEO is here to stay, and so is social media. Even more important, the line that divides them is slowly but inevitably blurring. Until very recently, SEO and social media were rightly seen as separate marketing channels. What SEO primarily does is to help you increase your site’s visibility and rankings in search. In contrast, social media is primarily a tool to help you engage your customers. SEOs assumed that social media played no significant role in search. Now we are seeing growing evidence to the contrary. Social media does indeed have a growing influence over search. Even Google and other major search engines acknowledge that they are factoring in social signals when they calculate a site’s ranking. Social media provides websites with bursts of significant traffic, and that’s one of the reasons search engines have decided to include it in their determinations. Another point worth mentioning is that, as the Internet gradually defaults into social, networking sites are offering features that enable them to work like traditional search engines. With a search feature, users are realizing the search potential of social media. And as users spend more hours on social networking sites, they’ll naturally find it more convenient to seek information they need without going anywhere else. I have to admit that I have started to use Facebook’s search feature heavily to locate some information that I have had difficulty finding through traditional search engines. To take advantage of social media’s search feature so other people find you via their favorite method, let’s talk about how to improve your rankings in social media search. There are ways you can optimize your brand for this purpose. Establish a strong brand presence on social media To make your site or brand visible in social search, you first have to establish a strong brand presence on some of the top social networking sites. As more and more people spend increasing amounts of their time on social networking sites, they do all sorts of things while logged on. They’re starting to look for information they want on restaurants, apparel, gadgets, and more without clicking away to a traditional search engine. When you sign your business up for social media sites, make sure to use your business name for better brand recall. Below is a list of the top social networking sites where your business should have a strong presence. Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest LinkedIn YouTube   If I had to pick the top three sites where I would establish a strong social media presence, I’d choose Google+, YouTube, and Facebook. Put social media share buttons at important places on your site You especially want to include these on each blog post and product page. By inserting buttons for Google+ +1, StumbleUpon, Facebook Like, and Twitter, you will make it easy for your audience to share your content on social networking sites. Then their network of friends will see and enjoy what you have to offer. The power of social bookmarking sites Take advantage of social bookmarking sites like StumbleUpon and Reddit. These sites provide you with the opportunity to go viral. Posting your content on them is good for SEO. That’s because most social bookmarking sites, unlike major social networking sites, have a “dofollow” attribute. In one of my posts, I gained at least 500 stumbles (shares) on StumbleUpon. That substantial number helped to elevate my post to the top of the search results for a certain keyword. Use your brand’s name wherever you possibly can Social mentions are crucial for your visibility on social media. That’s why you want to use your brand name whenever and wherever possible. Mention your brand’s name in your updates, your tweets, and your comments. Encourage your followers to express their thoughts about your brand. The more often your brand’s name gets mentions in updates and comments on social media, the better ranking you’ll enjoy in search. Actively engage your audience The key to getting a good ranking in social search is to be active in social media. Here’s where many brands fall short. They presume that establishing a social media presence by putting up a page for their products is enough. You’ve got to keep your social media properties alive with content, interactions with other brands, and involvement with your followers. The more you engage your audience, the more likes, shares, tweets, follows, and mentions your brand will get. Conclusion The Internet is … Continue reading →

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