SEO

Social Media Tactics

Social Media TacticsFor those of you who have read my blog in the past, you know I love to give quick tips on search engine optimization and web marketing. So as not to disappoint anyone, here’s a quick list of Dos & Don’ts for your social media campaigns (you ARE including social media in your online marketing, right? If not, find out how to get started in social media.)

1. Don’t go into it just for the links. You’ll get shot down by the community instantly. Social media is all about conversation and creating advocates for your brand, so share and engage in the conversation. Active conversations about specific topics attract passionate audiences.

2. Give your visitors a voice. Social media gives consumers some control and a voice. If your site doesn’t include a way for visitors to comment on or rate your content, you’ve got some work to do. A static web site that’s one-way (the visitor can only read it) won’t cut it anymore. Interactive sites are the norm these days, so you need to join the 21st century.

3. Join in on the top social activities. These are currently watching videos and sharing photos. In addition to posting and sharing on YouTube and Flickr, consider adding video and photo sharing to your own site, if appropriate, and create videos that can be shared (see Video Optimization). Just be careful with Flickr. They are cracking down on accounts set up by companies and deleting them. They only want personal use of their service.

4. Social media is NOT a substitute for SEO or PPC. Social media optimization must be integrated into your complete marketing plan.

5. Great customer service. This is a natural outlet to social media. Visitors can leave comments or questions on your site or on other sites like Facebook and you can respond. It is essential to monitor the various social outlets, not only to provide service, but to head off any problems or complaints before they build into something difficult to manage. Among the many tools that I use are Google Alerts and Tweetscan to send me alerts for Google and Twitter mentions.

6. Lock down branding. Combining SEO, PPC and social media can be great for this. Great rankings in the organics, advertising and social presence are a dynamite combination.

7. Grab your Twitter name. Twitter is incredibly powerful for weighting in the serps so use it! Just be sure to grab your name before someone else does!

8. Link to your profile pages. Make sure visitors can find your social site pages. Make your first weighted link to your profile pages a link from your company site.

9. Treat your YouTube videos just like HTML pages. In other words, give them a title, description, tags and make sure the very first thing in the description is the URL you want folks to land on.

10. Last but not least. If you don’t know where to start, go for videos and move on from there. In addition to YouTube, videos can be distributed and shared through Metacafe.com, Yahoo Videos and scores of others. Heck, even Flickr has video now.

Keep in mind that many of the top traffic sites these days are social media sites and that Web 2.0 is really about empowering users, not promoting you. And, take note that social search is different than web search because in social search, it’s about sourcing information from trusted people as opposed to general information that is dished out by a search engine.

Once further tip – using cloud tags can give you an idea of what is generating conversations as well as alert you to trends. I use one on my own blog, but there are a ton of other WordPress tag cloud plugins available.

Until my next list of inspirations, good Internet marketing!

Standard
Training

SEO 101: Video Optimization

Video optimizationUnless you have been living under a bridge the past couple of years, you know that online video has become hot, hot, hot! Promoting your site, blog or product with online video is free, it’s mobile and social, so getting your vid to the most eyeballs should be easy, right?

Well, not really. YouTube is the biggest of the video sites and the average video posted there only gets about 100 views per year, so it’s not as easy as it looks. There is a bit of optimization that can help you on your way.

  • Use rich meta data – Video optimization, like web page optimization, is still driven by this. As with your content-rich web pages, make sure your title and meta description are keyword rich and helpful to the visitors (and spiders).
  • Build a unique page – Create a content-rich page just for the video you are promoting. Along with appropriate meta data, include some descriptive text and keyword rich links to help get you crawled by the crawler based search engines.
  • Share – The easier the video is to share, the better. For instance, YouTube’s strength is that it is a sharing site. Only a part of the video traffic comes from search itself, so be sure to build in a sharing strategy for your video.
  • Optimize for Related Videos – People watch a ton of these in YouTube and the higher your view volume, the more likely your video will show up above the fold (bottom of the screen). Study the top videos and see what they are doing that you might be able to use to your advantage.
  • Embed your video – To keep some traffic going after the initial rush of viewers, embed your video in a widget that you can not only show on your page, but share with others to post on their own sites.
  • Push out updates – This one’s pretty much a no-brainer. Be sure you push out your updates in a video RSS feed.
  • Make it viral – Quirky, offbeat, unusual and unique videos tend to have the most success lighting a fire under themselves.
  • Export videos as SWF – Please, no Active X controls. For higher quality and mobile, try .mov.
  • Build a Google video sitemap – You want to be sure Google finds your videos, so this definitely can’t hurt.
  • Be constant – Use the same title and description on all of the video sites that you post your video to like YouTube, MetaCafe, etc.
  • Customize your thumbnail – YouTube gives you a selection of three images from your video to use as your thumbnail. These are pulled from the 1/4, 1/2 and 3/4 marks in time in your video, so try to work it so that a scene in your video shows up in one of those points that would be appropriate for the thumbnail. Consider having your URL or telephone number show up at one of those points.
  • Localize – Having a video in your local listings can improve your traffic.
  • Submit to Blinkx – This will get you into sites like Ask and MSN, too.
  • Be descriptive – Be sure the actual name of the file and URL are clear and descriptive (www.website.com/funny-bunny-video.mov, not http://www.website.com/fbunvid.mov).
  • Use TubeMogul.com – Use this site to upload your video to several video sites at once. Your video could actually show up several times for a single search. See my previous post Importance of Diversity in S E O for an example. TubeMogul.com also includes YouTube stats for you and your competition.
  • Take the hint – YouTube tells you popular related phrases in the search drop down as you type. In a way, they are doing your keyword research for you. Pay attention!
  • URL first – Include your full URL as the lead to your description for your video in YouTube. This puts your link at the beginning where it will show best. You can even include tracking code if you like.
  • Don’t over tag – Tags are great, but don’t over do it. These can be just as spammy as circa 1998 keyword meta tags. Be concise and true to the content.
  • Call to action – Include one in your video with your URL. Watermarking is a good way to do this.
  • Press video – Include a video in your PRWeb press release. Yes, this will cost you money, but it is money well spent if you have something good to share with the world. If you don’t have something good to share, why are you bothering to submit a press release in the first place?
  • Respond – Look for a video that is popular and related to yours. Letter a title and description identically and submit a video response.

Naturally, all of the tips in the world won’t guarantee success. There are a lot of factors involved with making a video popular, including the video itself, but hopefully these suggestions will give you a starting point for your video optimization campaigns.

Standard