Learning a few things from blogging. I know, I know I promised to write more about “social media optimization”. Soon, soon.
SEO or SEM are interesting because they are technically separated from digital strategy, advertising, PR and marketing, but as you can see from the infograph at bottom, we are all really part of a bigger “Circle of Virtual Life”; All these professionals work together to increase the number of people who hear your message. This article is about simple things you can do on your own to increase “impressions”.
Metatags – These are the written into the code of the page. Your visitors never see it, but search engines “read” these. In the meta tag -Title- “names” your blog. If you look at the top of your browser when you’re on a page, you can see the title of the blog. Mine reads “Bytes of Rice: Kari O’Brien” because I’m optimizing my blog so employers who search my name can find my blog.
1. Metatags – The title is what matters most to search engines, unless you have extremely unique keywords. Google and Yahoo are still using metatags, and will autogenerate when you submit a site. Correction: According to Matt Cutts Google does not use the keywords in the metatag.
2. Submitting a site – Before you can use cool tools like “Yahoo Site Explorer”, you need to submit your new site to the search engines for crawling. Google usually re-crawls once a month, but will register a few days after a new site submission.
3. Yahoo Site Explorer – One of my fave tools. Put in your url, which you’ll need to confirm you own, select “from this domain only” and it will generate an exportable list of other sites which link into yours.
4. Keywords – Optimize for no more than three keywords per page. This is trial and error at first, but if you keep track of which keywords people are searching to get to your blog, you can optimize as you go. Optimize content, pics and metatags.
5. Google Analytics – The best analytics, but obviously daunting the first time b/c of so much info. I like to look at referral sites, “bounce rate”, time spent on site and keywords. If you’re getting a lot of hits on one article, probably optimize for that type of content, unless you see a low time spent viewing. My best articles average 6 minutes viewing.
6. Filters – In Google Analytics you may see referrals from a site called “bit.ly forex” or “web.com”. These sites are “fake” hits to yours. They’re coming from scammy SEOers for foreign companies which use your account to spam out their site names. Put a filter on Analytics account to exclude traffic from these sites, or from “only [your domain]”.
7. Interconnection – I have links to my site from other sites, like LinkedIn and my blog, so I don’t filter these out of Google Analytics. This is part of the cross-pollination which I’ll have more on later.
8. Link-Farms – In the early days of the web, sites like Craiglist, static pages rather than search engines, hand-populated by humans choosing the sites served people looking for good sites. These sites still exist, but now SEOer submitting domains to them use them to increase “link-ins” (See #3), to boost search rankings. Remember: The better quality the site linking into you, the better your site ranks. Linkfarms don’t rank well with Google.
9. Cross-Pollination – Means links popping back and forth around the web. It’s partly #7, interconnection, and partly social media optimization, where you have many people bit.lying or sharing your article and URL across the web, because your content is so good.
10. Content – Finally right? Here’s the thing about great content: I talk like this because I can back it up. Beyonce couldn’t say that when she first started out (at 14), because she hadn’t done anything. Getting a lot of eyeballs but not having the material on the page puts you in the “spammer” group. Having an amazing voice no one hears, well that’s just tragic. Content comes first, then you need to do the footwork: SEO.
11. Friends – There’s a funny thing about friends, if you have a lot your popular, and you have a lot you become more popular. This is where clout factors in. Just like in the real world where if you become friends with social butterflies you meet a lot of people, in the web world, if your KOL friends share your link, it meets a lot more eyes.
12. Tagging -HUGE. For one thing most blogs and sites have more written content than media, so tagging your videos and pictures with keywords increases the chances someone will find your site through “Videos” or “Images”. People are visual creatures, so a good pic can do a lot to grab someone’s attention in the same way a great title does. Also title your pictures. That’s searchable too.
13. SEM– Unlucky thirteen, we’ll save search engine marketing for another time. There are four big ways to do it: email ads, banner ads, search engine buying and Facebook buying. Start with the “free stuff”, and we’ll get into the big game stuff another time.
The Circle of Virtual Life
source: Reload Media, Australia