As you probably know, Penguin is Google’s most recent effort to increase the relevance of search engine results (SERPs) so searchers easily find the information they’re looking for. Unfortunately for some websites, Penguin dropped them off the first page of SERPs, which seriously reduced their traffic. And, since traffic means money, a drop in SERPs means less money in corporate coffers. Your task, with all these changes, is optimizing your social media strategy for the new algorithm.
So, the question now is:
How do you optimize your social media strategy?
Even before the Penguin algorithm changes, Panda changes forced websites to abandon some traditional SEO strategies as no longer effective. Things like content scraping, reciprocal links, and some keyword strategies practiced by website owners now hurt your website rather than helping it. At the same time, algorithm changes increased the impact of social sharing and other activities indicating the influence of content on users.
The pyramid above shows 5 tools for optimizing your social media strategy, along with an estimate of how important each tool is in achieving success with your social media strategy. Building on that, here are a few things to keep in mind as you adjust your website content to Penguin — and future algorithm updates likely driving actions in the same direction.
1. Create fresh content (55% of successful social media strategy)
- Static websites get hurt by Panda and Penguin. These changes increase the weight of having a blog on your website and, if your site doesn’t have one, you need to add one NOW. And, it’s important to add the blog correctly, as a subdomain, rather than a separate website or you lose some of the benefits from the blog. Use your blog to engage your target market; providing value in terms of advice, tips, white papers, press releases, case studies, How to’s …. If your target marketing finds your content valuable, you’ll not only get a boost for creating fresh content, you’ll build loyalty in your target market and encourage current users to share, thus expanding your reach (which translate to additional sales).
- Scraping content (legally or illegally taking content from other websites) hurts your traffic. So sites who routinely curate content from other websites must stop this practice and focus on creating unique content. The exception appears to be sites that curate massive amounts of content, such as Social Media Today. My guess is these sites are an exception because they act as a single source for information within a narrow content area by re-posting 10-15 articles a day from reputable websites.
BTW, you get a double bonus for creating valuable content. First, because fresh content appeals to Google. Second, because Google gives you a bonus when folks share your content when they find it valuable.
2. Keyword Research (5% of successful social media strategy)
Actually, I really think this is more important than 5% because your keyword research also contributes to your content creation. And remember, keywords are REALLY key phrases reflecting which types of searches you’d like to appear in. Keywords should resonate with your target market and selecting a more specific keyword (long-tailed keywords) may bring better traffic to afford you a better position in search results. Here’s my advice for using keyword research:
- Write for humans, not search engines. In the past, content contained as many keywords as possible, making for awkward reading and often reducing the value of content as writers strained to include as many keywords as often as possible. Google recognizes this and now penalizes content with TOO MANY instances of a particular keyword. I remember my original SEO advisor hated my content because I didn’t use my keyword enough. I argued my primary concern was creating valuable content for my readers. I didn’t fare so well under the old algorithms, but the new ones really support what I’ve done. Great content will ALWAYS win out.
- Update your keyword research periodically. Google uses recent search data to build their keyword research tool. Trends in search change over time, so you need to update your keyword strategy.
3. Publish, socialize, share (5% of successful social media strategy)
Publish content consistently. You should aim to produce 3 posts/ week every week to build a successful social media strategy. But, just creating content isn’t enough — this isn’t a case of building it and they will come. You need to publicize your posts by sharing them across the social web. Personally, I think this is the only value of automation. It is tedious and time-consuming to share content. I use Sendible and OnlyWire to handle this for me.
But, don’t forget that the internet is increasingly social. So, make friends (real friends as well as those connected to your social networks) and treat them as valuable to your social efforts. An email marketing program and a traditional PR program also support sharing your content.
And, don’t forget Google+ when you’re sharing. GOOGLE is the key here.
4. SEO Fundamentals (5% of successful social media strategy)
I’m not an SEO expert, so I’ll refer you to someone who is (I read and share these blogs extensively):
5. Monitoring (5% of successful social media strategy)
Actually, monitoring is the real secret to the success of your social media strategy. Without constant monitoring (and capturing the right metrics) you’ll never optimize your results. No one has a crystal ball to tell you what will resonate with your target market. I have a lot of experience and I can point you in the right direction to start, but without metrics to show me what is working, I’ll never optimize your results.
This, I think, is the major failure of many social media marketing agencies — they aren’t trained in metrics, so they simply ignore them. HUGE MISTAKE.
I hope you enjoyed this post and welcome comments from readers. Please use the comment form below.