3 Advanced Social Search Optimization Tips
Let's think together...
How long have you been "social"? Has it been a while? For me it has been more than a decade now and one of the baseline search opportunities is to ensure what is being displayed by Google, Bing, Yahoo! and others globally is what I want it to be.
And, most importantly, that each unit of content directs those discovering it to me, to the owned media channel network I have created.
Yes, and no.
Content Marketing is a quality and quantity game. Most playing it focus on one or two social channels for their primary conversation. Typically, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and/or Twitter. They have no content channel strategy to compliment their conversation strategy. My definition of content channels are those that you are using to augment your owned media channel network, the ones you are not hosting a conversation on.
For B2C and B2B this varies. It also varies if your model is primarily ecommerce. If you have an ecommerce model, all your channels would be categorized as conversation channels because your consumers will want to connect with you where they are, not where you want them to.
For B2B, nonprofits, and entrepreneurs you have more flexibility of what your consumers expect from you digitally. So, you can repurpose YouTube, Pinterest, Slideshare, Linkedin, and others to drive your content strategy without the heavy lift of conversation maintenance.
Search algorhythms, social channel features and their backend search optimization effectiveness is continually changing. And, each of the three primary search engines in the US approach search differently based on the type of company they are.
Google is an advertising company looking to broaden your search so you click links while discovering their advertisers. Bing is a part of Microsoft, a software company and focuses on the specific search you keyed- you'll notice the difference if you test a search across these two and Yahoo! which favors their Flickr images versus Google+, YouTube, and Vimeo even though most people I know have archived or abandoned their Flickr account long ago.
Now that you have a bit of search strategy background, let's get to the tips!
3 Advanced Search-optimization Tips
1. CREATE DISTINCTIVE VISUAL CONTENT
Anyone who is being "social" understands the time commitment that creating differentiated content requires. Without unique content your efforts will be less impactful and blend in with the millions of other content creators playing the game every day.
If it seems overwhelming, think of it this way... let's break it down. There are 52 weeks in a year. If you only posted once a week, that is only 52 units of content you need to author. And, the term author doesn't refer to you having to imagine 52 concepts. It is about gathering content from your life, work and travels and applying it to a meaningful market approach so those that discover you are interested in more.
TIP: Start a list at 52 Content units and start adding content ideas until you have covered special events, intellectual property, and your product/service offering. Once you have those in your list, you will likely find you only have a few weeks left to fill.
Now you can curate the timing of them into an annual calendar and begin the collection of current assets you already have to tell your story in an interesting curation that builds community. Remember your looking for reach and engagement that lead to your defined conversion goal. Using the best content you can create will increase both these dimensions and your community will grow more loyal the more quality content you create.
2. NAME IT FOR YOUR SEARCH GOALS
You don't have to be a search optimization expert to understand the following concept.
If you haven't named your image or video file to say what it is, how is a search engine to know what IMG_0248 is? Seriously, you have spent time and effort making relevant and beautiful consumable assets for Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter and your image or video asset is only going to be seen in that one channel because it isn't search optimized to create long term value for your brand.
TIP: Make your Content units into billboards not radio commercials. Here's the simple and time-consuming way to accomplish this critical long-term value component of your search strategy: name each image exactly what it is using your vetted search optimization terms. That's the holy grail. Seems simple right? Well, when you have thousands of images across several channels and a website, and you haven't been doing it as you digitally authored them, it can be a daunting thought. If this is where you are, instead of thinking of the whole body of content you have displayed across your owned media network, and start with the one channel that is most important to your business and marketing goals and go from there. Remember Google doesn't like duplicate content so you'll have to factor that into your naming protocol.
3. LEVERAGE EVENTS FOR LONG-TERM ENGAGEMENT
Live events are likely the best activator of content engagement because there is a live community actively convened around a topic, usually curated by a vanity hashtag. Here's the typical challenge with focusing on the vanity hashtag as a primary amplification tactic. Even when there are hundreds or thousands of attendees that are the community for the event and a representation of the industry hosting the event, only a handful participate on the hashtag, or even the at mention for that matter. (fyi - the at mention is the @handle for the event hosts account)
Why not go ahead an participate on the event's vanity tag to network with the conversation participants as a starting point, and incorporate your search term strategy by spotlighting speakers and topics that are already part of your content strategy.
TIP: Focus on the long-term by using a non-time sensitive hashtag. In this way your content doesn't expire within 10 days of the event. (Typical post event active engagement is about 10 days maximum). Anything with a year or date on it has little to no long term value and in fact it is like a freshness date to a search engine. Imagine the difference between #TechConference and #TechConference2010 ... now in 2019 search engines know that the piece of content is almost a decade old, and is perhaps irrelevant.
As search engines continually adjust algorhythms to thwart those looking to game the network, if you keep it simple by authoring quality content, name it effectively, and leverage moments to amplify it, you won't have to be an expert- you'll be organically search-optimized.