Search Marketing is a moving target
If you know anything at all about search engine marketing you know it’s an ever-evolving process. In the early days of the Internet one could simply identify important search terms and then fill their sites with these words completely out of context.
It wasn’t unusual to find sites filled with the names of female celebrities; a classic bait and switch move. There is a game of “cat” and “mouse” between search engine programmers and online marketers. It’s no secret that Google is the search engine giant. Marketers are constantly trying to figure out the search algorithm and Google is continually refining it to provide relevant results.
The Move to a Social Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Google released an update called Venice in 2012. This new algorithm update gives increased weight to social and local signals. So what do I mean by social and local signals?
One social signal is the number and frequency of customer reviews. Consumers have an increasing array of choices when it comes to providing feedback. For example they can use sites like Angie’s List or Yelp; or on Facebook pages.
Consumers are using these sites to:
- Research products and services
- Express their experiences
Social Media Optimization
Search engines are in the business of providing relevant results to those seeking information. Empowered consumers are actively sharing their experiences with each other, so it’s not surprising that search engines are incorporating this feedback into their formulas.
Sites like Angie’s list and Yelp are becoming increasingly popular.
Taking Advantage of Social Search
Optimizing social media starts with business claiming their place on Google + local. Even if you aren’t active on the Google Plus platform creating and completing a profile makes a lot of business sense. A completed profile enables Google to match your company with other sites making it easier to capture review activity.
Completed information and regular review activity means the Google search spiders will crawl through your site more frequently and this will typically result in higher placement for your company.
In addition to Google’s properties, claim your presence on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, even if you don’t have an active presence or even plan to have an active presence. Fully completed profiles add credibility to your online identity and protect you from someone else claiming and using your identity.
It’s also a good idea to identify sites like Yelp and Angie’s list. Often you will be able to claim your identity on these platforms without having to pay for them. Some industries have specialized sites, for example, Zillow is an important site for real estate.
Most important: pay attention to what is being said, monitor these services and be on the lookout for indications of issues you may need to address. Don’t be defensive, seek to understand and ensure a positive customer experience.