Lee Odden

Is Your Web Site SEO and Social Media Friendly?

search social media friendlyNumerous companies are losing vast amounts of revenue due to their web sites doing poorly in the search engines.  Web sites that are not easy to find via search miss out on attracting new customers as well as repeat customers that use Google to navigate sites they already know about. Is the same true for web sites that are not social media friendly?

People discover new sites through search, but also through recommendations made via email, word of mouth and through social media content. Making a web site social media friendly will facilitate the saving and sharing of content with others, extending reach and facilitating engagement. 

Consumers find new content via social networking sites ranging from links on Twitter to Facebook to their favorite blogs.  Content creation and links that occur as an outcome of social media participation can provide positive signals to search engines and affect search visibility. Making a site more social media friendly will expand the opportunity for content to be discovered directly and indirectly.

Search is the most efficient and effective way for consumers to discover content. Companies that want to take advantage now of where trends in information publishing, discovery and marketing would do well to ensure their content strategy factors in the value of search as well as social media.

Core concepts to understand search engine friendly web sites includes:

  • Crawlable content
  • Site organization
  • Internal links
  • Keyword usage – content optimization
  • Code/HTML optimization
  • Inbound links from external web sites

The notion of “search engine friendly” basically means making a web site easy for search engines to find, make a copy of, understand and rank in search results.  Search engines are by no means perfect, not even Google. Making web sites more search engine friendly means making up for shortcomings in the search engines’ ability to crawl, index and sort web content.

This is why SEO is an important asset to the performance of natural seasrch results. All major search engines invest in continued improvements in order to achieve a better search experience for users. Some of the things that SEOs have traditionally done for web site publishers are now handled automatically by search engines such as many of the features included in Google’s Webmaster tools.

Improving a web site’s availability to search engines as well as keyword usage and links (internal/external) helps the search engine provide better search results to consumers. It’ also helps companies marketing their products and services to attract more qualified buyers. Not only can web site traffic increase, but the right kind of visitors will self segment themselves by the keywords they use to search.

Many companies have the search issue handled or at least they’re on their way. A recent study by eMarketer shows B2B companies rate Search Marketing as one of their top marketing investments for 2009.  A poll run on Online Marketing Blog with well over 500 responses also ranked SEO as a top digital marketing tactic for 2009.

Standard search is evolving but it’s not enough to remain competitive to focus on standard Search Engine Optimization tactics.  The social web is the web of the near future and real time search results through services like search.twitter.com or even the new sort by recency option within Google are giving consumers more control over the freshness of the information available to them.

The increasing demand for fresh, live web content as well as the expectation of consumers to interact with what they find in the search results demands that web site owners and content publishers make their web sites both search and social media friendly.

Here are a few ways web sites can make themselves more “Social Media Friendly”:

  • Fresh content – To play the search and social media game, a web site must be in the content publishing business. Search engines and participants of the social web respond favorably to the signals created from frequent updates.  Participation in off site social channels can be brought into the corporate web site through RSS or widgets providing web site visitors access to additional forms of information and interaction with the company.
  • Social content – Not all of a company’s social web participation needs to happen offsite with third party tools. The addition of a blog, reviews, forum or even a social network to the company web site can provide intersted consumers opportunities to interact with other brand fans as well as the company.  
  • Easy to share – Besides the ability to contribute to conversations happening on a corporate web site, there’s a tremendous opportunity and benefit to making it easy for site visitors to share that content with others.  Many sites offer “share this” options that make it easy for readers to submit the page being viewed to popular social bookmarking and social news web sites such as Digg, Delicious and StumbleUpon.  Sharing options for Facebook, Twitter and email are also popular.Making it easy for web site visitors to share interesting content (web pages, video, images) facilitates the word of mouth recommendations people make in real life, except when done online, they become searchable assets.

The advantages of incorporating social features include improved online word of mouth, stimulating conversations with prospective customers and advocates and expanded market reach. The question is, are web marketing teams incorporating a social media strategy with their overall search marketing and vice versa?  

Are you making your web site search engine friendly for the social web?

You can find 5 ways to make your web site search engine and social media friendly in this companion blog post at Mashable.

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Lee Odden About Lee Odden

@LeeOdden is the CEO of TopRank Marketing and editor of Online Marketing Blog. Cited for his expertise by The Economist, Forbes and the Wall Street Journal, he's the author of the book Optimize and presents internationally on integrated content, search, social media and influencer marketing. When not at conferences, consulting, or working with his talented team, he's likely on a beach somewhere doing absolutely nothing.

Comments

  1. They definitely go hand-in-hand. You can do the work yourself, but there are some great tools out there like HubSpot and Wordstream that help you identify the right keywords to use on your site, and then offer suggestions on how to implement them. I have an overview of Wordstream on my site.

  2. Brent Haeseker says:

    Great post on a question that surprisingly not many are asking. Fresh content is definitely the nail on the head key to it.

  3. Its quite hard to be able to publish new content every few days, especially content that will keep visitors coming back. Great article anyhow!

  4. Great post indeed, and not only not many are asking, but I’d had that many are raving about social media, but very few have yet to really integrate the usage with their web site to really take advantage of it.

    Andre Foisy

  5. Fresh content is king, it always will be in the eyes of Google. The trick to social media is having the word of mouth and the viral spread without giving the recipients the ability to turn it around on you. Much like the Skittles fiasco on Twitter earlier this year. Thanks for the good read.

  6. Chris Jensen says:

    Amazing Post by an amazing Author!

    Fresh content, fresh links, link to popular established sites. You gotta follow the rules. It is going to take a lot of work, but it pays off!!! Thank you for the great informative post!

  7. You would think that major companies would be up on trends. A well designed and properly optimized website is a major tool because it can provide insight into how effective your other marketing strategies are.

  8. Thanks for the information. I recently added the social bookmarking as part of the easy to share technique to my site, but I don’t see many are using it to add the information to their social websites.

    Thanks again for the information.

  9. Good article. The last couple of day’s i’ve been discussing with colleagues how important internal links are for you site. We are split, I believe that they are as good as getting external links, but my colleague thinks otherwise. Thoughts?

  10. Jaan Kanellis says:

    I am have been pushing for the “easy to share” idea for years now with clients and some are starting to finally get it. The easier you make it for the visitors to your clients sites to syndicate your content the more chance you have for social network exposure.

  11. It’s particularly difficult providing fresh content on a corporate website that doesn’t incorporate a blogging function. Whilst there may be many assets that can be published on the site to keep it fresh, the copy & assets are often updated infrequently due to resource constraints. There are also limitations due to web corporate standards, and social media is causing us to try and update these in order to make our website more dynamic.

    With the growing recognition of the importance of search, it’s useful to understand the various ways we can make our site rank higher, and to have a strategy around how we will utilise these.

  12. Nice Post!It is helpful to those who working on the SEo & social Media Project.I have done Social Bookmarking & Directories Submission for my Website.Does it helpful to increase PR?

  13. Hi Lee, what social media channel do you find works best for you? Would you you say some are better than others in various verticals, and make sense for some companies / individuals vs others?

    These may seem obvious, but I think comments, ratings, and polls the readers would be interested in also contribute are also other aspects that contribute to a social media site.

    Your site implements comments and ratings quite well.

    Regards,
    Omar

  14. Great post. This is something I need to work on my website and blog (more for my website though). I would like to see other small eCommerce sites that utilize these features.

  15. Great Post! Thanks for the information and raising the questions that all business owners must ask themselves regarding their social media.

  16. I’ve not considered this idea before, though very aware of the value of social media. I love a day in which I learn something new, thank you.

  17. amazing post

  18. It seems that you just can’t build a successful website anymore without a heavy dose of social media effort. But for many, this type of effort is very time consuming. There are “auto” efforts but they just don’t do the job in an authentic and helpful way as the actual by hand method. People are looking for great content and helpful experts online. No junk and no phonies.

    • It’s extremely time consuming as any marketing effort is. But it’s absolutely essential. I devote a significant amount of time to social media and marketing my site and I do it manually. I try to come across as genuine and not robotic in my efforts.

      Building a site takes time, effort and planning. My first site failed, since I thought I could slap together a bunch of affiliate links and become successful.

      With my current site (A shopping Forum), I spent hours talking with merchants and other affiliate partners and developed a model that in three months has registered more success thenmy previous site had in 4 years.

      I couldn’t have success without a Social Media model in place and it evolves as things change.

      This blog is one of my must reads. Lee and his staff are on top of their game and I love their input and knowledge.

  19. nice article, very helpful

  20. Some very nice ideas here. and thanks for the tool to make life easier for finding backlink potential sites.

  21. Nice post. It is good to be reminded that the content, fresh and crawlable is what the search bots look for, and what the people need. I am afraid that we all lose site of that sometimes. The content will help to bring the links as well. I would love to learn more about making it easy to share.