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News

More than Just Words
 
Published Wednesday, August 24, 2011 7:00 am
by JAY SPENCER & ANDY GALESHAHI

With the three major search engines constantly changing their search algorithms, it is essential for your business to stay current with these changes. Google introduced universal search to the world in 2007. This change allowed results to include not just text, but video, images, maps and even news feeds. Google represents 80 percent of all online searches. Yahoo and Bing have followed Google’s footsteps and now have their own versions of universal search.

As such, search engine optimization (SEO) goes beyond your website; it includes optimization of videos, social media and images. In today’s competitive market it is a matter of sink or swim online.

The first step is to make sure your website is fully optimized for search. This includes selecting keywords people are looking for and placing them in your page meta titles, meta keywords, meta descriptions and page content. A good practice is to pick your top three relevant keywords for your homepage and then implement them on your site. The next step for your site is link building. Link building is the process of creating unique high quality links pointed toward your site from another site. The more quality links you have, the more relevant your site appears to the search engines. Once a solid foundation has been laid out for your site you will need to focus on the other aspects of universal search optimization.

Video

While video has become an important tool, most business owners do not know what to do with video content. Create a YouTube page for your company that is visually pleasing and has industry-related content. Make sure you title, tag and describe your videos using keywords related to that content. You will also want to add video on your site. You can add either video directly from YouTube or you can use a video platform to host your videos in high definition.

Consider having the company that creates your videos also market and optimize your videos. If a video is created by someone who makes videos traditionally for television, they typically will not create a video that has search value, meaning an answer to a question, or something that someone would link to or share. When an SEO company outsources video production, they pose a risk to the content’s value and true relevance. The purpose of your video is to help facilitate the decision making process by becoming the best source of information. Think of your video as your virtual sales person. Remember, not everyone is ready to buy your product or services. Most businesses and people like to research to find answers to their questions before they walk in your door or call you.

Social Media

Social media optimization is one of the best ways to stay in touch with people who like your business or industry. At the minimum, Facebook and Twitter should be used and managed to build an online community and brand awareness, and to keep in constant communication with customers, fans, associates and more. Effectively managing your social media properties is more than just posts, although posts are still important and should be made to your Twitter and Facebook pages at least three times week.

Make sure not to bore your fans and followers with “me, me, me” content and be sure to include tidbits of industry related news, also known as other people’s content (OPC). To keep a healthy balance, we recommend posts be about internal company updates or accomplishments, your offerings and industry or trade-related information and news.

The most overlooked online marketing strategy is the optimization of images. Have you ever been on a site and checked the properties of an image? Was the file named something like IMG_501.jpg? To get the most benefit out of your images be sure to name the file the same as your industry-related keyword and make sure to fill the image alt tags with your keyword as well. This will help the search engines identify your images as relevant. It’s also important to create your own Flickr account. Flickr is an image-sharing site and can be useful for optimizing images for search.

Local Search

Google introduced local search to throw another wrench in things about a year ago. Local search automatically sorts results that are local to the person searching. For example when you type in “doctor,” you will notice a list of doctors from your area next to red push pins. The other results will be nationally ranked results. It has become critical that you claim your business place page, which is part of Google’s local search. Once the page is claimed, you should add several images to this page and video if you have it. Adding video is as simple as getting your own video links from your YouTube page. You can select up to five categories to appear in with your place page, so be sure to use every opportunity you can. Once your place page is claimed you will likely notice your business listing in different local searches move up.

Universal Search Optimization Checklist:

Make sure your site has been properly optimized for universal search.

• Create Facebook and Twitter accounts and post at least three times a week.

• Create a YouTube page that is visually pleasing and has relevant content.

• Put video content on your site.

• Optimize the images on your site with relevant keywords.

• Create a Flickr account and optimize your images.

• Be sure to claim your Google place page and add video and pictures.

• Put icons on your site and link them to your Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and YouTube pages. n

Jay Spencer is co-founder and president, and Andy Galeshahi is co-founder and vice president of marketing and sales of SearchPro Systems in Nashua, which provides managed Web marketing services. They can be reached at 855-548-7834 or info@searchprosystems.com.

For more information, visit www.searchprosystems.com.


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