Social Media is becoming a crucial part of any business marketing strategy. Gone are the days of simply creating a basic Facebook profile, periodically posting messages to your fans, and leaving it at that. Using the following techniques, we can begin to build trust in the eyes of Google, which will then open the door to higher search engine rankings for your website. In today’s technology, you must implement several of these important aspects in order to gain significant value from your social media presence and your social media marketing efforts where it relates to search engine optimization.
Let start with the widely acknowledge social platform, Facebook. The standard setup for smart businesses on Facebook now include a graphically enahnced Facebook Business page. More specifically your landing page, sometimes referred to as a “welcome” page. Instead of the older method of having your visitors start their visit on your generic looking wall of posts, visitors can be presented with a very customized and well branded welcome page. These graphically custom Facebook business profile pages can vary anywhere from simply placing an optimally sized logo in the top left corner, to a fully graphic body section that takes up almost the entire width of your page. All pages that are customized in this way also have the option to display an enhanced “skyscraper” style graphic running down much of the left column of the page. So, you can almost think of your Facebook page now as a single-page website in and of itself. Of course, you need to take careful attention to the ways you implement the layout, including your calls to action and relevant links back to your primary website in order to direct visitors (and search engine crawlers) correctly to your main website.
Facebook Open Graph Protocol
In addition to making your Facebook page look aesthetically pleasing and more engaging for your fan base, there are underlying coding techniques to implement on your own website in order to take advantage of all user engagement including the “likes” found on your Facebook page. Google will now award your business website with higher rankings based on the number of interactions your fans have with your Facebook page, as long as you have setup Facebook’s Open Graph Protocol correctly.
Facebook Social Plugins
It would be very wise to invest some time setting up Facebook’s Social Plugin’s into the code of your website. There are several plugins to take advantage of here… The popular “Like Button”, “Send Button” & “Subscribe Button” allows your visitors to preform actions using their own Facebook account without ever leaving your website. The “Activity Feeds” & “Live Stream”" plugins integrate items from your Facebook business page right into your own website. Last, lets not forget the rapidly spreading “Login Button” plugin which allows users to log into your website using their already existing Facebook username and password. This last plugin can save your visitors from creating and remembering yet another username and password specific to only your website, therefore promoting rapid growth (almost viral) and increasing the time visitors spend on your site. A prime example of this rapid growth is the new social media site www.pinterest.com, which is one of the fastest growing social sites ever, thanks in part to this particular Facebook plugin.
As a relatively new player on the social media scene, Google Plus has focused a lot of effort into growing the service as fast as possible. Given Google’s huge user base of people already using Gmail, this gave them a nice head start. Current users are waiting for more friendly looking URLs (aka “Vanity” URLs) to be rolled out by Google, although we now have the ability to create an official Google Business Page as of November 2011. The service is still young, but there have been hundreds of very creative ways companies are now taking advantage of what Google provided to us. As far as graphical customization and branding go, the top of a business page on Google Plus is lined with five square photos. Many businesses are coming up with eye-catching ways to present all 5 of these separate images into a single cohesive look. The following techniques describe the key tasks required to attain higher ranking in the search engine results pages.
“Connect” Your Website to Your Google Plus ID
When ranking your website, Google does factor in the number of people who “+1″ your Business page, but only if your website is correctly “connected” to your Google Plus page. Basically, there is a snippet of code that you need to insert into the HTML of your website. This code will include the ID# of your business Google Plus page, thereby creating an association between your website and your Google Plus page. From now on, all your plus 1′s on your Google Plus page will be added to all the plus 1′s from your website (and also all the +1′s seen on the Google search engine result pages). Having all your plus 1′s tallied up in one place makes it easier to get proper credit for all that social media love your users are sharing with you.
Take Advantage of the “Recommended Links”
On the right column of your Business Google Plus page you are allowed to display a list of website links. These links can be anything you like, and so far I have never run into a limit on the number of links allowed. One really nice thing about these “Recommended” links from an SEO(search engine optimization) perspective, is that you can customize the anchor text (the text that is visually displayed as the link) for each and every link. Being able to pick your anchor text is one of the most important aspects of any link building strategy. For example instead of linking to facebook.com you can link directly to your facebook business page and use the anchor text of your company name.
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