The big picture of organic SEO is drastically evolving. In essence, organic search marketers need focus on engaging with real people, and less about keyword rankings. Why?
These momentous changes center on the social media network Google+ and personalization of search. The fact of the matter is everyone who uses Google is being fed unique search results (even for the same keyword.)
Google displays personalized search results based on users’ geographic location, search history, Google+ connections, and the device being used. So regardless of how well a page ranks for keyword x, the consistency of that ranking will vary per user.
To adapt to these changes, your organic SEO strategy must include social media (with a heavy pursuit in the Google+ network.) Below I share with you three reasons why, along with some tips to help you succeed.
1. “Social Authority” Correlates to Better Search Rankings
With link building now considered a sketchy and highly sensitive practice in the SEO game, what better way for Google to determine the true value and popularity of page than social signals?. Social signals (also referred to as “social indicators”) are the Likes, Tweets, Pins, Shares, and +1’s that page receives from various social media platforms.
In short, the more social signals a page earns, the greater potential it has to rank in the organic search results. I like to think of this concept as “social authority,” and it directly impacts the organic SEO value of a page.
Earning social authority hinges on the quality of your content, and how well it’s distributed via social media. In other words, not only do you need to produce exceptional content, but you need to share and promote your content on various social media networks.
An easy way to help grow a page’s social authority is make it easy for users to Like, Tweet, +1, etc. the content directly on the page. By integrating social widgets on your pages, it’s efficient for visitors to show their social respect for your content. This integration is a must for your blog posts, articles, and videos, in addition to your website’s homepage.
2. Google+ Popularity Empowers Your Organic Search Visibility
This next concept is actually quite simple. It underscores how an individual’s social connections on Google+ can have a direct impact on his or her Google search results.
From the opposite end of the spectrum, a business or brand that has several Google+ users in its circles can earn greater visibility in their follower’s search results.Let me give you an example.
As a runner and triathlete, I have a number of running-related brands in my Google+ circles. Upon searching “shin splints” in Google, half way down the results page I am shown a personalized listing from Newton Running.
It just so happens that Newton Running posted a video about shin splints a few days ago. Google found my keyword search relevant to Newton Running’s video, and because they’re in my circles, I was shown the listing above.
Think about this from a big picture perspective. A brand that has thousands of Google+ followers in its circles has a huge advantage for organic search marketing. Considering that its followers are in some way opted-in, the search exposure a brand can gain has immense marketing potential.
The takeaway is simple. Get your business on Google+ ASAP, and start growing your followers. You can start by conducting a little outreach and follow other related Google+ pages. But what will truly grow your Google+ following is producing and sharing brilliant content that earns the respect of target users.
Lastly, promote content that coincides with your SEO keyword targets. That is, if you offer ‘tax consulting services,’ focus some of your blog posts or videos on the value of these services. This will increase the likelihood that your shared posts (via Google+) will be found by your followers when they search keywords around ‘tax consulting services.’
3. Content Marketing is Redefining the Best Practices of Organic SEO
Content marketing is reshaping how organic SEO experts operate their business. The primary objective behind content marketing is to create and share valuable content (blog posts, articles, videos, graphics, etc.) with the intention of earning favor from a targeted audience.
From a search marketing perspective, great content serves a three-fold mission:
- Enlighten and educate a specific audience to establish trust and credibility (online brand building)
- Engaging with interested individuals to build social authority and inbound direct traffic (inbound marketing)
- Facilitate SEO efforts by linking from the content to other pages of interest (SEO link popularity)
To stay within the context of this article, think of content marketing as your social engagement tool. The content you produce is a powerful weapon in your arsenal that helps to build your social following, and as a result, your search visibility. The challenge stems from generating awesome ideas that will offer value to your audience
About the Author
Tyler Tafelsky is the founder of Top of Mind, a locally-focused organic SEO and social media engagement firm located in Traverse City, Michigan. Tyler offers over five years of experience in the search marketing profession. To learn more, you can connect with Tyler on Google+.