The latest buzz within the world of Web 2.0 is using social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Digg, Yahoo Answers and Wikipedia as conduits with which to optimize your own personal or corporate Web site for search engines. SEO and SMO “Experts” reside around every URL and for a fee they’ll help you optimize your site and guarantee high-ranking placement on every search engine page. Most of them fail to mention what they mean by “high-ranking”. The basic premise is that they’re going to provide a magic bullet that will propel your Web site into the search engine stratosphere. Truth be told, you can actually do a few things yourself to promote your Web site across the social media webscape. Following are 10 tips and tricks that will help you do that. These tips assume that you’ve already done the basics such as create a Facebook group or a MySpace group.
1. Content, content, content! – Things change quickly in today’s world. Up-to-the-minute really means up-to-the-minute. Continually educate yourself on the new tools available and keep your content relevant and updated.
2. Submit content to related sites – Not all of your content is HTML. Podcasts, PDFs, Videos and photographs should be submitted to other relevant social media sites. This will help push links back to your Web site.
3. Easy tagging and bookmarking – Use a very visible bookmark or tag button on all of your content and encourage users to bookmark and tag your material.
4. Promote co-creation and mashups – Allow other people to use your content. Syndicate through RSS so that other users can create mashups. Allow other sites to embed your videos and audio files.
5. Get involved – If you have a discussion board, be a participant. Go to other social media sites and offer your expertise. This will help bring more users to your site.
6. Be your own knowledgebase – Create content that users can actually learn from and be willing to answer questions about your product or service in a “live” environment.
7. Provide incentives for users – A wiki that allows visitors to add content to your site is an excellent way for you to reach out and thank them for their contributions. Always provide thanks and encouragement to your users through these types of outlets.
8. Be real – Avoid using a fictional name. Be who you are and be honest. Users are savvy and being fake will be a detriment to your business.
9. Understand your target audience – Analyze your demographics and focus your resources on the social media sites where your target audience hangs out. For instance, Facebook provides an outlet for the mid-twenty-somethings to the fifty-somethings. If this is your audience, go for it.
10. Create more links – Having linkbacks and creating links on your site is one of the easiest ways of boosting your popularity or search ranking. Provide ways for your audience to link to your site. Create a blog, white papers and organize your content so that linking to it is painless.
Social media can be a powerful tool in your search engine optimization toolbox. If you use it correctly and put in a bit of hard work, you’ll reap the benefits of higher visibility among your target audience. Who knows? Maybe you’ll become the expert and be able to offer a whole new line of services within your current business.