There's no question that search engine optimization (SEO) has changed during the last decade. The last 18 months to two years have seen some of those most dramatic shifts, with consolidation into two major search engines within the United States, and the first page of Google shifting to give more personalized and local results depending on your past search history or physical location.
However, the greatest shift may be yet to come for SEO: the incorporation of social media into search engine ranking algorithms. How do you continue to compete in this new hybrid SEO-social world? How do you make sure you don't suddenly drop off the first page and lose revenue? Here's what you can do today:
1. Have a robust social media presence
With the new SEO/social partnership that's happening, it's no longer optional to have social media profiles, it's part of the cost of doing business. That being said, starting a social media program from scratch is hard. The most important way to start: Have a plan and claim all your social profiles now.
Once you've claimed your listings, it's time to think about content. While it's important to customize your profiles as part of a larger branding strategy, what will make people continue to follow and engage with you on social media will be the content. Remember, social media is a conversation, not a billboard for you to advertise your company. If you only use your social profiles to promote yourself, you're either not going to gain followers very quickly, or lose them once they do follow you.
What industry sites do you read and find interesting? What Twitter users do you really like? Chances are (especially as a B-to-B company) your target audience will like that content as well, so don't be afraid to promote it. Doing so will give you more authenticity and authority in the long run. Once you make a post don't ignore it, be sure to comment back or re-tweet, to extend the conversation as much as makes sense. Sharing other content, and having a genuine conversation will make it more likely that your followers will share and comment on your content, helping your SEO rankings.