I recently met with the manager of a business who was asking me how they can increase awareness of some changes to their location in order to drive more customers through the doors. We did a quick local search for them online using a few different keywords and based on those searches, their website wasn't even appearing on the first or second page. One thing to keep in mind is that they have had an active website for about 10 years now but their on-page SEO was non-existent and they are also not using social media to promote their business.
Next, we did a quick competitive analysis of a few related businesses who were appearing on page 1 of the search engine results. At first glance, the competition's websites weren't all that impressive in comparison. Then we took a look at the competition's social media activity... AND IT WAS BOOMING. One had over 1600 "likes" on Facebook and have been open for less than 2 years.
Social media is becoming ever more of an important factor in how a website is ranked by search engines. It's a great way to promote business by posting about daily events, promotions or even just to get the name out their and keep it on customer's minds. It's free advertisement but someone has to put in the work to gain those connections and keep the updates flowing on a regular basis. It is also a great way to gain referral web traffic to your main website. When you post something new on your social media page, include a link to your website. People are more likely to click on it to see if there is anything else new going on at your business. Of course, it also helps to keep your website updated on a continuous basis so that when the user does click on the website link, they are presented with new information that may drive them to your business.
I recently read an article from a popular Blogger who was talking about the new age of link building. Link building is the practice of obtaining links on other websites that refer viewers of that site back to your website. This is a very important practice in SEO. It's a way for one website to say, "Hey, I trust this other website to provide good and relevant information and I would recommend that you visit them." Search engines continue to change the way that they rank relevant links. The trend is slowly going towards social media linking whether it be through Facebook, Twitter or local places reviews such as Yelp! or Google Places. In the mind of the search engines, this new trend of link building provides more credible linking because it is a more social way gaining traffic to your site rather than paying to have your site listed in a large directory. It's also a way for other users to socially recommend your business and as many people know, the best customers are the ones that refer others to your business.
Author: Michael Palmer