This may be the number one question we get! Usually the reason is that your blog is very new and it takes time to rise in the search engine results. In years past, you may have seen a brand new site or blog rise to the top of search engines very quickly. However, over time and most notably with the infamous Google “Panda” update earlier this year, the search engines are becoming more sophisticated. No longer will keyword stuffing, cloaking, low-quality content and other shady SEO tactics catapult you to the top in weeks or a few months.
The objective of Scalable Social Media is to help businesses, and franchise owners in particular, find and project their own unique Social Media voice. Through blogs, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other channels, we help potential customers get to know individual business owners and their staff so that they’ll be more likely to pick up the phone and give them a call when they need their services. Social Media is more of a marathon than a sprint.
That said, your blog WILL begin to rise in the search engine results, but it will not happen overnight (consider paid advertising for quick results – we suggest Facebook ads). Nowadays, a well-ranking site is one that users find informative and interesting. These sites get shared and promoted organically and over time will improve your search engine ranking. Scalable Social Media manages quality sites and promotes them on Social Media channels. Here are some of the things that will help you get found and how we are working to help:
Quality Content & Links from Other Sites
Google assumes that sites with links from other reputable sites must be worth listing. So, how do you get those links? According to Matt Cutts of Google, “Great content has to be the foundation of any good site, because mediocre content tends not to attract exceptional links by itself. And if you’re trying to get exceptional links on really really crappy content, you’re going to be pushing uphill.” “You want to have a well-rounded site, and one of the best ways to do that is to have fantastic, interesting, useful content, great resources, great information, and then that naturally attracts the links. And then search engines want to reflect the fact that the web thinks that you are interesting or important or helpful.”
Scalable Social Media maintains quality articles on the topics of concern to your customers. We hire creative and inspiring writers to give you a great base of material. If you are on the fully managed plan, your Community Manager changes each article before publishing it to your site so that it is localized to your area. Some tactics to localize and improve ranking involve changing wording, adding your location name, using keywords and adding links to local resources and events. We are also happy to write custom posts based on purely local events or concerns.
Promoting your Website Responsibly
While your site (because it has great content) will gain backlinks (that is, other sites linking to yours) over time, there are some things we do especially to promote your blog:
- Make sure your Google Places, Bing Local, Yahoo! Local and Yelp listings are up to date and as complete as possible,
- Submit to directories such as Yellow Pages and Super Pages.
- Be sure you address is clearly visible in plain text on your site (and that it matches your Google Places address exactly).
- Use Google maps to embed a map on your about page.
- Communicate with other related sites. Our community mangers do this for you on 3-4 posts/forums a week!
- Use social media to promote your site. When new blog posts are added to your blog, updates go out to Facebook and Twitter with links to your new post.
- All your social media accounts feature your blog address and/or website address.
There are some things that you can do, as well:
- Link to your blog and/or website in all Emails.
- Make sure your URL is on business cards, letterhead, posters, print ads, newsletters, etc.
Some Technical Adjustments we Employ
Titles and Descriptions of blog posts should be descriptive and include keywords important to your visitors that are also contained on the page. Though these tags do not influence your ranking on the search engines, they do provide useful information to people viewing search results. Scalable Social Media’s Community Managers are great at making your titles and descriptions appealing and thorough.
All our blogs use Simple URLs with descriptive categories and filenames to keep your site organized and help the search engines navigate your site. If you were searching for an air filter for your car, which URL would you rather click on, “http://auburn.myhomecareblog.com/ssde123/123125/sff3/00012923.html” or “http://auburn.myhomecareblog.com/2011/04/share-the-care/”? If someone deleted the end of your post’s URL (say, something after a “/”), would they get a “page not found” notice? Not on OUR blogs!
Using Intuitive Navigation helps visitors find what they want and helps search engines determine the importance you attach to certain content. Our sites keep it simple, using universally the recognized “Categories” to organize blog posts.
Give users and search engines a sitemap. A site map for visitors is a simple page intended for use by people who are having problems locating a page on your site, or if they simply want to see everything you have published. An XML Sitemap makes it easier for Google to find all the pages on your site. We use both of these on our blogs.
Have a helpful “Page Not Found” page like this one. This allows visitors another way to find what they were looking for in the first place and conveys the idea that you value them. Check out Fort Wayne’s 404 Page.
Anchor text refers to the clicakble text that users see as a result of a link. Like this. That is, by the way, a prime example of what NOT to do with anchor text. The text in your anchor should tell users and Google something about the page to which you are linking. For example, “Click here for Movie Times” or “Go to http://centralcinemas/showtimes.html to see movie times.” are nowhere near as helpful as “Central Cinema’s Show Times“. Our community managers are great at optimizing anchor text!
Optimize images by providing a descriptive (but brief) filename and be sure to always add the “alt” attribute. If the image cannot be displayed for some reason, the contents of the “alt” tag will provide information about the image to the visitor. You’ll find your blog’s images are optimized this way.
Since we allow (and encourage) comments on your blogs, all links in these comments are set to “nofollow”. If you were to have links without to disreputable sites on your website, it could affect your own reputation with the search engines. “Nofollow” tells search engines you are not endorsing those sites.
If you are managing your own blog and you have questions about how you can implement these technical adjustments, please call 800.305.9420 x2 to speak with Alisa.
We hope this takes some of the mystery out of Search Engine Optimization. Stick with it and you will see results!