SEO is almost constantly evolving, growing and becoming more complex, but regardless of how search engine optimization techniques change; content will always be an important component of online marketing initiatives.

While a majority of my posts emphasize the benefits of rich content and multimedia within Internet marketing campaigns, the role of blogs, articles and other on-site text is as crucial as ever before.  In fact, creating more effective and “SEO-friendly” content is a primary objective of many campaigns.

Since Google’s Panda and Penguin updates made their now-infamous debuts, words like “quality” and “relevance” have become prevalent in the SEO community, but creating strong, relevant content is only the first step.  Search engines actually encourage the promotion and distribution of such content and have even developed useful tools to help authors achieve greater visibility within the SERPs.  The following strategies are amongst the most effective in the industry for authors and marketers looking to enhance the reach and visibility of their content:

Utilizing Authorship
When properly utilized, Google Authorship can be an excellent resource for content creators and can help to increase overall visibility and social engagement within Google+.

Chris Countey - Google Authorship

Notice how a Google search of the term “Chris Countey” returns results from sites on which our own SEO guru is featured as an author?  Additionally, when Chris is mentioned by other contributors with authorship enabled, those results appear prominently on the SERP, as well.  Authorship offers distinct advantages to content creators and definitely provides value within SEO campaigns.

Social Media Promotion
Outside of G+, networks such as Facebook and Twitter provide prime promotional real estate.  Sharing, tweeting and liking have played a part in social media marketing and optimization campaigns for quite some time now, but using these platforms to promote blog posts, articles and other content has also helped many SEOs achieve greater success and higher visibility.

PR & Media Outreach
There are opportunities for content creators that go beyond guest blogging and social promotion.  PR efforts such as press releases, media outreach and interviews provide major platforms for content creators to enhance their audience on a local, national and even global scale.  Some Internet marketing firms are already offering PR services and more are likely to jump on the bandwagon in the months ahead due to its proven success.

Speaking of PR, I’ll be presenting at next week’s Agile SEO Meetup and further elaborating on the role of public relations and media outreach within online marketing campaigns.  Click the link to check it out live next Monday (the 12th) at 7pm EST or tune in online via Webex.

As always, I’d like to hear your thoughts on content marketing and optimization and all things SEO.  Reach out to me directly at brymshaw@webimax.com or find me on Twitter: @brwebimax.

WebiMax headquarters is located in South Jersey. This is our first day back in the office following Hurricane Sandy. Luckily, we have power and we did not experience the same levels of damage that the NJ Shore, Newark, and parts of Delaware, New York, and New England endured. Our thoughts are with those who lost their homes or worse – their lives. Among all of the chaos and destruction are brave and generous people who are stepping up to help each other everywhere we look – from neighbors helping to clean each others’ yards to people opening their homes and their hearts all over our Facebook news feeds.

There’s no doubt about it – Sandy was a unique storm on many different levels. Not only did she produce once-in-a-lifetime coastal flooding, 80 mph sustained winds, and wide-spread power outages, but social media played an unprecedented part in spreading safety tips, news, photos, and personal updates in real-time by those who were affected as well as by public safety organizations, major news outlets, and even local politicians.

While millions of people kept in touch and joined the conversation on various social media sites, there is one person who stood out to me on my Twitter feed throughout the ordeal: Cory Booker. The Newark Mayor has always had an impressive Twitter presence, but superstorm Sandy proved that Booker is just as in touch with the power of social media as he is with the community he serves.

Since the storm hit, Booker has been driving around with supplies, making house calls to those in need. Here’s is just one example from last night:

Two hours later, this appeared on his Twitter feed:

 

And this is the Newark resident’s current Twitter profile picture, with Cory Booker during the house call (with the toy car he gave her nephew):

When it comes to tragedies, including natural disasters, many people try to find the silver lining or a lesson that can be learned. In this case, one of the lessons is that social sites are communication tools powerful enough to save lives.

Sandy showed us that Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram have much more to offer than photos of what your second-cousin-once-removed is eating for dinner (filet and baked beans, in case you’re wondering…); over the past few days, they’ve offered updates to people who are unsure if their homes are still standing, peace of mind to those worried about their loved ones, and hand-delivered diapers to a toddler in Newark, NJ by his Mayor, Cory Booker.

Thank you, @corybooker, and best wishes to everyone in the Northeast in the coming days and weeks.

As the Democratic National Convention begins with the Republican National Convention finished, social media will continue to keep people from across the country tuned in on the action. Regardless of what political party you support, with the use of social media those from all angles of the political spectrum can catch all the action, cast their opinion on speakers, reflect on current issues, and show support for their party.

Since social media took center stage in the 2008 Presidential election, it has become a viable means of connecting voters with candidates. Social media sites help improve campaign engagement by sparking online interest. This year, a sharp use of Twitter and YouTube during the RNC occurred, with an already expected high use of these sites to follow during the DNC.

Within the RNC’s three-day long period, over 4 million tweets posted with 14,743 tweets popping up per minute. This is a drastic increase in comparison to the 2008 convention, in which only a mere 360,000 tweets were tweeted during the two week timespan of both conventions. This year’s trends included the official GOP hashtag of #GOP2012 with the hashtag #RNC also highly used. While the DNC occurs, users can expect to see the official Democratic hashtag of #DNC2012, as well as #DNC to trend. While listening to speakers, Twitter users can reflect on speeches, argue their points on issues discussed, and you can expect to see a lot of quotes by Presidential candidates and speakers.

YouTube pages are especially hot spots for social media users to watch and stay tuned in on convention activities. This year’s RNC saw more than 2.5 million YouTube views, with over 300,000 hours of video streaming, and a view time of more than 30 minutes. In addition to listening to speakers, YouTube offers infographics and social data to keep online audiences informed of the latest numbers.

Regardless of what social media site you’re on, you can expect the conventions to be a highlight, especially with the 2012 Presidential election rolling around the corner.

Twitter is instantaneous, it is engaging, it is fun…and organizations across sectors continue to find new and interesting ways to use it for all different kinds of purposes. From promotion to personal customer engagement, Twitter has become an essential tool, and we have written to great length about this development here on the blog.

A trending practice now though is the in-event tweeting to promote an ongoing event adding online exposure and pushing excitement regarding the organization and event throughout the Twitterverse.

And this was the experience last night at Smart CEO’s Brava! Awards, an event honoring women business leaders in the Philadelphia area. WebiMax was present for the event, learning from the inspiring honorees and supporting Smart CEO, a growing outlet for quality business insight that currently serves the Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Washington DC markets. The event was a success and we were tweeting along with many of the event’s 400 attendees, and, we were able to come away with their “Top Tweet” honor with this little gem:

  •  ‏@WebiMax It’s tough to be the smartest person in the room… When you’re surrounded by all these area woman leaders at the #bravaawards

Smart(est)…pun intended.

Please Tweet…And Make Them Good
This trend of tweeting at events is growing. It is helpful and when done right accomplishes goals relating to both those present at the event and online marketing efforts. It directly engages with attendees at the event to join the conversation and offer their voice to what they are experiencing, and this can create heightened energy in the room and an overall more enjoyable experience for those present.

On the flip side, the benefit is clear online. The name of the game remains creating compelling content, being creative, and using authenticity, and then #hashtags and (at)mentions do all the heavy lifting to get the tweets out to the various relevant feeds that people are tracking. These comments widen the reach of the brand, increasing exposure, presenting a positive image and creating some Twitter buzz surrounding them.

With that said, Smart CEO’s event organizers were right on point, encouraging attendees to continuously tweet and reading them off periodically to give positive feedback about what was being tweeted. Such a practice has its merits. Social media and SEO agencies continuously find new ways for businesses to engage and then advise them on the actual tactics for its implementation. Depending on some variables, namely the level of formality of the event and tech-savviness of attendees, businesses should go for this, fully encouraging the exposure and engagement of in-event tweeting.

For more information about using Twitter in this way or to further your business’ general marketing and exposure goals, reach out to me directly at rbuddenhagen(at)webimax.com and @ryanwbudd.

Terms such as “domain authority” and “page authority” are part of the everyday vernacular in the Internet marketing industry, but what do they mean for online business owners?  As it pertains to visibility on the Web and greater revenue, they mean a lot.

Essentially, a website or page’s authority is the prevalence it has in organic search engine rankings.  Higher authority correlates to more visibility and potentially, more conversions and sales.  In digital marketing, gaining said authority is a common goal of many campaigns.  In the past, that goal was achieved through efforts such as link building, content development and routine site maintenance. Today, however, social media is playing an increasingly important role and maximizing social engagement is gradually becoming a crucial part of marketing initiatives.

Greater Engagement
Companies that specialize in social media enhancement understand the value of networks such as Facebook, Google+, Twitter and Pinterest.  Friends, fans, likes and tweets provide much more than bragging rights for a business; they can also provide authority to individual pages or domains.  Additionally, social media is an effective platform for gaining brand recognition, which is valuable both on and offline.

Consumers spend a significant amount of time online searching for brands, local businesses or products that they like and sharing them amongst their peers.  This phenomenon has grown to worldwide proportions and has become a cornerstone of social media marketing.  Delivering content to users and offering products and incentives via social shares has proven to be impactful on the profitability and visibility of many brands.

Following Through
Once a greater social following has been established, it is important to encourage shares and feedback through social media outlets.  By creating a “call to action”, businesses are more likely to gain more momentum in the SERPs and throughout the social space.

Social media is a long-term investment for a business.  Profiles must be carefully maintained and frequently updated.  However, a properly optimized social media presence is almost certain to increase authority and ensure success in the online marketplace.

Since the launch of Google Search Plus Your World back in January, there have been continuous shifts and developments in the world of search and how social accounts, profiles, and posts appear in the SERPs of major search engines. Google indicated Google+ would be profiled more in the search results for logged-in users and Bing announced several months ago that social media, with a particular focus on Facebook, would be in integrated into their algorithm and show in their SERPs to offer a social dimension to web queries.

Another facet though is personal and corporate brand searches and how social media factors into it. An interested study covered by Search Engine Watch entitled “Social Search Result Rankings for Top 500 Tech Writers” in February that squarely addressed personal brand searches gathering statistics on exactly how often various social media accounts show in SERPS of personal brand searches.

follow up study was just recently done that offers valuable insight and addressed changes in SERP visibility since February. They found that for personal brand searches…for which they searched 50 of the top Tech writers, the likelihood of Twitter results appearing on the first page of Google increased by 4% to 95% of the time. LinkedIn results increased from 67% to 76%, Facebook jumped by 10% to appearing on the first page 62% of the time, and Google+ increased only 3% to 36% of the time. As a follow on to those stats is the finding that Twitter results appear with the greatest frequency in the 1-3 positions of the SERPs at 62%.

The other side of the study looked at the activity of the writers on their social media accounts to see if there was a correlation between activity level and SERP visibility, and there definitely was. In short, high activity on Twitter experienced by 71% of the writers was widely seen(while 89% of the writers had little or zero activity on Google+) and Twitter is the social platform that was seen the most in the SERPs, and the most in the top 3 spots.

Takeaway for Businesses
Visibility appears to be largely based on activity (sorry to those thinking Google was arbitrarily placing Google+ above other results for such searches) and Twitter has simply dominated. Both personal and company brand should be posting with high frequency on their Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Google+ accounts without sacrificing quality of post content. So for the company representatives and the SEO and social media agencies partnered with these companies, consistency is the key here to sustained relevance and authority…surprise.

The experience of searches for companies should be largely similar to that of personal brand searches. Thus, companies have another reason to prioritize their social media campaigns.

One large caveat is that all the searches that were performed were done while not as a “logged-in” Google user. While logged-in, Google+ results for personal brand searches could be more visible in the SERPs across the board.  It is unclear how this will develop further in terms of which platforms will be profiled, if it will remain largely based on social activity, and how it will relate to company brands going forward. The SEO community will be tracking it and there are sure to be more quality studies like this conducted and put out for all to learn from.

For more information about this, reach out to me directly at rbuddenhagen(at)webimax.com and @ryanwbudd.