Launched in March of 2010, Pinterest’s growth is phenomenal, reaching 10 million unique visitors faster than any other website. Although still in open beta, requiring an invite to join, Pinterest one of the top ten social media networks. Pinterest’s ease of use and connectability with Facebook & Twitter have helped boost its use and interest.
Pinterest is a social network allowing members to create, share, and discover virtual scrapbooks of likes and interests. Images or videos found on the web (or uploaded) are pinned to a board organized by category or topic.
Members can repin, like, or comment on others’ pinboards. Using the Pinterest bookmarklet to pin images ensures the pinned item links back to its original source. While the no-follow link-back doesn’t directly impact SEO, pins could ultimately boost website visitor traffic and online visibility.
- Request an invite through your peeps, tweeps or through pinterest.com. (Follow me on Twitter, request an invite by DM, and I will send one.)
- Use an email account associated with Twitter to set up a new Pinterest account, since it will simplify creating your profile and Facebook currently doesn’t allow biz Page pin activity.
- Include company name, logo, site link, and description for profile. By default, pinboard content is visible so it’s indexed by search engines. To check, go to profile > settings to edit profile.
- Install the browser Pin It button available on pinterest.com (About > Pin It button or on Goodies page). Invite friends through Facebook via Pinterest or by email.
- Add a Pinterest follow button to your product, service, or article images by embedding the code provided on Goodies.
- Peek at others pinboards. Browse categories by using the “Everything” drop down in Pinterest’s top navigation bar or search by topics or names, then by pins, boards, or people.
- Follow folks with similar interests or influential users. Choose to follow all pinboards by that user, then unfollow boards of less interest.
- Be social: comment, like, and repin, promoting others’ related pins. Repinning will pin the item onto your pinboard, while likes are shown on your profile.
- Be polite. Give credit when it’s due and share considerate commentary. Use @ profilename to mention followers in a pin description or comment.
- Create pinboards with purpose. The goal is to gain traction, so avoid self-promotion. Instead, position yourself as a pundit by developing industry related pinboards that provide visual value and compelling content.
- Find something of interest, click Pin It on the page, then select image in order to accurately credit source site.
- Craft concise, thoughtful descriptions including keywords that are less than 500 characters. Be search friendly, including hashtags to tag pinboard content. Position yourself as a topic leader by developing useful distinctive boards with emotional impact.
- Evaluate and refine pinboards to build interest and engagement. Innovate, using Pinterest in a variety of ways. User-generated pinboards provide insights into your audience. (Under pinboard Edit change settings from Just Me to Me + Contributors.)
- Consider other Pinterest possibilities, including motivation, quote, destination, event, and project planning pinboards.
Who can predict where Pinterest will be in the next year or two? What are your thoughts?
Blogs are already inherently optimized for search engine spiders. However, with a little knowledge and these few simple tips, bloggers can get the most out of their blog’s infrastructure including:
- Hierarchy—A blog’s built-in hierarchy of categories offer well-formed content that spiders can easily crawl. However, avoid overuse of tags and categories, which can create unnecessary duplicates of content through multiple archives. Develop a clear, simple system for categorizing posts.
- Navigation—The navigational set-up of blogs is also ideal for indexing.
- Links—Related blog posts can be linked to one another. Regular page content also offers opportunities for relevant links to articles. External links to and from other authoritative sites to blog articles will positively impact SEO. Whenever possible, use keywords for links.
- Get Listed—Create an account on Technorati (a blog search engine), claim your blog and get it listed to increase your blog’s visibility.
Keep blogs regularly updated with new, valuable content to please both site visitors and search spiders. Fresh, worthy content will also likely increase incoming links and site traffic, both of which will strengthen search rank.
- Topics- Writing on unique topics can allow your blog to stand out, avoiding direct competition with well known, authoritative sites who may write on trend. If writing on a popular topic, approach it differently.
- Quality- Blog posts should offer value, either being informative and/or entertaining. Write engaging, interesting, in-depth articles. Quality content is appreciated by site visitors and is increasingly factored into search rank.
- Series- Connected articles written as a series can bring return visitors to a blog. It also creates a perfect rational for cross article linking.
- List Posts- Lists offer a way to write well organized, information packed, concise posts that provide easy overviews and quick consumption for site visitors. A list’s HTML structure and font weight/styling will also likely benefit SEO.
- Description- For optimization, avoid the overuse of pronouns. Descriptive text provides greater meaning to search spiders and readers alike. If possible, use keywords to relate details.
Distribution Made Easy
Make it simple for search engines and individuals to follow blog updates. Bloggers can use services for circulating their blog content.
- Really Simple Syndication (RSS)—RSS allows wide distribution of your blog. When new content is posted, search engines can be alerted through Pingomatic (run by the WordPress Foundation) or other services.
- Feedburner—This Google-owned service may be a prudent choice for RSS. The service also includes an easy way for site visitors to sign up their preferred reader to follow your blog.
- Converse- Follow and comment on other bloggers’ posts. Being part of the conversation increases your online presence and can stoke interest in your own articles. Offer sincere, insightful feedback. It will boost your credibility and reflect well on your own endeavors.
Measure & Adjust
In order to maximize the effectiveness of blog content, analytics can be used to measure the success of topics. If certain posts resonate more than others, resulting in greater readership and commentary, it may be prudent to shift topic focus of future posts.
What other SEO strategies can you suggest for bloggers?
For more information read Off-Page SEO & Social Signals or SEO Success: 4 Key Considerations.
SEO Beyond the Page
While developing a well structured, standards compliant site with regularly updated, concise, valuable content, it is also important to consider elements beyond your pages. For SEO to be truly optimal, consider:
- Incoming Links—Contextually relevant, deeper level links are an excellent way to pull visitors into your site, while also directing spiders to crawl your content. Each authoritative incoming link is like a vote, which builds your site’s credibility, reputation, and search results visibility.
- Directories—Get listed in online directories for valuable incoming links. Apply to be listed, positioning your site as a unique, valuable, and relevant resource. Search for “directory + (your) niche” to find them. Directories to consider: ODP, Y, Best of the Web, and Yahoo.
- Go Local—Submit your website to internet yellow pages and citysearch for valuable listings and links.
- PR Links—Public relations materials, such as press releases, white papers (a solution report), and interviews are unique ways to promote your website and gain incoming links.
- Community Sites—Websites that offer community created resources on topics of interest are another way to boost visibility and build site traffic. Sign up and publish on sites such as Squidoo, HubPages, or Knol.
- Social Bookmarking—Promote your site and gain incoming links by posting interesting content or hyperlinks to internet content, which attain prominence through community votes. Try Reddit, Digg, and StumbleUpon.
- Q&A Sites—The content of question and answer websites like Quora and StackOverflow is indexed by search engines. Participate to share knowledge, show expertise, and build positive exposure for your domain while gaining possible links.
- About Me—Create a directory “splash page,” a virtual business card on about.me that links visitors to content across the web.
- User Generated Content (UGC)—UGC can offer another method of adding new content to your site. Testimonials, reviews, ratings, polls, and guest posts are great ways of increasing engagement, boosting site traffic, and enticing spiders to crawl your site.
SEO & Social Signals
Recent updates in popular search engine algorithms are incorporating signals from popular social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to evaluate the relevance and authority of website content. These social signals can significantly impact search results.
- Vote—Each Facebook Like, Twitter share, and GooglePlus +1 offer search engines a way to gauge interest and appeal. Another tier of social sites, such as Reddit, Digg, and StumbleUpon also endorse the value of web content through community votes.
- Influence—Social profiles, activity, and engagement will also impact the strength of social signals. Accounts with influence will have greater impact on the perceived value of shared content.
- Presence—Build a social media following by consistently contributing value and building trust. Earn followers who will endorse you through mentions, retweets, shares, or links.
- Sharable—Content with potential to be shared via social media include product descriptions, service information, reviews, testimonials, images, and videos. Unique, sometimes quirky content may capture attention and be share worthy.
- Relevant—Social appeal is important, but the keywords and content must relate to your business. Shared content should be relevant to a site’s theme.
What other off-page or social signal SEO tips would you include in this article?
For more information on how to improve search rank, see SEO: 4 Key Considerations or SEO & Blogging.
The Goal of SEO
The goal for SEO is for web pages to be easily and accurately indexed. Search engine spiders continually crawl the web from URL to URL, indexing information and storing it in massive databases. Search terms are then matched to the most appropriate references in the database. A clear record of a site means it will more likely be visible in relevant searches.
1. Focus on Framework
Develop a site structure that is easy for spiders to crawl including:
- File system—Use a simple, flat file system for websites with levels no more than three deep.
- Structure—Pages with a clear, organized structure, which use HTML tags properly, offer spiders a framework to crawl and accurately index content. The foundation of an optimized site is based on clean, semantic code that validates to W3C standards.
- Site map—Including one provides a great overview with internal links. Assists site visitors, both human and bots.
- CMS permalinks—Use a descriptive permalink structure for content management systems or open source platforms. For example, in WordPress a custom structure that uses the page or post’s name for the page URL is ideal for SEO.
2. Prioritize Pages
It’s critical to for all site pages to be optimized and include call to action areas, which encourage visitors to further explore. Improve SEO by being accurate in all text fields including:
- Titles—Create descriptive titles, including keywords appropriate for the specific page. A well written title tells search engines and prospective visitors what will be found on a site page.
- Meta tags—Although their SEO impact is likely minimal, some search engines do include up to 140 characters of the meta description tag in search results to describe a page. Past misuse of meta keyword tags to unfairly influence search rank have made them of little value. Most search engines ignore them.
- Internal links—Include hyperlinks within copy to link related site pages. It offers a way to associate site content for site visitors and creates bridges for spiders to crawl.
- Home page—Advances in search engine algorithms, have made all site pages a potential entry point.
3. Media Matters
Search spiders index text, so be simple and descriptive with your tags, captions, and media labels including:
- File Names—Using descriptive file names for media will impact SEO, since search spiders don’t index media but do index the words you use to describe it.
- Alt Tags—A must for accessibility for those using screen readers, alt tags offer another way to add meaning to your media files and another possible way to get content indexed appropriately.
- Captions—A brief caption that text search engines can crawl will enrich the content’s message, offering a nuance beyond the alt tag.
- Video—Write transcripts for important video content to have it indexed.
- Speed—Optimize media files for the web by ensuring the best compression for load speed. Visitors have little patience for waiting, and slow loading pages are penalized by the major search engines.
4. Content is King
Nothing improves stickiness like insightful, compelling content that resonates with your audience. Keeping content fresh and updated will bring return visitors. Content is increasingly scrutinized for depth and merit by search engines in order to ensure the accuracy and value of results. In-depth reports and thoughtful analyses on topics relevant to a site’s theme boost search rank while always taking into consideration:
- Quality—Craft copy that accurately reflects the theme and keywords identified for the page. Also, be as concise as possible using 500-word page copy as a benchmark.
- Keyword Placement—Search engines give greater importance to content on the top of the page. Prominently include page appropriate keywords in the first sentence and introductory paragraph. Keyword frequency also impacts SEO, but avoid overuse. Copy should be succinct, valuable, and trustworthy.
- Keyword Variety—Use a variety of associated keywords while concentrating on optimizing each page for specific content and keywords.
- Headings—Break-up copy with HTML headings to increase readability and create hierarchy and meaning. This will also increase the accuracy of indexed content.
What tips would you share for SEO?
For more information on how to improve search rank, see SEO Off-Page & Social Signals or SEO & Blogging.
Here’s a quick guide to the effective use of Twitter to promote your business, yourself, and your brand
by being Real, Relevant, and Reliable.
1. Be Real
Your Twitter account should be an extension of your brand, but keep it real for your potential audience. Twitter is more about networking and connecting than interrupting and selling. Also, be sure to have a proper profile before you begin to tweet. Consider the following.
- Username: Your username is your Twitter identity and it should reflect your brand. Your website name or company name is often a good choice. Best to keep it short, since every character counts.
- Profile image: Folks on Twitter will be much more receptive to a real person than a graphic. Use a close-up, personable photo of yourself, or social media rep.
- Bio: Be authentic and informative with your 160 character bio. Write descriptive phrases that share information about your industry, areas of expertise, or interests.
- Background image: Market this prime digi real estate. Create an image that helps identify and establish your brand. Add a logo, image, or copy in the available space to the left of the Twitter content. If skillful, create one yourself. If not, there’s talent for hire.
2. Be Relevant
It is as critical to be relevant as it is to be real on Twitter. Strive to share thoughtful content and relate to others.
- Value: Provide good reason to be followed on Twitter. Tweets should be meaningful. Give useful advice, share opportunities, recognize the good work of others, post beneficial links, and show some personality. Retweet worthy content, giving credit where it’s due.
- Follow: While it’s important to gain an appreciative audience, it’s also critical to follow the leaders in your field or industry. Seek & find: search, then consider the users’ activity, merit of their tweets, and the number & quality of their followers.
- Connect: Develop connections and build relationships with others. Participate in discussions, sharing pertinent information. Ask questions, request input, and read others’ tweets, which can help you identify interests and spark discussions. An important part of connecting is replying to any questions or comments concerning your business.
3. Be Reliable
Using Twitter for business is about making connections, developing trust, and extending your online reach. You build this relationship the way you build any other—by being reliable.
- Consistency: Building a following requires steady effort. Be active and tweet regularly. Consider repeating valuable tweets to get them heard. People use Twitter at different times, and users are often spread across many time zones.
- Schedule: Avoid Tweet binges. No one wants to feel spammed. Spread your Twitter activity over time by scheduling tweets throughout the day using sites like SocialOomph or HootSuite.
- Build: Write tweets that are clear, concise, use industry keywords, or even hashtags to identify topics and stay within the 140 character limit. Create a voice for your brand and build trust by offering resources and expertise. You might also consider generating buzz with give aways or contests and build your following.
Social media has become an important tool for online marketing. However, a careful approach must be taken in order to be effective. While the goal might be to drive traffic to your website and sell your service or product, making profitable connections on Twitter requires time and patience. Remember to be Real, be Relevant, and be Reliable and it will be easier to connect to your prospective customers.