Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Day 16 - Where SEO and Social Media Meet (?)

Secret Sause is secrets to earning income online by content-based sites

(Secret Sauce - part 2)

Practically, SEO and Social Media don't meet. SEO had to change in order to keep up with the evolution of the Internet.

Welcome to the second day of our Secret Sauce sub-series. We will have probably 8-10 in this series of just telling you the somewhat revolutionary, but very definitely effective ways of getting your content to rank well so you can then potentially earn extra income online - enough for your goals anyway...

Practically, if you look at it, this whole site and Online Sunshine Plan book is revolutionary. Even though it's old school.

The more interesting point to me is that the more I study this stuff up, the more I've found that it's been out there for awhile and what I considered something a trade secret, has already been promoted on several sites.

What keeps people from seeing these (myself included) is their own self-built blinders.

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OK, from our last lesson, we covered that social media can be boiled down into 3 categories. These are from their function, not their communities or content-type. And we are naming these in order to simply make sense of how to earn income online by getting and keeping top rankings in the search engines.

Social Media Types: 
  1. Bookmarking
  2. Status Updates
  3. Networking
This doesn't cover everything, but it covers what we need to know. (If you want to spend days and months covering this material, you can - I have, and it doesn't necessarily increase your income, although you are well-entertained.)

Your first steps are, just to recap:
  • Find your own purpose
  • Find the community which bests matches it
  • Study that community to find out what solutions you can provide to their problems
  • Create content to offer the service(s) or product(s) which will best help them (and you).
  • Optimize your content so the search engines can make best use of that content and rank it well.
But a funny thing happens at this point. You'll see it if you use Market Samurai to dig into who is actually on top. You'll find that some of these sites have no real reason for being there. They don't have as many backlinks as the people they beat out, and also they aren't necessarily optimized for search engines as well as others.

What we've covered so far is really "old school" and based on very traditional models. And if you SEO your main site properly, you will eventually wind up in one of the top 5 spots and stay there. But that's just on-site SEO, mainly.

What will happen if you don't continue to add fresh, optimized content to your site is that it will drift lower. If more people find your site and backlink to it, then it will come up some. But Google and others bring in fresh content and float it at the top of their rankings to see how people like it. Good performing sites stick around. (Even though Google's second test is to then drop it like a rock to see if people still find it useful - if they do, it slowly rises again.)

But that doesn't explain all the weird things you can find happening on the rankings.

Social media does start to explain these.

Search engines were caught unaware when the flood of social media sites started up. And then these sites matured and started their own internal search functions, which then took traffic away from Google and the others. So now they are playing catch up (and have been for years).

In and among the 200-some factors Google uses to figure out how a site has "authority", they throw in some social factors as well. Not just popularity, but the amount of people who recommend (thumbs up, like, plus-1, leave comments, etc.) any site shows how people trust it. And trust shows valuable information.

(A scam scene I knew had to finally give up and accept the fact that forums exposing their scam were going to rank right along with them, regardless how many people they paid to remove their negative comments or take down their sites. Before, they owned the top 10 or so spots so could point to these as how great they were...)

Bookmarking


Search engine spammers (and others) first tried to understand bookmark collections as ways to get backlinks. Yahoo, in fact, was built originally on huge collections of bookmarks by several college students - who started a company based on having access to those bookmark collections.

Unfortunately, they didn't work that way. (Yes, I was one of those deluded "others".) Studying the effect of bookmarks was mystifying. You could get tons of bookmarks created for your site, but they all wouldn't show up on the search engines as backlinks. And the more popular bookmarking sites (Digg, Delicious, etc.) tended to not show up as well. But bookmarking did make the targeted sites improve in rank.

Bookmarking is an indicator of value and trust. And if you simply bookmark your own sites and have a few friends bookmark them, it still doesn't mean as much as a site where lots of people bookmarked it.

The other problem with bookmarks is that they aren't created by everyone on the Internet. So while they were wildly effective for raising rank a few years ago, they are more or less just an additive today (even if still a very potent additive.)

Status Updates

Twitter isn't the only rodeo out there. If you want a great overview of how prolifically these have spread, check out http://knowem.com - which deals ostensibly in "branding" by helping people to grab social media real estate for their name on the web. If you dig into their back pages, they have sorted out social media into several different categories. Status updates is huge (as are many others). But do a search from the front page and you'll have their list of key ones. You'll see some of every type, but status updates are present - and are also part of several of these, no matter how they are categorized. (Myspace, Facebook, and Google+ are all built on this, regardless of what else you can share.)

It was simply noted by Google that these status updates also showed what content people found interesting and trustworthy. So they are another factor. And while you can search for these, they don't particularly show up in Google for main sites - as they are transitory.

Networking

We are going to approach this from blogging. Every "free" blog out there is part of some community, whether they participate in them much or not. These free blogs make their money from included ads, and so promote the various new content so they can keep viewers interested and entertained.

The search engines know this, and keep tight tabs on them to find new and fresh content they can rank.

A lot of people say Facebook, LinkedIn and some others are networking social media. And it's true that they were formed to facilitate networking functions which people normally have. But both of those IPO's also shoot themselves in the foot regularly. Main point is that they don't provide content, or keep making it hard to add good, fresh stuff. Their main use, really, is in status updates. (Facebook even deletes anything older than 30 days, and doesn't like Google searching what it has.)

Our use in defining Networking sites from a blogging view is to give it some relevance from a content approach. Obviously, a site which doesn't like Google won't have much content ranking well, and so won't get the click-through's found in organic search results.

Sidebar:
Facebook is called a "walled garden" for good reason. And while you can work to involve people in your "brand"  and several people sell various ways to use chat and other means in order to get leads - it's incredibly time-consuming. The most effective strategy I've found is to concentrate on content and always link your content into Facebook, but as an invitation to leave. If you look up my profile there, you'll find that I don't stick around much - but I do post regularly, on a via. Most of my stuff is posted first to Google+ (which we'll cover later.)
This book and site follows the principle that the Internet was built on freely accessible content. And the observed response that search engines reward fresh, original content which is regularly provided.

The pragmatic workouts follow this, and say that your best approach is to simply optimize your content for the search engines to get the best ranking and click-throughs.

So our over-arching approach in all of this is to follow what the search engines observe about their users, and duplicate so we can help them understand our content best - and so get the best ranking possible.

By creating blogs, you will be contributing to the search engines finding your material and being able to rank your stuff well. And then you only have to have some way to convert viewers to leads and leads to clients. (Like that is "all" you have to do. Well, I didn't say this was easy, only that I could explain it simply...) ;)

Summary:

While I've covered a great deal in a short space today, we've still gone on longer than is wise. You are going to be using (or at least studying about) these three types of social media in order to further your search engine optimization and both attain and preserve high rankings and volume click-through's.

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Freebies and study assignment:

Social Networking Exposed! makes more sense if you don't take it too seriously. This PDF does give you another viewpoint than what I've said. The key point is to give you a good overview of how to set up social media, as well as pitfalls to avoid. Note that the date of this shows how much social media has already changed in just a few years.

WAHM Masters Course - another great book from SBI! for work-at-home-mons will give you a lot more options about how to build your business. But I'm also giving this to you now in order for you to get a thorough overview of how to build a business to earn income online. It's not all that social, but does build on their concept of having an Information Site which pre-sells the viewer into becoming a lead (and later, client).