At the NamesCon conference here in Las Vegas, Nevada, Jason Hennessey from Everspark Interactive and Ruth Burr from Moz.com talk about SEO, search, and the new gTLDs. Adam Dicker is moderating the panel.
What role does social media play for online businesses and what role does it mean for businesses in 5 years.
Ruth: Google look at social media activity as a legit business. It’s tough to create a fake site with a fake social media account. Alert a search engine about a new URL if you tweet the URL. It’s not just Google, the other search engines will get it indexed as well if they see a Tweet.
Search engines are getting more aware of the fact that businesses are not just a website. It’s about creating a brand experience on other sites like YouTube, Twitter, etc. It’s a great way to establish yourself on multiple sites.
Jason: Moz has a great social media presence because of the content they produce. A social media strategy is only as good as the content that you produce. It’s legitimizes your business if you are active in social media and have a presence on social sites. Just by setting up the profiles you get links back to you site.
Ruth: you can build links to your YouTube videos by building links to them and adding comments on other videos on YouTube. Google is mapping the real world internet by connecting your authorship on multiple sites. The places that you blog for should want you to set up your Google Authorship. You can use social media by finding people who have a lot of authority to blog and post an article on your site. It’s a quality signal.
What will SEO look like in 3 years from now?
What is the most important social network that people need to be on.
Jason: Facebook is the social norm. But on Google Plus it’s important. Google wants to create credibility and show credible authors in search results. It used to be about anchor text where people would link. But now, it’s co-occurence. Not only do you need links, you can get SEO value from your company or name being mentioned in the press.
Ruth: Google Plus doesn’t really care that they’re the “Snapchat” that teens care about. They encourage you to be signed in if you are on YouTube, on other Google properties. Google Plus’ aim is to replace the password. For social media networks, it depends on your business. Pinterest is good, Twitter is good for building relationships, which is not as freaky as email. Facebook is seeing declining growth.
What is the best practice, then, for the social media account that’s connected to the site?
Ruth: make sure there isn’t a single point of failure. Don’t let someone who has an active personal social account be the voice of the business. Employees come and go. You have a company profile, and the Google Plus account, for example, is attached to multiple Google Plus accounts.
Jason: look at what other companies are doing and the way they’re handling their social accounts.
What are your feelings on LinkedIn?
Jason: he used LinkedIn to find and connect with a PR firm. They did a barter agreement for SEO and PR. They do PR for his company and they handle the company’s SEO.
Ruth: build LinkedIn Groups and then create Meetups on those LinkedIn groups. It depends on where your users are, though.
Jason: there is a link in your profile back to your website. Set up a profile and a company profile there.
Ruth: Use Knowem.com to set up all of your social media profiles.
Jason: Knowem.com is great.
Audience member: you can create a custom LinkedIn address which is very effective. A custom URL.
When you are branding a business, should you use your handle on all social sites?
Sometimes building your brand you have to change your brand name. Sometimes you can contact the service like Twitter you can get them to change it. Sometimes financially you can convince someone to transfer the handle to you.
Jason: They do a lot of video SEO. They create a video and then treat the YouTube page just like any other SEO campaign. They build links to the YouTube page. Google is showing more videos in the SERPs. Optimize the title of the video and build back links to it. Watch other videos related to your video and leave a comment which has a link back to your channel. It’s a link back to your profile/channel.
Ruth: Don’t host your videos on YouTube. Host them yourself on your server. Use Wistia to embed videos. They will take the same video target one keyword on your site but have a different description when it’s on YouTube. You can target two different keyword sets.
If we have Vegas.Pizza how do we compete and rank in the top few pages in the search results?
Ruth: It is a misconception that having Vegas.Pizza is going to be a quality signal if you have .pizza in your URL. Having a TLD will not give you extra ranking power for a keyword such as Pizza. Anyone can go out and buy a domain. Google is going to have to be very careful by giving extra weight to keyword TLDs. Don’t rely on just the TLD to get a ranking for that keyword.
Jason: great in the short term as vanity URLs but if you are going to build a business and he will build on a .com first. For now, age is an important factor. If you just launch a .pizza domain, you will have to compete (with age, etc.) with Pizza Hut.
Ruth: The more you can do to put up a quality website quickly, it’s going to be helpful and be good signals. The reason a .edu or .gov is valuable then it’s going to be difficult to get those. If there is a TLD that has a barrier to entry, then that might also be helpful.
Jason: Press releases don’t pass link value anymore? You will actually show up with a PRWeb press release that shows up in Google News. Co-occurence is good. It’s a branding and exposure strategy for press releases.
Ruth: Press releases can be a way to get links from news media. Use HARO Help a Reporter Out to get some rapport with the reporters and media.
Jason: rather than hire content writers, hire someone to conduct interviews. You use freeconferencecall.com and then record the call. You can upgrade to an 800 number. You can then use idictate to transcribe it. Have an editor then edit it and then go put that content on your site.
Ruth: Use twitter to build links. Figure out the sites you want links from. Use Open Site Explorer to find links of competitors. You can visit those sites and figure out, if they are blogs, you can get their attention. Use the Firefox add-on called MultiLlinks to get the links and then get their Twitter links. You can build a custom private list talking to those people. Build relationships. Search your list for who, what, when, why, where and then answer their questions. Then later on you can tell them about your content and they will share it.