Search engine optimization has changed dramatically over the past few years.
The shift is from one of web page optimization and link hounding to content and engagement optimization. In short, search engine optimization and social media are now undeniably intertwined. It has become extremely difficult to achieve any measure of success for important keyword phrases without the use of social media. (Of course the flip side to that is organizations that take advantage of social media can dominate, particularly within industries slow to adapt.)
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I’m not suggesting that web page optimization and inbound links are no longer important, they are, they just might not be enough anymore. It is rare these days to do any kind of normal search that does not return results from social media sites. Blog content dominates many question related searches and videos, audios, and images are routinely mixed in on page one searches on both Google and Yahoo.
What this means for the typical small business is that you must add a blog and podcast to the mix, upload, tag, and thoroughly describe images on sites like Flickr, create customer testimonial videos housed on YouTube, write articles and press releases to submit to EzineArticles and PitchEngine, create and brand optimize profiles on FaceBook, LinkedIn, twitter, Google Maps and industry related social networking sites and get very proactive about generating positive reviews on sites like Yelp!, Google Maps, and Insider Pages or you’re not really online anymore.
Any attempt to garner positive search results for your primary website must be accompanied by a strategy to optimize your entire web presence through the effective use of social media. We can have another conversation altogether about the effective use of social media for engagement, but the first step is getting immersed in the content creation and optimization game.