February 10, 2011 by Alain Saffel
In Google there are 101 million results for “what is SEO.” It stands for search engine optimization. You might also hear people referred to as “an SEO” meaning they optimize websites for search engines.
SEOmoz, a leading SEO industry website, has a good definition:
SEO is the active practice of optimizing a web site by improving internal and external aspects in order to increase the traffic the site receives from search engines.
Wikipedia defines SEO as:
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the visibility of a website or a web page in search engines via the “natural” or un-paid (“organic” or “algorithmic”) search results.
SEO stands for “search engine optimization.” It is the process of getting traffic from the “free,” “organic,” “editorial” or “natural” listings on search engines.
I think these are pretty good definitions, so here’s my SEO definition:
Search engine optimization is the process of modifying website characteristics and obtaining links pointing to your website in order to improve a website’s ranking in search engines and to increase natural or unpaid traffic from them.
Those are the definitions, but what’s it all about? Fundamentally, SEO is a subset of marketing. It’s a specialized subset that focuses on how search engines see your website.
SEO is about making your website relevant to a particular keyword search term someone enters into a search engine. That’s the goal of Google in its Webmaster Guidelines and it really should be yours too.
You might be able to increase your website visitors, but if you’re getting people coming to your site and finding it’s not relevant to them, what’s the point? You want visitors coming to your site that are going to find it useful and relevant. Those are the people that have the potential to be your customers or take actions on your site that you find desirable.
Do you have a different definition of SEO? Any questions about SEO?
November 30, 2009 by Alain Saffel
Social media and SEO. You hear about them everywhere these days. Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc. Oh, they’re all great ways to promote your business and you’ll make millions, or so the story goes.
What’s the reality? Social media can be a great tool to promote your business, if it’s done properly. It’s also a great way to connect with your customers and clients. SEO is critical if you want to have your website ranking well in search engines.
If you’re wondering about how to get started in social media, I found a few excellent social media tips to help you get started. What they all boil down to is having conversations with people and you should also realize that social media isn’t going to replace all of your other marketing activities.
I use social media as a marketing tool, but I don’t rely entirely on it. I see social media as an extension of the way business has been done for as long as there’s been business: personal connections. All social media does is make it easier for you to make connections and communicate with them.
I work with a number of clients doing search engine optimization and other services. Social media has been quite beneficial to my business.
Obviously, traffic doesn’t benefit your SEO directly, but indirectly it can. With consistent writing of great blog posts or articles, traffic will keep coming back to your site (a little promotion doesn’t hurt) and those links will also increase.
Traffic - So, you just wrote a great blog post, titled “Top ten online marketing tips for…” Great. If you’ve got a blog with loads of traffic, people will see it quickly. Maybe you don’t have a lot of traffic, but it really is a great post. Why not promote it on Twitter or LinkedIn? Of course it should be a topic that potentially appeals to your audience. Social media is a great way to pull traffic in to have a look at something you’re promoting. With people potentially retweeting and hopefully linking to your great article or blog post, it helps to raise the profile of your site.
Links - As anyone familiar with search engine optimization knows, inlinks are one of the SEO elements that are helpful in increasing your search engine rank for desired keyword phrases and building your Page Rank. If your post really is a good one, there is the potential for those viewing your article deciding they like it enough to link to it from their website or blog.
Articles written with the goal of gathering as many links as possible are often known as “linkbait.” In the eyes of search engines, more links means more authority. More authority means higher search engine rankings.
In the articles I have listed at the bottom of the page there are good discussions about the value of links from within social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. There are some benefits from these links, but they’re limited.
I’m not sure I’d really rely on links coming directly from Twitter results. First, I just don’t see that many search results from Twitter when I’m searching in Google. Second, those results don’t stick around for that long even when you do see them.
There’s always a bit of a honeymoon effect for Twitter results. They may rise quickly, but then disappear almost as quickly. Not only that, but I believe that Twitter’s database may only go back a few months. Apparently Twitter management has indicated they’re saving your Tweets, but they don’t seem to be accessible for a great length of time in search engines.
Social media: not hard to use
Social media can be a great for promotion, conversations and brand building, as well as SEO. I’ve found myself recommending it more and more to clients as a way of promoting their businesses as well. It’s not hard to use social media, but you definitely have to be aware of some of the pitfalls in using social media tools for promotion.
If you’re considering getting into social media and aren’t familiar with it, do some reading. It may be worth getting some social media coaching to help with your social media strategy. Like any kind of marketing activity, it certainly pays to get it right. It can hurt to get it wrong.
More reading on SEO and social media: