Monthly Archives: January 2014

Off-Page SEO

Search engine optimization, SEO, is a key element of building a brand and creating a recognizable online presence. While SEO’s primary focus lies in practices used to increase a brand’s chances of surfacing amongst search engine queries, one cannot and should not ignore “off-page” SEO. Where traditional SEO works within a brands website to increase its overall SERP rating, off-page SEO works externally to achieve the same goal. Building links back to your site from other online sources, aka link building, is central of off-page SEO. One socialmedia today post on off-page SEO writes that “the only thing you can do outside your website is bring links back to it.”

The Introduction to Search Engine Optimization ebook contains an excellent chapter detailing techniques that should be kept in mind when working on one’s off-line brand building. Off-page SEO, more challenging than traditional on page SEO practices, necessitates the creation of relationships with other websites as well as the individuals who run them. The process known as link building includes three fundamental pieces: who is linking to you, how they are linking to you, and how your content is shared through social media across the web. Lets break down these three components and see what they really entail.

 

Who’s Linking to You?

  • Determine what websites are already linking to you
  • The more inbound links a website has, the more influence or authority it has.
  • Not every link is created equal! One link from a major blog, publication, or educational website (ending in a .edu) could dramatically increase your brand’s authority.

 

How are they Linking to You?

  • When possible, opt for the keyword-rich anchor text for a link that uses your domain.
  • Use reciprocal links, but keep in mind that search engines recognize reciprocal links as such and may limit their overall value on a potential SERP.
  • Paying others to link to you is bad business and prohibited by search engines. All paid links must include a no-follow tag, allowing search engines to discredit the links.

 

Spread Your Content!

  • The amount of social network activity a webpage has, the better their ability to rank on the SERP.
  • Make content easy to share by implementing social network sharing buttons throughout your site.
  • Use email marketing but be weary of the multitude of other businesses doing the same. Make sure to have a clear message, or call-to-action, drive leads and convert them into customers, and lastly make email content easy to share.

Implementing the above strategies should be done after an online presence has already been created. And of course, this presence should be supplemented with an existence across the main social media networks. Social media accounts for the brand should be consistence and specific with the original website in message, especially with the use of key phrases and words. In a post about SEO basics, blogger Victoria Edwards reminds us to not forget to optimize our online presence for multi-channels with keyword-phrases. Platforms to keep in mind include:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Linkedin
  • Blogs
  • Email
  • Off-line (TV/radio ads)

When building an brand presence, its just as important to consider off-page SEO as traditional on-page SEO. When used together, both strategies can dramatically increase a brand’s overall SERP rating.

You’ve Got the Community, Now Make it Stronger

Whether you’re an established brand or a start-up, getting your community up and running is by no means the end of the job. Once you have that initial foundation of return members and contributing users, what do you do next? Strengthen their connection to your brand of course! Now there’s a lot of wisdom out there on how best to strengthen your community, whether it be through comments, blogger outreach, or ambassador programs. Let’s look at the best words of advice for each of these areas.

To create a community is one thing, to make that community fiercely loyal to the brand, worthy of the title of brand ambassador, takes some practice. A post on brand loyalty offers this advice:

Fierce Loyalty

  • To get the community to be loyal to you, first you have to love them!
  • Loyalty comes from a feeling of connection.
  • Use social media to make sure members can connect with each other (on and offline)

To build that connection upon which your community will flourish into brand advocates, keep in mind that marketing today is all about the connection. This post by Britt Michealian highlights the importance of using social media to your advantage when building strong connections with your audience. You can’t simply rely on the occasional tweets and FB posts anymore. But rather, strategically reach out and build relationships with your audience.

Also, do not forget about social giving. As in, make sure your brand’s social strategy is not simply a broadcast one (think annoying TV advertisement), but rather one that adds value and relevant impact to your audience’s life.

And lastly, blogger outreach. There are many ways to approach the bloggers you want aligned with your brand. The inkybee ebook, The Best Practice Guide for Effective Blogger Outreach, offers some industry expert insight.

Step1: Research, Research, Research

Research the blogs you want to contact. It is essential for any brand building campaign to have a targeted audience. Once you have this, identify the blogs where your target audience hangs out. Also, keep in mind which blogs will have the most impact on your target audience. Read, learn, and understand what each blogger talks about.

Step2: The Relationship

Put in the work to become the blogger’s friend. The goal here is to turn the targeted blogger into your brand’s advocate and best champion. Build trust through honesty, transparency, and personality. Blogs are called earned media for a reason!

Step3: An Offer They Can’t Refuse

Most bloggers don’t work for money. So what gets them motivated? Top reasons include sharing their expertise/experience with others and being more involved in their passion areas. Start by offering them quality content with which they can grow their own audience base. Follow with appropriate incentives (small brand-related goodies, etc.) and most importantly, Always keep your commitments.

Step4: Quality Content is King

Make sure your content is current, crosschecked against other sources, and relevant to your audience. Talk about fresh stories with interesting angles. Quality content is the foundation of your relationship with a blogger.

Step5: Don’t Forget about the Relationship Once You Have What You Need

Successful blogger outreach is not a one-time event, but rather an on-going process. Continuous correspondence and timely appreciation have the potential to turn your sometime-blogger into a brand ambassador for life. Continue to treat the blogger like a valued partner.

 

Register for #CMGRClass Spring 2014!

The spring semester at Syracuse University starts on January 13th and there are still a few spots left in #CMGRClass. This online course is open to all graduate students and select undergraduates who have a significant interest in community building, online communications, online content, and social media. For undergrads, if you’ve taken #RotoloClass (IST 486) or the Newhouse Social Media Course you’re eligible to take #CMGRClass.  If you haven’t taken either of those courses, but have experience in an internship or student activity you may still join as an undergraduate.

#CMGRClassWhy Take #CMGRclass?

In this online class, you’ll use social media tools first hand and meet a number of professionals who are working on community management and/or social media for some of the best companies out there. This course is broken up into three parts that are designed to help you understand various aspects of community management.
1)  Content Management – Blogging is an art and different than your typical academic writing.   You’ll write blog posts about the topics in this course and learn some of the best content strategies.
2)  Social media – The tools are always changing, but there’s things you’ll walk out understanding such as important metrics and best practices.
3)  Community Building – how do you start a community from scratch?  How can your users help you to generate content? Where do you find your key influencers?

What’s new and exciting about this course?

This isn’t your typical online course. The class meets every other Tuesday at 7pm in a Google+ Hangout and once per month we’ll have guest speakers join us and tell us how they got into their roles and what their jobs are like.  Though if you can’t make the time due to work or other classes, the class is recorded for you to watch at your convenience. Students have the ability to network throughout the semester and they find out about excellent opportunities like internships and careers.

Last semester we had guests from Google Local, Cycle to Survive, MRY, JetBlue, Scoop.it, LiveFyre, Klout, and Moz, and students met community managers from a variety of different industries.

We also don’t use blackboard all too much! #CMGRClass primarily takes place in a Google+ Community group where it’s easier to interact and post fun content.

If you’re curious about this semester’s syllabus you can take a look on this site.  If you want to register, sign up for IST 600 by January 13th (or the add/drop deadline by January 21)!  And of course you can always contact the professors, Jenn Pedde (@JPedde / jmpedde@syr.edu) & Kelly Lux (@Kellylux / kalux@syr.edu) with any questions.