5 reasons why social media is good for SEO

Guest Author, Stacey Acevero

Do you like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn? Well I’ve got a reason to love all of these social media platforms. We use these outlets to learn new information, disseminate interesting information we find, engage with new people and share ideas. But what most don’t realize is that social media is in fact great for SEO and can help boost your search engine rankings. Here’s how:

1)   The same way you use keywords to optimize your blog posts can be used to optimize your posts in social media. Leveraging keywords improves search traffic when you use keywords that rank highly for your topic.  Use a keyword research tool such as Google Adwords to figure out which search terms rank higher, and infuse those terms into your posts.

2)   Social media encourages the sharing of multimedia, and multimedia is shown to increase time on page. PRWeb did a study which concluded that including multimedia in news releases increases time on page by an average of about 30 seconds. Imagine what that could do for your blog and social media posts. That’s the difference between someone reading your post and clicking the “X” and someone reading your post and getting hooked—you want the latter.

3)   Social media influence increases link sharing, which ultimately results in better search ranking. Every link into your portal improves your chances of ranking well in Google and other search engines, according to informIT. I like to call it link-love, and give plenty of it when tweeting throughout the day. Tweeting information from a variety of sources is important because those sources might notice this and tweet you back: creating lots of link love.

4)   Google’s crawling, indexing and rankings are directly influenced by Tweeted links and Facebook shares. The easier it is to link to your content via sharing buttons, the more likely someone will use them to share your content, according to SEOmoz.

5)   SEO is based on relevance and authority. You build relevance and authority by creating and sharing original content (such as blogs) and building communities on platforms such as Facebook or Twitter. The more relevant and authoritative you are on your topic, the better search engines will view you.

Are you convinced yet? Try your hand at increasing your SEO using social media and share with us what you find! Keep one thing in mind: all SEO takes time and patience.

For more information on social media and SEO, I recommend visiting the TopRank Online Marketing Blog, Mashable or SEOmoz.

Stacey Acevero is the social media community manager at Vocus and PRWeb. Part of the PR team and an early adopter of social media, she blogs frequently about public relations, social media, marketing and search engine optimization at BloggingPRWeb.





Drive revenue with benefit-specific, targeted product pages

Welcome back!  In today’s video post in our ongoing website writing series, Heather Lloyd addresses how to write conversions-driving  product pages.  Last week, Heather discussed the essential strategies for writing a killer home page (as well as the not-so-hot tactics).  Today, she tackles how to write benefit-specific, targeted product pages that will drive revenue.

If you’re new to the how-to series or could stand a quick review, it might be helpful to check out Heather’s previous posts on Features vs. Benefits and Transforming Ordinary Features into Extraordinary Benefits.

Well-Written Product Pages Drive Revenue

Product pages are “money pages,” and if you own an ecommerce company, your product pages present a spectacular opportunity to improve your conversion rates.  You have a fantastic chance to first, improve the overall copywriting itself and second, improve your search engine optimization.  So let’s look at what is great, and what isn’t so hot:

What’s Hot and What’s Not So Great:

Keep in mind, first and foremost, that your #1 Goal is to  Sell the Product

You want your prospect to land on your products page and immediately think, “Yeah, that’s exactly what I want and I’m hitting buy now!” With this priority in mind, here are specific ways to help our readers do just that with targeted copywriting for our product pages.

1. Product-Specific Benefit Statements (vs. Feature-Oriented Content)

This is a HUGE opportunity that a lot of companies miss out on.  You may have an incredible amount of product features – color, weight, dimensions, etc. – but key to your conversions is to explicitly highlight and translate the benefits implicit to those features so your prospect says “Yes!” Specifically addressing that “what’s in it for me” is precisely what will sell your product.  (Again, recommended reading are Heather’s detailed posts about features vs. benefits, and transforming features into benefits).

2. Product-Specific Keyphrases (vs. General Keyphrases – or None At All!)

Here’s where you can dig in to your analytics and do your keyword research to figure out the best overall keyphrase strategy for your site, as well as drastically improve your conversions:  look into SKU’s, specific product and category names, and designer search terms.  With this data, you’ve a great resource for discovering those keyphrases ripe for optimizing both your products page and your conversions!

3. Directed and Original Content Written with your Customer Persona in Mind (vs. Simply Uploading the Catalog/Manufacturer Copy)

While Google’s taken steps with its Farmer/Panda update that does not reward mere uploads, beyond that you want to rewrite the generic catalog/manufacturer copy so it speaks to your customer persona.  While refining and honing the copy like this means more time and more resources, know that you don’t have to do it all at once.  You can baby-step your rewriting, focusing on the most important content first.

4. Clear Call to Action (vs. Long, Scrolling Content where the “Buy Now” Button is Buried)

The idea is to make it easy for customers to buy your products.  A clear and visible call to action will go a long way towards improving conversions – you don’t want to make prospects work to make their purchase.  This is where an A/B split test can be applied to see what works best for conversions in terms of the placement of your call to action.

5. Highlighting Overarching Company Benefit Statements (vs. Hiding Them in Copy or Not Mentioning Them At All)

Again, this where a lot of businesses miss the mark.  Specials, discounts, free shipping, and other such benefit statements should be made clear and obvious to the prospect.  You can’t assume the customer knows about your company’s sales or special offers – don’t hide these great benefits in the copy!

6. Fantastic, Benefits-Oriented Title (vs. So-So Title Filled with Product-based Keywords)

The power of a benefits-oriented, compelling title cannot be overstated!  A well-written, “clickable” Title not only improves click-thru rates on the search engine results page, but is far more likely to result in conversions than a Title that merely lists keywords separated by commas.

One company that has product pages down is Brookstone.  Clearly thinking of “search-ability,” the company incorporates a keyphrase into their product name, and pairs it with a benefits statement and product-specific SKU:  “OSIM Comfort Massage Chair.”  Looking at the company’s product page, you’ll notice they’ve also incorporated customer reviews, great content, benefit statements, and answers to customer questions. The Brookstone product page is a good example of how to do it right.

Thanks for tuning in for today’s video how-to!  Be sure to check in next Monday, when Heather will address how to write a killer services page.  See you then!

3 tips for DIY small business SEO content writing

It’s so great you’re here! Won’t you subscribe to the RSS feed and sign up for the weekly SEO Copywriting Buzz newsletter? It’ll only take a second – and you’ll never miss out on the latest SEO content news, tips and strategies. Thanks!

I’ve said it before – small businesses can write killer SEO content. When their passion for the written word is translated to the page (or, in this case, to the site,) the end result is entertaining, persuasive and powerful.  I’ve profiled two small businesses, Portland Adventure Bootcamp and Studio Blue Pilates who have both gone the DIY route and seen some spectacular results.

However, many site owners – even folks who are fairly SEO savvy – make some common copywriting 101 mistakes. Here are three most common ones:

  • Embrace your size – don’t hide it! Why is it that we’re all size queens when we’re talking about our company? Even if we’re a company of one, we say “we” when we talk to prospects (As in, “We’d be happy to discuss your marketing strategy,) count pets as “team members” and make ourselves sound as big as the big boys. People, small (business) is beautiful. Really. Small businesses provide many advantages that big firms just can’t offer: Flexibility, customization, customer service – sometimes even pricing. Making your company sound bigger than it is can actually lose sales – if people get a whiff that you’re not being completely honest with them, they’ll scoot to your competitor.
  • Let your passion shine through. There’s something about the writing process that makes people feel that they’re back in high school English class. The purpose of your site is to connect with your customers, and you can’t do that if you start your home page with, “Welcome to our website. You’re visitor number [insert counter here.]” To break through your block, sit down and think of what you’d tell a prospect during a phone conversation. Now, write that down. See the difference? One version is formula and personality-free, while the other version lets your passion shine through.
  • Tell people how you can help. It’s easy to think, “Well, I’m a Pilates studio, so the benefits are pretty self-explanatory.” Yes they are – to you. Your prospects aren’t as familiar with your product or service. They don’t have the history. They aren’t thinking, “Pilates will help me sleep better and have more energy throughout the day.” In fact, your prospects are often thinking negative information like, “Last time I tried an exercise program, I didn’t lose an ounce. Can these guys help me, or is it more of the same B.S.?” Showcasing your benefits isn’t “bragging” or “talking about yourself.” It’s merely helping your prospects understand how your product or service meets their needs.

Why aren’t I mentioning keyphrase placement?  Of course DIY small business owners should go through the necessary keyphrase research and SEO content writing steps  – that’s just smart marketing. At the same time, focusing on these three foundational copywriting steps in addition to your keyphrase placement will help convert curious prospects into committed clients. It’s really that easy.

Have a SEO copywriting tip for small businesses? Tell us about it!

Does your SEO copywriting sound like a bad date?

Before I entered the wonderful world of married bliss, I was the woman who always had the best (or would it be worst?) dating horror stories. Still lives with his mother? Check. Texting his ex-wife while sitting at dinner? Check. You name it. It happened to me. People thought I was cursed.

As I was remembering those “bad old days,” I realized that going on a first date is a lot like visiting a site for the first time. In that split-second before you hit the site (or you see your date at the restaurant,) there’s always an anticipatory moment of, “I really hope they have what I’m looking for.”

And then, sadly, there’s the letdown when you realize, “Oh no. They are obviously not what I want.”

For all those “bad date” Websites out there, please stop doing the following. Immediately. Thankyouverymuch.

  • Quit talking about how hot you are. Ever been on a date where your partner’s conversation was all about them? They’ll talk about their cool executive job, their latest trip to London and their high-powered relationships…but they never, ever ask a thing about you. People visit websites to solve a problem – not to hear about how wonderful your company is. Focus your content on your prospect, and explain how you can solve her needs. The more customer-focused your content, the higher your conversion rates will be.
  • Don’t expect an immediate conversion. You want to think that after a first date (or a first site visit) that the other person found you so spectacular that they want to marry you (or in the case of a website, contact you for more information or immediately make a purchase.) But guess what? It rarely happens that way. Your prospects may need to “date” you a few more times first. There are a few more micro-conversion steps to take. Hope for the fast conversion, yes, but make sure that you have other site content that’s more than “buy now.” Articles, blog posts, white papers and tweets are a great way to showcase your expertise – and move your prospect closer to taking the action you want them to take.
  • Don’t repeat yourself, repeatedly. Ever had dinner with someone who said the same thing, three different ways, over and over and over? If you’re shoving your page full of keyphrases to meet some magical (and totally bogus) keyword density percentage, you’re irritating your prospects and causing them to tune out. Quit repeating yourself and concentrate on creating really awesome content. It will be much more powerful than repeating keyphrases. Trust me.
  • Know your target audience. Once upon a time, a man (who I had known for awhile) took me to Dunkin’ Donuts on the first date. Outside of the obvious huge miss (Really, Dunkin’ Donuts? Really?) everyone knows that I’m a Starbucks kinda gal – except for this guy, who obviously didn’t know a thing about me. It’s the same with your web copy. Create a customer persona before you start writing, and follow it to the letter. Writing that “misses the mark” often has so-so conversion rates at best.
  • Don’t be a bore. We’ve all gone on dates where the other person is nice – really nice – but just a little…boring. We feel bad for not wanting to date them again, but we just… can’t. I know that marketers (especially in the B2B space) are often afraid of “punchy” copy. But baby, don’t fear adding a little bit of personality to your writing! If your copy is dull, you run the risk of your prospects finding another site that’s just as qualified to help – but sounds much more interesting to work with. Remember, you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression – and well-written, interesting content trumps “boring, just the facts” every time.

Side note: Great minds think alike. After I wrote this, it was brought to my attention by @lisabarone that she had written a very similar blog post – and the original pic I had for my post was the exact same one as hers (and no, I hadn’t read her post!) I switched out my pic, and highly encourage folks to read Lisa’s expert take on the topic. Enjoy!