Everything you need to know about SEO, delivered every Thursday.
Expand Your Search Presence With External Sites
Search engine optimization (SEO) is about more than your website. Columnist Dan Bagby explains how to optimize content on external web properties to help boost your organic search presence.
Don’t limit your SEO strategy to your own website. There are many ways to increase your brand’s exposure in search by optimizing social profiles and getting other sites to rank for your brand in search. This can help you 1) protect your online reputation by dominating the first page of search for branded search, and 2) rank for keywords faster than you would be able to with only your own domain.
Optimizing Social Profiles For Branded Search
Your own site cannot dominate the first page of search results, which leaves you vulnerable to having negative content on other sites rank for your brand name. In order to protect your brand’s presence in search engine results pages, you should create and claim profiles on social sites.
Every site is a little different, but optimizing for your brand is usually pretty similar across sites. For example, on Pinterest, use your brand name as the business name and username, and write a brief description also containing your brand name. Link to your Pinterest profile from your own domain. You can also create brand-related boards that showcase your products and mission or act as a newsroom that uses your brand name naturally throughout.
For other social sites (Facebook, Twitter and others) and business listing sites like Yelp, create and optimize your profile similarly. Always link to the profiles from your own domain.
Optimizing Pinterest Beyond Branded Search
One opportunity I see that many digital marketers leave on the table is optimizing Pinterest boards for SEO. Optimizing Pinterest boards not only helps you rank quickly in search engines for key terms (not just your brand name), it also improves their probability to show up more within Pinterest search.
Take these steps to build Pinterest boards or optimize boards that you have already created:
- Create a board for a topic you want to rank for with a few targeted keywords. If you have Pinterest boards already, you can see what keywords they rank for by plugging the URL of the board into SEMrush.
- Use targeted keywords in the board name. This will become the Title tag, H1 tag and part of the URL. Usually, I would advise against changing URLs, but it affects so many key on-page SEO elements that I recommend changing the name of current boards to optimize. The old board URL will automatically redirect to the new page.
- Write a description for the board that includes targeted keywords.
- Edit the descriptions of the pins near the top of the page to include keywords.
- Make sure the optimized boards are at the top of your profile.
- Link to your Pinterest boards from related pages on your site, like a blog post, using targeting keywords in the anchor text.
I have seen Pinterest boards improve literally overnight after making these adjustments and have seen engagement increase significantly, as well.
Creating a channel on YouTube is a great way to raise more brand awareness from search. Optimize your videos to not only start showing up in search engines, but also within YouTube search.
- Write a description, and add a full transcript of the video to the description.
- Make sure the title is optimized for your target keywords.
- Group your videos into related playlists.
- Link to the video from your site using targeted anchor text links, and use other traditional link building.
With the powerhouse that YouTube is, I have seen videos show up in SERPs fairly quickly. In my personal experience, how-tos, tutorials and reviews of products have performed the best.
Yelp can be a great asset, affirming your brand messaging with happy customers, or it can deter potential customers due to bad reviews. Instead of waiting and hoping for the best, be proactive.
Claim your Yelp profile and any other industry websites that have reviews on them. Drive customers to the profiles and encourage them to review you (preferably in a way that doesn’t violate the sites’ terms and conditions). The truth is, happy customers are less likely to review a business than those who are fuming from a bad experience. But assuming you are providing great customer service, encouraging all customers to review you should get you the good review you want to promote on your site.
Link to your Yelp profile and other pages where you have reviews to get them to rank and support your brand.
Take advantage of the pages and content you can create on highly authoritative sites. They provide opportunities for quick wins, as well as ways to build and support a positive online reputation. Regardless of the site, the technique is pretty much the same. Find out what fields affect the metadata of the site and optimize it. Find out how additional content can be created to rank. Link to the new content and profiles to increase the likelihood of the page ranking.
Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.