Four areas of search and social focus

Most sites end up bucketing their work for SEO and social into four main areas, thought his may not be a conscious decision.  You may label them differently, and some may be fuller than others, but the goal remains the same – to achieve success in each area:

  • Quality
  • Trust
  • Popularity
  • Timeliness

Each area is important because it’s achieving balance across them that brings success online today.  Each are individually is important for a couple of reasons and seeing success sin each area usually means you’re on the right track.  Let’s review each area and see why they are important in SEO and social.

Quality – what this means to SEO

Quality is reflected in the depth and knowledge held within your content.  We’re talking about good quality content here.   Quality inbound links can help, so look for ways to foster the growth of quality links.  We’re also talking about the general, overall appear of the site, as this will impact a visitor’s perception of the site and help determine if they trust the site and stay there (or come back, recommend it, etc.) We’re also talking about the basic technical SEO work you need to do, and executing on that.

Quality – what this means to social

From a social point of view, quality will be found in what you share, your interactions with your friends, follower, etc. and in the overall “social footprint” you’re building.  Skip “like farms” and concentrate and engaging well with your fan base.  Bring them meaningful information with links to great content.

Trust – what this means to SEO

Over time, the engines build a level of trust with your site.  Part of that trust comes from the actions you take when performing SEO.  Were you buying links last year?  That could haunt you as it erodes our trust.  Have you been suffering from a malware attack?  Again it’s a very real problem because it’s hard for us to trust the site enough to show it to searchers if we’ve detected malware.  It takes time to build trust in a site, and to be fair, it takes quite a bit to damage that trust.  You can damage that trust quickly if you like, but the fact is most businesses make mistakes, and making mistakes isn’t going to see your trust evaporate immediately…unless it’s obvious it’s not a “mistake”.

Trust – what this means to social

Do people amplify your voice?  Do they see you as an authority; a thought leader?  We’ll see that happening as we scan social signals across the ‘Net.  Your goal should be to provide top class value to people consistently.  That type of consistency builds trust, and when people trust you, they tell others.  For example: do you talk only of your own products and services socially?  Or do you inform your followers of things related to your products and service, from other businesses, but within the same industry?  We’re not suggesting your advertise for your competition here, but if you make skis, your clientele might be interest in racing results, ski goggles, clothing, etc.  While you may only make skis, think of your product from the consumers POV and bring them added value socially to win hearts, minds & trust.  When your followers and friends tell others you’re the go-to resource on a topic, you’ve nailed it.

Popularity – what this means to SEO

You want more traffic, you want repeat visits and you want links.  This area is the core focus for any SEO – moving these numbers.  You may also want to add to this pile of metrics things like time on site and pages consumed.  When your site is popular, you know it.  Depending on your vertical, age, content, usability and many other factors, you may be more or less successful.  One over-riding goal, however, should always be to WOW your visitors.  Do that and your popularity will continue to grow and it’ll attract the attention of the engine sin a positive way.

Popularity – what this means to social

At its very basic level, this can be measured in pure numbers: friends, followers, etc.  Dig a bit deeper, though, and you’ll find real value.  Are people retweeting you?  Do they recommend you to friends?  Do they interact with your business on its wall?  Do they take the action you want them to?

Timeliness – what this means to SEO

The tie-in between Timeliness in SEO and Social is a tight one.  From an SEO perspective, you’ve got to be capable of producing quality content quickly.  Most topics you can take your time with, but when something newsworthy happens in your vertical, how quickly can you respond?  It’s very important to be a fast-mover when a change happens in your world.  Social areas like Twitter make sharing news, changes and updates so easy for consumers that you can easily miss the boat when something breaks.  Watching for developing trends in your space, and capitalizing on them means producing quality content quickly.  That content is what he engines will index when the trend is breaking.  And if you’ve got the quality content, you could be leading the rankings.

Timeliness – what this means to social

You want to be current, fresh and relevant.  Telling your followers about Olympic results now is, at best, going to generate a chuckle.  At worst they’ll see you as hopelessly out of date.  Sharing information about the Paralympic Games starting in less than a week, however, can set you up as a leading voice for that event.  If you see something happening in your industry, dig deep and share broadly.  Find useful information and tell your followers about it.  They’ll appreciate the breaking news and you’ll appreciate being referenced as a go-to resource.

As we said at the beginning, your focus can be on all these areas, or on only a couple.  And you may have areas which are more complete than others.  The bottom line remains, however, that success today comes from focusing on and investing in all of these areas.

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