Happy holidays to my film, television, webseries and transmedia friends! As the old year winds to a close and the new year awaits, I thought it would be a great time to look to 2012 and make some suggestions for search and social media marketing resolutions you should be thinking about adding to your to do list. They cover off some of the standard basics but also will help you to address trends that are becoming more and more important for screen media and everyone trying to reach and develop an audience/market online.
1. Revisit your keyword research
Keyword research is the foundation of all search marketing and has a significant impact on social media marketing as well, so make sure to revisit this data on a regular basis. The beginning of a new year is the perfect excuse to do so. As Google is now blocking more and more of internal keyword referral data inside Google Analytics for “security” reasons, the importance of external tools like Google’s own Keyword Tool, Word Tracker, Keyword Discovery and Keyword Strategy grows in importance and should be leveraged in 2012 as well.
2. Take a website analytics snapshot
Make sure you have a handle on your site activity and performance. Tools like Google Analytics can provide you with information about the amount of activity on your site, the kind of content that is the most interesting to your audience and where your traffic is coming from. It also can provide information about where your site is going wrong. Make sure to check your 404 error logs for potential problems and fix them. Also pay close attention to what kinds of devices are being used by your visitors. Mobile phones and tablets are becoming more of an issue and these visitors may be interacting with your content in very different ways.
3. Provide real value
Google had a couple of major algorithm changes last year. The first (nicknamed “Panda”) is all about rewarding quality – quality links, quality content. This means when trying to build up your web presence focus on quality relationships over a massive quantity links from anyone and anywhere. Not only will building relationships with relevant, interested people lead to potential “superfans” but it will help with search engine performance. And as for the content you provide, whether it is on your website or through your social media channels make sure it is worth the attention of your audience and gives them real value in return. This could include “insider” knowledge like glimpses behind the scene of your production or sharing things you have learned through the development of your project and the engagement of your audience or just a really cool game or tool or app you have developed.
4. Freshen your content
The next big Google algorithm update (nicknamed “fresh”) builds on Panda further by rewarding sites that provide regular, unique content. To succeed with Google it is important to not let your content to get stagnant. Not only give your site a new year freshening, but try to commit to some kind of regular publishing schedule with interesting content that will be of value to your audience (perhaps based on what has worked so far, as revealed by your analytics data, or what the keyword research tell you they are looking for). This will not only help with Google, but also with whatever audience you are trying to build through social media and your link partnerships.
5. Get technical with your SEO
Although the basics of SEO will stand you in good stead, you can also take this strategy up a notch and get even further ahead of the competition by trying to optimize some technical elements of your website:
- This includes using rich snippets in your code to provide context for the search engines for specific pieces of information like your contact info or more specific ones for a film or TV series project.
- You can also ensure your site loads as quickly as possible by checking load times (slower loading sites are penalized by Google) which you can do with one of the many tools available for this test.
- To get some technical insights about your site directly from the search engines make sure you submit a sitemap and sign up for Google and Bing Webmaster Tools.
6. Optimize your website for social
Make sure your home page is linked to all your key social media pages. Encourage visitors to connect, like, follow, and/or share with buttons on every page of your site, and tie them into the new Google Analytics interface if at all possible. There are many variations of these buttons (and feeds), so make sure to pick the ones that make the most sense for your site and audience.
7. Optimize your social media for search
In the past I wrote articles about how to optimize Twitter, Facebook & LinkedIn, and YouTube for search. Most of these tips still hold true, but there have been changes (as there always are online) in the past few months. YouTube has been especially helpful in educating its content creators in this regard with its recently posted Playbook. It still all really boils down to using the right language in the right places, which takes us back to the foundation of keyword research.
8. Use search and social channels to check your online reputation
Do searches on Google, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn for your name, your company name, and the titles of any of your projects. See where and if there is any buzz (positive or negative) around these items and if there is find ways to participate in these conversations.
9. Be prepared for the impact of Siri
The iPhone assistant has made a lot of headlines about how spoken search queries were going to end SEO as a powerful tactic. While the full impact has yet to be felt, searches conducted through this means will use more natural and simple language. While not everyone will search this way, it will change the keyword research data which is yet another reason to revisit this regularly over the upcoming year, especially if you have an audience very active on iPhones.
10. Simplify and maximize your social media with tools
Hootsuite and SocialOomph are two examples of great social media dashboards that can help you manage your participation on Twitter, Facebook and more. I’ve also recently been using tools like Tweriod (which lets me know when to Tweet for maximum exposure) and TwentyFeet (which alerts me to key followers to engage. New tools like this are coming out all the time. I try to use as many as possible and then continue with those that provide me with the biggest impact on my business goals (expect an overview of these in the new year). While I use tools to simplify my social media engagement, it is not automated. I still maintain as an authentic and value added presence in all the social media conversations I am a part of.
Happy New Year!
I know everyone is strapped for time and money these days, but even if you can implement a few of these resolutions you will set yourself up for a much better 2012. I wish you all the happiest of holidays and I will see you on the flipside, when we all have to get back to work.
Do you have any other ideas, questions, resources, tips or insight about other search and social media marketing resolutions? Please post below or send via email to annelise(at)veria.ca or on Twitter @veriatweet.
Next issue: Which Comes First – Story or Audience?
Or revisit the previous issue: The Language of Transmedia: My Keyword Research Gift