If you have set up your online “home base”, preferably a WordPress blog that highlights YOU as a leader, you’ve probably read some things about SEO (search engine optimization) and how it can help you get found in Google when people are searching for a business or product like yours.
The point of SEO is making your blog content more likely to pop up in a Google search when someone is looking for whatever you are selling or promoting. The traditional approach to SEO falls into two basic categories:
- on page optimization, which means writing good titles and descriptions as well as paying attention to other factors that make your blog more search engine friendly and your posts more likely to be found in searches
- off page optimization, which involves getting links back to your blog content from a variety of sources – this can be links you place yourself in message board signatures, articles, and so forth or links that other people put on their sites because they like your content and want to share it with their readers
Both of these approaches are still critical to your success in being found in Google searches, but “social factors” are now coming more and more into play. It’s been observed over the last couple of years that Google has been paying attention to social proof.
- Facebook likes
- bookmarks and votes on content in sites such as Digg
- social communities where people have commented on or highlighted your content
While the exact amount of influence this activity has on rankings is not clear, what is clear is that Google is relying more and more on social proof to influence ranking. After all, their job is to deliver good content to searchers, and content that has “social buzz” would at least appear to be more relevant and valuable in a given search.
Google has just introduced their new +1 social feature, which lets searchers give a thumbs up or positive recommendation to content they find valuable. The +1 button is a way for Google searchers to say “this is pretty cool” or “you should check this out.” Interesting. It just shows how social proof can and will influence ranking more and more as time goes on.
The bottom line – to increase your chances of being found in searches, be active and consistent in using social media. Get links back to your blog and your posts. Becoming an active member of the major social communities has always been good advice for online network marketers and MLM’ers, but now it’s more important than ever.
Traditional SEO + smart participation in social communities (like Facebook) = far better odds that YOUR best prospects will find you!