Social profiles are great assets for building your online presence. They are great for expanding your reach, for customer retention and engagement and for amplifying content. But they can also be great for capturing more search visibility for your brand.
In today’s world of negative third-party reviews online, which can rank very high (cough, Yelp) for brand searches, you need as many online assets as possible to push negative content down in the search engine results pages (SERPs).
Don’t get me wrong, though — you should do right by customers and provide good service to avoid negative reviews. However, we don’t live in a perfect world, and sometimes negative things can appear in the SERPs about your brand.
The ideal scenario is to have your website and social profiles dominate the first page of your branded SERPs. This is great because it’s all assets that you own, which will help you control what searchers see and your brand perception.
Google announced recently that they will be inserting Tweets into Web search, so this is another opportunity to layer social into your branded Web searches.
Here are some examples of both good and bad brand SERPs.
This search results page for “Brooks Brothers” is full of links to properties that the brand controls, including numerous social media profiles.
This search results page for Target is full of negative publicity (including news coverage and a low review for their iTunes app) and links to just two social profiles, their Facebook and Twitter accounts.
Similar to Target, this search results page for Subway is also teeming with negative publicity, most of which surrounds their former spokesperson, Jared Fogle. It’s possible that this content might be less visible in organic results if better care had been taken to optimize social profiles, although it’s a big enough story that it would probably still appear in the “In the News” area.
On-Site Social Integration
To help boost the rankings of your social profiles, you should link to them from your website. This seems like common sense, but you would be surprised by how many sites don’t link to their social profiles (or only link to certain ones).
Linking to all your social profiles will help pass authority to them (unless you are using a nofollow tag around the links, which I don’t recommend). This will also help increase exposure of the social profiles, which can lead to more followers and social engagement.
Other Linking Options
Some other great ways to increase relevancy, discovery and traffic to your social profiles is to do the following:
- Specify your social profile links in an Organization Schema markup code on your website. Click here to learn more.
- Include links to your social profiles in your company’s emails.
- Link each social profile to the others where possible. Facebook, Google + and YouTube have enough profile real estate to highlight your other social profile links.
- Link to your social profiles, where possible, from third-party sites/profiles that you control, such as a slideshare.net profile.
Social Profile Optimization
Below are recommendations for optimizing some of the more popular and widely used social profiles. I’m covering Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Instagram, but many of the recommendations can be applied across other social media profiles, as well.
The following tips are applicable to nearly any social media account:
- Branding. Ensure your profile is set up with high-quality branded images where appropriate.
- Updates. Make updates on a regular basis so that visitors don’t think you’ve abandoned the account. How frequently you post updates will depend on the platform, but be sure to space out any promotional messages so it doesn’t feel like a barrage of advertisements. Try to keep things conversational.
- Profile Completeness. Nearly every social account contains places where you can add content, links or other types of helpful information. Make sure you fill out all applicable fields — the more information you provide, the stronger your profile will appear to search engines.
- Branding. When setting up your profile with images, don’t just upload a profile photo and cover photo. Add a variety of photos in an album that shows who you are and what you do. Be sure to claim your vanity URL, too (for example, Facebook.com/zappos).
- Updates. Keep the profile updated on a frequent basis, ideally at least once per day. Be sure to leverage hashtags where appropriate.
- Page Info. Populate the page info section of the profile with as much content as possible. Include history, mission, services, awards, etc. — the more content, the better. Macy’s has done a great job with this.
Custom Tabs. Use custom tabs to highlight additional content. This will help increase exposure of certain content, increase profile engagement and make the profile more content-heavy (which is great for search indexation). Custom tabs can include feeds of other social profiles such as Twitter, Pinterest or YouTube. Time Warner is doing a good job leveraging custom tabs. They have tabs dedicated to highlighting free shows and a contest.
- Branding. Twitter allows you to set up a profile picture and a header image, as well as a background color for your profile page (you can choose from a selection of available colors or use a custom one using the color’s hexadecimal number). Ensure that all images and colors are on brand.
- Updates. Keep the profile updated on a frequent basis, three to four times per day, if possible. It is very important to leverage hashtags on Twitter. This will help aggregate your tweets and may also increase the chances of your tweets showing up in Google Web search.
- Content Types. Be sure to incorporate different media types, such as photos and videos, into tweets.
- Branding. Use high-quality branded images, and be sure to claim your profile’s vanity URL (for example, https://www.youtube.com/EliteSEMInc).
- About Section. Populate the “About” section of the profile with as much content as possible. Include links to your other social profiles, as well. Adorama has done a great job with their YouTube channel optimization.
- Updates. Have a solid content calendar where you are uploading video content on a frequent basis (weekly or monthly). Be sure to leverage video playlists to add more content value to your channel. For more information on YouTube channel optimization, click here.
- Branding. Pinterest allows for a very small branded profile image, so make sure the image you choose can be easily seen at a small size (like a logo). Additionally, if you confirm your company website with Pinterest, you’ll be able to add your logo to any Pin that came from your site.
- Boards. Create as many relevant boards as possible, which will make the profile more content-heavy. Macy’s is doing a great job with their boards.
Pin Descriptions. Add descriptions to your pins to not only add value to users but also to make your profile more content-heavy.
- Branding. LinkedIn profiles allow you to upload a company logo and a banner image.
- Content. Populate the Info section on the Home tab of the profile with as much content as possible. Leverage the “Showcase Pages” option, as well, if you can. Here’s an example of Microsoft’s LinkedIn company page.
- Content. Leverage both images and videos.
- Descriptions. Add descriptions to your images and videos. Be sure to use hashtags.