Every day I’m asked the same questions. Do I need a Facebook page? Do I need a Twitter account? Do I need some kung-fu search engine optimisation skills? There is an ongoing misunderstanding around what it takes to get more traffic to your website, or let’s say, more targeted traffic to your website, through the search engines.
If your company sells fly fishing rods and you would like to become more visible in Google, then there are ways to determine whether you should focus more on social or search. The best part is that it’s not too complicated, and that’s what I hope to share with you here.
The very first thing you need to do is perform a Google search for the keyword (ie “fly fishing rods”) you are hoping to receive more traffic for. From this search, note the top 3 or 4 website addresses that rank for the keyword. I recommend opening up a spreadsheet and listing each website on its own row. Don’t forget to add a row for your website.
Side note: When I talk about keywords, I’m referring to words that your potential customers may be searching for in search engines. The idea is to have a strong relationship with a search engine for a keyword – this would allow the search engine to display your website in the search results for the keyword that your potential customer is searching for. It’s important to understand that the keywords are the words customers are using to search for something, and not necessarily the words you feel would be best to rank for. This is another topic all together, if you have questions please leave a comment below and I’ll attempt to address them as best as I can.
Now to the technical stuff. Each of the items listed below need their own column in your spreadsheet and the values form the crux of this analysis.
I don’t want to exhaust this list, but you can carry on and test YouTube, StumbleUpon, LinkedIn, Digg, Reddit, Pinterest and most of the other social networks in a similar manner. Please note that SEO Site Tools also has functionality to determine some of the social signals — the idea is to remain consistent with the tools you use, don’t use one tool to determine Facebook signals on one of the websites and another tool to determine the Facebook signals on another website. Use the same tool for each website.
At this point you should have a spreadsheet that has seven columns at the very least:
This is where things get interesting; you are now able to look at the grouped metrics to determine how the top three or four ranking sites are potentially ranking where they are. What you are doing here is looking for patterns between the top three ranking sites relative to the number you’ve placed in each of the columns. Remember, you can use any metrics you like when making comparisons like this, but these ones produce a nicely rounded sample set.
By way of example, you can see from my spreadsheet below that there’s a strong correlation between rankings on Facebook mentions — most of the other metrics are fairly close to each other, so my advice here would be to invest time in a social media strategy on Facebook to increase the mentions. Note where your website ranks in Google, run the Facebook campaign and watch your rankings closely to determine whether the social signals are increasing your rankings. Of course there’s a lot of trial, error and measuring, but this is definitely a good way to step forwards into achieving more visibility in the search engines.
If you take your time and do this carefully, I have no doubt that you’ll at least gain great insight into what your competitors are doing and how you might be able to vye with them for that important page 1 ranking in Google.
Other tools that can help you:
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