Leverage Social Media For Better Search Engine Ranking For Your Website
By Renee Helton www.eswdg.com
Is your martial arts school website doing what you hoped it would - namely, bringing in more prospective students? If not, there are some fairly easy things that you can do yourself to help it along.
The first internet marketing step for any business over the last ten years was to build a website and create an internet presence. After all, most people use the web, especially the search engines, to do research and find what they need. If you're like most people, you found a developer to create your website. If it's a professional looking website, you're probably ahead of your competition. Professionally designed websites, without a doubt, attract more potential students.
But most people stop after their website goes up. They wait for traffic and the phones to ring. And they wait some more. When the phones don't ring, they give up and think it was all a waste of time and money. Sound familiar?
In reality, putting up a website is just the first phase of internet marketing. The next phase is to help people "find" your website. Because Google is where most people are looking, you need to get higher up in the rankings on Google.
There are many ways to move up in Google. One of the best ways is to create links from other websites that point to your website. Google considers these links to your website a "thumbs up" from other people. They signify to Google that your website is important and worthy of moving up higher in their search results.
But how do you get these links, and where do they come from? Enter Social Media. Websites like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Blogs are all social in nature and considered "authority" sites by Google, meaning links from them can give your website a big boost. Google loves links from these websites. In fact, YouTube is owned by Google, so you can imagine how much credibility they give to links and content on YouTube.
It's important to note that these are "social media" sites. They are social because other people can comment on everything you post and "share" it with their friends. It's common knowledge that people consider recommendations from friends and people they know as "credible" and they're more likely to act on them than they are from paid ads and other forms of marketing.
Now, I know what you're thinking, how much more time and money is THIS going to cost me? Relax. You're not alone in your thinking - we all had to learn about these things and start at the beginning. We all found out the same thing, it's not as bad as it sounds and it really can pay off.
Probably the easiest place to start is Facebook. It is free to create a Facebook Page, which is for companies, and not the same as an individual personal Facebook account. The best part about Facebook company pages is that everything that is posted on them shows up in the search engines. It's dead simple to shoot a photo with a cell phone and upload it to your Facebook page. The important part to remember is to write a brief description of the photo and include a link to your website. Upload ten photos like this and you just gained ten links to your website from one of the biggest authority sites on the web.
As mentioned before, YouTube is another big authority site. Your cell phone can probably shoot video too. If not, all point and shoot cameras have video capabilities. Either way, shoot some video of your company or products and upload it to YouTube. The same applies to YouTube as it does to Facebook - write a description and add a link to your website. Upload five videos and you just got five more links.
Twitter is a little different but it's also free and pretty easy to setup. Once you have your Twitter account up and running, send some "Tweets." You only get 140 characters, which can make for some pretty short messages, but here again, you can add links to your website. You don't want everything you tweet to be a link because people will get tired of you and not click the links. Tweet useful and valuable information, and "retweet" useful information that other people post on Twitter. Do five to ten of these a day and make one of them a link to your website. If you do it every day, you'll have five to seven new links to your website every week.
While you're at it, link from Facebook to Twitter, Twitter to Facebook, and link all of them to YouTube. Mix it up. Every time you place a link, Google considers it important and it can move them all up.
Do you Blog? You should. This one is a little more difficult to setup initially, but after the Blog is created, it's easy to update and add new Blog posts. Most people are intimidated by blogging, but it doesn't have to be that way. Everybody is an expert at something. Write about what you know. If you teach a certain method, or give advice to your clients on a regular basis about a unique technique, write it down and put it in a Blog post. Simple and easy to understand information is best. When other people read it, they just might pass it along and "share" it with their friends.
People sharing your information with other people is one main goal of Social Media. When they share links to your photos, videos, blog posts, and website, Google considers these "social signals" a sign that you have valuable content and they'll move it up so it's easier for people to find you. A valuable side effect to social media is not only can you move up in the search engines, but people just might click your link and end up on your website. With more people discovering you, it's easier to pick up more clients. Which is why you want to have a professional appearance. It adds to your credibility.
Most importantly, anything you create, publish or share online should be interesting and/or valuable to other people. Find things that nobody else knows about, offer little nuggets of wisdom, or something that matters. If it's unique and good, it has a better chance of being shared with others. If it's really good, it just might go viral and everybody will share it. Think of the things you share with your friends. What do you email to others? What do others email to you? These can all be used as social media content to leverage you and your school to gaining better search engine results.
Use your website as your foundation, or hub, where your main message lives. It should be professionally designed and well written, outlining precisely what you do and what you offer. This is the face of your business, so it’s worth it to spend a little money to ensure you have a professional face. Google likes this and so will the people visiting it. Use social media to point to your website and send traffic to it. This part can be done for free with a little time and effort.
Renee Helton is a 15-year web design and internet veteran, specializing in Internet Marketing for the Martial Arts Industry. She has created hundreds of websites and marketing campaigns for Martial Arts schools and keeps tabs on the latest search engine techniques for her clients. Her website can be found at: www.eswdg.com.