How to Gain Traction on Google with Social Media - dummies

How to Gain Traction on Google with Social Media

By Jan Zimmerman, Deborah Ng

Sigh. Nothing ever stands still in the social whirl — or maybe social tornado is a better description. Regular Google search results for the past hour may include near real-time results from social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, Google+, or other channels such as blogs and press release sites.

To view these, enter your search term on Google as usual. On the search results page, click the Search Tools tab and then choose Any Time→  Past Hour. If you’re more concerned about time than content, switch from the default to Sorted by Date on the Sorted by Relevance sub-tab that appears.

Google doesn’t evaluate engagement on any social media platforms except Google+. It is aware of inbound links and search terms that appear in posts and profiles. Take action based on this information:

  • Post early, post often. Real-time search creates pressure to update frequently on social media so that you can stay near the top of the results stream. Multiple recent posts can tip the scale in your favor. Schedule times on your Social Media Activity Calendar to post to your blog, add to your Facebook timeline, or send tweets at least twice a day. Use management tools to make this process easier.
  • Share and share alike. Post a lot of appealing, keyword-rich content on social media, and explicitly invite others to link to it. Good content on social media may draw a lot of likes, but the number of links to that content pushes up search results.
  • +1 +1 = 3, or maybe 30. Put Google +1 buttons anywhere and everywhere — on your social media, your website, your newsletters, your forehead. Google incorporates +1 buttons but doesn’t evaluate engagement (such as likes, follows, and comments) on other social media.
  • Pin your hopes to Pinterest. The Google spider now crawls Pinterest pins and boards, looking for relevant keywords in descriptions. Use hashtag keywords for each pin for extra SEO-om-pa-pa.
  • Add Pin It and StumbleUpon buttons to your content. For referral traffic, these two sites offer special value.

To view real-time results in Google+, enter your search term in the Search text box. When you see results, click the option for Most Recent at the top of the results list. From then on, relevant posts will appear in real time.

Think about which messages are truly time-critical and save your real-time efforts for them. On your Social Media Activity Calendar, enter the times that you expect your target market might be searching, such as first thing in the morning or right before lunch.

Get some sleep! There’s no point tweeting in the middle of the night when your customers are in bed (unless you’re selling to insomniacs or international customers halfway around the world). Your tweets may be long buried by tweets from dozens — if not hundreds — of others by the time the sun rises. Better yet, schedule your tweets ahead of time with Hootsuite, Buffer, Netvibes, or other dashboard tools for specific social media channels.