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SEO: Learn how to optimise your social media networking sites

In this introductory Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) section you will learn what SEO is and what basic on-page and off-page search engine optimisation entails.

Please complete this short course entrance survey if you have not done so already:

Please watch this video to the end before attempting the activities. When you are watching the video for the second time and reach an activity (see below a list of these with recommended links) pause the video, complete the activity

This video features the following industry speaker:

Tom Parnell - Manning Gottlieb OMD

Activity 1 - Search for "Salford Business School" on www.google.com Note, the number of results that are listed on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). Now, change that search term for “business management courses” – can you now see where Salford Business School is in terms of SERP position?

How likely are you to click through to the web pages of Salford Business School for each of the two results? SEO is the process which should increase the number of visitors for your pages – whether these are web sites or social media profiles – knowing what your customers are looking for and integrating that information into your profiles is the key challenge addressed through organic SEO.

Activity 2 - Visit the Google Trends website http://www.google.co.uk/trends/. Now imagine you are a florist thinking about planning your business, search for two keywords: “wedding flowers” and “birthday flowers”. Can you see the trending differences in the search volume for these terms across different times of the year?

Why do you think it is different? Share your thoughts on #SSMMUoS twitter hash tag or write a blog post about it and share a link to us all using the same hash tag.

Activity 3 - Before you engage in keyword research, read the latest help file on the Google Keyword Planner: https://support.google.com/adwords/answer/2999770

Now, once you have read the documentation, go to Google Keyword Research tool, for this you need to create and sign into Google AdWords account - http://www.google.com/adwords/ and visit the “Keyword Planner” tool in the “ Tools and Analysis” section.

Now select “search for keywords and AdGroup ideas”. On the form, search for “Salford Business School” and try the different match types – note that the latest screen might be different from the one shown in the video. Once you have some data, try to download it into an excel spread sheet for offline manipulation and for your historic records.

Once you have your keywords in a spread sheet you can plan the structure of your website and other social media profiles. Bearing in mind that each page should have one main or primary keyword and three to four secondary keywords, you have to make a plan for each page and state these terms based on:

Relevance = is the keyword term relevant to the products or services you are offering? If you are not sure, search for the same term on your search engine and see what the results appear to be.

Specificity = how long is the keyword? The more words there are in a keyword term, the most specific it is. For example, “Salford Business School” is better than “Salford” since the user is looking for a business school and not the city. “Salford Business School business management courses” is better still – assuming we are helping prospective students to see what courses there are in Salford Business School.

Competition = the fewer websites there are that compete for the same keyword, the higher your chances are to rank well. Therefore, identifying niche terms as well as topical content is one of the strategies you can explore.

Popularity = or average monthly searches give you an indication how popular a term is compared to others. Since SEO is a time consuming task, you want to target terms that have more popularity and when you are deciding between two terms, assuming they are equal on other criteria, popularity should help you do distinguish where your efforts are more likely to generate better Return on Investment (RoI).

Activity 4 - Basic on page optimisation – based on your keyword research you now know what the main and secondary keyword should be on each of your web pages and social media properties. The next step is for you to integrate your primary keyword in the following strategic places on individual web pages:

  • URL (Uniform Resource Locator) – as short as possible
  • Title – about 70 characters long
  • Description – about 150 characters long
  • Heading 1 – no character limit but make sure it makes sense to the reader.

Bear in mind that each of your web pages and social media profiles should be optimised individually, don’t just copy and paste same information on all web pages and social media profiles!

Your primary keyword should ideally be the URL of your web page for example, a page optimised for “business culture” keyword:

http://businessculture.org/business-culture/

Here the web page URL is: “/business-culture/”

Title: “Business culture definition and business etiquette tips”

Description: “Do you know what is meant by culture? Business culture varies on a number of levels, countries, organisations etc. Find out about business etiquette tips and definition of business culture.”

Write the four sets of data for your social media profiles you are thinking of optimising as well as web pages if you are planning to have any.

If you are blogging about it – please share your keyword research on the #SSMMUoS on twitter and also see what other people have done with their research.

Activity 5 – Basic off page optimisation involves cross linking your social media profiles with one another and also getting as many high quality links from reputable sources to your profiles as possible. This task can potentially go on indefinitely. However, when more people link to your site with the relevant anchor text (the text that is used for the link) the higher is the message to the search engines for you to be ranking better for that term.

For example, if you go to Google and search for the keyword “click here” – which website ranks number 1? Why do you think that is? Share your answer via the #SSMMUoS hash tag.

Related SEO resources:

passion4digital

Feel free to make use of our hash tag #passion4digital on Twitter to communicate with your peers and share your own learning experiences!

Quick Links

Follow these links to find the next video/activity:

  1. Personal branding online
  2. Twitter
  3. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
  4. Use of social media for international business development
  5. Facebook
  6. YouTube
  7. LinkedIn
  8. Google+
  9. Copywriting online
  10. Legal implications of social media
  11. Monitoring and reporting
  12. Blogging