Yesterday’s post on Social Media Crisis Management was a bit of experiment to see how highly I could rank for the term “Social Media Crisis Management”. I also wanted to share my results with you, so you can hopefully learn a bit more about the importance of SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
First, I picked a fairly specific term, in “Social Media Crisis Management”. I checked prior to publishing yesterday’s post, and there were just a shade under 29,000 Google results for that term. This is important because you need to pick the most specific term as possible, because this will result in less competition, and (if you’ve picked the right term for you) it means you will be more likely to get the ‘right’ kind of traffic.
Second, I made sure the term was in the title and mentioned a couple of times in the post. I also made the term “Social Media Crisis Management” at the front of the post title, I originally had the title as “A No-Nonsense Guide to Social Media Crisis Management” but Amy wisely suggested that I flip it so the term I was targeting was at the front of the title.
Now, a note about keywords and phrases: You do need to pick and target specific keywords and phrases, but you also need to incorporate them into the post in a way that makes sense to the reader. I only used that term in the post twice, because that’s all I felt it needed. It might have helped the results to get it in there once or twice more, but I felt I would have had to compromise the flow of the post’s structure to do it, so I didn’t. You always have to remember that you are writing for people, if the post doesn’t make sense to them, then it really doesn’t matter if it does well in search results.
So, when I published the post yesterday at 12:20pm, there were 28,900 Google results for the term “Social Media Crisis Management”. I tweeted a link to it at that time. Fifty minutes later at 1:10pm, the post was already showing up on the 3rd page for a Google search of #Social Media Crisis Management”:
As of this writing it has settled back to #7. But the interesting part is that all of the above screenshots were taken by me searching with Google with results for EVERYTHING, and when I was NOT signed into Google.
So at 3:20pm, I decided to check the Latest results for “Social Media Crisis Management”, and this is what I saw:
THIS is huge. The Latest results factors in real-time linking behavior, so it is picking up all the tweets where my post was being RTed, and as a result, the top half of the Latest results for the term “Social Media Crisis Management” were completely devoted to MY post.
And this is what the same search showed me this morning at 9:20am:
I couldn’t get all of the results in one screenshot but EVERY result from the above was about my post. Every result in the latest column on the left, the Top Link on the Right, and the Top Updates under it. My post owned the 1st page of Latest search results for the term “Social Media Crisis Management”.
That’s a perfect example of how Twitter and Facebook sharing is now impacting Google results. And it’s also a wonderful illustration of the value of being active on Twitter. I tweeted a link to that post several times yesterday and this morning, which was a big reason why it moved up the Google results so quickly, and a big reason why it dominated the Latest results for that term.
So those of you that are trying to sell your boss on why they should use Twitter, you just got another argument in your favor
But there are two things I want you to take away from this:
1 – This was very basic SEO stuff that any of you can do. It was simply a case of targeting a specific phrase, and inserting it in the post. Now as far as my having a large and engaged Twitter network and readership here (thanks guys!), that definitely played a big factor in the post moving up the results so quickly. But at a basic level, everything I did from a SEO perspective is what you can do with every post. And you should.
2 – You can best learn by breaking stuff. There are a gazillion ‘How to’ and ’10 Steps to…’ articles about using social media, and I have certainly written my fair share of these. But the best way *I* learn is if you can show me the first 1 or 2 steps, then leave me alone and let me figure out the remaining 8 or 9 steps for myself. Don’t just blindly follow my social media advice or anyone else’s. Use the advice as a guide for how you can get started. But there is no one RIGHT way to use social media. Never forget that. I can tell you what works for me and my clients, but you still need to tweak any advice so that it is perfect for you. SEO geeks will no doubt see a ton of things that I could have done or altered in this experiment to get even better results. And moving forward, I am going to continue to tweak and ‘break stuff’ in order to better figure out how all the moving parts work together.
So go forth, be social, and keep breaking stuff