Using Social Media to Improve SEO

Offsite SEO
Social Media is a powerful tool when used the right way.

Why Social Media Matters

At a glance, social media is a popular way to talk to friends and interact with the world. A majority of modern folks have used some form of social media in their day, be it Facebook or a small forum for expecting mothers that live on farms. Social media brings people together to share ideas and stories. These sites can be valuable tools for spreading awareness of your website or garnering community interaction, which both drive traffic back to your content. Social media is a small part of offsite SEO, but an important one. Here are some ways you can leverage social media to improve your site’s SEO.

Choose your Weapon

Every social media site will not suite every website. If you run a personal blog, you may just use your personal social accounts to show off your site. If you are marketing a business website, you will want accounts for your business specifically. Next up, choose which sites you want to work from. There are a few obvious contenders, which I will now list and explain:


It’s where everyone is and where everyone wishes they weren’t. On a more serious note, Facebook is where you’ll want to go if you want to get your site link to a lot of people from a lot of backgrounds. The way Facebook organizes groups and pages is a nifty way to let your readers or consumers interact with you and each other, so if you are looking for more than just exposure, consider this popular site.


If you are a blogger, you are probably a writer. And if you are a writer, Twitter is a lovely place to say something clever and tell your following about that new post you wrote. It is really easy to link to websites on Twitter and a lot of people use Twitter daily. Plus, it is fairly easy to let your readers interact with you personally here. If you like the idea of keeping up a certain “image” and posting short, frequent updates, Twitter will work for you.


If your website, blog, or business is a visual one, and you have a decent camera or some time for graphics, Instagram could be a great way to let people see what your site has to offer. Links are conveniently posted, but images are king on Instagram. Only put the time in if your site really lends itself to the visual medium well.


Tumblr is already a platform of micro-blogs, so bloggers and the like will fit right in here. A great way to use Tumblr is to post your thoughts and post your blogs as you write them. Visuals are always popular, and interaction is a thing of its own. The clientele tends to be more artsy, so if your bog, site, or business would fit in, this could be a place to spend your time.

Remember that you don’t need to have a strong presence on every social site. Pick one or two that really fit your goals and focus your time and energy on making great profiles where it will count, instead of having sub par profiles on sites that don’t fit your brand.

What to Do, What to Do

So, what exactly should you be doing on these sites? To generate backlinks to your website, there are a few things you can do on social media:

Beef up your Bio

Whether you are using a business account or a personal one, put a link to your website in your bio. Not all social media sites have a dedicated account bio, but for those that do, include a link in the “about me” or the “website” part of your social profile. If people see your posts and want to know more, they will find a helpful link to your site! Don’t forget to include other interesting information in your bio to make it even prettier.

Keep your Followers Updated

Post on social media whenever you update your website so people know to go check it out. It is usually very easy to post a link to your new post, which creates a backlink for every post you make. Plus, it encourages readership for people who check social media consistently but don’t have an RSS feed for your site set up.

Encourage Community

This varies based on the social site you use, but make your social media profiles a place for community, interaction, and conversation. Post more than just your recent articles. Make it a point to ask your followers questions or share interesting anecdotes or articles other people wrote that are relevant to your account. Get people responding to your posts and to each other, so that when you do post a link to your site they will be willing and interested in clicking. If no one enjoys your social presence, they won’t be around to see the links that you do post.

Be Consistent

However you run your social media profiles, be consistent in how often you post and the kind of content you post. That isn’t to say post the exact same thing every day at exactly 3:15. Just keep a fairly constant posting schedule so your followers can depend on you and trust your content. Even ten minutes a day dedicated to posting, linking, or interacting can make your social presence powerful.

For the Social Media “Experts,” Hold a Contest

Nothing gets people clicking like the chance to win something. If your website has a specialty or your business has a particularly desirable product, hold a sweepstakes. Have entrants comment on one of your site posts or subscribe to your site to be entered, and you have just majorly increased links back to your site.

If you start with these social media basics, your site will benefit from increased backlinks, readership, and interaction. Social media is an easy, inexpensive way to naturally market your business or blog. Knowing where to start and putting in the effort is half the battle.

Using Yoast on WordPress

Yoast SEO makes blogging better
Yoast can boost your site’s onsite SEO with ease.

Yoast: Onsite SEO for Everyone

Onsite SEO is one of the ways websites and blogs can prime their content to appear at the top of relevant searches. For people that use WordPress, Yoast is a plugin that makes it easy for bloggers to improve their SEO. It is easy to use and learn Yoast without having a previous knowledge of SEO techniques. The primary features of Yoast are Readability scoring and SEO scoring. These features give specific feedback on how well your blog post or page is readable or optimized and tells you exactly how to improve it. Follow Yoast’s stoplight of helpfulness you will be on your way to amazing onsite SEO.


Having clear, easy to read content will not only make your readers like you more, but could have a positive affect on your search engine rank. Yoast’s readability function will tell you what problems, improvements, and good things your blog post has going for you. Follow the improvements and problems Yoast mentions to improve your readability to bring your score to green. Some things Yoast recommends include using transition words, short sentences and paragraphs,  word count, and general reading ease.

Follow the instructions as well as you can, but keep in mind that your posts may not always follow every aspect of readability. You may have posts that are “harder to read” due to your preferred voice, or the kind of material you write may require longer paragraphs or complicated sentences. As long as you generally stick to the Readability improvements and aim for at least a yellow score, your blog will benefit.

SEO and Keywords

With the free version of Yoast, you are able to choose one focus keyword for each of your blog posts. Input your chosen keyword and let Yoast again tell you what to do. This includes basic writing techniques like including your keyword in the title, subtitles, and body text. It also includes incorporating internal and outbound links into your post.

Internal links are hyperlinks that send readers to relevant content within your website. For example, you might put a link on the word “cats” that leads to a blog you wrote on your new kitten (you’re welcome for that link). These internal links strengthen the rank of your website, especially if some of your pages have a higher rank than others. External links are hyperlinks that link to websites other than yours. Maybe you used a great source in your blog or there’s a relevant news article that relates to your post topic. Connecting your site to prominent sites that search engines consider reliable can improve your site’s rank.

Finally, Yoast lets you edit the SEO title, slug, and meta description that are used in the search result snippet. The key to editing these well is making sure your titles and descriptions are the optimal length for viewing as search engine results. You should also include your keyword in these segments. Of course, try to avoid overusing your keyword. No one wants to read a blog where every other word is “programmatic,” right?

Follow these and whatever other instructions Yoast gives you, and tweak and edit until your SEO score is also a cheery green (for good). With minimal effort, your WordPress site can have onsite SEO that will improve your rank on search engines and increase the number of people that see your site.

Keyword Research – Optimize Your AdWords Campaign

How Keyword Research Affects Even the Smallest Campaigns

Small businesses everywhere are starting to delve into the wonderful world of online advertising. It is cheap, fast, and far reaching, so the widespread appeal is unsurprising. A prominent aspect of online advertising is paid search engine results. In order to advertise a business via paid search results, Google AdWords has users select keywords that a consumer may use in an online search. This is made possible through effective keyword research.

It would be a rookie mistake to select over-generalized keywords without researching more relevant keywords with less competition. Keyword research is an easy way to optimize your AdWords search network campaign. Taking the time to find the best keywords for your business strategy will save you time, money, and a headache.

Using the Keyword Planner

Google AdWords includes a nifty tool for researching and planning keywords called the Keyword Planner. Use this tool to survey a variety of keywords that you could show your ad with. Once you have entered the keyword planner, click “Search for new keywords…” and input the information as it relates to your business. The keyword planner will show you potential keywords that you could bid on. Notice the columns shown with each keyword. They show you how many people search that term in a month and how high competition is for that keyword.

The key to bidding on keywords efficiently is to stray away from general, high competition keywords. Think of phrases, called long-tail keywords, that a consumer might search to specifically search for your business. These could include location-based keywords, keywords that show purchase intent, or keywords that relate to things that your customers like. Let’s look into the best way to brainstorm each of these keywords.

Location in Keyword Planner

The Keyword Planner has a great feature that lets you narrow down the location where your ads will show. So, this aspect of research is actually pretty easy! On the left side of the Keyword Planner, choose “location” and then “Advanced Search.” From here you can choose where you want your ads to show, very specifically. For local businesses, choose local areas. This way nearby consumers can learn about your business where it counts. Once you know your ads will be showing on local searches, you can add keywords like “paint stores near me” or “local paint shops” to your list of keywords.

Finding Keywords that Show Intent

Another kind of keyword you will want to research are keywords that show an intent to make a purchase or do an action. For our local paint store, this could include keywords like “sales on paint,” “best paint for walls,” or “choosing paint color for cabinets.” These keywords imply that the user is in the market for paint, so advertising on these search results will help get relevant clicks that earn you money. Think of how one of your customers might search for products or services you sell and add them to your keyword list.

Consumer Interest Keywords

Finally, look into keywords that relate not to your product specifically but to the kinds of things your customers may enjoy or look up. For the paint store example, paint store customers may also look up DIY instructions or interior design tips. Research keywords like “DIY furniture tutorials” and “interior designing.”

For all the keywords you find, check that the competition is not too high and the price is reasonable for your budget. When you find a keyword you like, go to the right side of the keyword row and click the blue arrow to add it to your AdWords plan. By doing smart, in depth keyword research, even small businesses can have great, efficient search advertisements that draw in customers.

Programmatic Media Optimization Techniques

Programmatic Media Optimization Techniques Bring Your Media Buys into the Twenty-First Century
Programmatic Media Optimization Techniques Bring Your Media Buys into the Twenty-First Century

Programmatic Media Optimization is the New Normal

The days of sending a telegram to your media buyer across town in order to snatch up an advertisement on the nifty new periodical are quickly becoming a thing of the past. OK, maybe that is not how traditional media buys were done, but the truth is that programmatic media buying is becoming the new normal for businesses looking to advertise online. Programmatic media buying is purchasing advertising space automatically instead of personally contacting the individuals who own online ad space. Platforms like Google AdWords allow users to automatically bid on ad space on websites and mobile apps via real-time auctions. Marketers are able to set up a campaign and run ads all over the web without ever speaking to a site publisher. Here are some techniques you should use to optimize your programmatic purchases.

Techniques for Optimizing your Programmatic Media

Here are some programmatic media optimization techniques that will help you efficiently purchase and analyze online advertising. I will be focusing on some big-picture techniques, so I encourage anyone reading to do more research on the nitty-gritty of the following techniques.

1. Get Comfortable with a Programmatic Marketing Platform

You will need to start by determining who you want to reach online and where they can be reached. As mentioned above, Google AdWords is a popular choice for programmatic marketing because it allows businesses to reach a wide variety of people. There are options to advertise within the Google search engine, on various websites, in mobile apps, on videos, and more. For more targeting power, or an easy start, try AdWords.

Another option to consider when choosing where to buy online ads is Bing Ads. Bing Ads is especially useful if you are looking to target older people, who tend to use Bing and Yahoo more frequently. Bing Ads also has an option to import Google AdWords campaigns. It may be more efficient to use AdWords to create a comprehensive campaign and import it into Bing Ads.

For even more potential places to buy online ad space, check out this list of alternatives on PPC Hero.

2. Plan Well

It is rarely a good idea to dive head first into an online campaign without considering what you want from it and what you expect to do. This includes planning a budget, targeting goals, and campaign schedule. Figure out who you want to reach with your ads and how that person thinks. This will determine where, when, and how you advertise.

Consult your finance team to agree on an advertising budget. Keep in mind that online ads can be paid for in several different ways, including Cost Per Click, Cost Per Impression, and Cost Per Acquisition. These formats will only charge you when you have a user click on your ad, how often your ad is shown, and how many users are converted by your ad. In addition, programmatic advertising primarily uses auctions to buy ad space. Your budget should reflect the demand for the space on the websites you want to buy, or else you risk never winning an auction and never spending a dime on ads.

3. Listen to the Data

The beauty of programmatic media buying is the ability to analyze data quickly and change your campaign accordingly. That’s where the “optimization” piece comes in. Use the data analysis tools in your programmatic platform of choice and observe what is working and what is failing in your campaign. Don’t be afraid to change something that isn’t working. Flexibility is what successful ad campaigns are made of.

Here are some of Google’s tips for optimizing your campaign to get you started.

AdWords Campaigns for Local Businesses

AdWords: A Useful Tool for Developing Small Businesses

Small, local businesses are at the heart of the American economy. Sometimes, it can be difficult to reach the kind of consumers you need with a small business budget. AdWords campaigns can help local businesses reach their goals through online marketing campaigns.

AdWords is a Google property that allows users to plan online and mobile marketing campaigns. Users can purchase search result ads and website ads across the internet. Knowing how to use AdWords is a great way to meet certain business goals.

Developing a Business Goal

The basis for using AdWords is creating and running campaigns. There are several types of campaigns that can help local businesses achieve different goals. The first step to choosing a campaign is determining what your business goals are. Some business goals may include:

  • Reach – You want to let more potential consumers that you are a business they could purchase from
  • Increasing Sales – You want to drive consumers to buy products or services online or in store
  • Brand Awareness – You want people to know your name and what you are about
  • Targeting – You want to reach a specific group of people with information on your business

If you don’t know what your goal is right away, ask yourself this question: what do I want to accomplish with this campaign? Keep in mind, you can’t have everything with a campaign, so start with one clear, specific goal per campaign. Once you know what your business’s goals are, you can consider an AdWords campaign that would help reach your goal.

AdWords Campaigns

AdWords gives users the ability to choose between six campaign types. For small businesses, it is prudent to focus on the most universal campaign types: Search Network with Display Select, Search Network only, and Display Network only. Once your local business becomes an AdWords expert, feel free to take a look at the other campaigns they offer.

These three campaign types revolve around two advertising networks that you can use to reach potential consumers. The first is the Search Network. The Search Network shows internet users paid results that relate to their Google search. So, if a user searches “cat” on Google, the first few results may be ads for a cat food brand and a pet adoption website. Companies bid in auctions for these positions on the results of specific search terms.

The second advertising network is the Display Network. The Display Network shows users ads on various websites. Think of the traditional banner ads and side-bar ads that adorn your favorite news site. Just like in the Search Network, companies bid for their ad to be shown on relevant web pages and sites.

With that in mind, the AdWords Campaigns are as follows:

  • Search Network only – Your ads will only appear as paid search results for the keywords you choose to target
  • Display Network only – Your ads will only appear on relevant websites and web pages that match the kind of users you wish to target
  • Search Network with Display Select – Ads will primarily appear as search results, with some ads appearing on particularly relevant websites

Which Campaign is Right for Your Business?

So, which of these campaigns should your local business use to advertise online? Consider the business goal you have for your campaign and think about how each of these advertising networks would help you reach that goal. If you want to increase brand awareness or reach, Search Network with Display Select will reach the most people in both search results and on websites. If you want to increase sales, consider creating a Search Network only campaign focused on advertising to users searching terms related to what you sell. Should you want to target a specific group of potential consumers, a Display Network only campaign will allow you to advertise to certain consumers on the websites they love.

With a little thought and a basic understanding of Google AdWords, you can reach your business goals on a small business budget. Happy Advertising!


Sources: Google AdWords


Digital Marketing is Everywhere

Digital Marketing has taken over my life

When I started going to school for business, then for marketing, then for digital marketing, I did not expect to be reminded of school every time I went online or turned on the TV. Yet, I find myself watching ads on YouTube to see how they targeted to a certain market. I get upset at companies that make changes to their strategy that don’t make any sense. I can’t enjoy anything without critiquing the way it presents itself online. My parents are starting to think I’m crazy, my friends can’t stand me, and I couldn’t be happier.

Digital Marketing is so fascinating to me, and so pervasive in our daily lives. You may not like banner ads or boosted search entries, but they exist and they change the way we live our lives.

And I think that is pretty cool.

Where Digital meets Tangible

Welcome to The Digitally Analog!

You may be strolling through this site wondering what on earth it means to be digitally analog, and what that has to do with digital marketing.

In short, I am someone who loves old tools and creative outlets that are physical, tangible, and real. I prefer writing in fountain pen to typing up notes, for example. I believe that the realness that comes from holding a good pen is analogous with the realness that makes up the human spirit. Our minds, the way they work, the way people interact and react is as real and analog as it gets.

When I approach digital marketing at school and at work, I strive to understand the human experience through the ways I reach people online. The digital realm may not be “real,” but the people that use it are genuine and tangible. Digital Marketing is the marriage of the human experience and the digital realm. That is what I mean when I talk about that which is digitally analog.

I take my digital marketing seriously! But I also take my experience as a human being seriously. Hopefully that comes across as this site grows and develops.

End Transmission.