I held a meetup last Thursday on the HMS President. We had two speakers:
Martin McDonald from seoforums.org
Matt Owen from Econsultancy
Martin McDonald kicked off the event with:
A brief history of search
Larry Page and Sergey Brin set up Backrub.com – yes that was the name before they changed it to Google. They were both students at Stanford University at the time. There were two search boxes. There was the option users to search Stanford University and also the web. In order to be seen within the search engine, you had to have keywords in the code of your site telling the engine what your site was about. This is now referred to as “Keyword Stuffing” and it did help many sites rank for 7 or 8 years.
What is PageRank?
PageRank is what Google uses to determine the importance of a web page. It’s one of many factors used to determine which pages appear in search results. It was designed by Page and Sergey. The more links a site had to it, the higher the PageRank it could achieve. Therefore people started buying and selling links, trying to boost their own PageRank. This is not what Google intended and this is where social signals comes in.
Why are social signals important?
Social networks are more reliable authoritative representation than links. Search engines will ignore unnatural social profiles so there is no way to build up authoritative links by “buying” friends. Google counts retweets as a signal of trust, even more so if it comes from someone who has a lot of followers and who engages regularly with their followers. Not all links are equal, they are weighted. A tweet from seojoblogs who has a few number of links compared to Matt Cutts will not count as much.
So what are the next steps?
Build your own social profile. Set up a Facebook and twitter page, but do not forget to engage with your users – meaning retweet, reply, respond to questions. There is no point having social profiles if you do not use them. By integrating your social media and seo efforts, you will have a higher change of increasing your click through rate and traffic to your website.
Matt Owen from Econsultancy then talked about:
Google’s biggest rival and quite annoyingly for them, they do not know how the Facebook algorithm exactly works. Matt was able to share with us a few best practices on how to increase your visibility within the Facebook walled garden:
– Fan page name – make sure this is the same as your website/company you are promoting
– Vanity URL – this should be short and contain your keywords
– Keywords loaded in the information and about boxes
– Status updates should contain keywords
– Photo and Videos should be tagged and have a description on each
– Open privacy settings, it may sounds obvious but some people have tight privacy settings meaning users will not be able to see their page.
These are Facebook best practice recommendations, they are still keeping quiet as to how they actually work. Facebook is the closed community of Google and they are set to be its biggest rivals.
Have a look at some of the photos from Search London – Integration is Key