We love digital

Call 0845 485 1219

We love digital - Call and say hello - Mon - Fri, 9am - 5pm

13 Free Social Media And SEO Gifts You Should Give Your Website This Christmas

Lenka Istvanova

by Lenka Istvanova on 17th December 2013

13 Free Social Media And SEO Presents For Your WebsiteChristmas time is a really busy period for everyone and with so much to do I have come up with a list of my favourite 13 Social Media and SEO tips that are really easy and quick to implement so you can have a great 2014. Some of them will take you only a couple of minutes to do and you won’t need advanced coding knowledge.

Feel free to pick and mix from the below:

1. Bing Webmaster Tools For Greater Insights

I’m sure that all of you have a Google Webmaster Tools account and use it on a regular basis. However, now it’s time to make the most out of Bing too. Although it doesn’t have the same search volume as Google you shouldn’t give up on Bing yet. Remember that while Google Webmaster Tools provides you with useful insight into the health of your site, it’s also beneficial to see information from another source. This can help you identify new areas of improvement. As such, I recommend creating an account on Bing Webmaster Tools to see if you can spot anything new.

Below are quick instructions on how to add a website to Bing Webmaster Tools

The sign up process is really quick and easy especially if you have a Microsoft account (e.g. Hotmail);

Once your sign up is successful, head over to your Dashboard and add your site;

Add Your Site To Bing Webmaster Tools

In the next window, you can also add the URL of your sitemap and specify the time when you receive the most website traffic; however this is optional;

Add Your Site To Bing Webmaster Tools - Step 2

The last step is to verify ownership so you can run checks. You have 3 options on how to do this;

Option 1: Download and upload an authentication file to your site’s root directory. For this option you will need to have your FTP details on hand. You can then upload the file via any FTP client (I use FileZilla)

Option 2: Copy and paste a <meta> tag into your default webpage. This option is suitable for WordPress users, for people who don’t have FTP access or those who don’t know how to use an FTP client. I’ve used this option for my WordPress blog and here’s how you can easily do it too;

Login to your WordPress Dashboard and click on ‘Appearance’ and then ‘Editor’

Add Your Site To Bing Webmaster Tools - WordPress setup 1

In the right-hand corner click on ‘Header.php’

Now copy the <meta> tag from the Bing page and paste it just before the closing </head> tag;

Add Your Site To Bing Webmaster Tools - WordPress setup 4

Now go back to Bing and click on ‘Verify’. That’s it!

Option 3: Add alias (CNAME) record to DNS. This one is a bit tricky, especially if you don’t know your hosting provider. Here’re some quick guides for most common hosting providers such as GoDaddy. 

2. Schema Mark-up And Google Webmaster Tools Highlighter For Better CTR

I love schema mark-ups and so should you. I call them little helpers as they help search engines better understand the elements of your website.  Schema mark-ups provide you with plenty of possibilities for how you can highlight important information on your website such as reviews, ratings, testimonials, your location/s, contact details and much more.

Such marked-up information can then be displayed in SERPs; below is an example of a ratings rich snippet;

Structured Data - Ratings Example

These rich snippets can provide you with a lot of perks including:

  • More visible rankings
  • Much more qualified traffic and better conversion rates – Your richer listing can be more relevant to a consumer who can reward your hard work by clicking on your listing
  • Increase in CTR by up to 30% (Source)

There are two ways you can make your listings richer and therefore more relevant for users. You can either use Schema.org templates and/or Google’s Highlighter tool.

Using Schema.org templates requires a bit of coding and time but it’s definitely worth it. Below I’ve listed a couple of websites which will generate these codes for you; you just need to enter the correct information;

Google Webmaster Highlighter Tool

If you have only a couple of minutes then I would highly recommend having a go with this tool. No coding is required; you won’t need to adjust your website’s code at all. Google Highlighter is a super easy point-and-click tool that enables you to tag or highlight the information with your mouse.

With Google Highlighter you can currently mark-up the following items on your website;

  • Local Business Addresses
  • Products
  • Restaurants
  • Articles and Events
  • Movies and TV Episodes with Ratings
  • Software Applications

So why not try it today; have a go and mark-up at least your local address before Christmas.

To use it now, log in to your Webmaster Tools account and click on the ‘Search Appearance’ section > ‘Data Highlighter’ and then ‘Start Highlighting’

3. Google Rel Publisher For Enhanced Search Engine Presence

Rel Publisher has the same function as Rel Author with the only difference being that Rel Publisher is for companies with Google+ business pages. It’s really surprising that there are still many companies (some of the big ones too, for example John Lewis!) which haven’t yet implemented Rel Publisher.

It’s an important element worth having as it allows enhanced search engine presence. Simply put, with the Rel Publisher tag you can take up a little bit more space within the SERPs.

If implemented correctly the details of your company (e.g. logo) as well as you recent Google+ activity will be shown on the right hand side;

Rel Publisher Implementaion and Display

To save you a bit of time I’ve created the code/tag for you; you just need to copy and paste the URL of you Google+ page and add it to your site’s code before the </head> closing tag. The steps for adding this tag to your site are the same as for Bing site verification highlighted above.

Google Rel Publisher Code

<link href=”add your Google+ URL here” rel=”publisher”/>

For example, the Rel Publisher for Koozai’s Google+ page is this

<a href=”https://plus.google.com/100306647630320689759/” rel=”publisher”></a>

If you have your site built with WordPress then you can download Yoast’s WordPress SEO Plugin where you can simply add the URL of your Google+ page. No coding involved!

4. Site Speed Check For Better Site Performance

For those who don’t know, the speed with which your website loads affects your website’s ability to rank well.  Moreover a slow loading website can have a negative effect on your conversion rates. A recent study by KISSmetrics showed that 40% of people would leave a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load. In addition, just a one second delay can cost your website a 7% decrease in conversions (Source).  If you still don’t believe me have a look at the below real-life examples when even a tiny delay could cost a lot;

  • Google – a 1/2 second slowdown caused a 20% drop in traffic
  • Amazon  – a 1/10 second slowdown caused a 1% drop in revenue (they make billions every year)
  • Yahoo – a 2/5 second slowdown caused a 9% decrease in traffic

Now is the time to give your website a proper speed check; if your website site speed is really low you should definitely spend some time on improving this number; anything below 80 on the Google Page Speed tool (or Chrome extension) means that there is a room for improvement. Their tool will test how fast your website is on desktops as well as on mobile phones;

Google Site Speed test - example

Pingdom is another great free tool which will give you a more detailed insight into why your site is slow. I like to use the historic data feature which helps you compare the site speed on a monthly basis.

Pingdom Site Speed Tool - Historic Data

5. Copyscape Plagiarism/Duplicate Content Checker For A Life Without Google Penalties

With search engines taking a tough stance on duplicate content, it’s extremely important to ensure that all content on your site is unique and hasn’t been used anywhere else on the internet. Be aware that if your pages have issues with duplicate text they can struggle to rank for targeted terms and as a bonus you can get a nice present from Google in the form of a penalty.

It only takes a couple of minutes to check whether you should be worried or not. Plus if one of your key terms keeps dropping in rankings one of the first things I would check is the content uniqueness. To do so I use Copyscape which is a cheap and effective tool for reviewing content. You can also use it for free however you can only review one site at a time. The paid version is really worth it especially if you have a big website, have had problems with duplicate content previously or you participated in in any of the black hat techniques from the launch of your website.

To use it you can either paste the text or page url;

Copyscape Duplicate Content Checker - search text or url

You will get a list of websites and the percentage of duplicate content;

Copyscape Duplicate Content Checker - results

So if you are concerned about any of your copy go and check it now at www.copyscape.com; for $0.05 you will be able to quickly check whether your content has been published on other sites. From my experience I would first check your homepage as the content can be duplicated across many directories. I had a client who had a major issue with duplicate content on their homepage as all of the directories featured the same ‘About Us’ paragraph (over 400 words).

Social Media Presents

6. Settings Check

I don’t think I can stress this step enough. You simply must get the settings on your Social Media profiles right! So go login to your Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest or any other profiles you have and make sure that;

  • You have filled all the information you’re asked for including your website’s URL
  • Your profile is verified!
  • Your keyword in included in the introduction or About us section
  • You have specified your location

Go do it now, I can wait.

7. Get Your Google+ Vanity URL Now!

Get your custom Google+ vanity URL if you haven’t done so already. For businesses, you need to have a linked website or a verified local business page in order to claim a custom URL. It’s been said that Google may charge for a custom URL in the future so you’d be better off logging in to your profile and claiming it asap.

Google+ Custom URL

8. Publish Your Tweets At The Right Time

Posting your updates when more people are likely to see them is important. If you have an active Twitter account for your business but don’t seem to get the results you want then checking whether you tweet at the right time can help. So go and check when your target audience is active and tweet at this time. There are a couple of tools you can use to determine your most ‘profitable’ time;

I use RetweetLab from HubSpot and Tweriod as they’re free, quick and easy, you just need to connect them with your Twitter handle.  In a matter of seconds you will get some interesting insights in to your Twitter activity;

RetweetLab Results;

Retweetlab - Insights into your Tweets

When to post on other Social Media

  • To find out the best time to post on your Google+ use Timing+   

Google+ - When To Post On Google+

  • For Facebook you can use Facebook settings – Go to your page Settings > View Insights > then clicked on Posts > When your Fans Are Online

Facebook Insights - When To Post On Facebook

9. Pinterest Presents

These Pinterest tips come again from my own experience; some of my clients have Pinterest profiles with many boards however these boards have only up to 5 pins. So if you are like them instead of creating a new board focus on your current one and make sure that you aim for:

  • Over 15 pins in every board.
  • Pins not only from your website. When I manage my client’s Pinterest profiles I aim for 70-80% non-branded pins.
  • Every board needs to have a description and to highlight your keywords use hashtags. In my personal Pinterest profile I use hashtags in the Board as well as in the Pin description to highlight the main keyword.

Pinterest Boards - Example

  • Place your top boards in the top 2 rows in the centre as these are seen by the most people.

Spending some quality time optimising your Pinterest board and pins is really worth it as your boards can appear in SERPS. For example, I’ve spent quite a while on optimisation of my personal Pinterest which is already gaining some good results. My Pinterest board, “Fashion Running Tights” appears 3rd in the SERPs for ‘Printed Running Tights’; successfully competing with big retailers such as Sweatshop, Amazon, JDsports and more.

Pinterest Boards - Higher Rankings

10. Pinterest Directory

Make it easier for people to find your Pinterest profile by adding it to a Pinterest Directory (such as WePin Pinterest Directory). This will create a relevant link for the profile and also help other web users discover your pins and boards. Simples!

3 Bonus Gifts

11. Setup TalkWalker Alerts

Talkwalker alerts are great for tracking potential brand mentions. This works in a similar way to Google Alerts and when used in conjunction with Google can find some good quality brand mentions. To be honest I prefer TalkWalker alerts as they find more sources and are often divided into categories such as news, blogs, discussions and more.

The benefits of setting up these types of alerts are for example;

  • to highlight websites that may have mentioned you and not given a link back, so you can then contact the site and request a link back
  • it is also a good way to help you spot low quality and unnatural links
  • explore new content ideas
  • monitor the activity of your competitors

They are really easy to setup; you just need to add the term you want to track and enter your email address;

Talkwalker alerts

12. Get on Polyvore

If you haven’t heard of Polyvore then you might be missing out big time, especially if you have an ecommerce business. Polyvore is the web’s largest fashion community, where users can create fashion boards with a drag and drop editor, then share those boards with the Polyvore community or anywhere on the internet.

As a business you can upload your products to Polyvore, so people can use them in their collections. The images are also linked to your website, so users who are interested in buying the products can simply click on the links. I like Polyvore as it’s really niche and it works in the similar way as Pinterest does.

Polyvore Profile - Social Media and SEO Tips

So if you sell beauty, fashion, clothes or home products you should definitely create a profile for your website and upload your products.

13. RebelMouse Page Is The Next Big Thing

Rebel Mouse is a new revolutionary publishing platform that plugs in to all of your social media accounts and creates a standalone website based on your social media content. I’ve stumbled across it a couple of months ago and liked it straight away. You can pick what stories to display on your RebelMouse page and you can also manually edit and change things around.

RebelMouse Page - example

Big brands such as GE, Burger King or even the Wall Street journal are starting to employ RebelMouse into their marketing strategy. You can have a look at some of the examples below;

 

What presents will you be giving your website this Christmas?

I’m sure there are tons of other useful tips/presents out there, so please feel free to add your favourites in the comments below if you think I’ve missed something. I would love to hear the presents you’re giving your website this Christmas.

Image Credits

Gift box with a signature SEO from BigStock Photo

Lenka Istvanova

Lenka Istvanova

Lenka is a Digital Marketing enthusiast with hands-on experience in Social Media, Website Management and Email Marketing. She has a strong passion for all things digital and is currently studying towards a CIM Diploma in Digital Marketing.

down arrow

Your Free Whitepaper

Getting Started With Search Engine Optimisation

Getting Started With Search Engine Optimisation

Download this whitepaper now and get a new one every month!

Download »

5 Comments

  • John Banks 18th December 2013

    Excellent article Lenka – as I said in our discussion on Facebook we use BJ Lazy Load to help with the overall site speed. Another great one for site speed is WP.Smush.it which helps with the compression of images.

    As you point out in this post, site speed is going to be an important factor with SEO in 2014.

    Thanks for providing some great tips, and excellent resources.

    Kind Regards,
    John

    Reply to this comment

    • Lenka Istvanova

      Lenka Istvanova 22nd December 2013

      Thanks John, glad you liked it! I will definitely have a look and try BJ Lazy and Smush it, sound like very useful tools.

      Thanks again! :)

      Reply to this comment

  • Angela Wilkinson 23rd December 2013

    Hello Lenka!

    Ange from @waworld here…it’s not the most exciting of tips but I think that it is very important to get key social sharing buttons on your blog for the key channels your audience uses.

    It’s also a good idea to test that they work and are shortening/sharing your links in a manner that you want :)

    Thanks for the great post, there’s a couple of things I want to go investigate further like RetweetLab and Timing+. Perfect timing for some quality learning time over the holidays!

    Ange

    Reply to this comment

    • Lenka Istvanova

      Lenka Istvanova 25th December 2013

      Thanks a lot, Angela! I 100% agree with you on this one! There are still blogs that have no sharing buttons which is very sad. Timing+ is a great and quick tool as well as RetweetLab – lots of info for free :)

      Thanks again! Glad you found it useful

      Reply to this comment

  • Miraj Gazi 30th December 2013

    Hi Lenka! Very useful and informative post ! I have a RebelMouse Page , but how to use it ? Can you please explain ?

    Reply to this comment

Subscribe To The Koozai Blog