A friend asked me an interesting question the other day: Are hashtags the new SEO? I remember spending a good chunk of my time optimizing my websites for search engines. I handpicked keywords that I wanted to “score” good on in the search engines, and hand crafted a description that I wanted to apply to my online projects for everyone to see.
But, with Google (and other search engines) becoming smarter in their algorithms over time, a large portion of the contributing factors for your rankings no longer is based as much on what you, as a publisher, decide to put on your website. How visitors interact with a site has become a much larger influence now. Because whether or not a site “deserves” to rank high in the search rankings has more to do with how much value a visitor actually gets from a site, versus what the publisher of the site thinks it does.
So is SEO no longer important? I don’t think so. When I was in college I’ve built a small “do-it-yourself” search engine submission service. That way of SEO management doesn’t have as big of an impact anymore, as search engines are clever enough to (eventually) find you online. Search engine traffic is still one of the major contributors to the visitors to my various online project, albeit no longer the only one.
Building an online following of your own, instead of just praying the Google-gods will rain traffic onto your site, is a must for any self-respecting website owner. In one way or another, your website could (and should) be regarded as a small online business – which deserves to have a following of its own. In my post about starting a blog, I dive further into the topic of why you should build a site of your own, if you haven’t already done so.
One of the ways I’ve managed to build a bit of a following on social media is by using the right hashtags for my posts. For the uninitiated: hashtags are a way to “categorize” your social media updates, for example into interest groups. For example this post is tagged with social media, twitter, web, and I might add some others as well. While not everyone might be following me on Twitter directly, people who are interested in “social media” can keep an eye on popular posts linked to the social media hashtag – and will then hopefully decide to follow me if they like the content I’m sharing.
Selecting the right hashtags for social media updates has therefore become an important part in posting an update. On Instagram I usually get hundreds of “likes” within a few minutes after posting a new image, which is not just because people “like” the photographs I post there or the fact that I have my share of followers, but also because I spent the time to apply the relevant hashtags to my posts which helps people find my updates.
And in the end, that’s what it’s all about. If you’re active on social media, you want to be found by people who are interested in what you have to say. It’s what my social media masterclass is all about – it shares the approach I’ve taken, step-by-step, to become a social media influencer. The two key concepts I’ve used time and time again however, are these:
- Post frequently
- Apply the right hashtags
The combination of these two principles will make sure that I’m not only active on social media all the time, but it will get me in front of a different audience every time I post something. After all, people aren’t looking at my profile necessarily, but at their timelines and news feeds which contain potentially thousands of updates, all fighting for the few seconds of attention it takes to read a 140 character status update.
Wilko van de Kamp Author
WILKO VAN DE KAMP is the author of #1 international best seller The Freedom Project and several other books and e-books. He's also an award-winning photographic artist, and professional world traveler. His inspiration comes from traveling all over the world. He calls the Canadian Rocky Mountains his home, and the rest of the world his office. He has been capturing our wonderful planet, and it's beautiful inhabitants, for more than half his life. Wilko has spent his life traveling the world to capture awe-inspiring images for those who wouldn't see them otherwise, and to inspire others to embark on their journey of a lifetime. Through his art, writing and appearances as a keynote speaker he enjoys sharing his colorful experiences with the world. Visit him online at www.wilko.ca