Hashtags are being used in marketing campaigns large and small to attract buzz in some new and creative ways and as SEOs we all need to be considering how important these are going to be for the future of search. Google + has already implemented hashtags to both searches and posts as many of you have online marketing pros have already begun to see:
Facebook is really lacking on their hashtag game with no native support for posts but it’s only a matter of time before Google adds native support to hashtags in their search and with that change all of us Internet Marketers and SEOs need to start taking a long hard look at how we use keywords and how hashtag research might be just as important as keyword research to reach their audience.
I wrote an earlier post on how filling info gaps with blog posts is a fantastic way to begin building an audience and gain some valuable links and social love in the process. (Check out that post by clicking here) And although hashtags are undoubtedly never going to replace someone going to a search engine and typing something like “how to cook pancakes” they still hold incredible value on social networks (& soon to be search) to help reach your audience.
How To Use a Hashtag
Using my earlier example of someone interested in making some pancakes (Its Mothers Day so I am anticipating that a lot of people will be making breakfast in bed for their mommas or wives) simply doing a quick Twitter search for #pancakes I yielded these results:
As you can see other than the blatantly bad marketing being done by KFC on Twitter there is at least one company using this hashtag to promote their name and awareness.
In a bigger business sense if you buy a big advertising spot on television to promote your product or business, you NEED to be using hashtags. By simply adding a hashtag to your advertisement and proposing something like “use #ilovepancakes to show off your home made pancakes!” You are engaging your audience to use your unique hashtag to not only sell your product to them but all of their followers, while at the same time being able to keep a log of all the people who used your hashtags and advertising to them at a later date.
From a small business perspective by identifying trending hashtags in your space you can tag your posts with relevant hashtags and start reaching everyone who is searching for that particular hashtag. Which brings me to my next point:
There are a lot of tools being used for hashtag research at the moment, here are a few:
http://twubs.com/ – My Favorite of those available right now
http://www.hashtags.org/ – The Most Comprehensive tool out there
http://hashtagify.me/#hashtags – The Most Advanced but has very little data at the moment
& Of Course Twitter Search https://twitter.com/i/discover
Although many of these tools can give you valuable insight into your potential hashtags, in my opinion they all fall short. What I am envisioning for the future is something along the lines of Google’s Keyword Tool. A Hashtag Keyword Tool if you will, this tool would allow you to research how many times a hashtag is used across all different social networks. With an in-depth look at the demographic that is using each hashtag by age, sex, location and many other information publicly provided by users. It would also give you information on similar hashtags as well as their meaning and how they are being used. (Now I’m just dreaming ☺) We might have to create this kind of tool as hashtags continue to become more crucial to the ever changing world of online marketing and SEO.
As the gap between Social Media Marketing and SEO begins to close the world of Hashtags and their use in SEO is just beginning. Imagine for a second how powerful it would be if Google begins using hashtag search in their search/news feed, now imagine you are one of the first to begin using hashtags in your anchor tags, my guess is that your site would be that you would rank pretty well for those hashtags.
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