Hashtags may appear as a bizarre combination of words and phrases put together with the # sign before it, but they are vital for expanding your online visibility – if used properly of course.
Do you still find yourself perplexed about the significance of hashtags?
Why are you seeing them in (almost) every post across social media platforms?
How many hashtags are too many?
Let’s get these concerns straightened out. In this article, discover how hashtags are meant to be used and why you should start using them for your online presence.
It all began when Chris Messina tweeted in August 2007, proposing the use of # (the hash or number sign) to tag topics of interest. Two years later, Twitter started hyperlinking hashtags so that when you click on a hashtag, you are redirected to the search result page showing all tweets bearing the hashtag.
Now fast forward 12 years, popular social media channels have adopted the use of hashtags although the level of success is varied. They have simplified the search for posts and contents with a specific theme as well as helped monitor online discussions. So, what’s in it for you, your brand and business?
What are “the hashtags” for and why use them?
From a marketing and user point of view, hashtags improve your social media visibility.
Increase social media views and grow your followers
A study carried out by Simply Measured showed that posts with at least one hashtag have about 12.6% more engagement than those without.
Take Instagram for instance, this visual-centric platform creates a gallery of photos and videos for every hashtag.
The more hashtags you use, the more galleries your images and videos will appear in. These maximise the number of views and user engagement.
Expand your brand reach outside your network
Making your profile and posts public will allow the whole world to see it.
Your post with hashtags will display in the search results and galleries.
People who are not your followers, but are otherwise interested in the topic will be able to view your post.
If it garners a massive amount of engagement, it will be on top of the lists and trends.
If you need more help, there are 10 ways to get traffic to your website.
Promote your brand, product or services and events
Are you launching a new product?
Why don’t you use social media to enhance your marketing efforts?
Get the online community buzzing about your newest product.
Keep the hype up and draw people into your social media page and/or website using product-specific hashtags.
Create a unique hashtag that can spark the interest of your target audience.
For your upcoming event, design catchy hashtags for your teaser posts to build suspense.
Play the ‘anticipation game’ and get everyone hooked to the event.
Search popular topics and follow conversations
Fishing around for products and services that can add more value to your customers?
Looking for trending topics and contents that can help you pump up your digital marketing strategy?
Or are you tracking what social media users say about your offerings?
You can gather data on social media through hashtags.
Find out what your audience love and address their pain points.
Build community awareness
If your business is supporting local charitable programs and nonprofit social responsibility campaigns, utilise the official hashtags of the event to spread the word in your network.
Apart from increasing company involvement and spreading positive attitude (and good vibes!), you are also gaining marketing experience.
Inspire, join the conversation and bring value to the community, don’t just post industry-related content.
How to use hashtags properly on social media
The purpose of hashtags is generally to simplify content discovery, making information searchable and accessible on social media. However, each platform has different rules for using hashtags. Too many and irrelevant hashtags can seem spammy and can hurt your brand’s good name.
Customarily, hashtags must not contain any spaces – even in hashtags with multiple words. You can capitalize the letters to improve readability but you cannot use punctuation marks or it will break the tagging. On the other hand, if your hashtag is part of a sentence, you can use a comma, period, question mark or other punctuation marks to improve the grammar.
To reiterate, hashtags on Twitter are used to index keywords or topics. Popular hashtags are displayed in Trending Topics.
Tweets with hashtags are 33% more likely to get retweeted than tweets without hashtags.
You can use as many hashtags as you want but it’s recommended to use no more than two hashtags. Tweets with one hashtag are 69% more likely to get retweeted than those with two.
Each hashtag gallery on Instagram has two sections: “Top” for the most popular ones and “Recent” for the freshest posts bearing the hashtag.
Although this platform is tailored for hashtags, you are only allowed to use 30 hashtags in every image or video post.
To help you spruce up your Instagram story, posts and ads, take a peek at our favourite Instagram apps for both iOs and Android.
Do hashtags matter on Facebook? Yes.
It may look like that hashtags are not actively used on Facebook compared to Twitter and Instagram, but they function just the same.
Hashtags turn words and phrases into clickable links, giving you access to relevant topics and public conversations.
When you click a hashtag, you will find a feed of public posts (including posts of your friends and followers) that contain such hashtag. You can even see some related hashtags at the top of the page.
Hashtags maximize your exposure on LinkedIn and build up your network.
The platform proactively promotes hashtags to their users when posting updates and publishing an article.
You can type in the hashtags in the search box to look for relevant topics and articles.
There’s no limit in using hashtags also but it’s advisable to include no more than five hashtags in a single post. Before you select your hashtags, find out what hashtags LinkedIn influencers in your niche are using and explore popular hashtags (see screenshot below).
Apart from hashtags, learn how to enhance your LinkedIn profile to represent yourself and engage online in a way that can help achieve your professional goals.
Hashtags are used on YouTube to look for videos for topics that you’re interested in.
You can insert up to 15 hashtags in your video post. They can be added either in the title or description, or both.
Users will be able to click the hashtags in the video title. Be warned that over-tagging and the use of unrelated hashtags may result in the removal of your video.
Forbes indicates that an average of 600-700 words per page is optimal for SEO. And, Forbes states that websites with less than 300 words per page are considered “thin” by Google’s standards and, most likely, won’t rank as highly in search. Figuring out the best content strategy for SEO can be confusing at best.
Your website content is the foundation for every SEO strategy you implement on your website. It is, essentially, the fuel that drives the car. So, how much fuel, or content, do you need to impact your search rankings?
If you search the internet for “what is the best word count for SEO?” or something like that, you will find different answers from multiple resources. According to Searchengingland, longer content (1,000+ words) tends to help websites show up in search results. Forbes indicates that an average of 600-700 words per page is optimal for SEO. And, Forbes states that websites with less than 300 words per page are considered “thin” by Google’s standards and, most likely, won’t rank as highly in search. Figuring out the best content strategy for SEO can be confusing at best. However, identifying the best content strategy for your business and website is easy.
What is the optimal word-count for Google and SEO rankings?
There is not a clear-cut answer for the total word-count per page for best SEO results. Based on our own clients’ SERP rankings over time, we recommend developing website content based on key factors rather than a specific word count because we understand that each client’s brand and customer-base determine the content length rather than a blanket word-count.
The amount of content you write for SEO depends on:
The Type of Business You Have
- Companies that need to post information about their key services, philosophy, etc., will need to develop content that explains each of those facets.
- Dentists and Doctors, for example, should explain as many aspects of a service or procedure as possible, so patients can learn about that procedure and get as many questions answered as possible on a single page.
- A home improvement company, landscape design company or photographer will rely more on the before and after images and beauty shots.
The Complexity or Simplicity of What You Are Writing About
- As stated above, write website content that answers your customers’ questions. Content density is important for SEO. Make sure your content is thorough. Many companies will write content about services that just provide an overview of what they do or provide. We recommend that you write content that explains the process, what makes your company unique in that process while answering common questions customers might ask.
- With the movement towards voice search, we also recommend that you structure the questions as if you are asking them into your phone. For example, instead of writing, “best website content length for SEO,” or “best website word count for SEO,” draft your questions as, “what is the best website word count for SEO?” Essentially, write your questions they way your customers would speak or ask them.
Quality of the Content
- Regardless of content length, your copy should be written with quality over quantity. Don’t include fluff or filler text just to lengthen the content. Write what you need to convey your services and answer questions.
- Write your own unique website copy. Don’t “borrow” content from other websites, as Google sees this a duplicate content, which will likely impact your page in some way.
A final note about website content length for SEO:
Although we have broken down the key components of your content for SEO, we do recommend a minimum of 300 words per page. However, develop content for each web page on an individual basis. Some of your website pages may have only 300 words and other pages may include 1,300 words of copy. Take one page at a time and focus on the quality of your content.
Can you recall the shrunken version of a desktop site on your phone, where you have to pinch and zoom to see anything? It was likely not an optimal experience!
Because of this, back in 2015, Google rolled out a change to the search engine algorithms which now factor in a website’s mobile presence as a ranking signal. The date was aptly named Mobilegeddon. This reason alone can justify why responsive design is important!
If it is not, your brand may be losing out on leads and sales.
In fact, 40% of users have gone to a competitor’s website after a poor mobile experience.
To ensure your website offers an experience tailored to handheld devices (without creating a separate app), consider why responsive design is important as a mobile solution.
Let’s get into the details about the why and how.
First of all, what the heck is mobile responsive design and why should you care?
What is Responsive Web Design?
Responsive web design (RWD) creates a system for a single site to react to the size of a user’s device—with one URL and one content source. A responsive website has a fluid and flexible layout which adjusts according to screen size.
The importance of responsive web design is that it offers an optimized browsing experience.
Basically, your website will look great and work well on a desktop (or laptop), a tablet, and a mobile phone’s browser.
In the past, developers built more than one site in order to accommodate different screen sizes. With the number of device types out there on the market today, this seems completely inefficient…right?
Now you can understand why responsive web design is not a shiny trend anymore, but more of a shift in the thinking behind building websites. The term was actually coined in 2010 by web designer Ethan Marcotte.
Responsive web design offers us a way forward, finally allowing us to design for the ebb and flow of things. -Ethan Marcotte
Having a mobile responsive website is not just another option—it’s a requirement!
Benefits of Mobile Responsive Design
The number one benefit of a responsive layout is the guarantee that any user on any device will have the best experience possible on your website. And, the most consistent.
Website responsiveness is also a great way to refine the content on your site, making sure that people using a mobile device are only seeing the most essential information.
With the Google algorithm update, a responsive web design increases visibility on search engines—because it is mobile-friendly. A site with an effective mobile experience will show up in search results above one without.
Why Responsive Design is Important for Business
1. Increase reach to customers and clients on smaller devices (tablets & smartphones)
2. A consistent experience that can increase lead generation, sales and conversions
3. Analytics, tracking, and reporting can all be in one place
4. Time and cost on-site content management is decreased
5. Stay ahead of the competition (even 44% of Fortune 500 companies are not mobile-ready at this time!)
Note, that there are two other methods by which to offer a mobile-friendly experience. The first is called Dynamic Serving, which uses the same URL but different HTML and CSS code. Pages recognize the device they are viewed on, and serve up the correct code.
The second method, is a separate mobile site altogether. When users visit on a mobile device, they are sent to a different mobile-specific URL.
As long as the correct steps are taken to optimize fully for mobile users, the most useful method really depends on any given situation. Figure out which works the best for your online presence, before diving into it.
Google accounts for over 5.7 billion searches conducted on the web daily.
Google even offers a mobile responsive test, so that you can see how easily a visitor is able to use your page on a mobile device. You simply enter a page URL and receive a score.
How to Optimize Google My Business
1. Complete your business information and add a description
2. Upload more and better images
3. Respond to Google My Business reviews (yes, all of them)
4. Use posts to promote events, offers, and content
5. Create and upload videos
6. Add shortname
What is Google My Business?
Google My Business (GMB) is a free, easy-to-use tool that helps businesses manage their online presence and appearance in Google Search and Google maps. If you’ve ever searched for a business’ name, you’ll often see their GMB “knowledge panel,” a card containing important information customers want to know about local businesses, show up first.
GMB displays tons of valuable information customers would want to know:
- Business Name
- Business Type
- Hours of operation
- Phone Number
- Link to website
- Link to Google maps
- Overall Star Rating
- Popular times to visit
- Related Searches
- And More
At a quick glance, you can learn a lot about a business and whether or not you want to visit there.
That is exactly the point of the tool: to give customers enough data about a business to help them determine if they want to engage with that business.
Why should I care about Google My Business?
The benefits of Google My Business are threefold:
1. Increased visibility in search
2. Better shopping experience for buyers
3. More traffic to your website, social channels, and front door
An optimized GMB page helps Google understand more about your business: who you are, what services/products you sell, where you’re located at, and what your website is (so they can crawl it for more info).
The more Google knows about you, the more types of searches your GMB listing can appear in.
Just like people scan texts in a certain way, so does Google. Let me give you 3 examples of how Google uses text structure for its ranking:
1. Google defined, in some of its patents, ranking signals such as semantic closeness. Semantic closeness refers to the proximity of related words in a text while taking into account the formatting of that text. To be able to understand semantic closeness of words, your text’s structure must be clear.
2. In another Google patent, “the reasonable surfer“, Google explicitly talks about headings. Headings containing certain keywords are important for the topic of a given page.
3. With the Hummingbird update, Google became a lot better at recognizing synonyms.
There are more patents that hint at using a text’s structure to understand the text. Google, over time, has become much better at analyzing content. The better you write, the easier it becomes for Google to understand your content and therefore to rank it. Plus, Google is working hard to truly understand language. For example, in 2019, Google introduced BERT, a Natural Language Processing (NLP) model that helps Google understand language better in order to serve more relevant results.
Setting up articles with clear structure has a positive effect on the ranking for another reason as well. Well-structured texts have lower bounce rates and higher chances to receive social media attention. This, in itself, leads to higher rankings.
Tips on improving the structure of your text
If you want to improve the structure of your text, you need to pay attention to:
1. The first paragraph of your text
2. Your headings
3. The first sentence of every new paragraph
Some time ago, I wrote an article on how to set up the structure of a blog post. Make sure to read that article if you have trouble setting up the structure for a text.
You should clearly formulate what your post is about in the first paragraph. In printed texts, a writer usually starts off with some kind of teaser, but there is no time for that if you are writing for the web. You only have seconds to draw your reader’s attention. Make sure the first paragraph tells the main message of your post. That way, you make it easy for your reader to figure out what your post is about and: you tell Google what your post is about. This is also known as the inverted pyramid style. Don’t forget to put your focus keyword in that first paragraph!
Headings should be attractive and should clearly state the content of the paragraph below it. Headings allow your readers to quickly scan through your text and to decide whether or not they would like to read your article (or which parts). We would advise you to put a header above every long paragraph (or above a group of paragraphs which are thematically similar).
It’s helpful to search engines if a heading defines what a piece of text is going to be about. Whether they’re a ranking factor or not (and SEOs do quarrel about that), headings are of great importance to the structure of your text. Google will therefore probably use them to determine what the text is about.
Focus keyword in first paragraph. Another reason to have the focus keyword in your first paragraph is simple psychology. People recognize the word they sought for and think they’re in the right spot!
Make sure the first sentence of a paragraph is the most important, the core sentence, of that paragraph. After all, people tend to read the first sentence of every new paragraph as they’re scanning through content. The other sentences in a paragraph elaborate upon that first core sentence. Chances are Google will pay extra attention to these sentences, in order to determine the topic of a text. They are great places to use your keyword, if possible. If you’re writing a well-structured article and staying on-topic, your keyword will come up naturally in many core sentences.
Text structure is important to attract readers to your blog, as well as for SEO reasons. Writing well-structured and well-written texts isn’t easy, though. At Yoast, we are strong believers in the importance of quality content. That’s why the readability analysis makes part of Yoast SEO and we offer a Content SEO training subscription that includes a SEO copywriting course. In this SEO training, we teach you how to write the best copy for your audience and search engines, and how to structure your text well!
The benefits of content upgrades
Unlike fine wine, the content on your site doesn’t necessarily age well, with some pieces degrading as time goes on. Creating new content is not always needed when you have a body of good content that can be made to work harder and deliver quick results with some refreshing.
Upgrading existing content provides the following benefits:
Provides a better user experience: Users read your content for information, but if yours is out of date, it’s not useful anymore. Ensuring your content is current and accurate is the single best thing you can do for your readers’ experience.
Maintains URL authority: Every time you create a new page on your site, the new URL has zero authority. The URLs of older content have existing authority from any links they’ve acquired, and just from being aged.
Can be optimized for new or more keywords: As you’ll see below, one of the biggest benefits of checking your data is to see what types of search queries are resulting in impressions and clicks. Sometimes you’ll see a good keyword with a very low click-through rate. Simply editing content to include that keyword or its variations helps the content rank better and gain higher click-through rates.
How often should you update your content?
There is no set standard for updating frequency and realistically this varies by website and industry.
If you are just starting out, you won’t need to focus on updating content for at least 12 months. If you have an existing blog that gets traffic, every six months is a good timeframe to review data and determine which content is doing well or could benefit from updating. If your industry is often in flux, you may find that content needs to be updated much more often to stay current. If, however, you have more than 10,000 visitors a month, you might want to update your content quarterly.
If you’re looking for a way to boost your rankings, improve your SEO and provide better information to your readers, consider updating your existing content. This is a good option to leverage your current SEO and avoid creating new content that will likely take time to start working. Don’t forget: Once you’ve updated your content, it’s time to share and promote it as well.
For a content evaluation don’t hesitate to contact us.