Originally developed by Twitter as a tool to filter conversations, hashtags have taken on a whole new meaning, well beyond their early days on Twitter.
Hashtags are now a discovery tool, and if there’s one thing companies strive for, it’s to be discovered by more potential clients. And appearing in searches is so vital for companies, which is why search engine optimization, or SEO, is such a booming business.
According to Michelle Stinson-Ross at Search Enginge Watch, “Hashtags present branding and topical authority opportunities. When used judiciously, well-placed hashtags in blog titles, Google+ posts, Facebook and Twitter updates, and in image descriptions across Pinterest, Instagram, and Vine can add a layer of cohesiveness to a brand’s online campaigns.” Stinson-Ross adds hashtags, particularly those used in Google+, are now providing value added results in Google search.
Now that the old-school pound sign is no longer limited to Twitter, as hashtags have more recently become the norm on Facebook, Google Plus, and even television shows. Organizing content and tracking conversation topics based on #inserthashtaghere. To this degree, hashtags represent a new form of SEO.
Moreover, hashtags can expand your content reach, amplify your brand, target your market, and get your content found via an improved SEO.
According to Eric Covino, an SEO expert and founder of SEO optimization company Creative Signals, “There are a lot of indirect ways to help your SEO and getting involved in conversations with potential customers, in an engaging way, is the first step in giving them a great user experience.”
Clearly hashtags influence user experience and have become relevant beyond the Twittersphere with more than 70% of consumers use them today on mobile devices according to a 2013 report from RadiumOne published on Mobile Marketer. Several other hashtag statistics include:
- 43 percent of respondents think hashtags are useful
- 34 percent use them to search or follow categories and brands of interest
- 14.8 percent use them to re-direct users to external Web content
- And when users see hashtags, 41.8 percent click on them to explore new content
I am rather neutral when it comes to hashtags, I don’t use them, but I do click on them and I see their marketing value in emerging media as increasingly important.
How do you feel about hashtags?