Memes: The Freshest Google Trend for SEO

Memes : Meme of Leonardo DiCaprio toasting saying, "CHEERS, MEMES FOR EVERYONE"

Memes for Everyone

“Memes, in the way we recognize them, are a popular internet trend, in which an image is paired with a clever phrase, to create a relatable or funny situation,” according to the authors of the book, The Art of SEO. New memes will often be a twist on a popular meme. Brand Managers want to increase website traffic and improve search engine ranking. Memes provide one way in which they may accomplish this.

Why Create a Meme?

There are multiple reasons for businesses, organizations, and bloggers to create memes. The main reason being to provide additional content and enhance ongoing branding.  Additionally, creating memes is easy and practically free, they produce emotions, are easily shareable, and may improve search engine ranking.

Additional Reasons

1)   Easy to create. The actual process to generate a meme is easy. In fact, a meme generator app can create a new meme in seconds.

2)   Practically free to create. The main cost in creating a meme, is time. Therefore, any business can afford it. While there may be a small cost incurred if using a stock photo, this will be minimal. A smart-phone may also be used to take and upload an image directly to a meme generator for creation. This makes using memes especially ideal for small business owners, and bloggers on a tight budget.

3)   Produce emotion. Memes are often humorous, shocking, or thought provoking. Tapping into emotions helps to create a lasting image that is easily recalled. This will greatly improve branding. Funny images tend to be the most popular right now. There are even funny memes about the marketing process and creating memes. However, remember they don’t have to be funny to make an impact.

4)   Sharing  is quick and easy. Memes are easily shared with friends through social media. In the age of smart phones, where everyone is seeking ‘likes’ on Facebook, or ‘pins’ on Pinterest, this provide easy marketing and link building opportunities for companies.

5)   Improve search engine ranking. Additionally, memes are a great way to improve a company’s Google ranking by increasing site traffic. This applies to large corporations, small businesses, whether old or new.

Improve Search Engine Ranking

In the world of target marketing, companies that create iconic memes, have the opportunity to do more than just give their consumers a laugh, in fact, the best ones will create a connection and be shared.  Sharing memes will help create multiple backlinks for a website. Backlinks can improve Google rankings. Jason DeMers, states, “I feel a new trend may ignore length entirely, focusing on providing as much information as possible in the smallest possible space—dense content—to appeal to readers.” Memes provide a way to share content quickly, often in an entertaining and memorable way.

Build Backlinks

As mentioned previously, one goal of creating a meme, should be to increase site traffic and provide link building opportunities. Therefore, it is important that articles and websites allow memes to be easily shared by online influencers of the target market. Make this easy to do by, “visibly including references (and the link) to the appropriate pages on your site within the core components of your meme.” (Art of SEO, 2016)

Moz on Memes and Backlinks:

“Beyond social networks, it is crucial to use traditional outreach, like email and blogs, to build solid backlinks,” according to Takeshi Young of Moz.

Create Valuable, Viral Memes

It isn’t enough to just slap a funny phrase on a famous photo, post it to social media, and then sit back, relax, go on vacation, lay on the beach, and cross one’s fingers and toes in the hopes that the image will go viral. Creating memes that are relevant and add value to a company, is essential.

Just Meme’ing’ around:

Meme of a guy in his mid-thirties smiling, wearing Mickey Mouse Ears. The Text on the image reads, "I JUST MADE A MEME, I'M GOING TO DISNEYLAND"Meme of a woman sunbathing on the beach, facing the ocean, in a bikini, wearing a straw sunhat, below that image is another image of a different woman, smiling, laying sideways on a couch, with a sunhat, made from tinfoil, she's wearing a sweater, holding a clear plastic cup and smiling. The text on the top image reads: "What I think my meme looks like", and the text on the bottom image reads, "What my meme actually looks like"

‘Create a Meme’ Tips:

1)    Identify the target audience. To generate memes that are humorous and attractive to your target audience, first determine the demographics of the audience. Research is imperative for this step.

2)   Stalk the competition. Search to see what memes are trending, not only within the industry, but within the pop culture at large. Consider ways in which to change the most popular memes to fit the product/service of your business, while also appealing to your audience. Memes that are a novel twist on the familiar, will garner more attention, as will those that are increasing in popularity, but haven’t reached their ‘tipping point’ yet. have a better chance of capturing an audience and going viral, when iterated upon.

3)   Try, try and try again. Use a meme creator or tool to generate multiple drafts. Switch up background images and mix up word choice. Keep wording short and to the point. Word choice is crucial to creating humor and staying memorable.

4)   Use video. Memes don’t have to be static images. Gifs are images with movement, that repeat in a never-ending loop. While not all gifs are memes, a meme can be a gif. Searching YouTube, is a great way to find examples of video memes. Back in 2009, Mashable shared a few examples of the most popular video memes to date.

Viral Memes

It is unlikely that a meme will automatically go viral to millions, simply by posting it. However, there are outlets to increase the odds. Social media sites, already being used by the business, are a great place to start. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, and LinkedIn are just a few social media networks that an organization could use to share their best memes

Troubleshoot

Lastly, before tossing a meme to the masses, in hopes that it goes viral, test it out on a few individuals closely connected to the business as well as small groups of the target audience. This is a time to fine-tune and trouble shoot. Visual content marketing can be very compelling and memorable. Therefore, if used improperly or if inadvertently offensive, it may lead to negative branding. The last thing a business needs are offensive images going viral.

Meme of Britney Spears, who looks angry as she is about to bash in a car window with a closed green umbrella. The text across the bottom of the image reads: "DON'T MAKE A MEME OF BRITNEY"

Memejacking

Consider copyright laws. Memejacking is taking an already popular meme and twisting it to relate it to something different than it was initially intended. As a result, businesses and Bloggers must take caution. Copyright laws do not directly state that altering a meme is a violation. However, if the meme includes a copyright image, and is being used for commercial purposes, or to turn a profit, this could be an open door for a lawsuit.  Businesses should seek legal advice, because it is difficult to know what is and isn’t legal.  Furthermore, it is advisable to receive written permission from the original meme creator and possibly pay a licensing fee. Paying to legally use stock photos, provides additional protection. Finally, using a meme generator app that offers approved images is another way to be protected from potential lawsuits.

Meme of Jerry McGuire on the phone with the text, "YOU WANT TO USE MY MEME? SHOW ME THE MONEY!"

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