Sometimes it gets ridiculous … the debate over which is more important – SEO or social media. Let’s not be foolish and create another company silo. They both are and they both should be integrated into one strategy and complement one another.
Given the fact that I know far more about social media than SEO, this article takes a look at social media and SEO synergies from a social perspective. That said, I invite my SEO brothers and sisters to chime in with some SEO perspectives.
The first and obvious place to start when talking about SEO and social media integrated power is talking about content strategy and management. Recognize that content is the core of social media strategy. As a brand and/or content producer you look for a large audience to consume your media. Social media practioners plan how their content will be shared and passed along. And no one is going to pass along crappy content. The content must be compelling – entertaining, chock full of valuable information, and/or be very helpful. Then it has a chance to be shared.
But we also want that content easily found. And finding YOUR content is an SEO thing – both paid and organic search. Selecting the right keywords in the title of the media, positioning those keywords in the first sentence, and doing appropriate tagging are minimal requirements to start with from an SEO perspective.
The important point is that your owned media needs to be optimized for search and social!!!
Now let me talk about the not so obvious intersection of search and social. If you have a brand, you better own the top search slot for your brand name, right? Otherwise, you are probably doing something wrong. For a general search for the topical area of your brand, that is a little more difficult. Needless to say, it would be preferable to show up in the top fold of page one, but sometimes that is challenging.
So how can social media help with the variance of search placement between a general search and brand search? To answer this, allow me to re-introduce the social media marketing funnel. (For those of you that are regular readers of my blog, forgive me for continuously going back to this funnel – but in all honesty, it really is the bases of valuable strategy and planning.)
Let’s address the issue with an example. Say I am interested in information or planning a purchase of a bicycle. If I went about this as a simple search with no influential information, I would likely search “bicycle” or “touring bike” or “mountain bike.” But what if a brand did a really good job managing owned, earned, and paid media? What if I saw some good information about bicycling that was sponsored by and produced by Trek? What if one of my friends or colleagues (in my trusted network) knew I was looking for a bike and gave me a “Trek” recommendation? Thus my psycho-demographic went from awareness and interest to consideration and evaluation. The fact that “Trek” was well socialized means I would likely skip a search for “bicycle” (general search) and move directly to “Trek bicycle” (brand search). I could even take this one step further and look for a particular type of product from Trek like the “Madone 6 Series” as a result of a combination of owned, earned, and paid media.
You see, your content, content strategy and plan for owned, earned, and paid media can help in SEO efforts. The more we get people to use long-tail searches as opposed to short-tail searches looking for our brand, the greater success we have with our product getting in front of the consumer. And in the end, that is the ultimate success. If you look at SEO referred traffic to you destination URL, you can actually measure success of your social media implementation. Baseline your different search referrals (general, brand, product, short-tail, long-tail), and measure changes as you implement different social endeavors.
So next time you hear anyone debating the importance of SEO and social media, raise the conversation up one notch. What’s really important is having a killer content strategy and both social media and SEO have great importance there.
Make It Happen!