Over the last year, there has been a lot of industry talk about the relationship between SEO and social media. These conversations have addressed the growing interdependency between social media and organic search rankings, and have explored how integrating the two can benefit marketers. In this post, I’ll explain why this trend is gaining momentum, how it could impact marketers in the future, and why marketers should consider an integrated marketing strategy for their SEO and social media campaigns.
Search engines have become increasingly social over the last two years, as Google and Bing have begun incorporating social content and activity into their SERP ranking factors. Since Google’s launch of Social Search in 2009, Bing, Google and others have rapidly introduced a suite of other social services, aimed at incorporating social signals into their SERPs. On today’s SERP users interact with real-time search results from Twitter and Facebook, annotated notes from their online community on Quora and Flickr, and can contribute their own opinions via Facebook “Like” and Google’s +1. These services are constantly updated in an effort to keep results fresh, relevant and personal.
These efforts reflect the growing competition between social media networks and traditional search engines. As competition increases in the search industry, as a result of Facebook and others growing power, it’s become increasingly important for search engines to not only maintain the quality of their search results, but also demonstrate their commercial relevance.
For marketers these changes have two significant consequences:
- It has become increasingly important to adapt SEO tactics to the growing influence of social signals on ranking factors
- Social media has come to be viewed as part of a broader earned media strategy, rather than as a stand-alone promotional or branding channel.
To date, SEO-success has been defined by keyword -sensitive content, a structured linking strategy and well-designed site architecture. The incorporation of social elements into the search engine results is changing this definition, as it places new emphasis on social cues as critical ranking factors. As a result, traditional SEO best practices are now just one piece of a more complicated search puzzle. While these best practices are still the fundamentals of SEO success, a brand’s presence, identity on and participation in the social web are now additionally important factors in driving organic traffic.
Similar changes are happening within social media. Once understood as the new medium for creating relationships, promoting content and engaging customers online, social media’s role within online marketing is shifting. It’s becoming another piece of SEO content that can be optimized and leveraged to improve rankings and drive ROI. The majority of marketers are already producing connect for social media channels; it’s only logical to optimize that content so that it can be easily found via search.
How does SEO/social media integration benefit SEO?
- Helps create a community of relevant users, who are more engaged and, as a result, more likely to convert.
- Having a community improves efficiency. It means not having to create new connections every time you want to promote new content.
- Increases the amount of content for which your brand can rank on an individual keyword
- Increases the number and quality of inbound links
How does SEO/social media integration benefit social media?
- The indexing of more social media content means more potential customers and community members can use traditional search to access your various social media assets.
- Optimizing social media content by leveraging SEO keyword glossaries and keyword performance data could improve your social media organic rankings.
- New features like personalized and predictive search emphasize the importance of building and maintaining social connections.
What’s the key to success in SEO and social media integration? Matching content and community. Great, engaging content not only attracts search engine traffic, but also drives links and is more likely to be shared by your social community. Create content that’s relevant to your audience, promote it through the social channels they actually use, make it easy for them to share, and thank them when they do..
For a deeper look into the converging worlds of search and social, register for Thursday’s webinar featuring Mike Jarvinen from The Search Agency and a case study from D&B Credibility Corporation:
- The Week We Searched For- May 11, 2012  - May 11, 2012
- Interview with Cassandra Caswell-Stirling  - May 10, 2012
- The Week We Searched For- April 30-May 2, 2012  - May 4, 2012
- eRetailers Winning Customers at the Zero Moment of Truth  - May 3, 2012
- The Week We Searched For- April 20, 2012  - April 20, 2012
- The Week We Searched For- April 13, 2012  - April 13, 2012
- The Week We Searched For- April 6, 2012  - April 6, 2012
- An Interview with Erik Freeman  - April 5, 2012
- The Week We Searched For- April 2, 2012  - April 2, 2012
- The Week We Searched For- March 23, 2012  - March 23, 2012