The relationship between search engine optimization (SEO) and social media can no longer be ignored. Integrating your SEO efforts with social media marketing can be accomplished by sharing links and, ultimately, using social profiles to attain higher organic rankings. Here are five keys to integrating your search and social media marketing campaigns:
Key 1: Know the basics of how search engines work. Search engines use robots to scour the web, collecting data as they move through websites via links. The robots then pass that information to indexing servers, where it’s processed and ranked. Two main ranking elements for SEO are content and inbound links.
Key 2: Understand how social media affects SEO. As consumers continue to demand the freshest news and content, search engines will incorporate more social media updates within organic search engine results. These updates currently appear at the bottom of the first results page as “Results from people in your social circle for … [your query].” Searchers can see content from individuals they're connected with via social networks. Additionally, search engines will soon likely integrate public Facebook updates into results pages, and already do so for more open networks like Twitter.
Key 3: Determine which social profiles your company needs. Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn have generally been accepted as the most popular social sites across industries. However, for SEO, creating a corporate Google Profile and Buzz profile is increasingly important with the impending release of "caffeine," the new Google search algorithm. Your company should also create a YouTube channel and Flickr account for multimedia content — but try to also host that content on your own website.
Key 4: Learn to monitor social media efficiently. Programs like TweetDeck, HootSuite and Seesmic make sharing content and links across Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook simpler. To monitor networks for inbound linking opportunities and reputation management, search columns for keywords or hashtags are extremely helpful. Additional monitoring can be done through Twitter Search and TweetBeep, while an overall online presence can be surveyed with tools like Trackur, Google Alerts or SocialMention.
Key 5: Use social media to increase organic rankings. With social profiles created, your company's site listing should appear on the first page of results for branded queries, along with your company’s Twitter account, Facebook page and other social profiles — ultimately allowing your company to dominate the first page of branded results. Finally, social media profiles will allow you to quickly distribute content to more individuals, who in turn may create additional inbound links, increasing link popularity.
BusinessWeek’s B.L. Ochman said it best in a blog post last year: “For companies, resistance to social media is futile. Millions of people are creating content for the social web. Your competitors are already there. Your customers have been there for a long time. If your business isn’t putting itself out there, it ought to be.” At minimum, companies who wish to have a comprehensive SEO campaign should do the following:
- choose keywords wisely;
- add keywords to website content;
- engage in quality link-building efforts; and
- engage in social media by creating a corporate blog and Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google Buzz profiles.
Avelyn Austin is account manager and Renée Revetta is a social media specialist at Search Mojo, a Charlottesville, Va.-based full-service marketing agency.