Emma-Julie Fox writes for a Vancouver based company that provides white hat SEO services, Pitstop Media. If you would like to invite the author to guest post on your blog please contact www.pitstopmedia.com
Only those living under a rock wouldn’t know that social media marketing has already become a staple in basic SEO. Ever since social media sites became integrated in the public’s everyday lives, commercial industries have taken advantage of their potential for marketing. However, the role of social media goes beyond promotions and PR.
It can also increase website traffic and conversion rate, establish brand/company credibility, build a following or a closely-knit community, foster trust among customers, and secure their long-term loyalty.
If integrated with social media marketing (SMM), your website optimization campaign could be so much more effective in pulling up your PR and position in the SERPs.
Integration is the Key
Merely conducting social media marketing alongside SEO is not maximizing the full potential of both campaigns. Yes, it is now customary for an SEO company to run a social media marketing campaign, but only as a supplement to their SEO practices. They implement the two as separate, parallel campaigns. While that may still bring your website some good, you’re still not maximizing your overall SEO potential.
Social Media and SEO work best when integrated together. Image source
Integrating both SEO and social media means putting in the important elements of one to the other. It’s actually easy to get the hang of it as long as you keep in mind the important elements of each:
SEO – website optimization, technical strategies that will make your website rank
Social Media Marketing – provides the “human factor” in both SEO and ranking signals
The Human Factor
Social media has now become more instrumental for search engine optimization because search engines, especially Google, are putting more weight on human factors when it comes to ranking websites in the SERPs. It is their goal to provide the best possible results to users’ search queries. Technical criteria still stand, of course, but the contribution of social signals may be even greater if they are utilized to the fullest.
So how does “the human factor” weigh in on the SERPs, and how can social media contribute to it?
Citations to your business’s physical location are noted by Google. They suggest customer satisfaction and popularity, and that can reflect on the local organic rankings.
Citations in social media networks like Foursquare, Google Places, and Facebook Maps are therefore very useful for a website that represents a business with a physical location.
Mentions of a website name in Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and blogs are also indexed by Google. Your popularity in these sites and the combined scope of shares, likes, retweets, respins, and so forth will definitely have some effect on the SERPs.
After all, most of them will surely contain links leading back to your website (which, as mentioned above, helps in increasing your website traffic, which in turn is an important ranking signal).
Plus, if a person of authority in your niche happens to share/retweet/repin your content along with your URL, Google will acknowledge that as a valuable link.
So now we go to the ways and means of merging the two.
Content: A Crucial Element of SEO-SMM
Integration is a lot easier if your SEO campaign is content-based. Content generation gives you plenty of room for little SEO tricks. It is also very easy to share and promote through social media.
Put a touch of social in traditional SEO. Image source
A blog can be very useful for a company website or something similar that doesn’t really have to update its content. Cue in: QDF or quality deserves freshness. Newer content tends to rank higher in the SERPs than articles published earlier.
However, this doesn’t always apply on all searches. Matt Cutts clarified that Google also takes into consideration the type of website that doesn’t really have to be constantly updated.
Be that as it may, it won’t hurt to have both advantages, will it? Maintain your business website as it is if needed; also create a blog for it so that you can have the QDF advantage.
You can then make it more social! Here are some tips that we strongly suggest:
– Embed sharing buttons for all major social media sites, particularly Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, Google+, and Linked In.
– Register for Google Authorship for your blog.
– Write blog posts based on newsy topics. You can set Google alerts for keyword related to your niche and spin blogs around subjects that are making news.
– Write about topics that people are sure to talk about and share with each other. Usually, topics around which there’s already a lot of debate make for interesting blogs. For example negative SEO is a much talked about topic and usually makes for interesting posts.
– Allow readers to post their comments (it’s up to you if you want to screen them first) and don’t forget to reply.
– Don’t implement too many roadblocks for commenting.
– Make sure user experience is excellent. People in a pleasant disposition (not irritated because of unnecessary blocks, lengthy loading time and so forth) are more likely to be social.
Optimize your social media activity. Image source
First and foremost, you need to have an account in at least Facebook and Twitter. As today’s leading social media websites, you will be able to reach more customers and target market. Pinterest is fast climbing the popularity charts though—not to mention leading in the e-commerce department—so if you are selling merchandise or services, you may want to make an account there as well.
In setting up your social media accounts, don’t forget to:
– Fill up all profile information fields.
– Use keywords in your profile information.
– If your business has Google+ and Linked In accounts, include your website’s URL in the profiles.
– If your blog posts had received wide acclaim, or were referenced by popular people and authorities in your niche, include them in your profile information.
– Use your website/business title as your profile name.
– Gradually expand your contacts list. Try your best to become contacts with the authorities in your niche as well.
– Make an account in YouTube if you have content that can be presented in video form.
Your posts/ tweets/pins in social media sites must be SEO’d. Incorporate some of these simple strategies:
– Insert keywords that you’re trying to rank in.
– Also use other related keywords and phrases. Remember that social media sites have search features too, and they work pretty much like regular search engines (except Facebook, because its search feature is limited to people and fanpages).
– Inject the “human factor” into your social media posts/tweets/pins. Don’t make them sound as though a robot typed it up. Put some personality behind them so that your social contacts will be encouraged to socialize with you.
– Promote your blog posts through your social media accounts and include their links.
– In Twitter, use hashtags for keywords that you rank high in.
– Reply to the wall posts of your social contacts.
– Invite your clients and customers to give you a review on your website and/or on your Google+ Local account as well.
Lastly, remember that social media is not limited to Facebook, Twitter and the like. Socialization also occurs in forums and community message boards. Find communities that can be your potential customers.
In conclusion, SEO-SMM is all about maximizing your website’s and content’s visibility to people who are looking for it—and since a large concentration of Internet users and consumers are found in social media sites, then they are where you need to be.