Combining Social Media Marketing and SEO tactics

Mashable has recently done a number of excellent articles about social media and SEO including one that said that social media budgets are expected “to grow at an annual rate of 34 percent – faster than any other form of online marketing and double the average growth rate of 17 percent for all online mediums.”

It’s exciting for bloggers and marketing professionals alike…because you have to have someone manage that social media and as long as the budgets continue to grow, new creative jobs will follow.
Check out the article below from Mashable that discusses social media and how to maximize your SEO using those networks:

Now more than ever, company marketers are charged with improving performance with fewer resources and shifting marketing budgets from traditional to digital tactics like SEO and social media. There are significant benefits from combining search engine optimization and social media marketing tactics ranging from increased social network discovery via search to the ability to attract links for improved SEO.

Making the most out of combining SEO insights with social media marketing tactics can be accomplished with a roadmap that identifies the audience you’re after, the goals you’re trying to reach (and can measure) as well as a strategy that sets the stage for the tactics you’ll use to execute your game plan. Read on to get a better understanding of how SEO and social media complement each other and a step by step guide for creating a social media roadmap.

The benefits of SEO and social media

From a marketing standpoint, you can look at the benefits of SEO and social media two different ways.

First, implementing a social media marketing program without optimizing content is leaving money on the table. Useful social content (blog, video, images, audio) that cannot be discovered via search is a lost opportunity to reach an audience that is looking.

For example, The Student LoanDown, the popular blog about student loans and college financing from Wells Fargo, identifies 29 keywords in its Keyword Meta Tag and doesn’t rank in Google’s first page for 26 of them. Those that do rank are variations of the blog’s name.

wellsfargo blog image

While there is a generous amount of cross linking within posts, a basic blog template optimization effort leveraging keywords and other minor adjustments could improve search traffic for this site substantially – without any compromise in content quality or user experience.

Social interactions and media sharing amongst social network participants create the kind of content that can improve a brand’s visibility within search results through profiles, videos, blog posts, or other media. A good example is Stormhoek wines’ first page Google rankings including blogs, Facebook and Twitter.

stormhoek wines image

On the flip side, implementing SEO programs without leveraging the content distribution and linking benefits of social web participation makes link building for SEO an uphill battle. The nature of the social web encourages participation: sharing, voting, commenting and linking. Popular social content gets exposure, traffic and can result in a substantial number of relevant inbound links.

yahoo blendtec image

The famous Blendtec iPhone video has attracted over 6,000 links resulting in a top ten ranking on Google for the word, “blender.”

blender google image

Content + Links = Search Engine Success.

Social media roadmap

However you look at it, SEO and social media work well together as long as there is a framework for doing so. One way to build SEO and social media programs efficiently is to follow a social media roadmap:

social media seo roadmap

1. Find the audience
; understand their behaviors, preferences, methods of publishing, and sharing. Most companies that are involved with the social web in the channels where their customers spend time have a good sense of where to start. Many companies are ahead of the game by tracking their audience via social media monitoring software that identifies keywords, conversations and influencers such as those pictured in the Radian6 screen shot below.

radian6 influence image

2. Define your objectives
. Objectives are often driven by marketing or sales, and SEO has long been directly accountable to substantial improvements in web sales. Social media is not direct marketing though, so different objectives and measurements apply. The role of SEO in a social media effort is to directly influence discovery of social communities or content via search. Do a search for Zappos on Google, for example, and you’ll easily find more than shoes: Twitter, Blog and a YouTube channel are all on the first page of search results.

zappos image

Indirectly, social content can boost links to website content, improving search traffic and online sales.

3. Establish a game plan. The game plan for reaching objectives in a combined SEO and social media effort will often focus on content and interaction, since it is content that people discover and share. Whether a keyword-focused strategy for reaching goals means publishing new content or creating an opportunity for consumer-generated content, it must involve proactive promotion and easy sharing amongst members of the community.

4. Create a tactical mix. The tactical mix for a social media marketing effort is based on doing the homework of finding where the desired audience spends its time interacting with and sharing content. Whatever the tactical mix is, it’s an investment in time and relationships – not a short term “link dump” to promote optimized link bait. Much of the content creation and promotion for a social media marketing effort happens within the tactical mix and, of course, that means optimizing content for keywords.

keyword focus image

Whether content is created by marketers as part of a social destination like a niche community or a promotion vehicle such as an interactive ad, keyword glossaries become useful for writing headlines, deciding on anchor text for links and outreach activities like blogger relations.

5. Measure your goals. Goals measurement should roll up to the
specific objectives, both direct and indirect. Leveraging both social media
monitoring services as well as web analytics can provide marketers with the
insight to improve results. Radian6 and Webtrends have recently
announced a partnership
that will bring web analytics and social media analytics together all in one interface. In the meantime, marketers can use specific measurement tools to monitor the effect of their social web participation as well as the search engine performance of SEO efforts.

Extend the value of your investment

By involving SEO insight in a social media marketing effort and vice versa, marketers, public relations professionals and advertisers can extend the value of their investment. Well optimized social media content marketing efforts can attract new network participants via search. News content that experiences distribution via social news and bookmarking channels can facilitate links to company website content directly and indirectly. Advertisers that fund social media campaigns can continue to realize the traffic benefit from keyword-optimized interactive content long after the campaign has ended.

More social media resources from Mashable:

A Control Freak’s Guide to Social Media Influence
Why Big Brands Struggle With Social Media
5 Examples of Social Media Blunders and What to Learn From Them
HOW TO: Survive a Social Media Revolt

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, Tomml.
Written by:
Reprinted by: Right Brain Media

About erikaraia

Director of Marketing Communications at RiGHT BRAiN MEDiA and Founder of Fasttrack Scouting

Posted on March 8, 2011, in Marketing Tips, SEO. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Good advice for those looking to improve their SEO and breaking it down into steps people can take action on is extremely helpful. We appreciate the mention!

    Trish (@Dayngr)
    Community Manager | Radian6

  2. The main concept to understand here is that Social Media has changed the online marketing landscape — it has made SEO even more important. SEO is no longer limited to the relationship between a company’s main website and Google. It’s about optimizing everyplace a business has a presence online — and having a presence as many places as possible. So rather than killing off SEO, Social Media has expanded it.

  3. Absolutely! I always say Facebook is the smile behind the face of your website.


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