This question is being asked more often and the hype of Social Media can overwhelm the basic foundation of building a well designed website that is optimised for good organic SEO, but the truth lies in using both to create top ranking organic SEO.
Creating a crawler-friendly website that is built around the keywords and phrases people use in search engines to find what you offer for your products and services, is the first and most important thing you can do for your website and your business. But by combining a well designed website for SEO and adding good content in Social Media such as Blogs, YouTube and Flickr and then engaging and communicating and promoting it through Social Media such as Twitter, Delicious, Digg, Reddit, Stumbleupon and Technorati can create so much synergy.
The 3 steps for Using the Synergies of SEO and Social Media
- Use SEO fundamentals for your Website Design
- Add great original content on your Social Media Sites (continuously)
- Interact and Promote it through Social Media as often as the etiquette of the social medium allows.
So firstly what are the basics of SEO?
In essence it starts with building your website, so that search engines when they send out their web crawlers can read your website for the keywords that people are looking for when they are wanting to buy your product or service.
The “New” 11 SEO Basics when designing, building and beginning to promote your website are:
- Key words appear in the URL
- Key words in the page title which appears at the top left of the browser
- Key words in the H1 heading in the code on your page
- Key words are in the H2 heading
- Have up to 10 keywords per page no more
- Keywords are in images such as photos, videos and diagrams.
- Keywords high up in the code for the page so that the search engine crawler finds them
- List your Website with DMOZ, Yahoo and Zoominfo
- Include a Blog as part of your website
- Include an RSS Feed on your Blog
- Submit your new content to Social Media sites such as Delicious, Digg and Reddit
Note: This is only the start when you build your website and adding new content, there is a lot more you can do so either spend a lot of time learning about SEO or engage a top SEO consultant
To add to the foundation that you have laid with a well designed website, you then need to also involve social media marketing, by creating good content, interacting and promoting it. So lay the foundations for SEO in your website design and then promote it through Social Media.
So combine SEO and Social Media and you can achieve some amazing results. One of the best examples is a campaign by Blendtec. The video where they “blend” an iPhone has over 6 million views, 6,000 inbound links and ranks top 10 on Google for the search phrase, “blender“.
See the Video on YouTube that started this viral Social Media phenomenon
I have also included some insightful observations by Lee Odden, Eric Enge and Jill Whalen on their take on Social Media and SEO.
Lee Odden on Top Rank Blog has some interesting observations such as ” Effective social advertising is less about attaching marketing messages to content and more about being the content” and “Rather than looking at social media sharing sites as just another place to dump their existing content, online marketers should consider understanding what is important to social communities through “content, link and tag analysis (a keyword based listening exercise) and create content that meets those needs. The content created can add to the SEO efforts for search based discovery as well as through the social web.”
Jill Whalen comments on Social Media and SEO “My fear with all the hype about social media marketing is that people new to search marketing will believe it’s what SEO demands and what SEO is all about. She goes on to say “It isn’t. Not by a long shot .. Social media marketing is a great addition to any traditional SEO work that you do, but it’s not a substitute. It’s more akin to hiring a PR firm once you’ve launched your already-SEO’d website. On-page SEO is definitely not as sexy as social media marketing, but it is still the most important investment in your website that you can make. Period.
So, go to all your social media conferences, and Digg your way to increased traffic. But first learn exactly whom your target audience is, what they’re searching for in the search engines, and how your website can solve their problems. Then, make sure your website does exactly that. All the social media buzz and traffic won’t amount to anything if your target audience isn’t already part of the online conversation.
Be sure to have your own house in order before you give social media marketing a try, and don’t be surprised if it doesn’t actually provide you with the ROI you hoped it would. In most cases it will depend on whom your target audience is, where they hang out, the types of services or products you offer, and whether your website truly provides people with what they’re looking for.
Getting back to SEO basics, i.e., creating a crawler-friendly website that is built around the keyword phrases people use at the search engines to find what you offer, is the first and most important thing you can do for your website and your business. Yeah, it’s not as fun and exciting as social media marketing, but skip this step at your own peril! “
3. The Evolving State of SEO and Social Media a Post by Eric Enge
Eric Enge comments that “The thumbprint of social media on search engine optimization is evolving. It used to be that the big rage was figuring out how to develop link bait that had a strong chance of making the front page of Digg, Reddit, or other similar social news sites. The results were good, mostly in terms of getting a volume of links to a page on your site.
This is still a great tactic, but social media can do so much more today. For example, with Twitter or Facebook it is possible to use networking and information sharing techniques to build high quality links. I have seen sites from a number of different spaces use Twitter effectively as a PR outreach mechanism.
This new type of PR has become a new technique for link building and promotion. However, fast forwarding from today, there is the widely held belief in the SEO community that social media will be a major source of ranking signals for the search engines in the future.
So What it does it mean for SEO? The depth and breadth of tactics and skills required to succeed in an SEO project is increasing. A brilliant link building tactic that isn’t really based on quality content will likely receive some level of negative backlash, and that backlash will act as a counter-balancing force. Basically, there will be a lot more data for search engines to use, and this is good news for them—all the while increasing the challenge for SEOs.
In addition, companies that understand how to use social media services as part of a broader PR strategy will get an early first mover advantage over their competition.”
Lee Odden at Top Rank Blog says “Forward thinking companies are investing in social media for a variety of reasons, including gaining a competitive advantage through building relationships, creating content and capturing mindshare. I think it’s safe to say that companies making investments in better connecting with their customers now, will have a distinct advantage over those that are resolved to “wait and see” with this social web thing.
TopRank’s survey of the Top Digital Marketing tactics for 2009 revealed 6 of the top 10 tactics as social media.
Here are the top ten tactics selected:
- Blogging (34%) – Social Media
- Microblogging (Twitter) (29%) – Social Media
- Search engine optimization (28%)
- Social network participation (Facebook, LinkedIn) (26%) – Social Media
- Email marketing (17%)
- Social media monitoring & outreach (17%) – Social Media
- Pay per click (14%)
- Blogger relations (12%) – Social Media
- Video marketing (10%) – Social Media
- Social media advertising (7%) – Social Media
Marketingsherpa’s 2008 Study of Social Media Marketing & PR reports social media as the top marketing budget line item for increase in 2009.
Why the optimism? Social media offers a variety of benefits:
- Build thought leadership
- Improve customer relationships
- Improve recruiting
- Reduce customer service costs
- Improve search engine rankings
- Increase media coverage
- Influence sales
Despite the optimism, the social web and the practice of better connecting with customers through social technologies is new territory for most companies. Traditionally, communications between companies and customers has focused on marketing, sales and customer service.
The kicker with creating great content is that no one will know you’ve created that exceptional content unless you tell them. So, promotion is very important as is the development of channels to distribute your content. RSS works well as does building out networks on relevant social media sites ranging from Facebook to StumbleUpon to YouTube.
Working search and social media tactics together can amplify many of the core objectives. The bottom line is that companies who make the effort and investment to figure out how to test, build expertise and mangage though a strategy, will achieve a distinct competitive advantage over companies that wait.”
So how are you using SEO and Social Media? Is it working for you?