Social Media SEO Trends
With the rapid rise of social media in the past few years, many business owners mistakenly think of marketing as being social media OR search engine optimization, but the best strategy is merging the social media with search engine optimization into a true Social Media SEO mindset. While there are some differences in the way Google and Bing are using information from social media sites to adjust their indexes, there are many similarities in their approach to social media SEO.
For example, having a Facebook fan page but failing to optimize it for the search engines is not utilizing the full potential of the page. Facebook offers numerous ways to optimize and is becoming a leader in the Social Media SEO hybrid model. Google+ has exploded into the search space and offers some very interesting hybridization of the search engine – social media models. LinkedIn is close behind, with many ways to optimize one’s LinkedIn profile to insure maximum search engine exposure while still retaining the “integrity” of a social media personality. As of this writing, LinkedIn is the 13th most trafficked site in the world, ahead of Amazon.com and Ebay, so business owners would be wise to include it in their social media SEO plans. Youtube remains a significant player, with over 70% of the internet being video traffic at any one time; there again, having a video on Youtube is not really beneficial to business, but rather, an optimized video for optimization purposes and a robust channel for social media purposes.
An old school method of social media SEO would be WordPress, my favorite web platform as many of you know. I’m not the only one who is a rabid fan of WordPress; Entrepreneur magazine actually stated that in order “to stay competitive” (their words, my emphasis) they recommended all businesses migrate their sites to the WordPress platform, and I would add that we’re talking specifically about self-hosted websites built on WordPress, not free sub-domains on the WordPress website. (Source: Entrepreneur.com) Your website remains your anchor for all your marketing efforts for a number of reasons, not the least of which you own it and have control over it.
More and more, the search engines are looking at the “authority” of the account holder and placing more importance on any links posted on sites like Twitter and Facebook. While the links themselves may be “no follow” links, that doesn’t prevent the search engines from adjusting the indexes and increasing the search engine rank placement for the web pages they point to. In fact, some have said that it appears as though “retweets” are the new form of linkbuilding, but in reality it is a minor methodology.
Pitfalls of Social Media SEO
Both Google and Bing are looking at the frequency that a particular link is posted (or re-posted) on the social media sites and are also paying attention to who is doing the posting. If your links are being posted by an individual or business that is considered to be an authority by the search engines, the associated web page may see a boost in its search engine ranking. By the same token, overly aggressive reposting does not fit the search engines’ natural algorithm and this is NOT an effective longterm social media SEO strategy.
This development validates what many marketing experts have believed for more than a year now about social media SEO… Social media’s importance is growing in the eyes of the search engines and this trend will likely continue. It’s well known that Google places a premium on relevant content and quality sites and pages so it should come as no surprise that they are tracking the number of people who liked your content well enough to share it with others.
In times past, search engine optimization (aka SEO) and social media wouldn’t have been used in the same sentence. After all, search engine optimization comprises techniques designed to help boost one’s search engine rank placement and social media sites (like Facebook) allow you to connect with your friends or customers in a “social” way.
Natural Trends with Social Media SEO
However, recent changes by both Google and Bing make it clear that these major search engines are looking to social media sites as a way to validate the quality of the content found on websites. Those that make the grade are being rewarded with improved search engine rankings… even in “regular” search.
Ironically, the changes happening online where we see a coalescing of all these different elements embody a strategy I’ve recommended for quite a long time. One’s approach to marketing a business online must be comprehensive and multilateral. A singular form of marketing is not only ineffective but unnatural.
Those who would like to take advantage of these new search engine trends are encouraged to make it as easy as possible for others to share their content or the links they contain. Adding a “retweet” function to your website or blog, for example, can dramatically increase the likelihood that your content will be shared by your visitors via Twitter. The most intelligent social media SEO strategy is good content, both in the short term social media context and long term SEO context.