With the emergence of the notorious Google Penguin update, many 'Search Engine Optimization" (or SEO) practitioners are left scratching their heads. In prior years, SEO has consisted of simple keyword targeting mixed with some strategic linking alliances. These elements were sufficient to land a top spot on a Google search results page, drawing more traffic from casual web surfers. Now, it appears that those who have neglected social media marketing as part of their SEO strategies may be at a distinct disadvantage. Word on the Internet Highway has it that traditional "SEO" principles may be falling by the wayside in favor of Search Marketing Integration, aka "SMI."
Whatever acronym you favor, the primary element involved is trust. Do popular information sources trust your blog articles enough to link to your site? Do your Facebook and Twitter followers trust your content enough to re-Tweet and re-post? If so, then you are miles ahead of the businesses that rely on mass-produced content with poorly constructed articles geared towards fitting in awkward strings of keywords.
Social media has a direct impact on SEO/SMI in several different ways:
One place to start in gauging how effective a social media campaign is going to be for boosting SEO is to look at what the search engines look for when they send their bots forth to gather information. It's relatively easy to find the metrics that are likely to matter, and you probably already have a pretty good idea yourself. Here are a few places to start:
So. Getting a thousand Facebook friends and followers. Attracting like-minded individuals on Twitter. Expanding your reach. How is it done? After all, you aren't a 13 year old girl with a high school full of potential social media buddies (at least we don't think you are if you are reading our blog), and unfortunately, you aren't George Takei (if you are, please contact us... we are big fans). There are still a number of techniques you can use to build a following and start generating buzz that will attract Google's attention and start placing you higher on the search engine results.
By taking the time to understand social media marketing and how it fits within the overall structure of SEO, it's easier than ever to create an integrated marketing platform that creates value and encourages consumers in your network to share, share, share.
Disclosure: Delicious (middle) was shut down in 2010. Digg (left) stopped being a social bookmarking in service in 2011. We still like the infographic and thought it was worth sharing.
Ramin Edmond is the former Content Strategist for GaggleAMP. Outside of work, Ramin likes to run, hike, and take pictures of Boston's best views. You can get in touch with Ramin by connecting with him on LinkedIn.
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