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June 4, 2007

SEO, Meet SMM

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I’m back from a most delicious lunch (served on real plates, no less! So much excitement!), Matt McGee is making horribly inappropriate jokes and it’s time for this afternoon’s SEO, Meet SEM session. Are you ready?

Danny Sullivan is moderating the panel with speakers Rand Fishkin (SEOmoz), Cindy Krum (Blue Moon Works Inc.), Todd Malicoat (Stuntdubl) and Neil Patel (Pronet Advertising).

Danny starts off talking about the launch of Search Engine Land and how social media really helped the site garner attention and get off the ground. Because, you know, no one would have ever checked out Search Engine Land on their own. Danny who?

Up first is my ex-boyfriend Rand Fishkin. (Don’t worry, we’re still friends.)

Social media marketing is about going out to Web 2.0 sites and approaching them in a way that shows you’re going to contribute. Social media marketing can help you to rule the search engine results, control your brand, get link love, show the community that you’re a participant, get traffic and influence traditional media.

The top ten social media sites to help you gain traffic are (in order): YouTube. Wikipedia, Yahoo! Answers, Yelp (a SEOmoz client), LinkedIn, Flickr (the comments section doesn’t have a nofollow. Rand says ‘that’s hot’. No Rand, you’re hot.), Craigslist, Facebook, Amazon, and MySpace.

Viral media is great because it gives you the ability to control your brand. It equals search engine rankings through links and growing your fan base. The best sites to help grow your brand are Digg, Reddit, StumbleUpon, Del.icio.us, Netscape, TechCrunch, Newsvine, BoingBoing, and Fark.

Up next is Neil to give us the rules of social media. Hold on, kids. It’s always an interesting ride when Neil is behind the wheel. ;)

Neil starts out by highlighting some of those things you can’t do on television in social media: Pay for votes, create multiple accounts or submit illegal content. These are all considered gaming the system and are very much looked down upon by Apply fanboys.

Three unwritten rules offered by Neil — don’t self promote, don’t add biased information, and don’t ask friends for votes. I laughed when I heard that last one. I can’t tell you how many emails and IMs I get a day from my SEO friends who are so totally not asking me to Digg and/or submit things. That never happens. Nope.

Neil describes the social media audience as an angry, Mohawk-sporting baby who will spit food in your face if you poke it too hard. Neil offends about 80 percent of the room by saying the older Digg audience is in their late 20s. Hee! Aw, poor old people.

To sum things up, Neil shares his Golden Rules for social media:

  • Add tons of friends – Neil says they don’t have to be your real friends. Hee!
  • Participate in the community
  • Use their features against them
  • Create a social brand

Next up is Todd Malicoat. Hi, Todd.

The benefits of strategic linking with social media are that it gives you control over your anchor text, body copy, theme, and provides lots of opportunities for links from trusted sources.

Todd says that spam is determined by intent and extent, but size does matter. When you’re small it’s a "doorway page", when you’re big it’s a "landing page". When you’re small it’s "reciprocal linking", when you’re big it’s "cobranding". When you’re small it’s "social media spamming", when you’re big it’s "social media optimization". Black is really white when your brand is big enough to survive the fallout. Todd’s deep, yo.

The first step in Todd’s strategy for social media is to establish reputation neighborhoods. Sign up to everything you find. Test the sites. If they’re good, get them some links. Build a neighborhood of sites. Interlink them within reason. Vary anchor text and copy.

Build a hub on a social media site. Todd uses the horrendous John Tucker Must Die movie as an example. The people behind the movie built up the MySpace page to promote the movie instead creating a traditional Web page because it took less time to build up and get it ranking.

You can find topic-centric social media sites by using Google dorks, Keywords + “profile”, Keywords + “web 2.0″, and directories like www.go2web20.net.

Test social media sites for link value: find out if the site is indexed. Is it ranking? Is the theme good (is it a page you should be on)? Placement (how many links). Does the page pass link juice?

The benefit of social media is that it’s another tool for linking. You have to know when and where and how to use it. The caveats are that size matters. Intent and extent will determine if it’s a legitimate strategy.

Cindy Krum is up next to talk about using social media for brand management and awareness.

Cindy says the ubiquitous adoption of Web technology means that customers will demand a higher level of interaction with your brand. Social media is the fastest way to move your brand forward because it encourages customers to incorporate your brand with their identity both on and off-line. Social networking sites allow users to affiliate themselves with your brand in a way that is highly visible to their peers.

Secure your social presence by researching relevant social networks. Look at the major social sites, niche vertical sites, social logical sites, blogs and forums, and wiki-sites. Once you identify the sites, fine existing networks for your brand or your industry. You should have a strategy. Know how many profiles you’ll need and where you should direct traffic to. Determine who gets social profiles – brands, products, company icons, etc.

Consider social profiles portals to your brand. They foster a sense of shared experience and belonging. Spend time on design and maintain brand standards. Keep information fresh and current. Manage multiple social profiles in centralized locations. Leverage the email functionality, blogs and billboards.

Create SEOd profiles. This includes focusing on brand keywords, interlinking brand profiles with your main site, initiating friend-ing campaigns and drive traffic to the profile. This means using natural search traffic, PPC, PPP, banners, offline, etc.

Once you have a reputation you have to manage it. Use SEO to push detractors out of top positions. Send traffic to all of your positive pages. Participate in forums and groups for both detractors and supporters.

Empower brand evangelists. The best way to empower people who already care about your brand is to give them cool stuff. Stuff like widgets, profile layouts, surveys, graphics, games, videos, podcasts, etc.

Embrace convergence. Leverage your existing marketing efforts. Overly send TV radio and print traffic to profile pages. Release, promote and link to commercials on your profile pages. Link to information about the campaign from the profile. Use profiles to get feedback.

Direct traffic off-line. Host local meetups, offer in store only coupons, use social profiles as a way to integrate on and offline brand interaction. Direct traffic online. Create a social media section on your site. Promote all the cool stuff you are giving away on your profiles.

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One response to “SEO, Meet SMM”

  1. Todd writes:

    John Tucker must die was an aweful movie – but it was a good example. I wanted to use “it’s always sunny in philadelphia” which used http://www.myspace.com/sunnyfx – which was an awesome show, but not quite as good as an example.

    You must type awefully fast btw:)



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