SEO Value of Social Media — Online Marketing Summit

After a long day of travel, delayed flights, and no-food, I finally sit down to attend a few sessions.

My second session of the day was “SEO Value of Social Media”, by Ray “Catfish” Comstock, @bolsearch, Director of SEO at BusinessOnline. This session was part of the Online Marketing Summit (OMS) of Connected Marketing Week. It was great to have this extra session content, for those who didn’t see a session they liked in SES.

ses san francisco logo

The speaker starts with: “My name is Catfish.” He describes this session as a “comprehensive overview” of search and social, with a few tactics to get started.

Catfish starts off explaining that when companies start social media activity they are often looking for metrics. He explains that SEO allows companies to have metrics justify the use of social media.

Catfish breaks down the history of search optimization into 3 generations:

  1. First Generation – On Page / Content, Meta, Title. These are the traditional things that optimizers did to get early rankings.
  2. Second Generation– Off Page / Linking. What do other people think is important and relative to this keyword?
  3. Third Generation – Web 2. 0 (I cringed) and user-driven. Social media is a direct reflection of user intent and use

Catfish explains that his 3rd or latest generation has been bubbling for several years. Social media has been creating links and content since the first forum was established. Blogs became a huge force in the world of SEO. All of this led to search engines integrating social media into search. Search engines have adopted more ranking methods based on social media

He breaks down social media’s search value into several areas:

Real Time Search
Google now incorporates real time search results from Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Jaiku, Yahoo Answers, and much more

User generated content (UGC) is generated through social media through forums, blog commenting, reviews, and videos. Strong UGC is keyword focused.

Some social media sites create connectivity via profile links, but most of the value comes from posted links. Social media is a great awareness tool of great content. That content leads to links.

Brand Related Search
Social media ROI calculations should include brand related searches. Brand searches on Twitter and Facebook (no surprise) generate higher conversions. Companies often notice that the more they participate in social media the more their branded search traffic increases. This is not a coincidence.

YouTube ranks videos based on user interactions (comments, embedding, ratings). It’s only a matter of time before Google starts using social ranking (like the Facebook Like button) to rank websites.

Social Search
Searches in social media ( are become more and more prevalent. Catfish asked the audience, “Does your brand show up in these searches?”

Reputation Management
Maintaining a collection of prominent social media accounts (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube) can allow a site to control most of the top 10 real estate on brand searches.

Catfish discussed several key tactics that everyone should do, below are a few of the highlights.

  • Interlink all social media accounts.
  • Have a participation schedule – Including participating in other conversations, commenting on blogs, and adding to the community. Not just broadcasting.
  • Blog often.
  • Use targeted keywords in the Facebook “About” box.
  • Each social media channel should offer something unique. Do always spread the same message across all channels. Give them a reason to friend and follow you.

John Ellis began his online marketing career, not in marketing at all, but as a computer programmer. With a degree in computer science, he started tech support/programming in the mid 90’s. It was during that time companies were getting on board with an online presence. As a “technical” person on-staff, naturally it was a good fit for IT to manage the website. It was through those processes that John learned search engine optimization, web analytics, and eventually pay-per-click marketing. Eventually, John moved from the technical side to the marketing side of the company. However, it is with those same technical skills that help with the analytics and optimization required in online marketing. 15 years later, John Ellis is now frequent speaker at online marketing events, including PubCon, Search Engine Strategies and much more. He can also be found throughout the blogsosphere contributing marketing tips and perspective. John writes about SEO and PPC at John Ellis currently resides in Nashville, TN where he is an online marketing consultant. Follow John on Twitter @JohnWEllis.

See johnellis's author page for links to connect on social media.

Comments (5)
Still on the hunt for actionable tips and insights? Each of these recent Social Media Marketing posts is better than the last!

5 Replies to “SEO Value of Social Media — Online Marketing Summit”

I have recently started an aggressive campaign for my business on facebook, with the sole goal of giving of something of value to my friends/followers, I did the same for twitter but I often wonder how many of those actual followers are real people and not some auto generated followers.

I have been adding keyword rich company pages and love that I come up in searches, but haven’t yet seen the benefits of marketing through facebook, at least in the same way that all other companies that brag about are, right now it seem like a lot of extra work but I will stick with it as long as I can until I get over the hump, so with that said I hope this comment gets published in this blog because I am engaging in the conversation.

Thanks and Regards
The Moving Expert for
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Thanks for stopping by. Glad you liked the article.


Great article. We’ve had a lot of success marketing some of our dental clients in the Austin area applying these exact principles. Users expect to find what they’re looking for in social media spaces, and you’d better be there when they do begin that search.

More info on what exactly we do:

Fahrenheit Marketing


Thanks. It was a great session.

I just thought we were beyond the 2.0 phrase, but other than that it was a great session.

Look for more good nuggets Wednesday.


You cringed at Web 2.0? LOL Nice summary and hope you get some rest and some food!

I especially liked the tactic of “Have a participation schedule.” I have not thought of that term before, plagiarizing. Glad you captured such good nuggets!


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