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.
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:
- First Generation – On Page / Content, Meta, Title. These are the traditional things that optimizers did to get early rankings.
- Second Generation– Off Page / Linking. What do other people think is important and relative to this keyword?
- 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.
Searches in social media (search.twitter.com) are become more and more prevalent. Catfish asked the audience, “Does your brand show up in these searches?”
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.