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Now more than ever, company marketers are charged with improving performance with fewer resources and shifting marketing budgets from traditional to digital tactics like SEO and social media. There are significant benefits from combining search engine optimization and social media marketing tactics ranging from increased social network discovery via search to the ability to attract links for improved SEO.
Making the most out of combining SEO insights with social media marketing tactics can be accomplished with a roadmap that identifies the audience you’re after, the goals you’re trying to reach (and can measure) as well as a strategy that sets the stage for the tactics you’ll use to execute your game plan. Read on to get a better understanding of how SEO and social media complement each other and a step by step guide for creating a social media roadmap.
The benefits of SEO and social media
From a marketing standpoint, you can look at the benefits of SEO and social media two different ways.
First, implementing a social media marketing program without optimizing content is leaving money on the table. Useful social content (blog, video, images, audio) that cannot be discovered via search is a lost opportunity to reach an audience that is looking.
For example, The Student LoanDown, the popular blog about student loans and college financing from Wells Fargo, identifies 29 keywords in its Keyword Meta Tag and doesn’t rank in Google’s first page for 26 of them. Those that do rank are variations of the blog’s name.
While there is a generous amount of cross linking within posts, a basic blog template optimization effort leveraging keywords and other minor adjustments could improve search traffic for this site substantially – without any compromise in content quality or user experience.
Social interactions and media sharing amongst social network participants create the kind of content that can improve a brand’s visibility within search results through profiles, videos, blog posts, or other media. A good example is Stormhoek wines’ first page Google rankings including blogs, Facebook and Twitter.
On the flip side, implementing SEO programs without leveraging the content distribution and linking benefits of social web participation makes link building for SEO an uphill battle. The nature of the social web encourages participation: sharing, voting, commenting and linking. Popular social content gets exposure, traffic and can result in a substantial number of relevant inbound links.
The famous Blendtec iPhone video has attracted over 6,000 links resulting in a top ten ranking on Google for the word, “blender.”
Content + Links = Search Engine Success.
Social media roadmap
However you look at it, SEO and social media work well together as long as there is a framework for doing so. One way to build SEO and social media programs efficiently is to follow a social media roadmap:
1. Find the audience; understand their behaviors, preferences, methods of publishing, and sharing. Most companies that are involved with the social web in the channels where their customers spend time have a good sense of where to start. Many companies are ahead of the game by tracking their audience via social media monitoring software that identifies keywords, conversations and influencers such as those pictured in the Radian6 screen shot below.
2. Define your objectives. Objectives are often driven by marketing or sales, and SEO has long been directly accountable to substantial improvements in web sales. Social media is not direct marketing though, so different objectives and measurements apply. The role of SEO in a social media effort is to directly influence discovery of social communities or content via search. Do a search for Zappos on Google, for example, and you’ll easily find more than shoes: Twitter, Blog and a YouTube channel are all on the first page of search results.
Indirectly, social content can boost links to website content, improving search traffic and online sales.
3. Establish a game plan. The game plan for reaching objectives in a combined SEO and social media effort will often focus on content and interaction, since it is content that people discover and share. Whether a keyword-focused strategy for reaching goals means publishing new content or creating an opportunity for consumer-generated content, it must involve proactive promotion and easy sharing amongst members of the community.
4. Create a tactical mix. The tactical mix for a social media marketing effort is based on doing the homework of finding where the desired audience spends its time interacting with and sharing content. Whatever the tactical mix is, it’s an investment in time and relationships – not a short term “link dump” to promote optimized link bait. Much of the content creation and promotion for a social media marketing effort happens within the tactical mix and, of course, that means optimizing content for keywords.
Whether content is created by marketers as part of a social destination like a niche community or a promotion vehicle such as an interactive ad, keyword glossaries become useful for writing headlines, deciding on anchor text for links and outreach activities like blogger relations.
5. Measure your goals. Goals measurement should roll up to the specific objectives, both direct and indirect. Leveraging both social media monitoring services as well as web analytics can provide marketers with the insight to improve results. Radian6 and Webtrends have recently announced a partnership that will bring web analytics and social media analytics together all in one interface. In the meantime, marketers can use specific measurement tools to monitor the effect of their social web participation as well as the search engine performance of SEO efforts.
Extend the value of your investment
By involving SEO insight in a social media marketing effort and vice versa, marketers, public relations professionals and advertisers can extend the value of their investment. Well optimized social media content marketing efforts can attract new network participants via search. News content that experiences distribution via social news and bookmarking channels can facilitate links to company website content directly and indirectly. Advertisers that fund social media campaigns can continue to realize the traffic benefit from keyword-optimized interactive content long after the campaign has ended.
more Social Media resources from Tango Business:
by Lee Odden> (liked 189 times in #FB and #Twitter 512 times ..3 ys. ago!)
- 20 Social Media Blogs You Should Read in 2012 (pamorama.net)