Why SEO has to be Social
‘Why?’ I hear you ask. Well, to put it simply; good quality links are the currency of the Web as search engines equate them to authority. Google takes these links as an endorsement or vote which in turns enhances search position. Therefore, a key part of any SEO strategy has to be the generation of good inbound links to your website or Digital Embassies.
However, last weeks announcement between Facebook and Bing that will see the search engine return results based on Facebook ‘Likes’ from users friends is significant as it signals a greater focus on Social in SEO. This coupled with Google’s inclusion of Tweets in its search shows that the increase in focus is already under way.
Somewhat inevitably, this announcement will affect SEO placement strategies and Social Media professionals are going to have a greater say in the planning and execution of SEO campaigns. Some agencies understand this already and create SEO strategies in conjunction with a Social Media team. Most don’t.
One of the reasons for the shift towards Social SEO is not only the huge growth in Social Media usage, but the techniques SEO professionals employ, such as, researching keywords, altering pages names, meta tags, headings and anchor text, internal links to keywords and keyword rich content. These techniques are employed with Google spiders, rather than human beings in mind.
Above is a great case study from Content & Motion who undertook a successful Social SEO campaign for Morgan Stanley Real Estate company.
Social Media is different. It thinks about people from the outset and enables them to have conversations around brands and products which provides genuine opportunities for recommendations and links. Whilst, keywords, titles, descriptions, tags and links give Google valuable context, it is Social Media which provides the most natural platform for humans to link, vote, and endorse content.
Although, KPIs such as sales or ROI will always be the main business objectives, Social SEO and Social Media compliment each other by enhancing a brands earned and owned media – leading to higher Google rank – and hopefully sales.
This is why a Social approach to SEO coupled with a robust Social Media strategy should be the cornerstone of any online activity. Tools like widgets, badges, sharing, social sign in and social commenting are great ways for brands to generate positive organic backlinks and social recommendations – all of which enhance brand visibility, amplification and Google rank.
However, the Social aspect of SEO planning still seems an afterthought for many and there is often a gap that needs to be bridged between the often fragmented SEO and Social Media functions. SEO activity should not be owned by one department. Nor should Social Media.
However, the reality is that the Social Media team normally manages Digital Embassies adequately, but SEO is nothing more than an afterthought. Whilst, the SEO team often overlook the value of using Social Media, such as blogs, videos, audio, images, social networks, forums and messageboards to increase SEO. It’s rarely joined up or integrated and too many people miss the link and benefit between Social Media and Google rank.
I’m adamant that Social Media teams are well placed to produce the engaging, rich content that people want to share, comment and link to. I should also make it clear that I’m not suggesting Social Meda teams are best placed to undertake traditional SEO (far from it). However, the evolution and growing importance of Social Media means that they should become part of SEO planning. Right from the start.
Technies know the traditional and latest SEO techniques, but the way Google’s search aglogrithm has evolved has given more weighting to Social Media, which is where the Social Media strategists come in.
As always I would be interested to hear thoughts from both sides of the Social Media and SEO divide and anybody in between about the increasing importance of Social Media in SEO activity.