Once considered completely separate entities, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Social Media Optimisation (SMO) are now very much intertwined. With SEO focusing on Search Engine rankings and Social Media platforms geared towards public conversation, these can be leveraged together to generate all round business benefits. For starters, let’s look at what they have in common.
If your website doesn’t have good content then no one will want to link to it, simple as. Same goes on Social Media channels, poor, uninteresting material will never get shared or build up a strong following, so keep it fresh, relevant and exciting.
In SEO we like to call these internal elements, ‘on-page’ factors due to the fact they are actually on your brands web page. With SEO this involves ensuring the right keywords are included in a Search Engine friendly structure with appropriate Meta data. In the realm of Social Media, these factors relate to getting the right content in the form of pictures, statuses, discussions, polls, competitions and incentives.
Off-page factors for SEO campaigns include building links for the purpose of directing traffic and informing Search Engines what your site is about. SMO is no different; these links come in the form of networking. Good links here involve solving questions the community have asked, going that extra mile to aid a disappointed customer and rewarding those that are true online ambassadors of your brand.
If a website is reliable and trustworthy, then overtime this builds up a trust level within Search Engines making them much more likely to rank it higher in their results. Similarly, if you’re able to build up trust within the social community you’ll find increases in; followers, shared content, clicked links, communication and all round online social interest easier to come by.
While SEO increases your visibility through improved ranking positions drawing in relevant search traffic, SMO enables you to promote your content and get it shared fast across the web. With more shares and increases in online conversation this generates more exposure to your company and brand.
So, now we know they’re similar, how they’re connected? Well, for starters, Twitter and Facebook have already been confirmed by Google as new ranking signals in their ever changing algorithm see here for Matt Cutts announcement. Although nobody outside of the search giant is 100% sure which social factors contribute to the ranking signals, we can hazard a calculated guess at the following;
Next, there’s the impact Social Media can have on building links, aka Link Baiting. Spreading this new fascinating content around the web ensures plenty of people previously unaware of your existence notice it. The best thing about this is if they enjoy/like/find the content useful then they are probably going to link to it. Obtaining natural links from a wide variety of sources is crucial to the success of any SEO campaign and Social Media provides the gateway needed to attract them.
Finally, the main link that connects the two is the importance of fresh content. Google and their seemingly less noisy neighbours are stepping up the hunt to provide searchers the most relevant and rewarding results possible. Gone are the days when a simple bit of text will satisfy what the user is looking for.
Nowadays consumers want to see up to the minute news, fresh imagery, clearly explained how-to guides, video demonstrations, compelling research and if they can’t find it, have their personal questions answered quick. Online marketing has evolved from the ‘Build it and they will come’ way of thinking to the ‘Build it, share it, answer it, improve it…’ and so on, philosophy. Search Engine Optimisation can only tick so many of these boxes; Social Media is required to get the best out of your online marketing mix.
In summary, SEO and Social Media campaigns can compliment each other. From unique content to increased inbound links, the work you do on various Social Media will ultimately have a positive impact on your Search Engine Ranking Positions.
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