On Monday evening, Sept. 17, the #SocialChat community on Twitter gathered to discuss the relationship between SEOs and SMMs. Our guest expert, Jim Hedger, is a partner at Digital Always Media in Toronto, Canada. He is an organic SEO and digital marketing specialist. Jim has been involved in the online marketing industry since 1998 and a SEO since 1999.
I first asked Jim, “What impact do you see Social Media having on search rankings?”
Jim: “Search engines appear to be looking at social signals much like they look at link-footprints. I’ve seen a rapid-fire series of Facebook likes and tweets make an e-comm product page rank quickly.”
Many of the SEOs I know and work with are seeing the same trends. From the very beginning of internet marketing, driving traffic and raising search visibility has been about getting inbound links from other sources. The natural tendency of social media users to share links and tell their connections, “hey look at this,” has a huge impact on search rankings and relevancy scores. Given the right content, SEOs don’t have to “game” the system like in days past to get links. The gravity of large networks like Facebook, twitter, and LinkedIn also rank well on their own for a particular user or business name. Many companies are finding that the comfort factor of a familiar place may be the first touch they get with potential customers. So, don’t doubt that the first place a new visitor may go to check you out is likely not to be your website but your Facebook fan page or your LinkedIn company page.
Do good SEO practices have a place in Social Marketing?
Jim: “I hope that SEO has little influence on social, but I love that social is having an influence on search.”
I can appreciate Jim’s sentiment here. SEO is often so technical, impersonal, and down-right get your hands in the muck dirty coding that I wouldn’t want that attitude finding its way into social either. Having said that, the discipline to research and develop the full potential of semantic keywords is something I hope does continue to influence the way community managers and social media marketers operate. As social media marketing has matured, the demand for proven ROI and useful metrics continues to rise. SEOs have already blazed that trail. A little cooperation on the measurement side could go a long way to leveling out that learning curve.
What can SoMe marketers/community managers do to support the work of SEOs?
Jim: SoMe marketers and SEOs need to think in terms of team-effort. My dream-team consists of content SEO, tech SEO, SoMe manager, two profile keepers, analytics, and a bartender.
Well, if Jim can have a bartender on the payroll, I want a masseuse. All kidding aside, Jim’s right on here. As social media marketing matures and search continues to look to social signals, agencies and in-house marketing departments are going to need to tap the skills of a team of specialists. Customers are already demanding that the companies they do business with become more responsive and engage them in real conversation. That demand is forcing businesses to tear down traditional silos of project management and integrate marketing, sales, and customer service into a more holistic customer relationship approach. The barriers in the various segments of internet marketing will also have to come down. Like it or not the symbiotic relationship between search and social is going to continue to grow, might as well embrace it.
Later tonight, SocialChat will be discussing the latest update to twitter and how the push continues toward paid social channels. Be sure to add our hashtag, #SocialChat, to your favorite twitter search and join us every Monday night at 9:00 PM eastern.