Did Social Media Kill the SEO Star?

by on October 02, 2012

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As we have pointed out before on this blog, social signals (“likes”, “shares”, “tweets”, etc.) have started to gain considerable traction and value in Google’s search engine results.  This development has accelerated with the advent of Google+ and Google’s big push to give their site prominence and the search engine company started to reward social engagement with “brownie points” in the form of better SERP rank. It has also led many of our clients and prospects to ask us whether this meant that SEO was being being replaced by social media, and to what extent were the SEO tactics they were relying on to attract visitors to their site now out of date? 

How SEO Came To Be

Google was one of the first online search engines.  It came to dominate the space early, and to this day remains the proverbial 800 pound gorilla in this space. During the early years of the Internet, Google was one of only a few means by which you could search for and find information, content and entertainment online.  Because of this, search engine optimization (SEO) became incredibly important, due entirely to the fact that without it your site would be nearly impossible for people to find. 

However, with the recent rise of social media channels (and the implementation of Google’s Penguin update), SEO has undergone some important changes.  People are now finding content online not just through the use of search engines, but by looking at recommendations, reviews, and shares by their friends and people in their social network.  

That said, data (and Google’s earning report) clearly indicate that people continue to rely on search.

SEO is not going anywhere, at least not in the near future.  So the right answer isn’t which to choose, no digital marketer worth his or her mettle will ever tell you to forgo SEO to focus on social media, or vice versa.  Instead the recommended approach is to make the most of both tactics by merging your SEO and social efforts into an effective and powerful social SEO strategy.

5 Components of an Effective Social SEO Strategy:
  1. Get accounts on the most popular social media channels – Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. and keep those accounts up-to-date by posting something on at least one of those channels every day.
  2. It’s true that content is King, and well-optimized, interesting & engaging content is Emperor! Make sure you develop a content strategy for your business and that your site is never “stale”. Search engines and readers get bored with stale content and your rank will suffer.
  3. If you’re not already doing so, start a blog and add at least one, ideally two or more new posts per week.
  4. Cross-post your blog content to social media sites – getting your content posted on your social channels as well as your blog will not only let your content reach a larger audience, but content on social channels has a better chance of generating reader engagement (sharing, liking) than if it is only on your blog.
  5. Make your content “sharable” – Consider adding “share”, “tweet”, and “like” options to all of the content you post.  Making it easier for people to share will encourage them to help you by distributing your content out to a larger audience, possibly generating buyers for your product or leads for your business.

As long as people continue to use search engines to find information, content, and entertainment online search engine optimization will continue to be extremely important.  However, what search engine optimization looks like and how it functions will continue to evolve. 

Not that familiar with social media or SEO?  Find out how getting a social media marketing assessment or an SEO audit can help you grow your business.  Already using social media and doing SEO, but not sure if you’re getting the results you want?  Find out how and why monitoring social media and generating interesting, and well-optimized content benefits your business.

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