Social media marketers have often looked down on the murky, grey/black hat world of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). But all that’s set to change. SEO and social media marketing are in the process of merging in an unholy, but potentially hugely valuable alliance. “Social Search” is the buzz phrase that’s grabbing headlines, but from the marketing perspective, what were talking about is social SEO.
I read a fascinating article from the mercurial SEOMoz today that sheds light on some of the big questions that many social media marketers are struggling with. Thankfully our SEO friends have done more homework on this and unearthed some fascinating answers:
Do Tweets, Likes and +1’s enhance your Google ranking?
Yes – absolutely they do. As you can see from the chart above, Google Buzz links, Facebook shares and Tweets all contribute to the ranking of a web-page, more so in fact than having the keyword as the first word in the title (a well-known old school SEO requirement). SEOMoz writer, Tom Crichlow, goes as far as to say “In my opinion this is why inbound marketing is going to overtake SEO as the primary function of SEO professionals. Engaging across social channels to get links, shares, likes, comments and +1s is going to be the future for generating organic traffic to your site”.
Can companies “Game” social media as they do with SEO?
Not easily. I’m sure they will find a way, but while setting up a bogus blog and linking to other sites simply requires a bogus email account, adding +1’s and Like’s requires the creation of a profile. Google and Facebook will doubtless use the amount of data they hold for an individual to rate the quality of their interactions and root out the “gamers”. By checking our your Google Dashboard, you can see how far reaching this data can go.
Does the authority of the social media user matter?
Yes – As this post explains, Google and Bing both look at the “Author Authority” (or “Social Authority”) when making decisions about the value to ascribe to social media mentions, +1’s and Likes. In a case of a Twitter user, this includes the # of followers they have and the # of people they follow. SEOMoz predicts that, in future, other indicators will come into consideration, such as the quality of friends/followers and the consistency of your relevance to the keywords being searched for.
I’m genuinely amazed that Social SEO isn’t dominating discussions on social media marketing today. If nothing else, Social SEO represents a wholly valid metric against which to measure a company’s social media engagement activities. Far from fluff and chatter, your Likes and re-tweets can now be shown contribute directly to lead generation. If you aren’t already, you should get on the social SEO band-waggon, and fast.
SEOptimise will be giving a presentation on opportunities in Social SEO in London on 19th September.