From the beginning of social media’s meteoric rise, it’s often held both a separated and elevated space from a company’s overall marketing strategy and programs. Many marketers were drawn to social media as the “new sexy thing” and intentionally or not, turned a blind eye to the importance of integrating social content into other marketing initiatives, missing out on potential insight to improve and create more effective programs. And while there are clearly compelling reasons to connect these marketing dots, still only half of companies integrate social efforts in their overall SEO program. So how can companies blend their SEO results to bring more harmony, better results, and better planning to their marketing? It’s easier than you think.
Social Celebrity: The Great Divide
Let’s start from the beginning: social media has been treated like a rock star, literally, from the plethora of self-proclaimed “social media gurus, ninjas” and yes “rock stars”, to having its own SEO moniker: Social Media Optimization. There is even the term social signals.
to indicate the number of shares on networks. All of these are helpful to help understand and measure social networks’ power and influence, but unfortunately served to divide rather than work with a company’s overall SEO efforts.
Tear Down The Wall
Many data points demonstrate how social and overall SEO should play in the same sandbox, but here are a few powerful ones: A Forrester Survey in 2012 showed that social media accounted for 32% of website discoveries next to 54% from straight up search. Another survey noted that seven of the ten most important factors in SEO ranking now come from social media. In other words, social is a major factor in a company’s search engine position-period.
Luckily, though this division of labor has been splitting a company’s SEO efforts, another online trend is serving as a natural bridge between social and “regular” SEO…
Content: The Great Equalizer
Enter content marketing. Over the past few years, marketers had an “aha” moment that no matter how their content is shared, whether it’s a blog, social network, or email campaign, their search engine ranking was increasing from delivering valuable content across multiple platforms. That is critical knowledge. Why? Repackaging and delivering great information on multiple marketing channels, be it snackable ones like a tweet, a web site update, or a monthly newsletter, not only provides great opportunities for customers and prospects to share content on their networks, it offers a long-term, sustainable SEO strategy.
And it also makes logical sense to analyze results of all SEO related to content marketing initiatives: Ultimately, looking at cross-platform effectiveness of identical content, you have a richer, bigger data picture to fine tune your SEO strategy and tactics for future marketing programs.
Don’t Divide, But Do Conquer
It just doesn’t work to put social media in its own silo, you are missing out on a big part of data to bake into your SEO strategy. It does the same damage as using the term “traditional marketing” to refer to PR, advertising, and events and treating “online marketing” as a separate entity — they are all spokes on ONE marketing hub working towards the same goal — let’s not do that with social media and SEO.
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