Examine How SEO Professionals Use Social Media
Today, I got a new Twitter follower, a company that provides search engine optimization services for small businesses. Of course, I was interested in learning more. However, when I arrived at their Twitter page, I found a spammy mess of posts touting their services and, presumably, the services of their clients— and nothing else of value.
Now, this post is not intended in any way to demean the abilities of said company to perform some of the basic elements of SEO. They may be fantastic at on-page optimization and could even be effective link builders, but the fact that they clearly were using social media to ‘share’ nothing but sales pitches made me worry for the firm’s current and future clients.
An SEO provider that doesn’t clearly understand the value of social media— the inherent value and as part of SEO— is doing their clients a disservice. SEOMoz, one of the world’s leading providers of SEO software and advice, hosted a webinar in September for its PRO members called The End of Search Without Social. Here’s the description:
“Google and Bing have been pushing hard on integration of social features, social metrics and social networking directly in their search products. Given this change and the value that social media marketing can bring to link building and content, it’s nearly impossible to effectively compete in search without a social strategy.”
I wrote a post about this on my personal blog back in April, advising small businesses owners that it was time to rethink their social media strategy – or get one. For those of you who don’t want to read the whole post, here’s the summary:
- Search engines want to provide the best results for a given search.
- The mechanisms they have for doing so reward the best site (based on their algorithm), which may or may not be the best provider of the product or service.
- As consumers, sometimes it’s better to get advice from people we actually know and trust, so we may be tempted to turn to social media rather than to search engines for certain kinds of queries (e.g., ‘I need a good carpet cleaner in Orlando’).
- Search engines do NOT want to lose us to social media sites, so they’re working to incorporate social signals into the search results to give us the best of both worlds— algorithmically derived results blended with socially influenced ones.
Since I wrote that blog post this spring, the importance of social media has only grown. Need proof? Earlier this month, Google invited social networks and platforms to integrate activity stream data with Google Analytics, with the resulting data being available in the Google Analytics Social Analytics reports that should be available in 2012.
And consider this: In an article on MediaPost, Laurie Sullivan cites a BrightEdge “. . . test to see how social signals impact search rankings in a study that looked at 10,000 keywords. . .” She notes that the study “. . . found that of those with pages ranking in the top 10 positions, about 80 percent have Facebook likes and shares and Twitter tweets.”
That’s why this morning’s new Twitter follower made me concerned. Small business owners need to have someone with a broader knowledge base of digital marketing, rather than someone who understands only their specific niche. An SEO provider who isn’t at least adept at using social media for their own benefit is unlikely to be doing it more effectively for their clients.
Focusing on SEO is fine for a service provider, but being knowledgeable about how what you do impacts other things a small business client needs (and vice versa) is vital to maximizing success.
So What’s a Small Business to Do?
There’s plenty of great advice about social media here on Marketing Zeus, so start there. I’ll be following up with some specific suggestions about using social media for maximizing your SEO efforts. Stay tuned!
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