Social Media and SEO
Why, a publisher asked me in response to my last blog post, do I really need social media? I update my Facebook page and my LinkedIn group; I tweet; I run my videos on YouTube. None of those efforts has delivered the results that my email efforts do; and my email marketing still isn’t pulling as well as my direct mail and insert cards. So what is all the excitement about? And what am I missing?
There’s been a minor uproar lately over the contagious nature of social circles. A couple of researchers have made a reputation for themselves based on research they have done showing that negative traits such as obesity, insomnia, divorce are in some way catching. Their methodology is in question— but there is little question, it seems, that their research has struck a nerve. The group influences the individual; the individual influences the group. And that’s what social media is all about.
The power of the group; the recommendations of friends. Publishers love it or hate it, but most realize that it’s important to be out there in this milieu, finding customers, building audience. It’s important to participate for a number of reasons, not the least of which is its value in search engine optimization. Google’s Social Search is based on the idea that each person is more likely to be interested in topics recommended by someone from one’s own social circle. That’s the power of the group right there: the idea that people connected socially are interested in similar things and can influence each other. When you search a topic the results offered on page one are influenced by the behavior of people with whom you are connected. If even one of them “liked” a particular blog post or web page, or passed it along via a tweet, it’s more likely to show up at the top of your search results.
Bing does the same thing; and the MS search engine has taken it one step further. Facebook “like” information is actually a factor in Bing rankings regardless of social connections. So if you are wondering, as some publishers do, why you have those Facebook “like” buttons on every blog post you add and throughout your site—here is reason aplenty. And your YouTube channel? Embed a video in your blog post and as your audience watches it your YouTube ranking improves. Improved ranking there means that the video—along with a screen shot—will rank higher in Google’s search results. Ah, the power of social media for leveraging SEO.
And let’s not forget Google’s RealTime search, wherein fresh new content—as in blog posts, tweets, and other social media type updates—get a ranking boost for hot current topics.
So we’re using social media to bring our audience to our sites. What next, after that?
A publisher recently asked me to put together a social media campaign leveraging that power--the power of the group. How to get every group member from Linked In and every page fan from Facebook to bring another friend to the group and the page?
What my publisher client wanted to do was to go from being a passive participant in social media to an active one—to go from posting little ads and updates to mobilizing the group and getting them to take specific action. There is another publication doing its bit in social media: every day adding a blog update referring to a piece of editorial content; every day editors tweet links to that update; every day someone floats a new topic in a LinkedIn discussion group or on a Facebook page. Where to go from there? How to build on that base and really make things happen?
This is the topic of another blog post—a post about what it takes to really move a group. It starts with participation, but it needs to go beyond that. Content updates need to be organized around some kind of focal point. The focal point needs to be dynamic, exciting, timely, urgent, relevant, useful and practical. This is where publishers move beyond the mere updating of content and into a new realm—the realm of online content-driven events.
I’ll share some successful examples in future blog updates.
Linda Ruth, as president of PSCS Consulting (www.PSCSConsulting.com), offers communication companies worldwide the keys to magazine launches, search engine optimization and audience development online and at retail. She is a pioneer in the fields of Online Audience Optimization (OAO) and gamification for content publishers. Her books, "Internet Marketing for Magazine Publishers" ; "How to Market your Newsstand Magazine"; and "Secrets of SEO for Publishers" can be found on Amazon. Find her online at Google Plus, Magazine Dojo, LinkedIn, and Twitter @Linda_Ruth.