Getting the Facts Straight on Social Media & SEO (Part II)

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In Part I of this two-part series, I discussed a great example of the misinformation that can be found online regarding social media and it’s benefits for SEO. As promised, here are three simple and effective social media tactics that can be used both to benefit search engine optimization and to maximize the gains from your social media efforts.

  1. Actively monitor your brand mentions using Google Alerts and search operators

At the heart of social media, I believe that a company’s goal should be to leverage multiple outlets in order to create a greater, more meaningful customer experience. This can mean a number of things, but at its most basic level, it is an opportunity to provide outstanding customer service and support. What better way to do this than to find where people are discussing your brand and weigh in on the conversation in a constructive, helpful manner? This can be done very easily by creating brand-centric Google Alerts that will notify you when other sites are mentioning your brand on the internet.

Another great way to monitor brand or product mentions is to use search operators  in Google, Bing, and Yahoo. The most basic, yet effective is “site:”. Essentially, this search operator allows you to search for a term, or string of terms, within a given domain. For example, if you’re curious how people are discussing your brand on the Web Hosting Talk website, you can use the following search query in Google – “brand name”.

Now you are probably wondering what this has to do with SEO, and the answer is that many forums, social sites, and other community pages can often times rank very well in the SERPs for your branded terms. To put it simply, if you aren’t actively engaged in SEO and social media, it is impossible to control what results users get when they search for your brand, offerings, and relevant key terms.

  1. Own as many social profiles as makes sense for your business, and work to complete them to the greatest degree possible

I cannot stress enough the importance of owning the SERPs for your branded terms. I’ve seen countless examples of companies, large and small, whose branded search term results are plagued with negative reviews and websites that have been created to bash the brand. Whether the negativity is deserved or not, it is important that you make strides to protect your reputation and brand image. The easiest way to accomplish this is to leverage social outlets to rank for your branded terms. Assuming that you have fully optimized your social channels for your branded terms, you’ve effectively increased the chance that the first page of results for your brand name is populated with listings that you personally control. A great example of this is can be seen with Rackspace – of the top 10 positions in the SERPs, they control 6 listings, 4 of which are social channels. The remaining 4 are Wikipedia and 3 news listings.

This is a real example of a brand that has not effectively controlled the SERPs for their brand name. This listing is displaying at position 10 for the company’s brand name.

  1. Integrate social channels into your website

Integrating social media badges and buttons such as “Like” buttons, “Tweet” buttons, “+1” buttons, and any other sharing buttons, can help you in a number of ways. First, adding these buttons allows your users to like, tweet, or +1 your content on-the-spot, which in turn shares that interaction on the user’s social profile. This very quickly expands the reach that the page has. Second, playing directly into SEO, these social sharing metrics allow you to solidify your page’s credibility. When we simplify SEO, we can see that the process involves first clearly establishing a content topic (on-page) and then having users validate that the page is an authority on that topic (off-page). These social share metrics play directly into validating that your webpage, or website, is a credible resource for whatever topic you are discussing.

It is important to note that these tactics are merely a starting point for you to begin leveraging social media to aid your SEO efforts. There is certainly much more that needs to be done to ensure success in organic search efforts, but it is our hope that these tactics will help to guide your thinking and put you on track to gain the most out of your digital marketing efforts.

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