In many companies and agencies, SEO and social media folks work on similar projects and often the same clients, but too frequently there is a disconnect in the execution of various strategies that leaves a little bit on the table. Figuring out how to tie the details of both SEO and social together can provide enormous benefits for both teams and disciplines.
Most of the readers understand the basics of both SEO and social media. With SEO, inbound links are gold. And with social media, it’s all about audience and influence. Let’s take a look at few things you can do to get the biggest bang for your buck with your organic efforts online in both areas.
Linkbait and Viral Content
The idea of “linkbait” existed long before the pioneers of social media marketing began setting best practices, but the same concept lives on with viral social marketing. If you create something that is fascinating enough and you can get it in front of the people who it fascinates, they will share it. This means posting on Facebook, Tweeting it, linking to it; you never know how someone is going to share something that interests them.
And this is precisely where you can find an opportunity for SEO and social media strategies to combine. There is an obvious balancing act depending on the goals for a particular campaign: Do we want more Likes on Facebook? Do we want more Twitter followers? Do we want to generate inbound links to our blog?
So if you’re using Facebook and Twitter to launch viral content, it might be wise to host the content as a page on the website where you can control internal links to important SEO pages.
And if you’re releasing an exclusive piece of content, try to figure out a way to release it to your Facebook or Twitter peeps a couple hours before it shows up on your home page or the front page of your blog.
Most of all, it’s important for SEO and social team members to work together as closely as possible to make sure you’re taking advantage of all of your efforts.
Since long before the advent of the world wide web (let alone Facebook), contests have been an important staple of marketing that covers the entire spectrum from brand marketing to lead generation.
Once you have a social media audience or a steady stream of readers on your blog, contests can have the added benefit of increasing your reach across all of your organic online marketing channels.
Here are some simple tactics that are common on various mediums:
Blogs – ask users to comment on the blog to enter the contest.
Twitter – users enter the comment by re-tweeting your post, spreading the word with their followers
Facebook – require users to like your page and post on your wall to enter your contest.
One of my favorite ways to promote across all of these channels is to ask entrants to enter the contest by doing “two of three”. If the “hub” for contest lives on your blog and you’re linking to it from your social media channels, it’s easy for people to share on the channel where they found out about it, plus leave a comment on the blog.
Just make sure that the blog makes it easy to follow your social profiles and to subscribe to your RSS (put RSS buttons near the comment form with a good call to action, and at the top of the blog post). If you’re giving away something that people want, they will enter your contest according to your rules. So make the rules favor both your SEO and social goals!
Your Conversational Voice
One of the great balancing acts of organic digital marketing is giving a voice or personality to the copy on a website whose primary function is to drive traffic via SEO. How do you use a keyword such as [long island dentist] seven times on a page and maintain the same voice that your blog and your social profiles are projecting to your audience?
One way to do this is “writing by committee”. I have worked with many organizations where teams are integrated and most content is passed around to different disciplines for feedback before it is published; I have seen great results at all of them! Figuring out how to get the PR, social, SEO, SEM and offline marketing teams on the same page does many things to help marketing as a whole, but most importantly it makes sure that anyone interacting with the company or brand sees a consistent voice, no matter where they are interacting.
This doesn’t mean you have to trash your awesome home page that ranks #1 for [long island dentists] – just add some widgets in prominent places that show off your recent news, social activity, and make the page more friendly.
And you don’t have to talk about Long Island dentists on Twitter, even if you’re a long island dentist. But you can use Twitter’s search feature to find people talking about toothaches in New York City, and offer them some tips and advice. At a minimum, this will continually remind your followers that you are, in fact, a dentist…and it’ll probably recruit some new followers simply because you’re a nice enough person to offer some advice.
Either way, do your best to create that consistent voice and it will make your entire marketing team’s efforts more seamless and effective.
Whether your marketing department is just you or it’s a team of dozens of people, remember that a marketing department or team is truly a “team”. Make sure that everyone is working together to help the overall goals of the department, rather than working on individual projects without considering how they could provide more benefit with the input of your peers.
Frank Anderson has been working with online marketing and search trends for over seven years. He is currently helping Web Hosting with their marketing efforts.
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