The second day of the SMX New York 2011 saw the “social” aspect to search optimization in the session titled- Facebook, Twitter And SEO. The session had on the panel-
- Danny Sullivan, Editor-in-Chief, Search Engine Land
- Jeff Martin, Director of Search Marketing, TouchStorm
- John Doherty, SEO Consultant, Distilled
- Michael Gray, President, Atlas Web Service
- Horst Joepen, CEO, Searchmetrics
- Jim Yu, CEO, BrightEdge
Moderator Danny introduced the speakers and the purpose of the session and then the first speaker Horst Joepen from SearchMetrics took the stage. He made a simple observation- the higher a page ranks for a certain keyword, the more likely there has been a social share on that page. This is something most of us know, but Horst wants to take things further by saying that an SEO needs to know who shared the page and who is interested in it. He then explained with the examples of sites like Roger Smith hotel, the New York Times and Search Engine Land, that SEO visibility = Social media success! He said, “I think it’s really important to point out that you can achieve that kind of impact from social media activities. Facebook and Twitter get the lion’s share of interest, but there are more channels for you to look at.” Horst then said that you need to explore other channels for social success.
These are the steps he suggested SEOs must take up-
- Social media is not only helpful in building your brand, but also protecting your brand against Panda impact.
- Work on topics that interests people
- Analyze strategies also cross-industry.
- Be open to smart experimentation
The second speaker of the session Jim Yu, CEO, BrightEdge took the floor then. He started with a brief on the evolution of Internet marketing.
- Earlier it was broadcasting a message to user targeted (search helps focus in on user intent )
- Now its all about user-driven media. (providing input through social signals )
He said- “That really changes the scope of how we as marketers need to look at reaching our customers. The users are in control. With 750 million users on Facebook and 250 million on Twitter, this creating an unprecedented opportunity.”
He said that sites with share buttons had seven times more engagement that the sites without them. The bottom line- SEO is Social.
He said that to begin with, you need to measure your Social SEO. By asking yourself these questions-
- Do you have the social presences? (Are you on Facebook-Twitter etc.)
- Is useful content being posted? (Interesting and informative)
- Are your social media pages ranking in the search engines? (For people to see and identify more)
- Are you doing SEO for your social pages? (put them on top of search results)
The Takeaways from Jim's session- Be social and make connecting easy. This is how he suggests to add Social Buttons and Connect-
- Use social plugins to increase traffic
- Link social pages to your homepage with brand name. Jim recommended this- “Find your <brand name> on Facebook”
- In status updates and Tweets always use the brand name
- Interact with users and encourage them to LIKE or Share
- Connect your Brands existing pages within social.
The third speaker, Michael Gray, Atlas Web Service, got hold of the mike then and he started with “conversations and connecting” in social media “a bunch of hippie free love crap.” He said, “ In social media, if you’re not the con you’re the mark. He is the con.”
He believes that social media takes time and he manages with automation, scheduling and templates. However, he advises not to replace people with tools but simply supplement so no one has to do this 24 hours a day.
Also, we have to make social actionable. This means that the content has to push people to get involved and interested. He pointed out the basic areas of content that you should work on-
Customer Service & Problem Solving (the direct way of gaining the customer's interest)
- Develop a comprehensive FAQ of your industry.
- Respond to queries put forward.
- Use search tools to automate keyword searches – tweetdeck, hootsuite, social mention.
- Keep checking for updates.
- Take serious complaints offline immediately.
Inform Your Audience (tell them something about the industry that they would want to know)
- Have a list of “evergreen” articles.
- No self promotional content.
- Schedule posts/tweets for maximum exposure.
Value Add to the Community
- Keep an eye on industry experts for resharing.
- Share content from complimentary organizations (noncompeting).
- Share current events and industry news
He said, “Be tweeting out other people’s stuff, it make you look a lot nicer. Shameless self promotion should be the smallest part of your account, only 10-20%.”
The last speaker of the session- John Doherty, SEO Consultant, Distilled came on stage then and started off with social authority. He said, “Newsflash: it’s not just about Facebook and Twitter. What you share all around the web matters. And more importantly, we all want a quick win, but there’s not really a way to win quickly with social.”
He showed with the help of a data study that what really affects ranking and what does not-
- Manually tweeting lead to rank higher as compared to auto tweeting.
- Number of followers is immaterial
- User Engagement is more important than click-through rates.
- Sharing often is important.
- Industry groups you are associated with online also matters
John then gave a few quick tips for ranking with social media-
- Cultivate people who will share your stuff. (get the right audience)
- Share new, interesting stuff
- Use different styles of postings
- Don’t spam. Give them space too. He said, “Don’t pull a Guy Kawasaki. I love the guy, but I don’t follow him.”
These are the final words of advise that he gave-
- Manual tweets have greater true reach
- Number of replies and Re-Tweets garner authority
The session ended here. But we have more exclusive coverage of the second day of SMX New York 2011 coming up. Keep watching this space.Facebook, Twitter And SEO : SMX East New York 2011, Day 2!,