SEO strategists can no longer ignore the impact of social media. Gone are the days when meta tag keywords and a smattering of comments on competitive blogs would boost search rankings. In short, social media and SEO are a match-made for giving traditional cross channel marketing efforts a badly needed boost.

SEO Social Media
Seeks visibility of companies Amplifies messages
Seeks increased awareness Creates relationships
Makes content accessible Creates engagement around content

Social conversations and recommendations are beginning to show up on main search engine results pages and there is evidence that these results are displacing some that would have displayed based on traditional SEO. This demonstrates the importance of having a blended strategy that leverages tactical SEO with the strategic social media engagement programs.

Conversations Feed Strategy

Three items are clear:

  1. SEO strategy must take social media into account.
  2. There is no substitute for good content.
  3. Social SEO is not for novices.

1.  Ensure You Are Maximizing What You Already Have

Hint: it is more than you probably realize. You have already spent time and money creating interesting content. Whether it is blog copy, great graphics or big-market ads, do not distribute it through only one channel. Make sure that your content is discoverable.

This is the point of SEO in the first place! Content like videos, images, ads and blog posts are not shareable if they are not findable. No discovery, no conversation. No conversation, no engagement and you are left holding a cup full of missed opportunity.

2. Ensure That Your Content is Easily Sharable

Social means sharing. People like sharing their opinions about links, cool images, blog posts, even press releases. What they don’t like doing is reformatting that content into social-ready snippets. So make sure that your press release headlines and key facts are ready-made to 140 characters. Make sure they’re ready to copy/paste into a tweet. Better yet, put a tweet-this-link next to key stats, headlines and findings you want shared.

The more work you do for people, the more likely it is that they will amplify your message. The more amplification through social channels, the greater your discoverability. This is the network-effect, in effect, affecting your business and building your awareness.

3. SEO is No Longer the Realm of the IT Web-Head and Marketing Interns

While members of the fresh-from-college clan have an uncanny ability to use social technology for themselves, few come into the workforce with the business savvy that understands how to channel that social connectivity to business trajectories. Organizations must find internal resources, or leverage outside experts to drive strategy and align resources to realize the promises of social SEO.

To be sure, the Gen Y and Millennial crowd are vital members of the team and should be fully integrated with large areas of responsibility, but make sure that you do not fall into the trap of doing and promoting social media for its own sake. Effective social media is for the sake of your business AND the sake of your audience. One without the other is the gateway to #FAIL.

Help Everyone Understand the Basics of Social SEO

Finally, remember every employee is on the front line of customer engagement. If they have a Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or Google+ account, they are on the front lines! So help everyone understand the basics of Social SEO. Employees’ normal and every-day social activities can help the business and delight customers.

Gary Sirek -- Founder and Creative Director Squirrelworx contributed to this post.

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