If there’s one good reason to be using social media, it’s for the SEO benefits it brings. Not in the traditional sense where you optimise and fight your rivals for dominion over a certain keyword. But in a broader way, where SEO starts to mean “getting people to like you for who you are”.
That’s the goal of every brand and it’s the purpose, in a way, of social media sites.
When people like your brand for what it is they don’t care what your rankings are in a Google search. They send links to your site and your distributed content directly to their own friends and followers. Who check you out and send links on to their friends and followers…
This is the goal of all SEO. The Holy Grail. A viral brand. Once web users begin to evangelise on the party of a client brand, your work is effectively done. Al that’s left to do is think up new and consistently interesting ways to keep that brand high in the estimation of the notoriously fickle online crowd – but that’s another story. For now let’s focus on the SEO benefits attached to a successful social media campaign.
The basics work like this. Google has developed to a point where it works more like a human than most humans. It pays a lot of attention to the buzz about your brand and keywords on the social media streams. It looks at inbound links to work out whether they come from a real person talking about you on social media, or a link farm you have paid to give you a nod.
URLs getting a lot of chatter in the social media streams, and generating a lot of apparently genuine links from pages attached to social media sites, are given more credence. There’s also the technology (like the Google Plus One) to give greater weight to results originating from sites within a searcher’s own social network than ones outside it.
So the more presence your brand has in the social media, the better your search results do when someone uses the search engine query method of finding a website. And bear in mind, too, that fewer people use the “traditional” method of finding URLs now than used to – so simply having a good social media presence is becoming more and more key to getting any kind of new referrals to your brand.
And how do you ensure a good social media presence? Un-learn everything you ever knew and start again. People don’t want brands in their social circles. They want personalities and they want to interact with people. So your mission is to create constantly evolving, ever involving interaction with your customers on a level that has nothing overtly sales driven in its makeup.
The golden rule of social media optimisation: sell stuff to people and they’ll abandon you in droves. Give stuff to them – like retro interactive games with fun prizes – and they’ll come back to you again and again.