<< by on January 10th, 2011
One in a series of posts in which I am sharing my New Year’s resolutions in five different areas of SEO, this post addresses how to take an end-of-year look at your social media strategy for SEO.
Why is social media important for SEO?
Social media has had an indirect effect on SEO for some time now. Last fall, I gave a presentation on how social media affects SEO. Engagement in social media can cultivate inbound links to your website that are valuable for search engine rankings- as well as provide real-time content that can appear in search engine listings.
These effects still hold true today. However, now social media is becoming even more of a ranking factor. Tad Miller recently wrote a great summary of the “social influence” metrics which the search engines claim to be examining more closely when ranking content.
In a December interview with Danny Sullivan, Google acknowledged using certain “social signals” in its organic web search results ranking algorithms. To be more specific, content which is linked to heavily by authoritative Twitter users gets a boost in the ranking algorithm.
So you can see how now is definitely THE time to become active in social media if you’re not already.
What to Consider?
1. Social Platforms To Establish For Your Company- The “big three” to be sure you’ve got covered are Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. However, that may change as other platforms become more widely used.
2. Social Media Policy- Who will be engaging in social media on behalf of the company? Keep in mind that the more “tweeters” you have, the less the burden of producing content will rest on the shoulders of just one person. If you decide to have many (or all) of your employees pitch in, be sure to establish a social media policy. It should outline the type of comments that are allowed when representing the company.
3. What To Say- Now that your social media profiles are out there, what do you have to offer? Sharing content is a great idea. Offer links to any number of digital assets you may have available (white papers, blog posts, articles, webinars, etc.) Be sure to share special promotions. But it is generally agreed upon that you shouldn’t just plug your own content all the time. Re-tweet great content from other sources as well. Share special promotions. Show your human side every once in a while, too. Remember that the goal is to draw in a group of followers who are members of your target audience; attract them by offering the information they’re looking for.
4. How To Listen- The other half of social media engagement is listening and responding to what other people say to you and about you on social media platforms. You’ll definitely need to track mentions of your Twitter handle (TweetDeck is great for this). And monitor your mentions and comments on Facebook and LinkedIn as well. When someone asks you a question, answer them. When someone complains, be prepared to respond appropriately. You might also want to monitor popular topics that are relevant to your business so that you can join important industry conversations. Do the research to find out which hashtags are popular, and track them.
It’s obvious that social media engagement can be a source of new traffic to your website, a channel for disseminating information to your target market, and a tool for listening to that market. But by becoming active in your social media community, you’ll begin the process of becoming an authoritative player and cultivating valuable links for SEO as well.