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Blurring the Line Between SEO and Social Media

3 min read

Social Media

Today’s guest post comes from SmartBrief on Social Media reader Bill Sebald, SEO consultant and agency SEO manager at TrueAction. His blog about SEO trends and SEO for non-SEO marketers is a useful resource about search engine optimization for business and e-commerce.

In the past few days, I’ve seen a number of people asking the question, “Is SEO dead?” This seems to be a hot question at the moment, but it’s been a hot question several times before. Search engine optimization never went away — it has just evolved with the rise of social media. A handy way to think about the new iteration of SEO is as searchable content optimization. Relevance to groups, emotionally connected content and topic authority are the keys to SEO today.

Some things we now accept about SEO:

  • Personalized/social search is giving us exclusive rankings based on our own worlds. Search engines want to start serving results based on intent, so they’re trying to learn more about our habits and interests.
  • Search engines want to take freshness into account.
  • Search engines value the editorial aspects of the “democratic” Web highly and want to get better at contextual reading.
  • Google wants to own the concept of real-time search before Twitter search gets the market share (they may have just kicked open the door with their new constantly scrolling results on certain result pages).
  • Search engines are working on ways to consider “reputation,” based on social graphs, as a factor in rankings.
  • Search engines want to provide their users with quality and value. SEO experts need to provide quality and value to their users. SEO is marketing — plain and simple.

Strategies such as optimizing title tags and H1 tags are vastly less powerful than they once were. Getting quality backlinks is still important, but the value of PageRank is fuzzier because there are so many Web sites to contend with. It’s getting harder and harder to make qualified decisions on link partners.

At the same time, search engines are learning to read Flash, JavaScript, and complex URLs — they know it’s their responsibility to get the information people want out of even the most poorly constructed sites. The technical side of SEO –making a site more crawlable and readable — is still important. But it’s a much smaller priority, in my opinion.

Given all that, here are a few tips for optimizing your searchable content:

  1. Use social media to market your articles and products. Aim to create conversations, generate opinions, and above all, make yourself a participating member.
  2. Reach out to bloggers via your social networks so they see your content. If it’s valuable to them, they may blog about it with a backlink. This is a golden opportunity to expand your network.
  3. Use a variety of social networks to dominate the top positions for your keywords within universal search. For example, produce and optimize videos, images, news releases, Digg listings and blog posts. Most searchers don’t get to the second page of a search engine result page. They tend to refine their query instead. If your content truly satisfies the first time, they won’t need to search again.