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Getting started with integrating search and social media

4 min read

Social Media

Today’s guest post was written by Norm Elrod, a contributor to Search Engine Watch, producers of the Search Engine Strategies New York Conference & Expo. Norm is also a digital media consultant who blogs about his employment experiences at Jobless and Less.

Who among us has it all figured out? The search side of your marketing is buzzing right along. Pay-per-click campaigns are bringing in qualified traffic; search-engine optimization efforts have pushed the right pages into the top three in desired search results. On the social media side, the right messages are reaching fans and followers on Facebook and Twitter, driving traffic back to your site. If this describes your company, stand up and take a bow.

But what about integration? Have you integrated search with your social media? Marketing divided into silos is inefficient and only lets you reach narrow goals. I can almost hear the reactions. There’s no time or bandwidth to take on another online marketing project. I already worked weekends building a search case to convince my boss; I already implemented social media best practices on my own time, while maintaining my personal profiles.

Don’t worry… a lot of the heavy lifting is done. Moving forward with integration shouldn’t be too difficult. But don’t delay, because the major players in search and social media are getting better at integrating the two disciplines everyday.

Google and Microsoft’s Bing recently struck deals to incorporate social media into their real-time search results. Google signed a deal with Twitter that will add tweets to search results. Microsoft signed deals with both Twitter and Facebook to incorporate tweets and status updates into Bing. Microsoft recently expanded the arrangement with Facebook, making Bing its default search engine.

Here are a few tips to get you started integrating your search and social media marketing as well:

Use keywords in tweets and status updates. Social media is a great keyword suggestion tool, as I stressed in my recent post “Let social media help your SEO.” And these days, it’s critical to use the right keywords with every tweet and status update. Don’t just apply the same high-level phrases to every update. That will bore your audience, or worse still, scare them away. Use the long-tail phases that apply to deeper pages, and then link to those pages with strong anchor text. Search engines like this and reward it. But don’t stop there. Keep on linking, provided there’s something interesting and relevant to say.

Link from profile pages. Social media provides many linking opportunities. And one of them is the profile page. Let everyone know where else to find you. People use various social media sites in different ways. Be there, and tell them you’re there. The links from the profile page may have nofollow tags, but they will drive traffic. And different search engines treat the nofollow tag differently. There could be an SEO boost in it for you.

Expand your social network. Google is already beta-testing the inclusion of blogs from your social circle in search results. Tweets can’t be far behind. Your social circle includes:

  • Direct connections from Google Chat and Contacts.
  • Direct connections from links on your Google profile.
  • Secondary connections publicly associated with your direct connections.

The bigger the social circle, the more likely your content will appear in the search results of those connected to you. Expanding your social circle will help get you found.

Let the pros show you how to do it. There are numerous seminars and conferences covering search engine marketing and social media. And they’re increasingly devoting sessions, tracks and even whole days to the intersection between the two. Meetup groups bring in experts to talk about the meeting of search and social from various perspectives. And there’s a wealth of good free information online, here at SmartBlog on Social Media and elsewhere.

So what are you waiting for? Get out there are be social, but be smart about it.

Image credit, Garsya, via Shutterstock