~Written by guest blogger, Mike Van Houten of JM Studio ~
As social media continues to implant itself as a permanent communication tool in tens of millions of lives, it provides the opportunity for more eyeballs to reach your brand. It also raises many questions regarding how much time to devote to each media platform, which ones are more important than others, and whenever I have a discussion with a client or fellow “geek” who’s interested in the topic, the debate of SEO vs. Social Media eventually ensues.
Which is more important? How should you split up your time reaching out to people online? The answer is simple…in a true multi-faceted marketing campaign; search engine optimization and social media cannot be separated. It’s a setup for failure or at the very best, a mediocre return on the time invested, if you perform one or the other but not both. Here is why:
Let’s use SmartBrand as an example (because it’s a neutral topic), a company that uses social media to the extreme. First we’ll look at social media in terms of branding results in Google.
Take a look at the search results below for the search ‘smartbrand’:
While the top result is SmartBrand’s main web site, which should be the case, 5 other results are directly from social media sites like Ning, Flikr, Twitter, You Tube, and the like.
So in essence, utilizing social media IS search engine optimization, if carried out properly, and if you optimize each of your social media platforms as one cohesive marketing campaign that utilizes the same keywords and varying optimized descriptions (such as in YouTube video descriptions, or Flikr gallery descriptions and photo captions), you’ll ultimately create a funnel effect, not only exposing your brand, but driving traffic to one source.
You might be surprised that people actually follow the link in your Twitter profile to your primary web presence, or click a link in someone’s YouTube profile. It’s a double exposure win-win situation – if optimized correctly it’s exposure on the front page of Google from multiple social media platforms for your target keywords, as well as exposure in each of the media platforms themselves.
It wasn’t always this way. Any reputable SEO’er who is obsessed with the topic will tell you that updates to Google only within the past year started giving more weight to links and keywords embedded in social media sites. Particularly with the “Vince” update. Google didn’t pay much attention to YouTube videos, nor embedded YouTube videos in its primary web search results until it acquired YouTube.
A video’s ‘page’ in YouTube can carry page rank, if people link to it as a valuable resource. Getting each platform as valuable resource.
What kind of success or failures have you had with your SEO attempts through social media?
Mike Van Houten is the owner and interactive media designer of JM Studio.
JM Studio designs sites with a user-centered approach with a philosophy that places the person, your web visitor, at the center of your web experience. Mike is also the author of northern Nevada’s #1 blog about development in and around downtown Reno: Downtownmakeover.com