There is a lot of talk around the web these days about the convergence of social media and SEO, but I fee l like what has happened with social and search is more like a marriage, and they skipped the engagement period altogether. It is merely a convergence of technology and methodology.
Change is the only constant in the online marketing industry, and change comes quickly.
Not too long ago most businesses were viewing SEO and social media as two completely separate initiatives, with completely separate budgets and separate teams dedicated to managing the success of the campaigns. Nowadays, most businesses (at least I hope) realize that SEO and social media are a couple and go hand-in-hand with one another’s success.
While 97% of marketers agree that social media provides benefits and value to their business, from a discovery, brand awareness, and customer engagement prospective, many marketers still miss the link between SEO and social, and don’t leverage its power to the fullest extent.
While engaging in social media alone can provide impressive results, properly planned tactics can also have a positive impact on your search results. While social signals are something merely on the radar for some businesses, the bottom line is that marketers who have recognized that the future of search is already here can gain a significant competitive advantage.
Focus on the future
First and foremost, marketers need to focus on where SEO is going, not where it has been. However, this can be quite tricky considering that no one, not even the search engines, really knows where social media is heading. It is all speculation at this point, but one thing is for sure; social media is here to stay and its importance in society and search alike will only increase as time goes on.
US online spending is expected to grow 23.3% throughout 2012, reaching $39.5 billion by the end of the year. The number is expected to rise to $46.5 billion in 2013. The question on every marketers mind is, “How do I get a larger share of that revenue?” The answer is to always think about your potential customers with every marketing decision you make. You can do this by making your business as visible and as easy to engage with as possible on as many online channels as possible. Have a presence where your customers are searching, wherever that may be.
There have been many investments into social media and SEO technologies as well as substantial innovations that make social search a long term relationship. The beauty of social search is that social media puts the human element back into search to achieve a perfect mesh with the spiders, algorithms and technology.
Social search has the searcher ultimately relying on people (and not algorithms) to deliver the most meaningful results. Because of its potential to drive traffic, increase awareness, and build links, it is no wonder that social media has become somewhat of a golden child for SEO. The 2012 SEOMoz industry survey also showed the breakdown of marketers main objectives for utilizing certain social media channels, and it’s not surprising to see that content marketing and SEO are among the top reasons that online marketers use select social media channels.
In order to fully understand the depths of the social search marriage we need to better understand the cause and correlation between social shares, links, and rankings. Combining SEO and social media produces far better returns than investing in any of them individually or exclusively.
One thing is for sure, social interactions beget more social interactions and create a larger social presence on the web, thus increasing links, all while helping people find the information that they are looking for. Google crawls 20 billion web pages every day, and if social signals are able to assist Google with determining the relevancy of a website to a search query then the searcher will have a more personalized search.
According to Google, social media and social networking are about relationships and relationships prove relevance and relevance is at the core of organic search. As social media continues to play a larger role in our day to day lives and in business, the importance of social signals will only increase. Social signals such as +1s, likes, re-tweets, shares, subscriptions, and pins are all endorsements of your website. Even Googles own Matt Cutts believes that social will continue to become a larger piece of search in the future.