The Convergence of Social Media & Search

November 10, 2010
By Lisa Barone in Internet Marketing Conferences

And after a super quick break we are BACK in the action.  Up on stage we have Rebecca Murtagh, David Wallace, Bill Hartzer, and Tony Adam. No time for witty banter so let’s just jump in. Up first is Rebecca.  Hey, Rebecca!

Rebecca says that social media is real and presents huge opportunities that you can work to your advantage. The most important thing about social media is that it can be extremely favorable but it can also wreak havoc with your business if you’re not careful.  People get really excited and involved in the beginning, but they forget about the crisis management aspect. Don’t turn your back on that. You need to establish your voice and have a crisis plan.  Embrace it, understand it and leverage it.

Search isn’t going away. 70 percent of online customers find the sites they purchase from via search engines.  To leverage the search engine environment you have to understand its assets.  Factors of influence include followers/fans/checkins, frequency that you update, topic/relevance, reputation, etc. If you establish a positive reputation, people flock to you. You need to establish what kind of a persona you’re going to have. People are using social media to get recommendations from friends and strangers. It’s no mystery that the search engines care what people are saying about you in social media. Now they’re even making predictive decisions. They’re basing your search results on who you’re connected to socially. [Hi, that’s creepy.]

Two weeks ago Bing decided they were going to use the Facebook Like button to influence the organic results. [That’s so not easy to manipulate. Good idea…] They’re taking all the social media data they have and they’re parsing it.  Last year Google decided to license tweets and archive profiles and tweets.  Tweets appear in “real time” for hot topics. Twitter now has real-time search.  A lot of people don’t realize how powerful search is in the social platforms. You have to think outside of Google and into the specific social platforms.  You want to bring it full circle. Never forget to connect the dots.

The relationship between social platforms, your brand and Website is invaluable.   But be prepared for the good, the bad and the ugly.  She shows some negative queries that show up via Google Suggest for [Twitter is…]

You want to leverage ALL content, including owned, paid and earned media. [Read Forrester’s post on defining earned, owned and paid media]

People are coming to your from a variety of devices and they’re looking for a variety of things. Remember that every social profile appears in search. Make sure you know what’s showing up.  Claim your Google Profile because it will always show up on the first page for your name. If you’re trying to establish a relationship with your audience, make sure you’re responding back to them.  Never forget that there is a human behind the device.

Rebecca ran long so now she’s just flipping through her sides without actually reading them. Ah, this is fun for a liveblogger. :)

Next up is David Wallace. He gets a strong round of applause, sparked by Dana Lookado.  It’s nice to have friends. :)

Does social media prevent the need for search? Absolutely not. Search still sends the majority of the traffic for his clients.

Does social media play an important role in search? It certainly does. If you look at the SERPs for any company that has engaged in social media, you see a lot of social profiles ranking – Twitter, Facebook, Crunchbase, Vimeo, etc. It helps you to really dominate the search results. They certainly do intersect.  One would be naive not to recognize the vast number of people using social media and not try to tap into their audience.

Facebook Client Case Study

They had a client who had to be dragged kicking and screaming into social media. They finally started their Facebook Fan Page in November 2008. Last year, they had 1700 fans. Today they have 48,000 fan.   They use their fan page to prmote blog content, offer promotions/discounts, introduce new products, etc. They’re building brand loyalty.

Search/Social Media Strategies

What can you do with social media with regards to increasing sales and brand awareness/loyalty?

  • Integrate offline and online advertising
  • Multimedia usage
  • Custom-tailor the message
  • Local social networks, beyond Yelp
  • Contests and discounts
  • Customer service
  • Online reputation management

Next up is Bill Hartzer.  He says he’s a reformed blackhat. More on that later.

Old Style SEO was:

  • Create content on site
  • On page optimization
  • links = all directories, reciprocal links, link exchanges
  • Buy links for Google PageRank  [er….]

New Social Media SEO In 2010

  • create content on site
  • on-page optimization
  • links = authority directories
  • Write articles: on own site
  • Unique articles on industry authorities
  • Contextual links are key
  • Linkbait on own site
  • Use social media to “get noticed”
  • Success in social media = getting noticed in search

Master your On Page SEO First

  • Search engine friendly site is key
  • No duplicate content
  • unique title tags, headings, meta tags
  • Internal link structure, internal anchor text
  • hire a writer, add fresh content

Combine SEO with Social Media: Create content on site, promote on social sites. Twitter links, mentions of URL are seen as links. Proof is Google’s Top Links reported.

Keys to Successful Social Media

  • Participate on a regular basis
  • Vote and comment often
  • Add friends, update often
  • Put your site in your profile
  • Social media niches
  • Submit to appropriate niche sites

[Don’t forget to be valuable. Social media is more than just daily participating and adding random people]

Market Share of Links

What is market share of links? Having more links than others. Being first with market share of links gives you an advantage. You get noticed by humans and noticed by crawlers. Humans have the ability to link to you and the ability to tell others/tweet it.

How do you get market share of links?

  • Watch for newsworthy content
  • React quickly, post content
  • Submit to social media for links
  • Create more blog posts, link to original blog post
  • Submit blog posts to social media
  • edit, update original blog post later, as necessary

RSS Feed Promotion

  • Promote RSS feeds that will help you
  • Take advantage of all RSS feeds – the ones of your own sites, your social submissions, those that link to you
  • Promote sites, articles, blog posts of those who link to you.
  • Remember: a link to you is more powerful if the page that link is on has more links

Search and Social Media in 2010

  • Make sure on-site SEO is done
  • Create new link bait content on a regular basis
  • Submit link bait to social sites
  • Create more content, link to link bait
  • Social media – Participate daily
  • Link bait + social media = market share of links and “getting noticed”. If/when you “get noticed”, you will be successful in organic search.

[There was some talk on Twitter about whether Bill was a good fit for this panel, as he’s not exactly known for his proper use of social media.  I’d just be careful.  Make sure you’re adding value and doing things that make sense for your audience. That’s all I’ll say.]

Tony Adam is next up. Myspace, WHAT!  Tony says he’ll be fast because people are probably trying to get to the bar. Um, it’s 11:00am!   Dude, relax! :)

Tony says that social media + search = <3.  Aw.

How do you create visibility for your content so other people link to it? You’re going there for traffic. You want to promote your content and get it in front of the right people to get links back to your site.

When Tony worked for BillShrink (he’s a job hopper, you know), they did a post about the 12 Biggest Ripoffs in America.  They wrote it because they knew tons of people searched for it. They got 300k uniques the week it was released. The cool part was they got a shitload of links. [That’s a technical term.] They have 750l uniques to date to that blog post.  Tony shows a bunch of content he was able to get popular on Digg.

Use social media to boost trends based on search traffic. For example, Lindsay Lohan is in jail again. Then she’s in rehab. Now she’s doing coke. Whatever. Let her do her thing, but lets take advantage of the traffic.  They get 30-40k uniques a day by taking advantage of stuff happening on Google Trends/Google Insight

Social Media sites

  • Digg
  • Delicious
  • MySpace
  • Facebook
  • Reddit
  • Tip’d
  • Bally Hype
  • StyleHive
  • Kirtsy
  • Hacker News

Tony does a really good job showing how he’s been able to take advantage of specific peices of content to drive traffic and links to (the many, many, many) companies he’s worked for. You have to do stuff that creates visiblity for your brand. Where does your content have to be in order for the right people to link to it? Tony’s smart.

Reviews and Local Results

Purchases are made based on reviews. It matters what friends and influencers like. Using sites like Yelp and leveraging those.

Social Media for ORM

Use KnowEm to get all your usernames. Having social profiles helps you to control and own your branded search results. It’s huge. It’s really important for your brand. If people see a negative result for your brand, they may not want to use your brand. And don’t just create it – give it juice by linking to it from your site.  If you don’t want the negative feedback online, make sure you give people a way to give you feedback and ONLY you feedback – put a form or another outlet on your site so that people can go there.

Transparency is key. Help people and be genuine.  If you’re launching a new service/product/feature, make sure you’re communicating with your audience. Had Digg done this better, they may not have had such bad backlash from their community and users abandoning the site. You want to be transparent with your users.

And we’re done!  These sessions are getting quicker and quicker passed and with zero time (literally) slotted between them, I’m doing my best. If things seem more frantic than usual, I sincerely apologize. Stay with me.


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