You Can’t Separate Social Media and SEO
Ian Lurie Jul 21 2008
Social media and SEO are now inextricably linked. You couldn’t separate ’em if you tried.
I used to tell clients “Hey, we’ll do SEO, and if you pay us extra we’ll execute a nice social media marketing campaign, too”.
Truth is, though, you can’t do a good job in SEO any more without social media marketing. And you sure as heck won’t succeed in social media marketing if you ignore SEO.
SEO Needs Social Media
Search engine optimization, at its core, is based on relevance and authority.
Relevance comes from content that has the right keywords and concepts. What’s one of the best ways to add content to a site? A blog! Assuming, of course, you can keep the site owner from having apoplexy at the prospect of writing 200 words once a week.
What’s another great way to add content to a site? Community! Comments, discussion forums and ‘submit your story’ type stuff drives growth.
And guess what? Blogs and community content are part of that mushy, IPO-driven concept called ‘social media’.
Authority comes from links. I dare you to carry out a successful link campaign without bloggers and sites like Digg, Stumbleupon and all those other communities we spam on a weekly basis, begging folks for just one vote.
Yes, I’m oversimplifying. Lambast me in the comments if you must.
Social Media Needs SEO
You can no longer succeed in social media without a boost from the search engines, either (Unless you’re famous, of course, in which case you don’t really need social media at all).
You can try to launch a social media campaign purely through social news sites, bookmarking and outreach. But what’re the odds you’re going to hit the front page of Reddit or Digg? Pretty slim, since there are at least 999,999,999 other slavering marketers trying to do the same thing.
Your success in social media will eventually depend on search rankings in a blog search tool and the general search results. Maybe it’ll be your bookmark page, maybe a Twitter post, or the page itself, but the search rankings will matter. Have a look at my rankings for ‘Hassenplarfer':
That little experiment shows just how much rankings can drive traffic to social media. Had ‘hassenplarfer’ actually been a real word, this result would drive traffic to all of my social media placements. Take away search and most of those placements would gather dust.
And blogs, of course, can’t survive without SEO. In spite of my wide-ranging stardom, readership of nearly 10 people and my 3 friends, Google still drives most of my site traffic:
Mated For Life
SEO and social media marketing are now inseparable. Next time you think about saving a few bucks by slashing one in favor of the other, keep that in mind…
Ian Lurie is CEO and founder of Portent Inc. He's recorded training for Lynda.com, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Forbes.com and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, SIC and ad:Tech. Follow him on Twitter at portentint. He also just published a book about strategy for services businesses: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle. Read More