13 ways to integrate SEO into Social Media to get links
First of all, I hate the phrase, “…get links”[gap height=”30″]
I used these words for a reason though. It is the language that a lot of us are speaking. Now that I’ve used the native language to get in the conversation, let me tell you that your goal should not be to “get links.” It should be to earn links. There is a difference. One implies control and the other does not. Links are like votes. If you control them, they are not legit. And Search Engines are getting good at telling the difference.
What I’m mainly talking about when I say “integrate SEO into Social Media”
I’m mainly talking about Outreach, which is an SEO activity to get good content in front of people that can influence the probability of said good content to be seen by those that blog and would like to link to it. I know, that’s kind of jumbled up. In other words, good Outreach is really all about good content that can earn links naturally under the right circumstances. Aside from the good content, Outreach is networking and creating circumstances.
Also, this post is about top level concepts and strategies.
What I’m not talking about
You can integrate SEO into Social Media in a lot of different ways for a lot of different reasons. For example, you can make sure that your profiles are thorough and contain keywords to increase the search visibility of your profiles. Another example of integrating SEO and Social Media is to make blog posts share friendly and encourage people to share your blog posts through compelling content.
These are great things too, but I’m not talking about those things. I’m specifically talking about ways to integrate SEO into Social Media as an “Outreach for earning links” strategy.
Related: PR for SEO: Advanced Social Media Tips to Engage With Media Influencers
Does Social Media help SEO? (Let’s get this out of the way)
This is a little off topic, but it’s an extremely common question, so I’m just going to go ahead and get it out of the way so we can focus more on Outreach. Plus, the answer to this question leads quite nicely into the Outreach topic.
Does Social Media help SEO (technically)?
No. Actually, it depends what you mean by the question. Depending on what you mean, the question can just as easily be answered with a “yes.” Let me explain…
If by “help SEO” you mean: Is there a direct technical (algorithmic) connection between Social signals and rankings, then the answer is “no.”
I don’t want to get into algorithmic formulas because no one really knows what they are anyway. But we do know that the most important metrics, out of the hundreds Google uses, to determine the rankings of your content are the metrics closely related to whether or not people like your content and find it useful. But if no one sees your content because it’s not ranked and Google cannot rank your content because it cannot see the metrics that are related to people liking it, then how do you start? It’s sort of a case of the chicken or the egg.
This is where Social Media can be helpful. You can use Social Media to kick start the metrics into gear. The best way to do that is to build a community that listens to you, especially when you share that great post you want ranked. Hmm… This sounds like Outreach for earning links. You see how everything ties together?
First, let’s back up for a moment and define some terms…
Social Media is websites and applications that enable users to create and share content or to participate in social networking. – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_media
SEO (this definition originally posted at bit.ly/SEOdefined) literally means Search Engine Optimization. In other words, it is any action that optimizes web content for Search Engines. SEO actions overlap many other trades like Social Media and Online Marketing. SEO can be broken down into different segments. Technical SEO removes technical barriers and Enables Search Engines to find, crawl, and index web pages. Actions like creating great content and outreach can affect the metrics Search Engines use to Rank content. It is important to understand the difference between enabling rankings and getting rankings. They are two completely different activities. One is technical in nature and the other is creative in nature. – By Scott True
The thing to take note of in my SEO definition as it relates to this article, is Overlap. Many trades overlap SEO. The areas of the most overlap are Social Media and PR. This does not mean you have to compromise the tactics of these trades nor does it mean to compromise the tactics of SEO. Rather, I encourage people to simply do good marketing. When marketing is done well, SEO Outreach, Social Media, and PR are indistinguishable.
1. Create goals. Without them, this is just a bunch of stuff that will keep you busy. If you create a big one-year goal, it will be the guiding force to take the following activities in the right direction for you.
2. Become a thought leader. Eventually, you’ll want to talk to other thought leaders as equals rather than a fan-idol type of relationship. Becoming a thought leader involves becoming known, liked, trusted, and following the rest of these steps.
3. Keep a list of thought leaders and advocates. In that list, keep a record of what you can do for them and any other notes that can be handy. The objective is to network. But I feel that these notes will come in handy when it comes time to ask a favor.
4. Narrow that list down to about 5 that you want to focus on. The idea is that you can gain a lot more traction when focused rather than spread thin. This will be your circle
5. Be social with your circle. You’ll need to break the ice so you don’t come off creepy.
6. Contribute real value to the discussions. Never just praise anyone. That’s great that you like them and their point of view, but no one really cares enough for it to be part of the conversation. They do care, however, if you have some interesting value to add.
7. Interview thought leaders. Or ask intelligent questions. You can use the answers as great content on your blog. This is a way to understand thought leaders and a way to build rapport.
8. Ask favors appropriately. Once you have a relationship built, ask for a post to be looked at. Or better yet, include your target in the post. This might give you a reason to be mentioning it to them.
9. Build Community. You’re not really a leader without followers. But don’t get me wrong. Leading is not only about having followers. More importantly, leadership and community is about engaging with people in a meaningful way. When done really well, this can result in the ultimate goal of community when you become a thought leader and your followers become your advocates. You can build community by all of the above, plus the following:
10. Create a central place for communication. Most likely, communication will happen all over the place, but it can help to have a central hub, like a facebook page. You can even bring outside discussions into your hub.
11. Curate other people’s content and start discussions around it. Remember, people that don’t know you aren’t interested in your posts. But they might just be interested in what you have to say about other people’s posts, especially if the other people are people they trust.
12. Visit other communities. This is a great way to find new people to network with.
13. Customize and build a schedule. Customize these activities according to your goals and build a schedule for accountability. I don’t recommend following your schedule exactly because we are dealing with human conversations which involve spontaneity. Rather, ensure that your “numbers” average out and match up with the schedule over time.
Here’s an example schedule, but most likely yours is going to be a lot different. You really need to customize your own schedule based on the way in which people engage within your industry.