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Deep Tips for Leveraging Social Signals to Sway Search

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SES Chicago  /  Social Media


Welcome back to aimClear’s coverage of #SESCHI! After two cups of coffee on this second (and way chillier) morning, we headed to the Social Media Signals in Search session. Moderated by Rob Garner, vice president of strategy for iCrossing, and featuring Andrea Fishman, VP of Global Strategy & Managing Partner of BGT Chicago, BGT Partners, and Jim Yu, Founder & CEO, BrightEdge, this team was dishing out top-shelf insight on the ever-expanding influence of social media on organic search rankings.

Last week at #PubCon Vegas, aimClear blogged a session that also focused on social media signals in search, though with two very different speakers and considerably different types of insight. Interested in presenting a variety of expert-level advice to the readers at home, we decided to blog this sesh as well- a nice contrast and compare type-deal. Read on for more juicy details as captured by yours truly, @meganlichty.

Andrea took the stage first, noting that there have been a lot of tools and changes to the market recently, such as Google Pages and Google +1, to name a couple. The evolution is just beginning; tablets, apps and mobile are also blowing up in the market.

So, what does that mean for search? Well, it changes the dynamic of how you create content. There are new ways for people to engage with your content, and there are many, many different drivers coming onto the scene.

The Social Paradigm
Marketers are creating and optimizing the content, then publishing. It is the understanding of the content, distribution of content, and how it will be found in search that are really important. The audience is also in the driver’s seat… now more than ever. It’s essential to understand how others share your content, how it is seen and who is it seen by.

Sharing channels are very popular, such as Facebook and Twitter. We are no longer asking people to consume; we are asking them to do something with the content we share. It is now more than ever a two-way street. We need to understand how users see our content, and really delve into where they play.

Web Analytics and Social Monitoring
Ask yourself: What is the lifespan of our content? And, as a business, what does this mean? Understand your audience and how they discover: Consuming and sharing your data is key.  Thinking differently about how people engage with your content is a big shift. We need to:

  • Establish objectives
  • Increase brand awareness
  • Increase conversions
  • Build social connections
  • Improve customer service
  • Drive traffic
  • Drive registrations

Understanding the goal of your content extremely important. Andrea highlights that 57% of digital marketing impact is derived from SEO, and 68% of marketers have generated leads from at lease one of the three major social media platforms.

Optimize for SEO and Social media
The first thing  to do is focus on what channels you want to be present on. Twitter, Facebook, Google + and Bing are all options and all very different platforms. Understand the impact of  each channel and how to optimize your content to fit that channel the best.

Fun Facts:

  • 140 million Tweets are sent per day
  • 4 billion things are shared on Facebook each day
  • 3 billion searches are conducted per day

How do you get your content to perform well in the HUGE web world? Analyzing whether your content and website is findable, readable, understandable, actionable, and shareable are great starting points. Then, you need to think about engaging with users, which is channel-specific. I.E. How you show up on LinkedIn is very different than YouTube.

Create content for short-term social media sharing and for long-term search.

Measure Based Objectives

  • Listening: brand awareness and share of voice change in sentiment
  • Engaging: views, likes, re-tweets, friend, followers, time on site
  • Business: conversions, leads generated, and sales

Don’t get too caught up in the tool. Find what is most important for your content.

Continually Optimize for your Audience
Andrea used an example of the company ADT. They needed to think of new and creative ways to engage with their audience. Their team leveraged infographics as one tactic, which worked well for them. ADT also needed to reach out to influencers in social media to keep their content topical and interesting. Andrea stressed, “Make sure you tell more compelling stories because your audience is able to drive your SEO.”

Andrea left the audience with a few goodies to be gnawing on everyday:

  • Understand your audience
  • Establish objectives
  • Use historical data and research
  • Optimize your content and website
  • Engage customers
  • Measure based on objectives
  • Continually optimize for audience

It is not just anyone of these tactics; use all of them. In conclusion, get the right content to the right people.

Next up, was Jim.

Ah, the Evolution of Internet Marketing
In the 90s, pages and banners and broadcast were used to try to drive people to our sites. In the last decade, search-wise we have been able to see more clearly what users want. We are able to understand users interests with much more precision. Now, there is a new shift. They are going to “Like” our products page, read and give reviews and Tweet about deals on Twitter. There is an explosion of signals online and we need to understand and drive marketing in this shift that is occurring online.

Nowadays, Users Have A Lot More Control
On Facebook, Twitter, and Yelp, users can express their intent, driving this paradigm in marketing. This is an unprecedented opportunity with the amount of users today:

  • Google- 1 billion users
  • Facebook- 750 million users
  • Twitter- 250 million users

Search and social are seriously influencing each other today. Jim explained that he and his team took a look at 10,000 keywords across many different industries and saw that businesses that are ranking in the top 10 positions have a lot of social signals. Meaning there is a lot of social engagement happening. Search and social are really influencing each other, and we need to understand this to be successful. Channel level and market level are coming together, which is a huge opportunity.

How Can You Achieve SEO and social success
Tip #1:
Your social SEO, start measuring the impact of each channel and how they are interacting with each other.

  • Do you have a Facebook, Twitter, Google + presence?
  • Is useful content being posted regularly to the accounts?
  • Are your social media pages ranking in search results?
  • Are you doing SEO for your Facebook page?
  • Are you measuring the impact of social on search?

Tip #2: Add social media widgets to your website. Example: Levis saw a 40x increase in referral traffic two weeks after adding social widgets to their webpage.

Must-have top five Facebook social widgets:

  1. Like button
  2. Like box
  3. Activity feed
  4. Recommendations
  5. Login button

Seriously Consider Open Graph
Marking up web pages with open graph titles and images makes it so you can easily drive more engagement. A page has been marked correctly when it has an image, great headline, and optimized meta description tags. Many marketers still are not aware of this, and it is extremely important to enhance visibility. You should familiarize yourself with Twitter Widgets, Profile widget, Search widget, Faves widget and List widget and use them for ultimate success.

Instant Follow Button
If you don’t have that, get it. Embed that directly into your site. You are reducing the number of steps that your audience has to go through to like your page.  People are lazy sometimes; make it as easy as possible for them to engage. These widgets are an easy way to drive more engagement on your site.

Tip #3: Optimize your Facebook page for SEO. But… how do you optimize your social pages for SEO?

  1. Link to your Facebook page from your home page
  2. Use brand name in wall posts and tweets
  3. Push for engagement through likes and shares (signals for SEO)
  4. Add plugins (facepile, Fan box)

Tip #4: Go Deeper! Your homepage needs to be linked to your Facebook property. Start to parallel your structure and cross optimize.

Tip #5: Consider Facebook ads. Optimize the feed correctly and there can be a cascade effect in your paid spend. Ads are and easy way to get started in the social side, you need to jump start your fan base somewhere. Also, consider promoted Tweets. Amplify the reach of your tweets with targeting options.

Jim ended his presentation with some really great key takeaways:

  1. Don’t be left behind- your industry is already leveraging social media for SEO, so measure SEO and Social together
  2. Add social widgets and open graph to maximize social engagement
  3. Implement simple best practices to boost your Facebook page rankings in search
  4. Go deeper: place share and social plugins on deep website pages, and interlink your directory and social media pages
  5. Use Facebook and Twitter ads to jumpstart and amplify
  6. Make sure your SEO and Social Media teams are working together.

Great big high-5 to Rob Garner, Andrea Fishman, and Jim Yu for an amazing session brimming with top takeaways and helpful tips. Check back in aimClear blog for more coverage from #SESCHI, and keep up with @meganlichty @ericasendros and @merrymorud for more goodies straight from the show.

Photo credit: chicagoceli
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One Comment

  1. Rob Garner on November 16, 2011 at 6:16 pm

    Thank you Megan for this excellent coverage of the session!

    Rob

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