Facebook. Twitter. LinkedIn. They’re all huge in the online world. Facebook, the world’s largest social networking site just reached 500 million users. Director David Fincher is set to release a movie this October about Facebook’s conception, history and founder. It even cast Justin Timberlake. But how do these social networking sites impact Internet marketing efforts?
Top social networking sites have changed the online marketing landscape, with a focus on social media optimization(SMO). In the past online search ratings were dependent upon the positioning of a business Web site in the search engine result pages (SERPs), particularly how many links were pointing to the site. This indicated popularity and how good the page rank (PR), a measurement applied to the site from Google’s algorithm, would be. But now with the steady rise of participants in this social media phenomenon, the Internet marketing landscape has changed forever.
Google defines its social search feature as a way “to help you discover relevant content from your social circle, a set of online friends and contacts. The idea is that content from your friends and social contacts is often more relevant to you than content from strangers.” In other words, savvy consumers today don’t trust the paid, hyped up product ads on the right side of Google’s page near to the degree they trust what one of their friends has to say about his experience with the product.
Social Media Marketing: The Alpha Male in the Online Jungle
We all remember the separate Google search bars we had to download for blogs, images, videos, news, etc. That was Google’s way of separating social content. Nothing from the social media sites ever showed up in the SERPs. You actually had to go through a separate search bar to get them. But now Google streams all platforms into one system called Universal Search. With this change, we see blogs, RSS feeds, images, videos, news, user profiles and comments from social media sites fully integrated right into the natural SERP listing, easily taking those coveted top spots away from traditional Web sites and anchoring in comfortably. Both Bing and Yahoo have incorporated very similar systems.
Just by taking in what we see in the SERPs today, we can easily draw a conclusion on how critical social media optimization is to an overall Internet marketing campaign. When logged into Google you will even see personalized social search results, such as those in your Gmail and FriendFeed, under “Results from people in your social circle.” Does this mean we toss search engine optimization (SEO) on our business sites to the wayside? Absolutely not. But it does mean the use of social media sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter can give us a larger piece of the online pie and help us to capture a greater number of organic search positions, giving us a great way to dovetail SEO efforts.
SMM & SEO Together for Optimal Search Results
The use of social networking sites, such as Facebook, can attract inbound links to your money site that have a much heavier weight than inbound links from any other source. If you manage your social sites correctly with fresh, relevant content, while also engaging and conversing directly with your audience, it will be easier to attract inbound links. As you become a trusted source to your audience, your audience will start to converse about you and eventually push your brand, your expertise and your personal touch out virally.
These methodologies are essential for pushing your Web site higher in the SERPs, increasing Web traffic and reaping the rewards of conversion and overall ROI. SMO leverages an additional, effective set of online tools to accomplish the same goal as SEO: more exposure and better positioning for your Web site on Google, Yahoo, and Bing and a much broader exposure of your brand. The challenge lies in knowing how to use those platforms effectively and without spending all of your waking hours in vain.
The bottom line is this: The days of launching a basic SEO campaign alone within such a competitive online space and joyfully watching your site rise to the top of SERPs are long gone. Not only has SEO become far more complex than it was just a few short years ago, but social media optimization has transformed SEO from a relatively straightforward strategy into an intricate discipline that to most is nothing short of frustrating and time-consuming.
While social media optimization is a must for any business seeking to boost exposure in the search engines, most companies are not up for the task at hand. Turning to someone with social media expertise and experience to successfully go head to head with the alpha male of the jungle is the key reaping rewards from your online efforts.
Contact us today to get your social media optimization underway in an effective manner.