Yvette Pistorio

Social Media and SEO: They Just Go Together!

By: Yvette Pistorio | August 14, 2013 | 

social media and SEO

By Yvette Pistorio

When I started working in social media (just a mere two years ago) I never even heard of search engine optimization.

As embarrassing as it is to admit it, it’s true.

Judge all you want, but I’ve come to terms with my ignorance!

Back then my focus was learning the different ways businesses were using social media. How were they building communities? How did they get people to comment on their Facebook page or chat with them on Twitter?

Today, however, social media and SEO together makes perfect sense to me, and is a regular part of my job.

How Social Media and SEO Work Together

SEO is about optimizing content to appear higher in search rankings. It could be on your website, on your blog, or on your corporate social media accounts. It plays an important critical role in driving traffic to your website.

Social media values are becoming more influential as companies try to earn better search results.

A new infographic from Searchmetrics shows seven of the 10 most important factors in SEO ranking now come from social media.

Social media and SEO

The bottom line? When you integrate SEO and social, you’ll boost your search engine relevancy.

How to Integrate Social Media and SEO

To integrate social media and SEO, you need a few things in place: An active social media presence, links from your website to your social networks and vice versa, and social share buttons on your website or blog to allow people to easily share your content.

What else do you need? Here are some suggestions.

Create a Content Strategy

You need a solid content strategy “which coordinates your marketing and content efforts into one cohesive plan, and is supported by engaging your social media audiences rather than only pushing your content on them,” said Jayson Demers in a Huffington Post article.

Research and Determine Your Keywords

Look at which keywords drive traffic to your website, so you can create content that targets them (though don’t ‘keyword spam’ – your content needs to be high quality, keywords or no keywords!) There are a variety of tools from Google you can use for basic keyword research. After you source them, I love Lee Odden’s suggestion of creating a “keyword glossary” – a handy list of keywords as well as long-tail keyword phrases.

Determine Social Keywords

Unfortunately this isn’t as easy as regular keyword research. Like anything worthwhile, it takes more work. Take advantage of free tools such as SocialMention, “that offer a social search function which provides a list of keywords most often found in tweets, comments and other social content based on your query,” Odden adds. Then of course, add these to your keyword glossary.

Add Value

Social media needs active participation. Posting regularly, commenting, and sharing posts will create discussion, and engage your fans and followers. Look at which social posts are most popular so you can begin to create content you know your audience wants to see. Use free tools such as Facebook Insights and Buffer, or paid tools such as Social Bro to get this information.

Be Active

Please for the love of all that is holy, maintain your social presence! Nothing is worse than going to check out a brand’s Twitter handle only to see they haven’t tweeted…ever!

Share content daily. How many times a day and at what time of the day? I hate to say it, but it depends on your industry.

Another thing to keep in mind: Your social profiles are about you AND your audience. It’s not all about you, so make sure you’re sharing links to other relevant and informative content.

SEO and social media are both content driven. They both help build brand awareness, excite your community, and drive leads. In order to integrate social media and SEO, remember to optimize for human beings first, search engines second.

A version of this post originally appeared on the Wood Street blog.

About Yvette Pistorio

Yvette Pistorio is the shared media manager for Arment Dietrich. She is a lover of pop culture, cupcakes, and HGTV, and enjoys a good laugh. There are a gazillion ways you can find her online.

  • Nice overview, Yvette – anyone that says one is more important than the other is kinda missing the point.
    One plugin you might want to try out is http://wordpress.org/plugins/wp-social-seo-booster/. I was turned onto it by AnaTrafficCafe and it’s an awesome tool that ties together Open Graph and Authorship Markup, and plays nicely with SEO plugins like Yoast.
    Ana has a great overview of it http://www.trafficgenerationcafe.com/schema-markup-wpsocial-seo-booster/.

    • Danny Brown AnaTrafficCafe Exactly – and for people just getting into social media/SEO – it’s a good reminder. I was clueless when I first started! 
      Didn’t know about the tool, thanks Danny! I’ll definitely try it 🙂

      • yvettepistorio  Definitely minimum basis steps we need to take to bring together SEO and SMO, Yvette.

    • Danny Brown Thanks so much for the shout, Danny!

  • Good morning, Yvette. I started the Facebook and Twitter for our organization in 2008, 2009, with no knowledge of what the heck I was doing. It has been cool to see all the changes, the explosion of growth. Thanks for the post and the great graph! Helpful to know…

    • Word Ninja You sound like me!!!

    • Word Ninja That’s so funny! When I started on Twitter I was @bearsfan07 and it FREAKED ME OUT that people I didn’t know were texting me on my phone about the Bears games.

      • ginidietrich Word Ninja Hahaha!!! What does the 07 stand for?

      • ginidietrich That’s hilarious. You should blog about that of course. Great story…

  • susancellura

    Hey Yvette! A story for you: I once worked for a company who had a web site. The web site had no SEO meta tags, etc., whatsoever. And the department asked, “Why don’t we come up in searches?” Insert hand slapping forehead here.

    • susancellura That makes my head hurt.

    • susancellura Haha!! Oh no!!! I’m sure they know what it is now!!

      • yvettepistorio susancellura ginidietrichI worked on a client site that had that very problem. No metatags, metadescriptions, H1/H2/H3.
        Suffice it to say that I got in there and made some key changes, they started ranking well.

        • jasonkonopinski yvettepistorio susancellura ginidietrich A former client had the same problem too – but they had an SEO agency which made it even worse!

        • yvettepistorio jasonkonopinski susancellura ginidietrich My favorite is when you pull up their site for the first time and see “home” and “about” at the top. I get kind of giddy because I know anything that I do is going to be a slam dunk! LOL

    • susancellura And this is why companies need to outsource to the right firms if they
      don’t have the talent in-house, instead of (for example) getting their
      nephew to build their site because he’s a “digital native”.

      • Kato42 susancellura Yes, and I would add to carefully vet those companies. Make sure they know what they’re doing!

  • So much information out there, so many changes, all happening so quickly. I wonder how many people/businesses bury their heads in the sand because they just aren’t sure where to look, what to do and how to do it.

    • Joshua Wilner/A Writer Writes It’s hard to stay on top of it all – it seems like there’s a new algorithm change every other day. I’m sure there are plenty of organizations/people who bury their heads in the sand – but it would be interesting to see some numbers…

  • JHTScherck

    Not to be a naysayer – but the core premise of this article is misleading. You base your article off the idea that if you have social signals, your site will rank better in the search engines:
    “seven of the 10 most important factors in SEO ranking now come from social media.”
    High volume of social signals on a site that ranks well is correlation, not causation. Sites that tend to have integrated and channel agnostic marketing can get traction in many channels – tv, print, news sites, blogs and social. If your page gets a couple hundred tweets does not mean they will rank better.

    • JHTScherck I’m not basing it off if you have social signals your site will rank better in search engines. Sorry if you thought that was misleading. Social is becoming an important factor in SEO and should be integrated into your entire marketing mix – that is the premise of this article. 
      There is so much at play with SEO, social is just a piece of that. I agree, sites with integrated marketing get traction and do well but I never said if your page gets a couple of hundred tweets you’ll rank better cause that’s just not the case.

      • JHTScherck

        yvettepistorio I agree with the direction you want digital marketing to go, i am all for integration and breaking down silos, but the argument you made in this post is that social helps ranking.
        This is a direct quote: “seven of the 10 most important factors in SEO ranking now come from social media.”
        That’s the type of ‘fact’ a client, who doesn’t fully understand social and SEO will read, internalize as fact, and then toss around in a meeting. You took Searchmetrics data and reshaped it to meet your needs. Sites that rank well tend to have social signals, they don’t rank well because they have social signals. 
        I understand not wanting to dive into the technical aspects of SEO and rank in your post, but the way you posit the effect of social in this article is that it is a DIRECT ranking factor, and that’s misleading.
        You are making an age old argument that one marketing channel can reinforce another, and I agree with you 100% on that point. But the way your are selling your argument is that social will have a measurable effect on rank – and that’s just not true.

        • JHTScherck yvettepistorio You beat me to the punch JHTS! I agree with every word.

        • Sean McGinnisJHTScherckyvettepistorioI agree with the gentlemen above. This article in SEJ sort of sums up what I’ve always thought: Social doesn’t directly impact rankings, but it can certainly help. I think in particular the idea that quality content can generate a lot of sharing, linking and traffic to your site is always a good thing. 
          Of course, it depends on your network, engagement and consistency with posting. Then there’s the intangible benefit of a recommendation from a “friend” or the fact that people can use Twitter and (somewhat) Facebook as a search tool and there is definitely a correlation.

          Of course, I still have yet to harness and grasp how Google+ fits in! LOL 
          Article link: http://www.searchenginejournal.com/how-social-media-is-changing-the-seo-industry/63060/

        • JHTScherck

          Not to keep beating a dead horse, but this article is a prime example of what is wrong with our industry. Because there’s so much misleading data out there that gets consumed and then regurgitated as fact throughout different tiers of the echo chamber – articles like this get produced.
          All the people that shared this article probably didn’t see this discussion. They accepted the article at face value and shared it with their peers. Who knows, someone might have bookmarked your post and their waiting to use it in their next quarterly deck because they are trying to determine their marketing budget allocation – and your post gave them the soundbite that says “social shares can help fix our ranking issues.”
          I feel like this is the worst kind of community to do that to – a digital community of mixed marketers that touches on subjects, but doesn’t do deep technical dives. Its possible readers walked away from this article with a skewed perception of search engines rank things and how they as marketers can effect rankings.

        • JHTScherck I’m not sure it’s as dire as someone basing their digital strategy on this post, but I agree w/your main point.

        • JoeCardillo JHTScherck Sean McGinnis TaraGeissinger Let’s all take a step back here for a second. I didn’t read this post as a sermon on how social affects rankings at all. I read it as “you can’t ignore social when you think about search.” I see the point that the report says some of the most important search ranking characteristics come from social. I edited this piece. I should have caught that. i didn’t. It’s one sentence in a larger blog post about how social and search work together. It’s not the end all, be all on how search and social can’t live without one another.
          We don’t believe that here and we don’t advise our clients that way. Our philosophy is, yes, social helps your search rankings, but we don’t recommend any client go out and use all of the platforms like cited in the study.
          I appreciate the discussion. I’ll be more careful when I edit guest posts.

        • ginidietrich JoeCardillo JHTScherck Sean McGinnis TaraGeissinger I didn’t read it as a sermon either. I see now that my comment that I agree with the gentleman above meant that I agreed with *everything* that was said. My bad. What I was trying to say was that I agreed there was a strong correlation between social and SEO. Does social DIRECTLY impact SEO? That’s harder to prove. Is it a necessary part of your online campaign if you want visibility and reach online? You betcha!

        • TaraGeissinger ginidietrich JoeCardillo JHTScherck 
          Shit. Here goes my week….
          I agree with Gini.
          Now my whole day is ruined.

        • TaraGeissinger ginidietrich JoeCardillo JHTScherck In all seriousness, though I think it’s possible for the post to be spot on (which it is) while also calling out the one misinterpretation of a graph (which has happened about a thousand times since the study was released).
          I’ve had this argument with Gini in the past about an issue within SEO that is WIDELY misundestood. 
          In SEO, it’s entirely possible to be completely right in your conclusions, but for the wrong reasons. And sometimes the reasons are just as important (if not more important) than the conclusions – especially when we’re writing about it and other people can take what we’ve said and “rely” on it.

        • Sean McGinnis TaraGeissinger ginidietrich JoeCardillo JHTScherck I didn’t read it as a sermon either…
          That last point is a good one though Sean….people get worked up about SEO, Content Marketing, Big Data, Data Journalism, etc… and the unspoken assumption is that if something provides brilliant results than the the discipline is validated. 
          My opinion is that it’s easier to make 1:1 comparisons with tactics than strategy. It’s the same problem medicine gets into, isolating and fixing one thing then declaring victory, when the ecosystem (in that case, the body) is much more complicated than just one piece.

        • JoeCardillo Sean McGinnis TaraGeissinger ginidietrich JHTScherck I worded that sentence wrong and will be more careful going forward.
          Appreciate the discussion as well. Carry on!

        • billsebald

          JoeCardillo JHTScherck Actually… company’s who are busy may indeed read a soft article and base their whole strategy on it.  I’ve seen it with my past clients, some who were fortune 100.  It’s unfortunate.

        • billsebald Any company that bases their strategy on a web article, without due diligence and research, deserves any failure they experience. JoeCardillo JHTScherck

        • Danny Brown billsebald JoeCardillo JHTScherck What Danny said = )

        • JHTScherck

          JoeCardillo Danny Brown billsebald JHTScherck I’ve done some work with a large financial institution based in the US. Their digital team was five years behind. They would come to meetings with articles that were fluffy and three years old and provided no actionable value. Fluffy content gets passed around the board room because its over simplified and easy to digest — and it’s  dangerous. 
          And to Bill’s point, I know Mr. Sebald personally – the guy started SEO at GSI – he’s worked with some of the largest eCommerce brands on the planet. Trust  him, major decisions get based on articles like this – that’s why I had such a strong reaction to this article.

        • JHTScherck Having previously worked both with and for F50s, and currently advising similar levels, I’ll agree they need educated (for the most part). Having said that, they also knew they had to carry out due diligence, and those that didn’t would either suffer the consequences or know they needed to buck up. FYI, I wasn’t doubting Bill or his claim, but I was advising that ANY business, regardless of size, that makes crap decisions based on articles deserve all that comes to them.
          I also didn’t see the need for the biting criticism of Yvette’s piece – the point with the first comment, continuing to slate it in the manner it was critiqued was a little unfair. Just a personal opinion. JoeCardillo billsebald

  • rdopping

    So, with all the great content you guys offer it’s no longer about how. It’s all about the time. That’s a lotta stuff to do. Sheesh. It almost seems like work.

    • rdopping Ha!! It IS work – but you’re probably already doing it Ralph!

  • So glad you mentioned to stay active, I was doing an overall of Twitter followers and it was amazing how many did not tweet in 21 days or more.  If you are going to be on a social network you must be able to be active on it at least one every other day… Thanks for the reminder of SocialMention, a great source to get valuable information.

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