Why Social Media Matters in SEO

The temptation of many is to silo out marketing tactics even when they’re under one umbrella (to mix my metaphors). When companies embark on social media, it is often for campaign promotion, buzz, or brand management. SEO tactics like URL rewrites and optimized tags and content are used for getting better listings in SERPs. While most will acknowledge the two intermingle, few will bother to dissect why that is and how to leverage it effectively.

The screen shot (above) for the search query, “What’s New at Google?” shows exactly why these two SEM tactics need to be planned together and implemented seamlessly.

Social Media Ranks Well in SERP:

  • The first 2 results are traditional html pages from Google itself
  • 3 is an html blog entry
  • 4 (really 4, 5, 6) are video results from YouTube and PCMag.com
  • 5 is a news result from Business Week
  • 6 is an html page
  • 7 is an html blog entry

Over half of the top SERP listings for this very specific query fall under the social media label — Blog, Press Release, and Video. Other Queries (try one relating to your company) can also bring forth Local Business Listings, image, or shopping results in addition to the Universal Listings mentioned above.

In fact, Nate Elliot at the Forrester Blog did a small experiment that implies that videos have a 50% higher chance of scoring #1 in SERPs compared to html pages. Last year’s Jupiter Research Study on blended search, summed up nicely here at Search Engine Watch, also underscored the importance of considering blended search in an SEO campaign.

Search Users Click Universal Listings:

  • 36% click “news” results within blended search results
  • 31% click “image” results within blended search results
  • 17% click “video” results within blended search results

What does this mean for SEO and Social Media?

  • Plan these initiatives together or at least coordinate ongoing efforts
  • Optimize your social media channels and content for target key phrases including:
    • Blog Main Pages and All Entries
    • Press releases (add images and tag them)
    • Image channels and individual images
    • Video channels and individual videos
  • Get Local Listings into your Local Business Center (don’t forget to upload your photos, videos and coupons)
  • Enter your products into Google Base

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