Always remember that people search differently than they converse and social media communities aren't search engines.
There's a panel at SES that usually ends up drawing a packed house. "SEO is Dead! Long Live SEO" never fails to impress the audience, especially with all the cries that "Social media is now 'king.'" As I am primarily a social media marketer, but have deep roots in search engine optimization, I raise my eyebrow with skepticism at those marketers who proclaim that with social media, you no longer need to worry about SEO. Apparently they missed the memo that people also search in social media communities.
It could be that these marketers don't have the background to understand how Google's algorithm works, or that they had some kind of success with just launching videos on YouTube and now think that's how all companies should launch their social media marketing plans, that they are proclaiming you don't need SEO, or measurement for that matter. If you hear a marketing company tell you this, I'd advise you to drop the marketing slick and run in the opposite direction, fast.
The keys to understanding search optimization in social media communities are twofold:
Taking these two points into your strategy creation will help you immensely down the road, because you still need to be found in social media communities as much as you need to be found in the search engine listings. Understanding how they differ will help your optimization team balance the right kind of optimization efforts. Also, understanding what your key goals are at the end of the day is imperative too.
Is it more important to gain search engine ranking for your content or to gain massive sharing within the community you've chosen to engage? These are two very different goals, where it seems that optimizing for one would automatically help the other…but a lot of times it doesn't. When you are optimizing your content for maximum sharing in social communities, your content needs to be optimized to speak to the community. When you're optimizing your content for the search engines, your content needs to be relevant for specific keywords or keyword phrases.
Still, the search optimization principals are the same:
SEO isn't dead. Honestly, it's not. You just have to realize how to work its key principles into your efforts in social media marketing for success in both areas of online marketing.
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Liana "Li" Evans is the author of the award winning social media marketing book, "Social Media Marketing: Engaging Strategies for Facebook, Twitter & Other Social Media" and she is the president and CEO of Da Li Social, as well as an adjunct professor for Rutgers University's Mini MBA Program. Liana has also been featured in the books "Online Marketing Heroes" and "Video Marketing An Hour a Day." As an established online marketing industry veteran with over 15 years of experience she's focused her unique skillset to specialize in integrated marketing and how companies can successfully strategize integrating all online marketing channels as well as offline traditional media. Her deep technical combined with a public relations background enables her to partner with clients for establishing successful online marketing campaigns that combine cross-channel tactics cohesively.
Li was the search engine optimization (SEO) and social media marketing architect for such companies as QVC and Comcast (Fancast) and has consulted with several other different sized companies such as AOL MovieFone. Her wealth of knowledge in dealing with large e-commerce and content sites allows her a wider perspective into what it takes to launch successful marketing campaigns in the online space.
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