Leveraging Social Media Buzz for SEO Success

At Search Engine Strategies Toronto, the big buzz was generating buzz and gaining a social media presence — ultimately, how to get people talking about your brand online.

Lots of discussion centered on the importance of buzz and how to build it, but more insight is always needed about how to leverage buzz for your SEO (define) efforts. How do you build buzz, use it to build link authority, and ultimately improve your search engine rankings?

Let’s explore how buzz and SEO are related.

We’ll start with the basics: the importance of external links for search rankings.

If Google sees a link to your site as a sort of “vote” for your site, and the Web site with the most votes gets to the top of the search engine results, then all other things equal, the more links you have, the better, right?

Well, not exactly. Remember, the authority and relevance of your links are equally as important, if not more so, than the number of them. So all other things equal, the more authoritative, relevant links you have, the better your chances of being visible in the search engines for your keywords.

But to get authoritative relevant links — and lots of them — you need buzz. You need to get people excited enough about your brand, product, Web site, or content to want to share it, actively, with others. And when it comes to online, what better way to generate buzz (and links!) than through the plethora of social networks and user-generated content sites?

When someone submits, shares, or promotes your content on one of these sites, they typically include a keyword-rich link to your content. As this content gets shared over and over, your site generates more inbound links. Therefore, your link authority increases over time, along with (hopefully) your organic search engine rankings.

And there you have it — the relationship between buzz, links, and SEO.

Now that you understand the potential benefit, it’s time to get out there and do it:

  • Get “dug” (on Digg)
  • Get “upvoted” (on Reddit)
  • Get “propelled” to the first page (on Propeller)
  • Get bookmarked (on Delicious or Furl)
  • Be “tweeted” and “retweeted” (on Twitter)
  • Be blogged about (on any number of blogs)
  • Be “stumbled upon” (on StumbleUpon)
  • Gain “fans” (on Facebook)

How do you do all that? Create amazing content.

Amazing content, designed with your target audience in mind, such as tools, video, stories, articles, tips, and guides, will naturally win you recognition on social networks, because you’ll be offering something of value that people will want to spread the word about.

But if you build amazing content that is super relevant to your target, and you still lack pick-up on social media sites, you might need to help things along.

Here are five quick and easy tips to gain online buzz (and links).

Make Sharing Easy

Include “AddThis” or “Share This” or other social media button links to your Web site content, so people can share content quickly and easily throughout their various networks.

Add an RSS feed to your site so people can opt-in to get content pushed out to them versus having to come back to your site all the time to find out what’s new.

Keep It Fresh

No one will share a site that was built in 2007 and hasn’t been updated since. Keep your content fresh, give people something new to talk about, and people will keep giving you “link love.”

Search engines like fresh content, and so do social network users.

Submit, Don’t Spam

You can submit your own content, but make sure to always follow the rules. Make sure your submission is done manually versus through mass auto-submitter software. Tag your content appropriately, following the suggested structure and user guidelines. Above all else, avoid anything sneaky — people will sniff you out.

Be an Active Participant

If you want people to take your submissions seriously, you need to build a reputation in these networks. Just like on eBay where sellers build a rep, and buyers make decisions based on this rep, you need to become a “household” name on the network. Complete your profile and make a name for yourself so that people trust what you have to say.

Don’t just submit your own stuff. Share other sites and useful resources. You’ll appear more credible and less biased. And don’t just submit — vote, comment, and share other’s content as well.

Become a Power User

Don’t make an appearance every once in a while. Be a constant presence on these sites. The amount of time and energy you invest will directly correlate with what you get back.

Build your list of friends or followers as big as you can. The bigger your network, the more chance someone will hear what you have to say and share it.

And the best way to build a large network is by — you guessed it — sharing amazing content!

By employing these tips, hopefully you’ll be well on your way to gaining increased inbound links to your Web site, which in turn, stands to improve your search engine ranking potential.

Join us for a one-day Online Marketing Summit in a city near you from May 5 to July 1, 2009. Choose from one of 16 events designed to help interactive marketers do their jobs more effectively. All sessions are new this year and cover such topics as social media, e-mail marketing, search, and integrated marketing.

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