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SEO and Social: It Isn’t One or the Other

Writing by Nick Stamoulis in SEO

If you are a website owner or business it’s absolutely essential to be involved in both SEO and social media. It’s not a one or the other kind of deal. If you are involved in both but operate the strategies separately- stop doing that, right now. SEO and social media are certainly different strategies, but the two are becoming more converged every day.

The search engines want to provide users with the best possible search results in order to keep them happy. They base results off of keywords on the site and pull sites that match a search query, but it’s much more complex than that. The search engines aren’t just going to trust that a website is good just because it includes particular keywords throughout the content. What establishes trust and credibility in the eyes of the search engines is inbound links pointing to a web page. The thought is that if other web properties link to a particular page, what’s on that page must be good. It must provide some kind of value, whether it is a reference or something engaging or entertaining. That’s why a good SEO campaign has two parts to it. On-site optimization isn’t enough. In order to attract the search engine spiders and boost your ranking it’s necessary to establish relationships with other website owners and build inbound links.

Inbound linking was never an exact science and unfortunately black hat SEO practitioners used spammy tactics like buying links, participating in link exchanges, and using link farms to game the system. The search engines needed a better way to establish which web pages were trusted by actual human website visitors.

Then along came social media. As its popularity continued to grow and brands got on board and started using it as a place to share information and communicate with target audience members, the search engines took notice. Within social media was an entire framework in which people were sharing links to web pages and content that they found useful. This data provided insights to the search engines as to which links were valuable and web page trust based on “social signals” was established.

For this reason, social media and SEO are now forever intertwined. While it’s acceptable to have different people working on SEO and social media, they should be on the same page and essentially work together in developing strategies. Social media content needs to be optimized and SEO content needs to be sharable. Understanding social influence and its impact on search will allow for a more productive overall online marketing strategy.

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