It’s nearly impossible to navigate today’s web without seeing the impact of social media. Logging in and checking the latest updates on your social media site du jour has become as ubiquitous as checking your email. The original intent of social networking sites may not have included marketing and search engine optimization opportunities, but the fact remains that they are there. And you should be taking advantage of them.
Social Media Marketing vs Social Media Optimization
First, it’s important to note that there is a difference between Social Media Marketing (SMM) and Social Media Optimization (SMO). Learning how to market yourself within the realm of social media is uncharted territory for many, and it will take time to learn how to leverage it properly. Since the rules are slighly different within social networks, effective marketing is essential to optimization. You have to first attract users to your profile, then use the opportunity to drive traffic to your site.There are many approaches to SMM & SMO, and while determing what will work best for your site will take some trial and error, there is one cardinal rule to live by: be an active member. Seems simple enough, but remember that an active member posts or shares information on an almost daily basis. Not weekly, not monthly. Daily. Social networks build communities through sharing, voting, commenting and linking information. It takes creativity & commitment to outshine competitors and give users a reason visit & return to your profile, and even moreso for them to share it.
Links Lost, Traffic Found
Ok, let’s say you mastered SMM and have a bounty of users within said social network following your page and/or profile, liking and leaving comments and re-posting and/or re-tweeting your latest musing. How does all of this translate to useful SEO?
Well, if you are looking for link juice, the truth is it will not amount to much. Outside of YouTube and Google Profile, the web’s most popular social networks use nofollow links.
What you will generate, however, is traffic. And that’s always a good thing. While you would have to explore each on your own, many of the profile pages available will allow you to list the URL of your website. The more users you can bring to your profile, the more opportunities you have to get them to visit your site. Use the profile page as a primer to draw them in, then re-direct to your site. The goal of SEO is to bring traffic to your site, and while it would be more ideal if backlinks from your profile could aid in pushing your site up the results ladder, there is still a huge benefit to bringing in new traffic from social networking sites.
Getting Your Profile Noticed
It comes down the same simple principals you would apply in ramping up the SEO on your personal website: content & keywords. Remember to include keywords in the content when writing the bio for your profile page. It may not show up in the top results for the web’s search engines, but here a few reasons why it is still important:
- Internal Search. Social Networks employ search features of their own to help members find information within the site. While not nearly as advanced as Google or Bing’s algorithims, the basic rules still apply.
- Bloggers search out trending topics on social networking sites like Digg, Reddit and Stumbleupon. Good content and keywords will help them find your site, and could lead to valuable backlinking from their blog posts.
Pratice Makes Perfect
As you venture into the world of Social Media, remember to be patient. The results will not be immediate, and you will need to invest a good amount of time developing a raport with users by first participating and engaging them, then listening to their comments and feedback before reacting. Remember you are joining a community, and need to let the other members of your community know that you respect and value their insight.