Since Google has greatly modified the conventional ranking signals and later, all Search Engine Optimization strategies, the growing stress on social signals has prompted several SEO practitioners to become more serious in terms of social engagement.
It is quite evident that more SEO practitioners, agencies and clients alike, are making the best use of Social Media and Content Marketing. This move has taken place over the last few years, and there is a sequence of phases regarding this approach. Based on your current market and situation, your mileage may differ with regards to these characterizations. Nevertheless, you may see something that is familiar and you might have a clearer idea of where you stand, in terms of Social Media Integration and SEO.
Phase 1: SEO that Includes Social Profiles, Sharing Blogs and Widgets
Most Search Engine Optimization experts started venturing in social media by means of news and bookmarking services, some of which are Delicious, Digg, Reddit and Stumble Upon. Marketing content to powerful channels such as these could turn content into hot items, hit home page and draw lots of traffic. More exposure attracts additional subscribers and links.
Profiles and social bookmarking services in social networking sites enable users to add links to lead back to their websites, generating a possible link traffic source, plus an indicator for search engines. Most links were later made “nofollow”. Links such as these lead to forms that need to be filled out, which are similar to directory submissions.
Other users resort to blogging to publish their content in a way that is friendlier to search engines than the majority of CMS. Giving comments on other blogs offered the opportunity of getting great links, until these links were made “no follow” as well.
Phase 2: SMO or Social Media Optimization
SMO can mean different things to different people. Marketers create social profiles and develop them into strong sources of information. This also includes the building of social networks. In the hope of attracting more links, social channels are developed to build an audience and promote content to them.
Generally, blogs are the center to social media spokes that are used for optimal content promotion, in order to drive traffic and acquire links. Building email lists and gathering blog subscribers become more and more important. There is a sincere appreciation for constructing valuable content for particular audience segments, plus developed abilities in the art of formatting content and writing headlines, which encourage sharing.
First and foremost, success is measured in SEO results, such as traffic, conversions and links. Social KPIs such as friends, followers and fans are also monitored, just like basic engagement metrics, such as interactions and comments. However, instead of social ROI, those metrics tend to show more of “social proof”.
Phase 3: Incorporated Content, Social Media Plan and SEO
By this time, SEOs are clearly identified as Online Marketers. They realize that content is the secret to a top social SEO strategy. The classification of audience leads to personality development, which serves as a guide to content marketing strategy. SEO’s keyword research expertise can be factored into the editorial planning of social and web content.
Though content is intended for particular results with various sectors of the community, a flexible online marketing strategy is what allows a strong social promotion and opportunistic content marketing based on the monitoring and trends of social media.
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