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Social Media Marketing

You may have heard that Social Media and SEO are polar opposites – whoever told you that has a point. The fact is, though, that social media is becoming more of a force on the web, and things are changing. Here’s the scoop:

Social Media’s Conflict of SEO Interest

A large part of the search engine ranking algorithm is a giant popularity contest. Who’s linking to you and who are you linking to?  With that understanding, wouldn’t it be a conflict of interest for you to have full control over a separate website, and be able to link to yourself?

That’s the problem between social media and SEO! If Google counted links coming from your Facebook or Twitter account to your personal website, it would be biased and would upset the popularity contest. For this reason, the search engines have recommended to social media websites to place “nofollow” on all links leaving their websites. This is a signal for the search engines to ignore the link (or keeping with the popularity contest metaphor – ignoring the votes).

So Social Media Has No SEO Value?

Most social sites have this “nofollow”, but not all. Social bookmarking sites like digg.com & reddit.com allow you to share content that search engines recognize the links. Social informational sites like hubpages.com and squidoo.com allow you to provide information on the topic of your choice, and search engines also recognize those links, provided your content is of high quality. Don’t count on links from Wikipedia, twitter, Facebook, MySpace, etc. to count towards your SEO.

So is Social Media a Waste of my Time?

Heck no! Consider the goal of SEO for your site –traffic. Whether you are selling something, advertising, or pushing an informational agenda, you need traffic. Search engines may ignore the links from these sites which would help your site rank higher; however, these social media sites are powerhouses to the search engines. Write great information (read: interesting, funny, new, or controversial) on social media sites, and your content will show up in search engines! Make the link back to your site attractive enough, and you will reap the rewards of the traffic that these powerhouses send.

How Can I Tailor my Social Media Content?

If you want your content to be found by search engines, make it easy to classify by choosing a keyword for the content to revolve around. Use the keyword (and slight variations of it) in your titles, headings/subheadings, and content. That way when someone searches for that keyword, the social media content is found to be both relevant (from having the keyword) and popular (for being on a powerhouse site), and you can draw more traffic.

Google Says Social Media is Important

But wait, didn’t I just say that Google ignores the majority of social media links? In the traditional sense they do; however, the social graph also plays into rankings. Let’s think about this logically. What is it that Google wants? Accurate information.

Your social graph says a lot about you – that is, who is linked to you and who are you linked to. It’s not the biggest factor in the way Google ranks sites, but it matters.

THE Rule

Content is King!  There is no magic bullet for social media, but interesting, valuable content is as close as they come. Provide solid content and people will talk about it, share it, and link to it. Good content leads to good traffic and good SEO.