In addition to being a great standalone marketing strategy, social media marketing is also widely used in concert with search engine optimization. One of the reasons social media marketing has been so widely adopted by those in the SEO industry is because of the dramatic impact that social media has directly on search engine listings. Here are three ways that social media impacts those:
1) Getting quality, relevant inbound links
It’s no secret that a successful social media marketing campaign can result in thousands of new inbound links to your site. It’s also no secret that inbound links are one of the most important things that influence the rankings of your site. Put two and two together, and it’s easy to see how social media can be a great way to improve your rankings.
The best thing about this is that the majority (if not all) of the links that come from a social media marketing campaign are natural links; they’re not reciprocated, bought, or solicited
2) Using social media websites for reputation management
Lots of social media sites, especially the more popular ones, rank very well within the search engines. This can be both a positive and negative thing when it comes to managing your reputation.
On one hand, it is very easy to control the first page of results by leveraging these sites. Get people talking about your company or site positively on Digg, MySpace or YouTube, and you might end up with those almost as "good references," listings that show up on the first page of search engine results for your name, along with your own site.
On the other hand, if you’re not careful, it can be very easy for someone to tarnish your brand with social media. Take Comcast for example; if you look at the first page of results on Google for comcast, you will notice that there is a video on YouTube of a Comcast technician sleeping on a customer’s couch.
3) Ranking pages on social media websites
Do you have a new site that you’re having trouble ranking? Consider trying to rank a page on a social media site instead. Like I mentioned above, these sites rank extremely well on the search engines. Their domains are very powerful and with a few links to an internal page, it has a great shot of ranking, even for competitive keywords.
So if you’re launching a brand new site and you know it’s going to be awhile before it ranks, you might want to consider uploading some videos to YouTube or creating a MySpace profile and building a few good links to it. I’m not saying it’s better to have these pages rank than your own site, but it’s definitely better than not having anything ranked.
As you can see, there are a number of situations where social media can affect your SEO efforts, both positively and negatively. In fact I’m willing to argue that it’s becoming more of a necessity to learn how to use social media in concert with SEO. It is also important that you are conscience of the impact that it can cause to your reputation and you manage that effectively, but that’s a separate post for another day.
Cameron Olthuis is director of marketing and design for ACS and writes regularly on social media issues through the company’s blog, Pronet Advertising. The Let’s Get Social column appears Tuesdays at Search Engine Land.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.