Learning How To Master The Search & Social Universe @ SMX East

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By now, we all (should) know that search and social marketing are inextricably linked, and that an integrated digital strategy including both disciplines will amplify your brand, send more qualified traffic your way, and should generate greater ROI.

Kicking off day 2 at SMX East, panelists on the Top Social Tactics For Search Marketers got into the tactical nitty-gritty of how to get going on the path to a unified strategy with three very different presentations.

Social Tactics at SMX

Social Tactics Session for Search Marketers at SMX

Debra Mastaler a Link Building Specialist at Alliance-Link, focused on influencer discovery for link-building and digital PR. In her work attracting quality sites to link to her clients as part of the process of gaining greater visibility in search results, Debra uses a plethora of tools to find people, personalities and businesses with high credibility, quality sites and a large dollop of trust instilled in them by their fans and followers.

When Debra is after influencers, her research is methodical and focuses on three main targets: bloggers, journalists and subject-matter experts.

By searching on Facebook for your niche keyword plus the word “blog,” you can immediately open the door to a myriad of opportunities and relationships to pursue. Technorati, Alltop.com and the Google blog directory are all goldmines for relevant blogs, but it’s important to cross reference what you uncover with a tool like MajesticSEO to assess the relative authority of the blogs you find so you’re approaching top-tier publishers. Debra also suggests using a tool like TweetReach to assess the social reach of the blogger on Twitter to make sure they’re the right fit for your strategy.

Mark Traphagen, Director of Digital Outreach at Virante, focused on Google+ and the importance of understanding the platform and the potential effect it has on search. Although in Mark’s words, “that debate still rages on,” you can capture more search real estate and get your message in front of more eyeballs.

Outlining the latest thinking on whether Google was ranking people by subject authority, he said numerous recent conversations with senior people in Mountain View (including Matt Cutts) say no… or at least not yet.


Mark cites low adoption of authorship by publishers, misattribution in some cases, and the fact that social signal parsing as part of an algorithm is in its infancy.

So what do we know?

That Google+ profiles, pages and communities have PageRank and that they can be evaluated like regular websites. They have internal PR which stems from interaction with influential people and external PR from links back to profiles and pages.

In a quick-fire case study, Mark showed how a Google+ page targeting searches for “fitness and nutrition” went from page eight to page one in the SERPs after being linked to by four high profile sites.

Try it and let us know how you get on!

Annalise Kaylor, Associate Creative Director at aimClear, encouraged us to break down the silos and stop seeing PPC, SEO and social in separate buckets. Integrate your strategies and work out what’s driving success.

“Your job as marketers is to produce content that is so amazing and compelling that I care about it so much, I don’t mind seeing it alongside my grandma or best friend’s update in my feed,” she said.

Too many businesses think that having a Facebook page or Twitter account is their strategy, and they find difficulty knowing what to measure. None of the data has meaning unless you have a goal tied to it, and you may need to use more than one source to find the answers you need.

Social media ROI is living, breathing concept. Goals change, social is a tactic, not a strategy!

She encouraged us all to test, test and test and gave some great advice on thinking laterally about how to measure success and optimize by suggesting Facebook page admins check to see what drove “unlikes” on any given day to see what isn’t working and not just focus on what is.

Annalise also talked about the concept of “dark social” where we’re not sure why or where traffic is spiking and suggested that, though a tad arduous, tagging each social update with UTM tags will help understand better which network is driving what results.

SMX is all about actionable insight for marketers, and this was one of the most comprehensive sessions on social I’ve seen. So, well done to the speakers!

My 3 big takeaways:

  • There are many, many tools out there, many of which are free, so use them all. There is no one-stop shop
  • Don’t ignore Google+
  • Test, test and test again because digital is constantly evolving and your job is never done!

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

Related Topics: Channel: Other | SEM Industry: Search Marketing Expo - SMX


About The Author: is founder of Delightful Communications -- a Social Media, Digital PR and Personal Branding Consultancy. Former Microsoft Digital Evangelist and Author of Pioneers of Digital living in Seattle when not traveling the world speaking at conferences!

Connect with the author via: Email | Twitter | Google+ | LinkedIn


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