SEO & Social Media Alignment

I recently presented at SMX East on how SEO and Social teams can no longer operate separately. Why? Because social media is playing an ever-more important role in SEO, and it has the potential to be disruptive to the status quo.

Everywhere I turn, I find examples: personalized rank results, results with rel-author that display in Google search more prominently, and recently, # searches that incorporate G+ hashtag queries as part of the Google search experience.

The Value Of Aligning Search & Social


Traditionally, SEO has focused on content, website architecture and linking. These areas of focus are still critical, but as social media gradually becomes more important for SEO, it’s also about identity, relationships and content.

Identity-based signals can potentially include agent rank, relevancy and the engagement graph. Quality content, on-page relevancy and on-page optimization signals are all still important.

Plus, the impact of relationships can be clearly seen in personalized results. I’ve personally experienced this change reflected in a # Google search result — a mere 36 seconds after I made a post on G+.

Scaling SEO & Social Media

Scaling social media best practices across an organization can play an important role within SEO strategy. The larger your social footprint, the more impact social media will have on your SEO efforts.

To scale our own social efforts, my employer, Adobe, has moved from a distributed organizational alignment toward a multiple hub-and-spoke model. With a focus on four core areas that revolve around measurement, management, innovation and enablement, Adobe has a clearly defined engagement process that also helps us scale social media.

We have implemented defined social media policies and guidelines for social engagement so that employees are empowered to use social media, helping Adobe scale our efforts. In addition, cross-functional training sessions on social media and SEO best practices are an important aspect of scaling our social media efforts.

As part of this training process, we also invite guest speakers from leading brands to share social media best practices with our employees. Through these sessions, we have learned that social media holds significantly more value than its direct contribution to revenue. The value of social media can also be extended into areas that include R&D, marketing, sales and support.

Data-Driven Alignment

As part of the alignment between the social media and search teams, we sought to determine the impact between social media and SEO.

To accomplish this, we first had to align on our key performance indicators (KPIs). We discussed what dashboards should be shared, and we asked ourselves several questions:

  • How do we prove sales and conversion goals for social media?
  • Can social sentiment data inform SEO strategy?
  • Can we use SEO keyword data to inform social outreach?

We also studied the impact of social signals on SEO rankings and observed only a marginal correlation that could not be tied to causation.

Social media can help with amplifying content marketing efforts, but we do not want to only use social media as a means to promote our own content. Instead of shouting out our marketing message in a vacuum, we’ve found much more value in listening to our audience in social media. The value of social media goes well beyond any direct impact to rankings.

Social media can have a larger, indirect impact on the overall performance of search marketing efforts when social data is used to inform content marketing strategies. With social data, our audience is telling us what websites they frequent when they are not on our website and what content resonates with them most. This allows us to plan our content marketing so that we position meaningful content in front of our customers wherever they happen to be online.

Strategic & Tactical Alignment

To fully leverage social media and SEO, we coordinate regularly across departments to discuss alignment opportunities, tactical next steps, and strategies for each quarter. SEO processes that involve working with the social media teams include SEO best practices and training, keyword research support, support with rel-author implementations and linking recommendations.

We also leverage a variety of tools to improve SEO in our social media channels. Within our Adobe Experience Manager platform we have automated internal linking recommendations, and we’ve integrated SEO best-practice recommendations within the CMS. We also use BrightEdge to align social listening capabilities with SEO performance data.


Social conversations can inform keyword strategy, and search keywords can inform social content strategy. This process is a virtuous cycle because social engagement boosts search performance, which increases social signals and drives more social conversations.

By aligning search and social, the value of both SEO and social media can be enhanced. SEO is no longer just about content, linking, and site architecture; it’s also about building social identity, relationships and engagement. The data from social and SEO isn’t just for looking back; it can guide your future strategy.

By using social data to determine what customers want and where they prefer to consume online content combined with SEO data, you can develop a strategy that can target your customer in a way that is seamless and well informed. I’ll be speaking further on the topic of enterprise SEO & social media on November 19 at the SMX Social Media Marketing event in Las Vegas.

Image courtesy of Adobe

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

Related Topics: All Things SEO Column | Channel: SEO | Enterprise SEO | Search & Social


About The Author: is an award winning search engine marketing thought leader, author, and speaker. He has led the interactive marketing industry through innovation and education by embracing the latest integrated digital marketing strategies and technologies, as well as by advancing the industry through speaking, blogging, teaching & driving game-changing results for his Fortune 100 clients.

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  • Rhen Wilson

    Great article. I wholeheartedly agree with your approach and am actively working to do a similar pairing at my own company. Let me ask, you mention BrightEdge as your SEO software, but what social software are you using to collect the data that tells you what websites your customers are visiting when not on your website? Is that a social reputation software? Or are you talking about referral links?


    Great info presented here Warren, thanks! We’ve started using a simple approach; R=I=A=T=R which is research=information=authority=trust=relationships. As you pointed out it’s about relationships and the best thing we can do is build relationships with consumers and influencers within our respective markets. Relationships extend CLV, this make clients happy, happy, happy!

  • Joseph Abrams

    Brightedge does social too.
    you can also try New Brand Analytics

  • Mark Salke


    I enjoyed theses insights. The key, for me, is that SEO and social efforts ‘inform’ each other. The result is much greater than the sum of its parts. Nice job!

  • marketwithmario

    Great stuff here. It’s challenging to explain the value of social media to a small business and this helps for sure.

  • pramod kumar

    Hi I am a regular reader of your articles. But I have one query:
    Which website is more useful, beneficial for SEO- http website or https website?

  • Mayur More

    Very nice article Warren, As now days Social Marketing is dominating in every digital marketing campaign, the points you mentioned are really very helpful to build a strong SEOSMO strategy.

  • Warren Lee

    Thanks. Not referral links. I’ve used several tools including Adobe
    social, Sysamos, but for this analysis you can even use free tools like
    twitalyzer to get the job done. Any tool that
    allows you to find out who your most influential followers is a good
    place to start. Then once you have a good list of people that are
    following you, I recommend putting their profile URL’s into a tool like
    screaming frog, and looking at the “redirect URL” report. Most folks
    shorten the URL’s that they share, so the redirect URL report will build
    you a list of the top sites that your followers like to go to in order
    to find quality content to share.

  • Leadamo

    First of all, nice article!

    The way we use the internet is changing fast, everything is becoming more social and personal. We feel that search engine results will be based on what your circles of friends have recommended.

    It still comes down to delivering unique engaging content, and this means social media messaging too.

  • Rhen Wilson

    Thanks. Great info


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