Social Media Marketing & SEO
There is some confusion about the difference between Social Media Marketing and Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Both are marketing methods whose purpose is to get higher visibility for a web site in a search result. People turn to internet search engines for information. For any search performed, thousands of results are returned, ordered by relevance to the “keywords” or “key phrases” the user entered.
Every business wants their web site to come up on the first page of the search result, but each page accomodates only 20 or so items. With millions of items returned, and only 20 positions available on the first page, every website owner is vying for those coveted first 20 slots.
In order to increase their chances of coming up on the first page of the Google search (or Bing, Yahoo, etc), business owners modified their websites to insure that relevant keywords were present on each page of the site. The thinking is to load lots of keywords onto every page, so that the search engines would see the website as highly relevant, thus giving it higher (first page?) prominence in a search for any of those keywords.
Thus, most websites have been optimized for keywords deemed relevant to their prospects and customers. But, increasing the number of keywords on a page does not make for higher relevance. In fact, search engines penalize websites if they use keywords repetitively, lowering their search ranking. Suffice it to say that SEO is the act of liberally sprinkling keywords throughout a website, so that seach engines accord it higher relevance.
At stated, SEO can have the opposite effect as well. Search engines, it turns out, are not fooled by a simply loading up a web page with keywords.
In addition, search engines got even smarter in their ranking algorithms. Nowadays, website relevance is determined by something called “link popularity”, and it works like this: if a website is referenced in other places, it is seen as having relevance to a subject. For example, let’s say a cosmetic surgeon develops a new procedure for a facelift that is a marked improvement over traditional methods. The procedure is detailed in his website, and the medical community also writes about it. People surfing the web discover it and tell their friends about it on their Faeebook page or in a Tweet.
A “buzz” develops and search engines, doing what they do, note the references to the doctor’s website. They “see” many references to it in articles, blogs, videos, references and backlinks. They see the attention the doctor’s website is receiving from many places.
Because of the link popularity attributed to it, search engines elevate the doctor’s website to high prominence for the keyword referencing the procedure. This is an example of Social Media Marketing. In essence, it is a marketing technique that is geared to provide link popularity to a website.
In practice, a Social Media Marketing campaign is based on producing a series of videos, articles, blogs, and podcasts with keywords relevant to the client’s website, based on an exhaustive keyword study. The content is then posted on as many sites that are available, so that articles are posted on article sites, videos on the videos sites (like You Tube), etc. There are hundreds of these sites, where people post and share information; hence they are referred to as social media sites.
The process is repeated, with new content produced and posted on the media sites regularly. Each piece of content has backlinks to the main site, with the focus on building link popularity for the main site provided by all the content references. Thus, a Social Media Marketing campaign is geared to elevate a website’s search ranking by posting hundreds, if not thousands, of backlinks and references all throughout the web. The content is relevant to people and search engines alike, whose search algorithms favor this type of reference.
Although Social Media Marketing and SEO are methods designed to accomplish the same thing, a Social Media Marketing campaign is usually more effective at driving traffic and attracting leads, all other things being equal.