The other day a friend forwarded a message from an SEO professional questioning the reason their company set up and was developing social media profiles.
The person argued that since most of the links created via social media were “nofollow‘” there was no benefit to incorporating these tactics in an SEO strategy.
For search engine marketers, social media strategies are much more than a just method for securing direct links through submissions, posts, and updates. Here are five reasons social media should be a part of your SEO strategy.
- Brand-Based Search Results (Reputation Management)
For most organizations, brand-based search results will be towards the top of the types of keywords sending traffic to the site. Complete social media profiles help make sure the company message you create is seen in search engine results. LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook Pages, and company blogs will all usually appear prominently in brand-based search results.
- Understand Link-Friendly Content Strategies
Social media participation is the perfect place to review and analyze how content resonates with a target market. The same keyword strategies in place for SEO can be cross-referenced searching in popular social media networks. Even if newly created content gathers few SEO-friendly links, acquiring and evaluating the number of bookmarks, votes, etc received help illustrate how successful your organization is at connecting with potential customers and audiences.
- Connect with Content Publishers
While I don’t have an “official count”, about 4 out of 5 blogs I’d like to connect have Twitter profiles; roughly 50% of the writers on industry publications I’d like to get links from are on social sites and publicize that presence. Social media opens doors of communication for link opportunities that might never have been accessible before. Even if a writer prefers email for receiving the pitch, the relationship that is built through social media provides the connection which gets your email recognized and opened once received.
- Connect with Connectors
In the same fashion social media opens doors for link development it also can offer greater access to people and organizations who will help your business grow beyond links and keywords. From my personal experience in social media, KoMarketing Associates has received business opportunities, developed partnerships, strategic advice, and also link opportunities. I have been able to collaborate with people who I may never have been to connect with without social media as a mechanism for communication.
- Social Media’s Influence on the Search Space
Finally, an SEO professional is putting blinders on if they believe search engines are not considering social media influence. According to Hitwise, Facebook just overtook Google as the top destination for US Internet visits. Google, Yahoo, and Bing are all integrating social elements in their respective technologies and while social media’s direct influence on rankings is debatable, it is certain to increase.
The Unofficial 6th Reason: The Unknown Future
Which brings me to an unofficial sixth reason: the unknown future with respect to search engine algorithms. As indicated above, leaders in the SEO community are not certain about what the influence of social media has on keyword rankings in search, but most agree there is value. It is the level of value that is unknown and changing.
With respect to “nofollow” attributes, if a link building strategy places no value on these type of links, there are points being missed. No one would argue against being referenced in Wikipedia (which uses nofollow). Nofollow’d links can still provide direct traffic and even customers, especially when they are used (appropriately) to provide solutions and answers in niche communities.
Most importantly, do we really think search engine technology has zero capability of determining link intent and establishing value, even if a link is nofollow’d? I highly doubt that is the case.
So there you have it. These are some of my reasons social media has to be part of every organizations’ SEO strategy. What have I missed or what has been important to you? I would love to read your opinions and discuss this more via the comments below.