Social SEO — also known as social media SEO — is one of the very best ways to increase visibility and the traffic associated with search engines. Who uses search engines? Your customers, investors and others looking for your business. Some of them may not even know they need you. They may be looking for something related.
In Vancouver we are pioneers of social SEO. Because we have seen the results first-hand, we view social SEO as the most exciting segment of digital marketing.
Social SEO is what helped us get noticed in a very competitive field. We compete against traditional marketing agencies. Some of our competitors have been around longer and spend a lot more than we do. But because we are a “pure” social media firm, we view social media as our competitive advantage. We do not fear traditional marketing agencies, no matter how much they spend. Spend, we implore them.
— Sky Alphabet 🚀 (@skyalphabet) October 26, 2017
If you’re like us, you believe that great service at a fair price should win over the long-term. The thing is, social SEO really helps with spreading the word that you deliver great service at fair price. Social SEO tells Google, Bing and the thousands of people who may be looking for you (or your competitor) that what you do is important and it matters to them.
Social SEO combines social media, digital marketing and SEO into a modern marketing hybrid. It involves coding and keywords (SEO) and connecting social platforms (social media accounts) and writing content that binds everything together. Does that make sense?
Here’s an example using a recent case study.
Social SEO case study
We have a client that represents the best of the best graphic design firms in Canada. We say this not (only) because they are clients but because we worked with them on the launch of a major entertainment company and they blew the doors off. Objectively, they are also one of the most award-winning graphic design firms in Canada. Anyway, Carter Hales Design Lab is in the business of building award-winning websites for airports and other meaningful brands. They are very good at what they do.
But being the best doesn’t necessarily translate into tons of profitable business. It should. But it doesn’t.
Generating reams of profitable business requires awareness. It requires thought leadership. And it definitely requires a consistent presence with a desirable audience over the long-term. By using social media and social SEO we can satisfy all of these criteria.
This case study is an example that many businesses will relate to.
#1: What are people searching for when they want to hire a top designer?
Here’s what you get when you enter “top Canadian Design firms” or “best Canadian design firms”
You get a lot of results that are all over the place. This is what we call a “top of the funnel” search result.
The searcher hasn’t yet narrowed their search term from “designer” to something more specific. The searcher isn’t looking for a jewellery designer. Or an SEO firm that is also a website designer. No. In this case the searcher is looking for someone to handle a re-branding and launch of a new website.
Now we are asking questions that are part of normal SEO procedures: defining search intent, trying to figure out what people are looking for. This is also known as keyword research. Keyword research is big business!
Keyword research is as important to social media as it is to SEO
Keyword research was such a groundbreaking, business-building concept when it first emerged that it propelled Google into the most successful company in the world. That’s because small businesses were forced to actually define why customers like them. Why do customers search for me? That’s the SEO part. Now for the social part.
Why do customers search for me?
Ahh. Yes. Another way of asking that question is: how do customers search for me? Google is a darn good way to find just about anything. But it isn’t the only way.
Social SEO leverages a relatively new trend that is crucially important to anyone engaged with the business of digital marketing: phones are now the primary internet access point for a growing percentage of people. It wasn’t this way a year ago. But it’s happening now and it’s not reversing. For some audiences such as 18-24 females, phones have been their primary internet access point for some time.
— statcounter (@statcounter) November 1, 2016
This graph above was published in November 2016. One year later, the lines continue to diverge. Mobile has taken over and that’s never going to change.
The move to mobile has major ramifications. It is responsible for propelling social media and its counterpart, social SEO, to the top of the digital marketing toolbox.
Back to our case study.
The Sky Alphabet Social Media thesis: a consistent social presence and regular contact with Google enables the smallest firms to compete successfully against much larger competitors.
Mobile has become so important that it has also changed the nature of search.
People don’t want old search results any more.
When something “big” happens, people expect to find it on social media. They look on Facebook. They look on Twitter. And then they go from there. In fact, people spend so much time on Twitter and Facebook that 80% of time spent with mobile is spent “in-app.” So where do businesses need to be?
And guess what those apps are? Social media apps.
Now, do you remember when we started this case study by saying
“We have a client that represents the best of the best graphic design firms in Canada.”
That’s the second part of social SEO: recognizing that links matter. The link in the short paragraph above is a link to our client’s website. The words ‘best graphic design firms” is called “anchor text.” Search engines evaluate things like anchor text and links and the quality of content around them. What has happened in this case study is that our client has earned what is known as a “backlink” in the process. Google thinks backlinks are gold. The more the better.
All of this terminology belongs firmly in the realm of SEO but it is also critically important when it comes to Social SEO. Why? Because the best distribution channel of all time is social media.
When you combine technical SEO knowledge with the distribution power of social media, you have a hot, hot marketing technique.
Social media is the best way to disperse a message because if you play your cards right, you can disperse it over a very wide and relevant audience.
So think about links and SEO the next time you share a link on social media. It will help your visibility and search results.
Coming soon: Why is your PR firm doing your social media?