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5 Key Questions on Social Media, Content & SEO

Posted on Nov 30th, 2011
Written by Lee Odden
In this article

    Ready to elevate your B2B brand?

    TopRank Marketing drives results with content, influencer, SEO & social media marketing.

    audience social media seoA few weeks ago, @aknecht and @SocialMichelleR had me on their #socialchat and as I am prone to do, I ask for questions in advance and try to answer them so when the actual Twitter chat comes, I’m ready with robust content and links instead of thinking of everything on the fly. The result is a richer experience for all I think. It’s also a source of content that one can use for a blog post. Like this one 🙂

    According to Hashtracking, that #socialchat was quite active, with 523 tweets, 76 contributors, a reach of 291,000 and 3.2 million impressions. It’s amazing how much potential reach is possible through a well attended chat on Twitter.  I did a #blogchat with @mackcollier before BlogWorld LA and we posted huge numbers: 4k tweets, 800+ contributors, reach of 3+ million and over 29 million impressions.  Twitter chats are growing in popularity and such scheduled gatherings have extended to other platforms like Facebook and Google+.

    Julio Ojeda-Zapata of the St. Paul Pioneer Press newspaper recently covered the topic giving some great examples of how locally focused Twitter Chats are bridging online social media with real world connections. And that brings me back to the topic of this post – Social Media, Content and SEO: What do marketers need to know to bring those disciplines together and why?

    I’ll dig into the topic in a Q/A format as used in #socialchat which I think is a great, practical example of this intersection.

    In simple terms what is the connection between social content & SEO?

    The simple answer is customers. People use search & social to discover content. Search engines & social platforms like content because it creates the basis for advertising opportunity. My favorite metaphor is Content = Bread, SEO = Peanut Butter, Social = Jelly. PBJ marketing. 🙂

    social seo content

    Customer-focused content is created w/ purpose. SEO & social are manifestations of what people care about to attract & engage. Customer needs, interests, pain points, motivations + brand goals feed an Optimize & Socialize content strategy. Anyone, heck everyone is a publisher now. Brands and consumers can easily create & share media 24/7. Search & social optimized content with a purpose attracts & engages customers to buy and share with other buyers. That’s in contrast to keyword list optimization that’s focused on top of funnel traffic to a website.


    • 53% of time on the internet is content consumption. (AOL Nielsen)
    • 27 million pieces of content are shared per day (AOL Nielsen)
    • Content Creation was cited as the most effective SEO tactic (& the hardest) in MarketingSherpa’s 2011 SEM Benchmark Report


    Do specific types of social content have a bigger impact on SEO?

    Types of content that are good for SEO need to be good for people first (in my opinion).   Content & media that gets shared, linked & acted on most, has a bigger impact. People are savvier about what’s “good” vs. what’s mechanical. That’s the problem with how many companies are approaching their social participation. They’re focused on on scale with the least amount of resources. That often results in a more “mechanical” approach when it’s a “meaningful” approach that matters more in terms of building community, growing a network and engagement.

    social content

    Here’s a thought for you as you’re reading this post: What’s social content? Content that exists on social platforms or websites with social features?  I’ve always said great content isn’t great unless it gets consumed, shared & linked to. It’s the old, tree falls in the forest and no one’s there to hear it, does it make a sound? If a great infographic, video, blog post etc is created but no one (substantially) sees or shares it – is the content really great? I say no. Promotion is essential along with thoughtful creation.

    What writing styles should copywriters implement to ensure maximum impact on SEO?

    Always test what works with the community you’re trying to engage: Hypothesis, test, refine, repeat. If you’re optimizing for customers and outcomes, then that should influence your style first and foremost with SEO a close second. Keep in mind the potential impact of a social share vs. a link from another site as well as the relevance to different audiences. If your objective is thought leadership, then your audience for the content will be influencers in the industry. If your objective is lead nurturing or customer acquisition, then your audience will be buyers. Style of content should follow the objective and audience accordingly.

    social content writing style

    Attention spans online are short & even shorter with social content. Write scannable content, headlines, bold, bullets. Your reader should be able to discern the key points of your content in just a few seconds, then dig in for more if they want to.  Also, headlines are gold. Make sure your headlines are compelling to read AND share.

    Create modular messages from short to long and media specific for a diversity of options that you can use in different situations and on different platforms. By “modular” I mean: Short (like tweets, Facebook or G+ updates), Long (blogs, articles, press release) or something more media specific (video, infographic, audio).

    What’s the most common mistake made when preparing copy for social & SEO?

    Not understanding what motivates people to search & share & what that means for content style, format & promotion.  Another mistake is over emphasizing popular keywords straight from Google AdWords keyword tool – basically crappy writing. Yet another mistake is poor quality messaging, irrelevant incorporation of keyword targets in body copy and “filler” pages to look big.

    How can an organization best leverage social & onsite content from maximum SEO effect?

    Of course the Content Management System, web page templates, code, tags, feeds and other similar aspects of the site need to be optimized right along with content. A lot of SEO is about making things easy: For search engines & crawling.  Ease of sharing is also important: “social media friendly”. Connect the site with sharing features into Facebook, G+, Twitter & where the target audience shares. Leverage resources to create fresh (as in new and updated) content that’s sharable and promote to social networks and other channels of distribution.

    How are you incorporating SEO, Social Media and Content in your online marketing mix?  If you are, what are is driving the effort? Is it Marketing, PR, Sales?