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SES SJ: How To Optimize For Search & Engage The Community

Posted on Aug 11th, 2009
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    Most people start with Google when they search for information, but increasingly users look to niche-specific engines like YouTube search when seeking entertainment.  Search engine marketers, digital media producers and entrepreneurs must create unique, relevant content that stands out if they hope to gain popularity in the Internet community.  Optimizing for search while engaging the community is part art, part science.

    Kicking off day one, Greg Jarboe, President & Co-Founder of SEO-PR and author of “YouTube and Video Marketing: An Hour A Day,” shares insights into the intersection of search and community engagement in:  “How to Optimize for Search & Engage the Community:”

    Is there a link between search & social?  Why would anyone go to an SEO firm for the execution of a social campaign?  There is actually a clear link, influencers and those who share are information seekers and actively use search engines, including social-specific engines like YouTube.  Search drives social and social drives search.

    Being search people, our first reaction to social media was “this is great, another source of links.”  That worked briefly, and then stopped working.  There is a whole other side to social, and when you begin to learn how search and social work together, you learn a surprising thing:  that neither are directly about the technology.

    Focus on the people using the technology, they behave in ways you can understand (and yes, get links from).

    NACA (Neighborhood Assistance Corporation Of America) was unconvinced the web could help them.

    The organization claimed “We don’t think you can help us because our audience is on the other side of the digital divide – we’re not sure they are on Twitter, on blogs or even on the Internet.”

    125,000 people attended NACA’s first event due to web influence.

    The process:

    Discover opinion leaders (minister, congresswoman, search engine marketer – who can step into this role is not fixed, so long as they are a leader).  They do two things that make them different from anyone else:

    • They search for information
    • They share the information with others in a different medium than the search engine, since search engines aren’t structured for sharing.

    The link here is not technological, it is human.

    Two step model that links search and social marketing.

    • Discover who seeks what in which channel from whom
    • Discover who shares what in which channel with whom (and with what effect)

    (Greg was nice enough to shoot me the visualization after the session):



    1)  Optimize press release or messages and combine with other elements such as video or photo.  Do so for local or niche specific search terms – go market by market.

    2)  Opinion leaders must retell story.  Get them to respond and share with others.

    3)  Compelling video is great element for inclusion element to package content.  YouTube is the most underrated channel for marketers to tap.  Not a lot of people see the video, but the correct people see the video if optimized properly.  Traditional media influencers are looking for content here.

    “Secret sauce”

    Reach not just people who want information, but people who want to do something with information.  They will turn information into influence.  Find a way for your content to get to them.

    Word of mouth component, activate people behind causes and ideas, bring them together.

    Need to have an opinion leader from the local community – or multiple.  If you do not have that local leader willing to step up you need to find them.  They are the critical glue and be willing to lend their influence.

    If you want your story to “go viral” and connect with the larger audience, the story has to be worth retelling.

    Make something that influencers will spread and that will “benefit” them.

    Insights on YouTube

    • YouTube is the most underused digital asset by marketers today.
    • Little known fact:  YouTube has the world’s number 2 search engines – more searches each month than Yahoo or Bing.
    • You don’t just find the video and watch it, YouTube works because it built in the whole sharing process.
    • Created and empowered a whole generation of opinion leaders expressing their thoughts on video.

    Learn more search and social marketing strategies from 2009 SES SJ coverage by TopRank Online Marketing