By Kimber Dulin
I have two picture frames on my desk. One shows the Moz Ranking Factors and the other is a large printout stating, “SEO IS NOT A SILO!”
Yes, I realize that my love for SEO has reached a new level, but it’s good to be reminded on a daily basis of the biggest misconception of Search Engine Optimization (SEO): All you need to survive in the big, bad world of Google rankings (or any search engine rankings for that matter) is strategic SEO.
SEO agencies depend on this fallacy to succeed in business, but time and time again, we learn that SEO is not a stand-alone cog in Internet marketing. In fact, it’s virtually impossible to have successful SEO without quality content and engaging social media efforts.
I’ll state it again: Successful SEO is impossible without good, quality content and engaging social media efforts. SEO is not a silo!
How so? Let’s take a look at how SEO boosts social media and content and how both return these benefits in-kind.
SEO and Content
“SEO and content” is like the “chicken or the egg” analogy. Which comes first? Which should drive the other?
The answer: They’re equal players that play separate but important roles. While SEO should not control all content created, content writers needs to understand the trends in Search. The bridge between the two is made of keywords and links.
Using legitimate link-building efforts allows people to find your content from other sites and helps search engines view you as a credible and authoritative resource. Content that includes relevant keywords allows people to find results that match their queries (big thumbs up!) and allows search engines to understand what your content is about.
Not only does a site with light content not enable search engines to deeply understand what the site is about, but more importantly, it doesn’t provide much value to the users coming to your site for more information or as an expert resource. An entire site, or certain page, that is light on content can seriously hurt SEO rankings.
SEO and content go hand-in-hand; both have a job in driving search engine understanding and user satisfaction.
SEO and Social
SEOs can do keyword research until the cows come home, but without understanding what people are talking about, it doesn’t do much good and only takes into consideration organic search.
Enter: Social listening. Social listening is the act of understanding the buzz on social media and what people are talking about. Facebook now even tracks trending posts, so it’s easy to see what information people are searching and sharing.
Working with your social media specialist is crucial for SEO. When you find out what people are talking about on different social media platforms, keyword research becomes that much more effective and allows for content writers to write something that is relevant to the public.
Another reason for SEO and Social to rub shoulders is to better understand your company’s social media persona as its own entity.
A mistake that many marketeers make is envisioning their consumer “persona” from too high a level. Oftentimes, that created persona is a blanket explanation of all people from all web traffic channels. However, those searching organically or directly visiting your site may have a very different persona than your followers on social media.
Those different audiences may want and search for different kinds of content (i.e., in-depth research articles versus informal infographics). You need to understand your social media persona on its own to ensure that your content is relevant and engaging enough for your followers.
SEO should always be user-focused. With social media on your side, you’re actively listening to what your audience wants on multiple platforms. It doesn’t get more user-focused than that.
A little tip for assigning personas: In our office, we assign a celebrity or character persona to each traffic source to help us understand who is on the other end of our site and/or social media pages and to figure out what they want. (We’ve been graced with the presence of Jessica Day, Jay Pritchett, and Miss Honey.)
The point? When you actively listen to users on social media, you’re able to create better, more user-focused content. With better quality content on your site, you’re able to:
- Share this content through link-building and solidify your authority as an industry leader.
- Help search engines better understand your content and return it as a relevant result on a results page.
Data shows that if you repeat something three times, it will stick. So without further ado: Successful SEO is impossible without good, quality content and engaging social media efforts. SEO is not a silo!