One of the biggest topics in SEO right now is ‘social’ SEO – the idea that the more people engage with your brand/product/website in the social space by liking, tweeting, and hitting +1, for example, the more likely you are to be rewarded with top rankings.
Including social media content as a ranking factor is a perfectly logical step for search engines to take. In order to provide the most relevant results for a given search they look at which websites/webpages are recommended by other websites in the form of direct links. Now they will also consider what individuals consider to be important.
The clear flaw in this thinking, which can be parked for another day, is that the people who make the most noise in social media aren't always representative of the more silent majority.
That "social SEO" has an impact upon natural search rankings is now irrefutable, and the recent introduction of Google +1 means there is now an even more direct relationship between a ‘social signal’ and ranking improvements. The influence of social SEO on rankings is typically reliant upon volume, however, so how can brands generate lots of likes, retweets, and +1s, as well as links?
A good starting point is to see what campaigns you could run that would be likely to attract likes and other social shares.
One example of this from the U.S. is Expedia’s "Friend Trips" game. The concept is pretty simple and is explained in the screenshot in five simple steps, the key points in reality being: 1. Like Expedia, and 4. Your plane is entered once all 5 friends accept your invitations (once they have all liked Expedia too). The effect of this promotion: Expedia’s following exploded from 130,000-odd to more than 1 million in the space of two months.
Linking With Relevant Partners
Clearly there are many ways to build links to a site that will add SEO value but finding key related sites and engaging with them remains one of the highest-value methods. Great SEO link building campaigns will involve giving something back to that link partner.
In the past this might have involved a reciprocal link; more recently it might have involved some unique content. Increasingly now it will involve something even more valuable and creative – great infographics, widgets, or other creative concepts, for example.
A neat example is the infographic below from Venere.it, which illustrates fun facts and trivia about Oscar-winning films and their locations, and which was shared with website owners in return for a link.
Creative Ideas Save Money & Time on SEO
Producing great infographics at the drop of a hat or coding specific Facebook pages might not be easily achievable for a lot of search engine optimizers, but the point is that great creative ideas will almost always go ‘viral,’ and this in turn will always help your link building.
When you plan out what activities need to be done to top the rankings in your chosen field, think about what tools and imagery might be of use to the related bloggers and review sites in your industry, and how you could go about creating them – you might find a creative idea can save a lot of time and money spent on more traditional SEO.
Meet Your Favorite Search Engine Watch Contributors
Many of SEW's leading expert contributors will be at ClickZ Live, the new online and digital marketing event kicking off in New York (March 31-April 3). Hear from the likes of: Thom Craver, Josh Braaten, Lisa Barone, Simon Heseltine, Josh McCoy, Lisa Raehsler, Greg Jarboe, Dan Cristo, Joseph Kerschbaum, John Gagnon, Eric Enge and more!