Social Media & The Future of SEO

Australian companies need to take social media seriously, today!

The majority of professional SEO companies and online marketing professionals have spent the recent months and even years speaking about the importance of social media from a brand building perspective but recent revelations from Google and authoritative SEO thought leaders such as suggest that there is a need to take social media far more seriously, even from a basic SEO perspective.

Up until this year, search engine marketing and SEO efforts have been based predominantly around publishing regular keyword-rich content on easyily navigated websites with link building geared at extending the reach of the content to increase PageRank and ultimately contribute to higher rankings and more traffic.

The end objective is still the same today for website owners – more traffic. More qualified traffic to be more specific. What is qualified traffic? Essentially qualified traffic is the segment of your audience most likely to buy your product or fulfill some other call to action (make a phone call etc.) upon visiting your site.

Getting more qualified traffic traditionally involved getting links from related businesses; targeted on-page SEO campaigns based on knowing the most common search terms; PPC or AdWords campaigns, also based on search terms and within SEO and PPC, website owners extended their reach through discovering longtail variations of those keywords. Brands were built on the SEO or PPC effort but in the future, social media will become the principle driver of brand building online on two fronts, word of mouth and as part of SEO.

Social media and personalisation changes the SEO landscape forever

Social media changes the online marketing landscape entirely. Beyond the word of mouth element of social media, it’s role in SEO cannot be ignored. The personalisation of the search engine results pages based on the preferences of social acquantainces effectively makes it easier for small businesses to rank high on the first page of Google. Examples of personalised results have already demonstrated that companies who would not normally feature on the first page of Google results can appear on the first page if the searcher is signed into their Google profile.

Why would a searcher sign into a Google profile?

Google’s aim is to deliver faster and more accurate search results. That’s what they believe their target market wants and if that holds true, it makes sense to sign into a Google Profile to get an improved user experience and more accurate results based on what your friends and business contacts are liking and recommending through social media.

How to approach social media as part of a SEO strategy

The first thing businesses need to do is acknowledge the relevance of social media. All the evidence in 2011 points towards social media being a big part of SEO and all the search engine optimisation experts from around the globe are pointing to social media having a bigger role to play.

Businesses that manage their own SEO campaign need to adapt. In the past the necessity was to learn about content, keywords and link building. Now, learning about social media is key. The best approach is to learn what social media your target audience is using – there is little point being on Twitter if none of your target market uses it. Facebook has such a huge reach in Australia (10 million users) and as a result is one social media site most businesses should be using. There is much more to consider including: LinkedIn, StumbleUpon, Foursquare, Tumblr, Reddit, Digg, Quora and more besides.

Companies that adapt now and actively encourage and reward social media involvement amongst there target audience and existing customer base will see the greatest reward. If you would like to know more about social media optimisation call today on 1300 650 274 or visit us on Facebook to download a free copy of our social media handbook.

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