As social media keeps getting more and more attention, many of our SEO management clients come to us with questions. It’s getting rather complicated because they hear about Twitter and LinkedIn and I can tell that they feel pressured to be involved, yet they don’t quite know how. Often they want to make sure that they are represented in the latest hot new trend, but what is happens is a client contracted for SEO begins to talk about wanting SMM services.
SMM and SEO: Alike, but Different
Somewhere we had to draw a line that separates the two activities which really isn’t that hard because they are not the same.
Search Engine Optimizations is a huge very complicated area with many technical coding issues and checklists that all add up to helping the search engines find and rank your webpage correctly. When we manage an SEO account for a client, we are essentially building back links to their website for the purpose of increasing that pages rankings for the specified anchortext.
While essentially the goal of back linking is to get a link from a relevant site, over 18 months ago ( before social media had a real name), we also incorporated general branding and promotions. Sometimes, it’s not just a link that one ends up getting, or sometimes time is invested but there is no link, but still branding and promotions.
Social Media Marketing, however, is much simpler in many ways. While links are great and passed links are becoming more and more important; really the idea is to just be social and active.. and links are not the only goal.
The Lines between SMM and SEO Blend
Some more social orientated profiles are included in standard SEO back linking and this is where it gets fuzzy.
Our SEO management isn’t just about creating back links to improve search engine rankings. Since we do take a more rounded approach and cover any aspects of promotion and branding which allows us to make important profiles for solid universal search results. The idea being, of course, that no matter where a potential customer was online, if they searched for one of our client on any website, by name or main keyword, they would find their way to our client’s website soon enough. Well ranking profiles on Twitter and Facebook are defiantly services that bridge the gap between SMM and SEO because of this very reason.
In a perfect world the profiles would be active and prolific, but even in the worst case scenarios; I would rather have a user experience a successful search that leads to a static profile, then not to find anything from a client at all. If I could have it my way then during SEO management, we create the fully optimized and branded profiles for SEO, but then either through SMM management or because they client embraces my social networking trainings, they would produce the content organically though their passion and involvement with the subject, products or services. My role would be much more of a social media consultant who teaches them how to perfect the medium to their best advantage.
Unfortunately, though, I have found that while clients will say they want to use Twitter and understand that they should be Tweeting; it doesn’t always happen. We will create them a branded Twitter account and then provide them a tutorial on how to use Twitter and strongly encourage them to be active; but you know what they say about leading horses to water? Same thing; not all clients drink the Twitter juice.
I love that they are actually mindful of social media and what’s new online, and I do appreciate that they come to us for consultation rather than just running around joining up services and creating duplicate profiles. The issue becomes what falls under the heading of SMM tasks and what is pure SEO?
Defining Social Media Services
Since now we have expanded at DragonSearch to met the growing needs of our cliental, we have separate social media management accounts. When I have a full on Social client; I actively create a social media presence for them on important social networks for their industry. I keep their Twitter’s full of interesting bits, grow and weed their followers, engage with their Facebook Fans and create content. It’s a very natural and organic process since I am fully immense in their industry and fields on a daily basis.
When working with a social hat on I want to go to the popular places where there are large markets of interested folks. I don’t always have to be 100% on target with keywords or issues, but can be much more human and just follow interests and be interesting. It’s even better when a client also has contracted with us for blogging services so that the whole Social Media loop can be incorporated.
Linking for SEO purposes can be completely different. While a popular and well ranking site is always more desirable, if we are targeting a specific keyword the links might be on a much quieter area. Let me paraphrase a very generalized conversation that has been occurring with an SEO client over link building:
CLIENT: Why did you comment on that blog? It’s not about my XX industry.
DRAGONSEARCH: We were building links to your XYZ page. The keyword for that is Widgets. The blog is a widget Blog and the post is a widget post and that blog allows HTML in their comments with a no follow, so it will assist in improving your rankings in that page.
CLIENT: But site 123 is much more about my products.
DRAGONSEARCH: Yes, but site 123 is a social site and while we built you a profile there, we cannot get actual links in the comments because they don’t allow HTLM there. We can’t do anything there that will improve your SEO rankings and THAT is what we are contracted to do.
Of course, then it’s time to explain that we do offer Social Media Marketing and how social can really assist in promotions and branding, and can work well with their SEO foundation, but that the social should ADD to our work with SEO not take away from it.