Triangle AMA Recap | Search Without Social is Just Wrong

by Michael Hubbard on June 18, 2010

in Media,Search

First of all, thank you Triangle AMA for inviting me to your Search Engine Marketing panel – I had a lot of fun, and really enjoyed the back-and-forth as well as the audience participation.  As I reviewed the SEM panel video last night, I of course saw plenty of places for improvement from the information I provided (we’re all our own worst critic I guess), so a follow up blog post seemed appropriate.

For starters, I know that Social Media is considered the “shiny new thing” people are chasing, but a great strategy, and seamless integration into your marketing plan makes it another effective marketing vehicle.  I tried to keep my mouth shut up there as I wasn’t invited to be the “champion for social media”, but as many of you could tell, it was difficult not to speak up.  Morgan Siem, our lead Social Media Strategist here at Media Two is going to follow up my blog post and handle the championing, but for this post, I really want to hit on some points I feel like I missed on stage. Here are some quick-and-easy strategies to help you succeed on the search engines by incorporating social media into your marketing mix.

First Page Ownership.  One of the great points made during the conversation was that Google limits the real estate allotment for each domain name, meaning that your website (domain name, URL) can’t be listed again and again. This clearly creates an opportunity to gain a space through paid search (now you have a paid listing and an organic listing to help you attract eyeballs).  The other thing you can do is create social media accounts (commonly referred to as creating a digital footprint for your brand).  Go ahead and google “Media Two” once.  In our particular case, there are many Media Two’s out there.  What you’ll see, though, is that the top organic listing is our official Media Two website, as well as a paid placement on the page.  But look further down the page, and you’ll see our old Blogger blog, some of our Twitter accounts (@mediatwo & @mediatwo_social), our newer WordPress blog - MediaTwoPointOh.com – and on page two you’ll see our Media Two LinkedIn account and our Media Two YouTube account, as well as more blog posts that have indexed individually well.  On any given day the order may change in appearance based on the freshness of the content, but the fact remains the same – social media is commanding a presence on search.  Algorithm’s are undoubtedly changing (see Google Caffeine announcement), but don’t make the mistake of ignoring today for what might happen tomorrow.

Social is Content. I will continue to say in every post possible that content is king.  If you provide something worth while on your site, people will respond favorably.  Search engines will notice that people are viewing, staying on the page, and referencing you via links on their site.  This is what search algorithm’s do for a living – they find relevant content!  They index as much as they can, and then they return queries to users based on what they’ve indexed.  I flubbed in my explanation on the panel. What I meant to say was: when you search on Google – you’re not searching the Web, you’re searching Google’s index.  Whether it’s a blog, a tweet, a video – it’s content, and content is king.

Social Helps PPC Search.  Most of the above are examples of how it helps organically, but let’s not forget the pay-per-click side of search.  One stat I loosely quoted yesterday was when organic results and paid results appear on the same page – there is a conversion lift that occurs (11.7% lift according to NYU Stern professors).  I’ve already stated that social media can gain you organic listings – so now connect the dots and match your paid campaign up to your social strategy!  Without beating a dead horse on this, I think it also warrants pointing out the recent study that said a person on Facebook that Fans/Likes a brand is 28% more likely to use that brand.  If you are in a highly competitive SEM marketplace – take banking for example…  If all things are held constant (you bid the same, your ads are the same, your offerings are all for free checking), you will head-to-head win out on the click/conversion if that person searching for free checking is already a fan or follower of yours!  When you start winning out in CTR (click-through-rate), Google starts making more revenue from you, and in turn rewards you with a higher relevance score.

Everything is not as black and white as this, which is why you need to develop a strategic media plan that is appropriate to your business.  Understanding and implementing Social Media is not the end all, but it absolutely is part of the marketing mix…  With that, I’ll let you know that Morgan will be posting shortly with more strategic insight to share!  Thank you again to the 100+ that turned out to participate yesterday!

If you’re interested in more:

UPDATE: Morgan’s follow-up post: How Social Media Affects Search Engine Marketing

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Morgan Siem June 18, 2010 at 4:15 pm

Get ready, readers, because HERE.I.COME!!

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Karl Sakas June 18, 2010 at 11:57 pm

“One of the great points made during the conversation was that Google limits the real estate allotment for each domain name…”

Aha! I assume that’s the strategy behind your using the separate MediaTwoPointOh.com domain name, instead of hosting your blog at MediaTwo.net (where content would get collapsed into a 1-2 entries on the SERP)?

Thanks for the extended analysis.

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Michael Hubbard Michael Hubbard June 20, 2010 at 9:27 am

There are actually a lot of loop holes to his… Go ahead and Google “CNN”. You’ll see they utilize social media to get indexed, but you’ll also notice their good use of sub-domains that serves the same purpose. Personally, I believe their approach is better as they’re creating one identity for the engines to index with multiple sets of content, which makes their main domain more valuable. In essence, we’ve created 2 different identities (on purpose)for Media Two that index well on our brand, but if we wanted MediaTwo.net to index better for content other than our brand name, we’d have been better served utilizing the CNN approach. Different strategies for different companies.

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