SEO and Social Media – What’s their Relationship?

Lately, I’ve been pondering an important issue many online marketers and search engine optimization pros find themselves having to think about more and more.

That issue of course is the relationship between SEO and social media – should search engine optimization specialists worry about social media and vice versa?

As you can imagine, much debate among the professionals surrounds this question. One side of that debate says the two channels are mutually exclusive. Many businesses in fact aren’t even worrying so much about their website and pouring all their resources into Facebook pages, Twitter profiles and Google Places pages.

According to Stoney deGeyter on Search Engine Guide, you can get a local ranking on Google just by having a ‘Places’ page – no website needed.

While it may seem easy and less expensive to simply put a blog on, build a Facebook and Twitter profile or utilize a myriad of other social media options, you would be remiss if you didn’t invest time and resources into building your main website.

Stoney says – and we agree – that you should definitely NOT neglect your website and focus ALL of your efforts on social media. One of the prime reasons for this – you own your website and the benefits that inevitably come from building it. As long as your site is hosted, your page(s) will appear in search results for the terms you’re targeting.

Social media on the other hand isn’t so permanent – for starters, not all of your followers may see what you post since social media channels, especially Twitter, are in real-time. Meaning if you post something at 3:00 but your follower(s) doesn’t login until 8:00, they may not see what you’ve done.

Search rankings for content on your site are more permanent though (i.e. they have a longer shelf life than social media) – SEO puts your site in front of people when they’re looking, no matter what time of day that is.

In an interview with Social Media Examiner, Copyblogger CEO Brian Clark comments on why SEO and social media work together…all the top SEOs have been using social media to build contacts and share content.

According Brian, the two are intertwined since good search rankings depend on two things – links and traffic. You have to attract traffic and links before you rank well in search engines. Social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter give you that initial boost to build strong search rankings.

See Brain’s interview below for more. His comments on SEO and social media are around the 5:00 minute mark in the video.

In the end, both social media and SEO each have their own benefit. Social media channels provide the opportunity to share content in real time. SEO on the other hand builds a more long-term foundation that’s available whenever someone is searching using your keywords.

It’s important you focus on both – build good keyword targeted content that’s highly shareable through social media. Focusing on one at the expense of the other will certainly leave many opportunities on the table.

sme_bw2010_brian_clark_v1 from Michael A. Stelzner on Vimeo.

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