Recently, I was asked by the folks at MOTM to give a talk on Social Media. I typically present to real estate audiences, so I decided to rethink my usual approach for this tech-audience. More than anything, I wanted to present something that was worthy of the group.
After more than a few conversations, I decided to explore the “gray” areas of social media, and especially how you can use social media engagement to improve search engine rankings. It feels like I’ve been living in this gray area for quite a while now, but I don’t often blog about it because most SEO works best when it is not widely shared.
In terms of SEO strategies, the stuff I presented last night was relatively tame (i.e. on the black hat to white hat scale, the ideas trended toward the lighter side of gray). And at the request of more than a few of the people who attended, I’ve decided to publish (most of) the slides I used in the presentation.
As with most of my presentations, the slides don’t begin to tell the whole story. That’s especially true with this presentation since the conversation that came out of the slides was by far the most informative part of the evening.
Nonetheless, the 7 tips listed below offer some insight into how you can start to improve your website rankings (SEO) by taking part in various social media sites.
The four assumptions I start out with are:
- Off-site SEO is where you can get the most bang for your SMM buck
- You should focus on anchor text of inbound links whenever possible
- Social media sites can often pass along ridiculously great SEO value
- You should focus on DoFollow sites whenever possible
The typical corporate blog is about as white hat as they get in the SMM world. Here the company is trying to outreach to consumers and/or clients by providing useful, interesting or otherwise valuable content and thereby earn inbound links and other positive word-of-mouth from their blogging.
- Automation is not all that effective in social media and often pretty easy to detect
- While there are examples of useful automation (think: google news), most is spam and does not add value
- [Note: this slide generated a fascinating conversation at the presentation with an active discussion on the role of automation within social networks.]
- Level of “gray” really depends on how hard you promote.
- It’s trivial to join/create a group that attempts to “game” the social news/bookmarketing sites. Is this “black hat” or just using your social network effectively?
- [Note: I do have a group for online real estate professionals where we help each other promote posts. It's in invite-only thing, so as long as I know who you are and you run a quality blog, then feel free to let me know if you're interested in joining.]
- BusinessWeek’s BX is a personal favorite because it sends pretty high-quality traffic.
- In addition to traffic, you can get four juicy links on your profile
- One example is that you can use delicious to push “topics” to mybloglog to get SEO value from a “nofollow” site
- Great example is how the Village Voice weekly newspapers are playing Digg.
- Is this spam? Not really because they are adding value to the social network
- If you can develop something that media outlets want to pick up, then it’s quite possible to drive a ton of traffic and great inbound links by feeding them exclusives
- In the real estate space, this is celebrity listings, but most industries have their exclusive stuff you can mine from databases
- While this example is specific to real estate, most industry could benefit from thinking of SEO when they push their content around the web.
- In this case, I work with agents all the time to create listing detail pages on their sites and then make sure that they link back to those listing detail pages in a savvy way to ensure SEO value is getting past to their site whenever possible.
- It’s worth noting that I created a syndication tool for my real estate clients called HomeSyn that syndicates listings in a savvy way (i.e. links back to the listing detail page of an agent’s choice whenever possible). However, it’s an invite-only tool. If you have some listings and are interested in testing out the tool, let me know and I consider throwing an invite your way.
If you think I’m wrong or have something to add, let’s continue the conversation in the comments… and if you found this information helpful, then help spread the luv by returning to the top of this post and giving it a digg, save, bookmark, stumble, or whatever it is that you do!