7 Tips to Getting SEO Value Out of Your Social Media Efforts

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.

SMM for SEO Assumptions
Assumptions Going Into the Presentation

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
White Hat SMM:  Corporate Blog
Tip #1: Create Value on Your Own Site (URL)

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.

Black Hat SMM:  Automation
Background on Black Hat SMM
  • 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.]
Gray Hat SMM:  How Hard You Promote
TIP #2: Promote your Posts... HARD!
  • 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.]
Create Active Profiles
Tip #3: Create Active Profiles... lots of them
Get Creative With Your Profiles
Tip #4: Get Creative With Your Profiles
  • One example is that you can use delicious to push “topics” to mybloglog to get SEO value from a “nofollow” site
Play Hard on One Social Network
Tip #5: Play Especially Hard on One Social Network
Develop an Exclusive Database
Tip #6: Develop an Exclusive Database
  • 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
HomeSyn:  Real Estate Listing Syndication
Tip #7: Think SEO When Syndicating
  • 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!

Talking with myself on the porch

A few days ago, I decided to experiment by using a room on friendfeed in much the same way that I used to use del.icio.us… Which is to say that I’ve began bookmarking (or in this case “sharing with a room”) articles that I find interesting.

In many ways, I’ve been treating the porch on friendfeed like my own tumblelog.

Here’s what I’ve learned… It works!

Sharing things into a room on friendfeed is an easy way to track articles, videos, podcasts, etc. and I’ve already used the room for reference a number of times in the past week or so to “re-share” articles with others.

But here’s what else I’ve learned… It could be better!

The real fun in friendfeed could come is a group of people all treated one room like a group microblog… The beauty of this system over others (like twitter or tumblr) is that

  1. The focus on “link” keeps out much of the noise
  2. It is extremely easy to filter through articles and
  3. It has threaded comments making it easy to follow conversations.

Anyway, I don’t mind being alone on the porch, but I also wouldn’t mind some company. If you’re interested, here’s how you can take part:

  1. Sign up for a (free) friendfeed account
  2. Add a “share on friendfeed” bookmarketlet to your browser.
  3. Share anything and everything you find interesting with the room called the “porch”. But note that the porch is a place for discovery, not self-promotion, so it’s not a great place to link back to your own articles.

It is also worth noting that I purposely made sure the room did not have a “real estate” theme because much of the stuff I find interesting on the web is not real estate related! Go figure! If you’re up for a bit of painless adventure, then feel free to join me by sharing a story or two (or three or more) on the porch.

If Yahoo got their social media act together, this…

could be huge.

I’ve always enjoyed the niche social networks bought by Yahoo (Flickr, Upcoming, del.icio.us, etc.)… and if they can keep them niche, while making Yahoo more social, there’s potential for some interesting synergies.

(I found this particularly interesting in the context of Yahoo’s desire to keep prodding along…)