Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Google Buzz, Friendster, LinkedIn, FourSquare, Digg, Flixster, Delicious are among the elite of Social Networking or Social Media websites and have millions of registered users. But what do these sites have to do with Search Ranking, SEO or online visibility?
The importance of Social Networking sites can no longer be overlooked or just left to your competition to wrangle with. It has been recent stated that Facebook's registered users have rapidly risen and now exceed ½ billion! Information Week this past September, shocked many people when it revealed that "Americans spent 685,000 hours or 41.1 million minutes on Facebook in August, compared with 39.8 million minutes spent on Google, according to comScore. Yahoo took the third spot, with 37.7 million minutes". With a combined global strength of well North of 2 Billion Social Networking Site users. Ignoring Social Media today is a grave error that any businesses trying to establish successful campaign toward Online presence, Online Exposure and SEO need to avoid at most any cost.
Defining Social Media, Social Networking and Social Marketing
Wikipedia describes Social Media as "media for social interaction, using highly accessible and scalable publishing techniques". Are you amongst the many still wondering exactly what a Social Media website is, and why you need to be involved in it? I stand before you to assure you that you're not alone. To help in clarifying this relatively new phenomenon, a Social Networking/Media website is a site that goes beyond simply just providing information, it is a website or web portal where there is interaction with it's users. The level of interaction can be as simple as rating something, filling out a poll or voting. The successful Social Networking websites tend to be more complex and multi-layered. For example, examining the highly successful Facebook; users of Facebook perform multiple tasks often during the same login session. Facebook users are often recommending something to someone of similar interests, posting links, photos and videos and enjoy imposing their "voice" among their Facebook followers.
Websites that are primarily Information Portals, such as Wikipedia, serve their users on mostly a single layer, such as the answer to a question. While a News Site such as The New York Times provide their users with up to date national and international news. It has become readily apparent that ratcheting up the "Social" aspect of a website and providing some level of interaction is paramount in keeping users interest. Less successful (social) websites more often only offer a single layer or rudimentary "socialness", but what really sets apart the successful Social Media/Networking sites from the "also runs" is the inclusion of multi-layers of social interaction with it’s users. This interactivity and social nature of these sites is what keeps it's users returning over and over again.
Online Marketing and SEO Campaigns, Crucial to success, while Social Media makes a strong upcoming Central Play!
Until recently, following Google's path would derive the best methods and strategies used by SEO companies. Successful SEO campaigns meant adjusting optimization tactics and techniques based on what could be culled or deconstructed from the Google Algorithm along with other tried and true SEO techniques. Website SEO campaigns have traditionally been comprised of two separate but equally important components, on-site optimization, followed by the ongoing routine of off-site optimization.
On-site optimization frequently consisted of the use of, new and pertinent optimized website content, assuring proper density and usage of the most important keywords, linking to other important pages within the site and linking out to trusted authoritative and highly ranked external sites. External or off-site SEO may have consisted of establishing links back (back-links) to the originating website from other authoritative high Google Page Rank websites, Blogging, press releases and more.
Though the importance of these standardized 2 SEO campaign components cannot be diminished, but the importance of inclusion of the third (new) component of Online Exposure and SEO, Social Media and Social Networking can no longer be overlooked. To validate the significance of the inclusion of Social Media Impetus, one need only look toward mainstream media such as TV, Magazines etc. Television commercials continuously make pointed references to Facebook, Twitter while magazine ads tout "Follow us on Twitter" or "Visit our Facebook page", clearly the level of importance given to the third component of online exposure has not only become mainstream, but quickly becoming significant marketing vehicle.
It seems apparent that the roll and importance that Social Media and Social Networking sites are taking has mandated the 3-component approach to SEO. What is not apparent is the extent of participation and level of involvement as well as how to properly utilize and capitalize on Social Media and Social Networking.
Today, Social Media remains a mystery to most companies and organizations, the ideal strategy and level of involvement are generally beyond the prevue and knowledge and even sometimes the comprehension of even some even C level management. When organizations are left scratching their collective heads, retaining an experienced well-staffed Social Media Optimization and SEO Company can tender an important advantage that is needed to triumph over their respective competition. In the 80's and 90's it was understood that many companies would need to higher a PR firm. Today, a new media SEO or Online Marketing Company quickly becomes the De facto standard to reach out to the masses, quickly paying for it by producing a positive return on investment (ROI).
Return to this age for future installments follow-ups to our series of articles highlighting the importance of SMO/SEO and Social Networking. Topics of future articles include:
1. How to leverage Social Media.
2. What should be budgeted toward SMO/SEO in both time and money?
3. How to retain the best SMO/SEO Company for your money.
4. What types of content and subject matter should you be posting?
5. Methodology on how to post. Suit the needs of your vertical and business to get the nest out of Social Media and Social Networking.
The following sources provide comprehensive lists of today's social media and social networking websites.
* Wikipedia. This is a list of major active social networking websites and excludes dating websites.
* SocialMediaWebsites.com. A comprehensive list of Social media and Social Networking Websites.
* Traffikd.com. Updated often and breaks down Social Media website by type i.e. Food, consumers, fashion etc.
* InsideCRM.com. 50 Social Sites That Every Business Needs a Presence on.