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Search Engine Optimization March 10th, 2009
For many online companies this decade, the heart and soul for business has been search traffic, and more specifically – Google traffic. Search engine optimization is an inevitable progressive business strategy for companies and corporate sectors. Within the past couple of years, social media platforms have sprung a new ‘social media optimization’ industry (aka SMO), focused on optimizing content and brand names so they are found within social media chattels. This has caused many people to focus on link services like Twitter, Delicious, Digg or StumbleUpon.
The looming question, however, has been whether SMO will develop into a compelling counterpart to SEO or whether they can share a symbiotic relationship in amassing both search and conversion results for websites. In my opinion, this trend may be fast approaching, as Facebook and Twitter are now being equally treated as virtual search engines.
Search engine optimization is garnering strategies from social media and is fast evolving. The SEO world was learning how to develop link building (baiting) that had a strong possibility of appearing on the front page of Digg, StumbleUpon, Reddit, or other similar social networking sites. The results were damn good, mostly in terms of channeling a good amount of links to a page on your site. But today social media has gone even further from that great tactic to do so much more in the voluminous search industry. For instance, Twitter or Facebook helps us to build high quality links through genuine networking and information/news sharing techniques. I have seen a number sites from different spheres use Twitter as an effective tool for PR outreach mechanism. (TechWyse is one good example in itself!)
No doubt this new type of PR exercise has become a new strategy for link building and online promotion. Today, however, the SEO community believes that social media is going to be a crucial deciding factor in search engine rankings in the days to come.
Social media has provided its users with unlimited opportunity to decide the relevancy of content. With social media the end user is now able to make an impact on the content of a page by voting for content using different methods including clicks, bookmarks, tags, share, follow, rating and reviews. These votes send a very strong message to search engines, and can compel them to return high ranking for those links.
The impact of these social media sites can be seen for various reasons. The link based algorithms currently in use by search engines are easily understood by the community including spammers. This has led to a seesaw battle between spammers trying to exploit the algorithm and the spam fighting crews of the search engines. This has been combated of late with the increase in relevance to social media popularity in ranking criteria, as it helps search engines to leverage the choices of the majority. Obviously, a link from a highly trusted web site, ( like Wikipedia), is going to remain important pointer. In the same way, the high rated items on trusted social media sites will have a noticeable impact, irrespective of its positive or negative ratings. User ratings and reviews already play a pivotal role in localized search, as does the social media references. You Tube, is one example of the top search engines on the web being used prominently in results and also being promoted by way of user reviews and ratings in rankings.
Finally, one of the favourite aspects of social media based sites is that they are self regulating. Spam campaigns for the most part on trusted SMO sites are fairly well regulated. Of course, as is always the case, there will remain some problems unregulated forums and social sites where link spammers make their presence felt , but search engines continue to improve their own in this cat and mouse game with improvements in their algorithmic base.
The repertoire of strategies and skill sets required to succeed in an SEO web property is expanding. A brainy link building tactic that isn’t really based on quality content will be ignored. Essentially social media is forcing new boundaries of thought in SEO strategy. Companies which understand the breadth and depth of the social media service as part of a broader PR strategy can ensure themselves of a quick advantage over their competition. This can bring some immediate benefits in terms of online market exposure, and in turn bring some significant advantage of improved search engine rankings and increased relevant website traffic.
In the end, what more can you ask for for your website? Social media effectively employed as part of your SEO strategy can only mean positive results for your company.