Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is always evolving. Businesses are always looking for new ways to rank organically on the top of search engines.  It has gone from abstract experimental concepts to a near concrete science. There were rules and the desired keyword density that would trigger an optimal search result. The problem is the contradictory goals of industry leading search engines and advertisers. Search engines filter out obvious ads in order to get corporations to pay to push revenue-producing content to the top.

This is Google’s profit model and, safe to say, it’s extremely effective. Smaller groups of entrepreneurs and marketers looked for ways to skirt Google’s pay for play system. That’s where traditional SEO was born, from a desire to push product positive or ad-revenue producing content to the top of the list, without paying Google’s premiums. As SEO writers adapted so did search filters ability to pick up subtly sponsored articles and blog posts. Today, SEO is a huge consideration when producing promo materials. However, the parameters have shifted from focusing on the search itself to learning more about the searchers.

Traditional SEO Verse the New

With traditional SEO focused more on fooling the search engine, new SEO is a realization of how people use the internet.  This was the equivalent of fishing for a click. Once that goal was achieved, there was no regard for user experience or end result. At completion, the clicker often felt tricked. The content of the query was nothing more than the result of a carefully considered math equation. As Google and other engines got wise, spammy contrived SEO results would consistently drop concordantly with average user page time.

The change to a more refined SEO is all about the content of the link.  SEO now focuses on the searcher and their experience with the content. By focusing on providing value for the searcher, instead of simply extracting a click, it ensures that future like-minded individuals will also enjoy this content. What arises is a focus on high-quality, informative content that people will like and share.  The new desired action is by providing value to the consumer. Furthermore, by targeting a certain user of a search engine, instead of simply a few keywords, it broadens opportunities for a wide variety of results.

With traditional SEO, the goal was to find the perfect balance that exacts the keyword to attract a click. However, with new SEO, the idea is to not only provide an entertaining article on the subject but also tailor the writing towards the audience most likely to be searching for a continental result. Within this audience, there are a variety of desirable niches (think luxury, budget, young, old) to infiltrate. New SEO thinks about the audience first, and it ensures a myriad of search terms lead the right person, to the right place. After all, that was the original intent of the search engines.

Time to Start Thinking Social

New SEO has a renewed grasp for its audience and new sense of purpose, but where does social media come in? It seems that if content once again rules the space, it should speak for itself. Why do firms focused on churning out viable, reliable, and actionable articles care about Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram? The answer is complicated but the studies are decisive. A strong social media presence is essential to moving up the all-important results ladder.

Reason for Social Media with the New SEO

  • Raise Your Profile

Social media profiles are often one of the most returned results in any search. If you Google your own name, chances are the first result will be some sort of social media profile. That’s because these sites are linked to other reputable sites and thus, they attain both criteria Google checks when creating a results page. Google’s algorithms look for “relevance and authority” which means, the ideal result is both close to the queried term and also linked, in both directions, to other respected sites.

Essentially, social media profiles contain a lot of the information search engines try to independently verify. Furthermore, as your reach grows and other sites with heavy authority link to your social profiles, they will continue to climb the search rankings. A profile link in a reputable magazine, newspaper, blog, or other social profile can greatly increase overall exposure. Also, these profiles contain a myriad of information about you and your business, which means they will feature in an incredible amount of search terms. There’s no excuse for not having a dedicated approach to social media profiles, as they check the most important boxes in most search programs. These profiles should be carefully curated and expertly maintained using new SEO techniques to maintain a positive image, and provide value to the consumer.

  • Internal Social Search Engines

An overlooked fact of most social media platforms is their internal search engines. If you’re looking to get into contact with an old friend, the first place you should search is Facebook’s dedicated engine. If you’re already on Instagram and looking for new clothes or ideas for your next vacation, you will use the integrated search bar. Each platform has dedicated features that make it unique. Mastering each medium is paramount to search success. Neglecting these smaller, but important search engines is a big mistake. People on these platforms are likely to share, like, and repost content that reaches them. If you’ve embraced new SEO principles, using social media search engines can be a very effective way to distribute your content. Most important is providing value to the consumer. If they see that value, they will show their friends, and that’s how exponential growth begins. Focusing on social media search engines provides growth opportunities whereas, the giants are much harder to crack.

  • The Power of Influence

Social media is home to some of the most influential celebrities and websites on the planet. As we know search engines like Google take authority into account, that means if something from your social media is posted on a powerful site or blog, it will draw more attention from the engines. While the number of likes and shares don’t currently affect Google rankings, who likes and shares certainly do matter. By getting the attention of influential people and brand, you increase the chances that your social media content will move into more traditional sites. This will see both your authority and relevance skyrocket. In the 21st century, “going viral” is essentially a phenomenon when a social media post leaps off the platform, reaching a much wider audience. Use social media as a springboard and soon you may see yourself on television, gigantic media websites, and even on browser home screens. These are not freak occurrences. “Going viral” requires a dedication to your desired audience and true understanding of new SEO. It’s all about finding the right content and getting the right push. This usually comes from a social media “influencer.” Partnering with an influencer, or someone, with a huge social media following, can get your product into the public consciousness, where hopefully its merits will carry the momentum. Right now social media is a low overhead option to attract attention and eventually drive business.

  • Bias of the Status Quo

Google does not currently take the volume of likes and shares into account when amassing search results. For example, a Facebook post with 70 likes and one with 50, with identical wording, should be equal in search results. There is some debate as to whether this is true, but what remains is a focus on content and authority. Better content = more likes, shares, and outgoing links. This increases your chances of being featured on a massive website and attracting the associating attention. While Google has explicitly denied any tangible effect of high numbers of “social signals”, other search engines like Bing, Yahoo, and MSN have not. That means a more popular post may increase visibility on these platforms. Also, Google’s stance is temporary. Their algorithms and results are always changing with the whims of the consumer. Just as new SEO focuses on the intended target, Google must adapt to what’s popular with their customers. For now, they exclude in-platform popularity from consideration when generating search results. As the people of the internet become increasingly obsessed with likes, retweets, and shares, it’s reasonable to assume Google will too. However, one undeniable factor is getting your post on multiple profiles will increase your authority by triggering multiple returns across many reputable sites. With new SEO likes may not matter right now mathematically but they increase your visibility and perhaps, long-term viability.

  • Syndicate Yourself

Social media sites are a natural warehouse of content. Once posted it is readily available to the public in perpetuity. The internet has a short attention span, but a very long memory. A once popular post can become viral again, even years later, with one repost. These posts have a life of their own and that constant stream of links and backlinks doesn’t go away. That means once your profile, post, or article has gone viral it’s reach spreads roots to authority building sites that aren’t easily erased. That means every time a relevant search is queried, your profile will remain at or near the top. Building a following and going viral are difficult, but they have lasting SEO implications. Consider a piece of excellent content on a social media website like a classic old sitcom. You’ve seen it 100 times, but every time, you still laugh. You can always discuss iconic scenes with your friends. Thusly, a transcendent social media post works and continues to work for you or your client. This never truly stops as diverse groups “discover” or rediscover the post themselves. There is no expiration date for amazingly directed content. It’s just a matter of getting it on the right channel, so it can entertain forever, perhaps with a small nudge here and there.

Does this really work?

Fans of old-school SEO may be skeptical of including a dedicated social media focus in their plan. Any successful SEO program is about building links. In a traditional scheme, your link is promoted by either paying a search engine to promote your content, heavily gaming the relevance portion of the algorithm, or paying outside sites to link to your content. That, however, will not build quality links to sites with the authority the Google’s algorithm constantly craves. By taking a new SEO approach you are not paying for a temporary trick that will be erased by the next software update. Google wants to provide their customers value. The value, in this case, is high-quality content, supported by sites with large followings, and reaching out to all sorts of people. This type of lasting impression called “content marketing”, ensures your desired result gets to the top and stays there. By investing in quality content the difference to giant search engines is evident.

Social media gives you an opportunity to compete. With social media profiles, you have an easily linkable, highly exposed, personal website that is already recognized by Google as a site of authority. By producing high-quality, authoritative, audience-centric content you are allowing consumers to organically discover material they already like. While social media impressions don’t currently increase Google visibility, they increase the volume of people talking about your product. This allows you to build a system of links and hopefully, reach an influencer. This link network lasts forever. As your linked roots grow, the authority will slowly transfer to the domain of your social media profiles. These will be the first results when people search in your specific niche. Moving forward, you now have a dedicated platform for posting new content in the future, creating a domino effect of influence. Social media is still the Wild West of marketing. The platforms themselves are still struggling to find their footing in this volatile marketplace. Embracing new SEO, a link building philosophy, and making the most of social media can take your reach to new heights.

Final Thoughts

The days of keyword stuffing SEO are drawing to a close. The industry has moved from the certainty of mathematical precision to the vagaries of content marketing. The most essential part is no longer generating empty, trick-based clicks, but creating lasting, useful content. Consumers will feel more enlightened and less used, and thusly be more willing to share helpful information with friends. Therein lies the beauty of using social media to build a link network. The network is, somewhat ironically already built for you. Everyone has their circle of friends and family. Unlike, traditional SEO, where the goal is to reach everyone searching for a certain term, content centered social media-based marketing, means you only have to reach one person. If someone likes, shares, or reposts your content there is a chance that like-minded others will do the same. The difficult part is building this following and keeping them active. However, a short-term media push will create an everlasting reputation and link network that will never stop paying dividends.

In essence, social media is the new king of marketing. Whether or not huge firms will admit it is a different story. In terms of moving up search results, being featured in widely seen blogs/sites, and inexpensively receiving TV airtime, nothing can compete with social media. It has become the great equalizer as consumers continue to look for personally targeted content and almost eerily specific messages. Reaching possible customers starts with hitting them where they live, and that, nowadays, is social media. The goal is simple. By harnessing the power of social media, reaching and distributing your message is easier, cheaper and more efficient than ever. Simply find your audience, and watch them do the work for you.