SEO, Meet SMM
Moderated by Danny Sullivan
Presented by: Rand Fishkin, SEOmoz Cindy Krum, Blue Moon Works Inc. Todd Malicoat, Stuntdubl Neil Patel, ACS/Pronet Advertising
Danny introduces the session. He mentions that while this is a relatively advanced conference, there is fundamental coverage in this session because search engine optimizers really need to understand social media. Social media traffic is great for a site. A lot of people are going to social media sites and are doing a basic behavior of discovery. They can do a keyword search and browse the headlines or go to Digg and learn that the whole world is about Macintosh. (And it's true.)
First up is Rand Fishkin.
He's going to cover social media marketing vs. viral marketing.
You go to Web 2.0 sites and approach these sites in the desire to be part of the community. We make the Yahoo, MSN, and Ask communities work for us. This now extends to social media to leverage them for success. How does this work? - You can rule the search results. (You can push down negative content in reputation management cases.) - You can get link love. - Traffic, - You can influence the traditional media as well. Where can you do this? 1. YouTube Not directly influential over search results but has millions of views. 2. Wikipedia 3. Yahoo! answers - a phenomenal resource and a great place to participate. 4. Yelp - most popular local reviews on West Coast. 5. LinkedIn - as a personal networking source. 6. Flickr - Those comments don't have a nofollow on them. 7. Craigslist - bestof Craigslist are the best links you can get. 8. Facebook 9. Amazon - blogs, lists, participation. 10. MySpace - SEOmoz ranks. 11. Technorati - you definitely should be tagging your content. 12. Judy's Book - like Yelp, it's a local service. 13. Newsvine - contributing a lot can earn you rankings in search results. 14. Twitter - not useful. [Danny says that it sends you a lot of traffic.] 15. CitySearch - good local directory. 16. WikiHow - great place to put articles
What can viral media marketing do for you? Do you remember when there was no YouTube? In December of 2005, YouTube became more popular in a month. What did that? Lazy Sunday from Saturday Night Live was put there, and now YouTube dominates the market. Viral media gives you the ability to brand. Viral media causes search rankings through links. Viral media means that you are growing your fan base. RSS subscribers go up.
Where can you submit linkbait? 1. Digg 2. Reddit (politically focused more so, real content focus rather than Apple/Wii fanboys) 3. StumbleUpon - toolbar sends a lot of traffic. There are 2.5 million users click on the Stumble bar when they are on the phone with their clients. (I've done it.) 4. del.icio.us 5. Netscape - a little less valuable but good traffic. More serious news. 6. TechCrunch - my understanding is that unless you can give Arrington something he wants, you won't get on here. But if you do get on here, there's phenomenal traffic. 7. Newsvine 8. Boing Boing 9. Fark 10. Engadget 11. Techmeme 12. Lifehacker 13. Yahoo! Picks - send decent traffic. It's tough to get there.
Is viral marketing really that powerful? Yes. SEOMoz has 724,200 links since it was launched in 10/04 and has a PR of 7. etc.
Next up is Neil Patel.
There are tons of social media sites out there that have a bunch of terms. They don't want you to pay for votes, create multiple accounts (especially from the same IP), or submit illegal content (pornographic content, or how to get free DirectTV).
Neil broke the rules and eventually his username was banned.
It's not long term and it's not effective.
Consider your audience. They are arrogant babies with attitude and spunk. (An image of a punk baby is on the overhead projector.) The older audience is really 28, 29, and 30 years old.
Unwritten rules: they don't want you to do self promotion, add biased information, or ask friends for vote. The users will respond by saying "stop spamming your link on all the front page stories" and call you out on it.
Neil then presents his own golden rules: - Add tons of friends. They don't have to be your real friends. If you submit a piece of a content and tons of people vote on it, that means they're interested in the stuff you're submitting, so become their friends. - Participate in the community. Get involved with the people who leave their AIM screenname or email in their profile. - Become a top user. You can submit stuff and get away with it. People look up to you. They will vote on your stuff and you'll succeed. - Use their features against them. If they give you tools to become friends, become friends with them. - Create a social brand. Don't use the name like "neilpatel" all over. People might recognize you by your unique name and avatar. Neil shows an example of the StumbleUpon tool and the ability to send a link to your friends. You force them to visit your page.
If you want to succeed, do what's ethical at the end of the day. Don't do spammy stuff unless you get a lot of traffic and links. Think about your brand and don't jeopardize it. Think long term. Most people think about social media for a quick fix. It's a long term strategy.
Todd Malicoat from Stuntdubl comes up next.
Firstly, the benefits to strategic linking with social media. Control over anchor text, body copy, theme, and lots of opportunity for links from trusted sources Rankings, traffic, and sales go up. He shows an example using Squidoo.
Caveat: invisible nofollows With Digg, sometimes the links won't follow at all.
Spam is determined by intent and extent. Search engines might see this but engineers won't and they won't last for very long. Size matters: - link buying vs. strategic placement - doorway pages vs. landing pages - social media spamming vs. social media optimization
Strategies: build reputation neighborhood which is good for reputation management, build hubs (e.g. Squidoo) with social media links, maximize the use of anchor text, and looking for social media sites.
Reputation neighborhoods - hat tip to Michael Gray: sign up to everything you can find, test them and see which rank; if they are good, link to them; build a neighborhood of sites; interlink within reason, etc.
Some of the sites include: Squidoo, Naymz, Netscape, LinkedIn, Tagalag, Bill Hartzer's 130 social media sites post on WMW (paid subscription required).
Building a hub - you can use MySpace - e.g. John Tucker Must Die (MySpace ranks higher than johntuckermustdie.com).
How to find sites: Google dorks, Keywords + "profile", Keywords + "web 2.0", Directories like www.go2web20.net
Test social media sites for link value: find out if the site is indexed. Is the site indexed? Is the page indexed? Do these pages rank? Is the theme good? Placement (how many links). Does the page pass link juice? Testing methodology: run a site:command on similar pages on the site. Build on the social media site filled with nonsense, and link to another nonsense page. For more, search for "case studies" on Wolf-Howl.com.
Conclusions - Benefits: know how to use the tools. Caveats - size matters - and so does intent and extent. Use strategies and experiment.
Cindy Krum is up last.
She talks about social media for brand awareness.
Why is social media important to your brand? Ubiquitous adoption of web technology means your customers will demand a higher level of interaction with your brand. Social networks have an undeniable power. Radical transparency is the new public relations nirvana. Social network advertising is expected to triple by 2011.
Secure your social presence: * Research relevant social networks. Major social sites. You can also create your own social sites. Look for niche/vertical sites. Blogs and forums. Wiki sites. * Identify existing networks for your brand and industry * Have a strategy How many profiles will you create, and where should you direct traffic? * Determine who gets social profiles. Brand, products, and company icons.
Consider social profile portals to your brand. You want people to be part of your community and to come back. Keep the information fresh and current. People should want to come back because they see constant updates. Manage multiple social profiles in centralized locations. Use remote photo hosting instead of hosting on multiple sites. Leverage email functionality, blogs, and billboards.
Create SEO'd profiles: - Follow traditional SEO best practices - Focus on brand keywords - Interlink profiles to your brand sites - Initiate friending campaigns - Drive traffic to the profile (natural search traffic, main site, PPC, PayPerPost, banners, offline)
Manage your reputation: use SEO to push detractors out of top positions; send traffic to positive press; participate in forums and groups about detractors and supporters.
Empower brand evangelists - give them cool stuff: Widgets, profile layouts, graphics, desktop themes, videos, podcasts, surveys, customizable HTML, promotion codes/special deals, more info about your brand
Starbucks, for example, gives out a widget. You can add MySpace profiles and there's a widget where you can invite people to drink coffee with you. Another one is True (Create a Date), which was a MySpace featured profile. You can play a game where you can manipulate someone's head and stretch out his nose. There are fortune cookie widgets, etc. LOST is another one - staying on top of the buzz about the show.
Embrace convergence - leverage existing marketing efforts. Send TV/radio/print traffic to profile pages. Release, promote, and link to commercials on your profile pages. Link to information/press about the campaign from the profile. Use profile to get feedback.
Direct social network traffic OFFLINE - host meetups offline; offer in-store only coupons, use social profiles to integrate on and offline brand interaction (contests, scavenger hunts, offline games - create communities offline and post results online). Direct social network traffic ONLINE - create a social media section on your site and link it from your homepage. Encourage visitors to add you as a friend. Encourage participation. Promote all the cool stuff you're giving away on your profile. Send them to the profile to get it.