Guest Comment: Using social media to boost search campaigns

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Jan 03, 2008

How does the rise of social media affect the role of search engine marketing? Tino Triste, social media optimisation consultant at agency Just Search discusses why brands should be using social media to project their online presence and the best ways to boost search rankings.

With the recent explosion in social media and social networking sites, it’s no wonder companies are looking to these new online techniques as a way to increase their presence on the web. Brands can build up several thousand ‘followers’ through social media sites.

For example, Cadbury’s built up a massive group of users on Facebook, campaigning for their Wispa bar to be put back onto the shelves. This allowed users to connect with the brand, in a way that wouldn’t have been possible without the web.

Some of the most popular social networking sites are constantly ‘spidered’ by search engines and their pages are indexed almost immediately as search engines focus much of their efforts on fresh content.

User generated content is becoming an increasingly large part of the web, and is emerging as an effective way for organisations to enhance the impact of search campaigns, both paid and natural.

The key to boosting search rankings and driving traffic to a website is links. The more inbound links that go back to a site, the more important it is deemed by the likes of Google, and so the search engines give it a higher position.

1. Social bookmarking

Social bookmarking is just one of the ways that businesses can utilise social media to increase the effects of SEO (search engine optimisation). Social bookmarking is a way to share and store web pages. Links to the web pages are saved, meaning webcrawlers will easily find them and therefore increasing the page placement.

Useful bookmarking sites include StumbleUpon and

2. Blogging

Blogging is an effective tool that is often overlooked by many businesses. In fact, it provides a channel for reaching a wider audience and increasing brand awareness, through both boosting rankings and providing leading industry comment. In fact, one of the crucial things to remember when producing a blog is to write content that is relevant to your area of business.

Another tip for producing blog content is to keep it up to date. Blogs that are regularly updated with new content will build up regular readers, and this will help increase the number of people commenting on it. Establishing relationships and links with other bloggers will help extend the reach of your blog, and increase its authority on blogging search site, Technorati. This is all good news for your search rankings, as other bloggers will post links to your site, increasing the incoming links and pushing up your relevance on Google and other search engines.

3. Social networking sites

Facebook, MySpace, Flickr – they all attract millions of users every day yet many overlook social networking sites as a marketing tool. Creating strong profiles on these sites, and using dedicated business networking pages such as LinkedIn, can help increase visibility and reach a wide audience.

Using niche social networks is also important, so find sites that have communities relevant to your business or industry. There are many of these around the net and can help build up relevant relationships with others and increase the number of links to your site. Include links to these sites in your blog, and as your profile on these sites gets stronger, you’re likely to see an increase in your search rankings.

4. Multimedia

Historically, search and the web has been very much text-based. But with the increase in sites such as YouTube and the rise of user-generated content, there is much more to the web than just text. Photos and videos, for example, are often ignored, when in fact they can be optimised as well. For example, tagging photos in Flickr with your company name is an easy and effective way of increasing your position.

5. Content and links are king

Social media and search engine optimisation should work alongside each other and is easily integrated with an organic and pay per click campaign. The key to pushing up your position through social media is ensuring you have relevant content, and maximising the number of links to your site.

By monitoring the market and predicting what the next Facebook is, you can stay one step ahead of your competitors and maybe reach the Holy Grail; Google, Yahoo and MSN’s top spot.