I had an interesting discussion recently with one of the top SEO (search engine optimization) vendors in the country. We were discussing the impact of social media and how it might help his business. And as we talked it was astounding how intertwined and mutually beneficial these two vastly different areas can be to each other.
Admittedly, at first blush these two disciplines could not be more different. SEO is based on numbers and clicks and lifting response through largely proprietary and secret techniques. Social media marketing is all about engagement and brand interaction and complete transparency of our efforts.
"Where is the connection," you ask? Look to the"keywords."
The Bridge Between Disciplines
SEO obviously lives and breathes by keywords. You find what people are searching and you nurture those search words and terms with careful optimization and linking. But that's exactly where the synergy between social and SEO lies. SEO feeds an understanding of the social conversation by constantly being in touch with what is being searched. And social feeds SEO by enhancing the conversation around these topics and identifying conversational trends more quickly.
Okay, even my head hurts by what I just wrote, so let's simplify things: Content is king, no matter what advertising media you use. And both of these disciplines center their efforts around having deep, rich, focused content.
These two disciplines feed each others content needs. Social has the pulse of real-time conversation and can influence and grow that conversation if properly managed. It then feeds trending keywords into the SEO funnel not after it hits Google in a week, but as it's happening. SEO can then build out these keywords further upstream and beat the search trends by being optimized ahead of the curve.
Then going the other way, understanding a brand's keyword strategy allows SEO to feed the social conversation with insight into what customers really want to talk about. So in a fluid manner the social practioner has a pulse on what the actual search needs of the customer are and can guide their efforts appropriately. The result is increased exposure for the social conversation centered on the brand, which feeds back again.
The Birth of a Discipline
I think I may have even coined a new term for this: SCO or Social Context Optimization.
Now I'm the first to admit that I'm not reinventing the wheel here. I'm just identifying the trend. But having a name and an insight helps to codify the process. And we now add a definitive ROI metric onto the social efforts being performed, while enhancing the value of SEO consultation. Anyone want to go in with me to pitch it? I'm ready. ;)