Search and Social: What Marketers Need to Know About the Changing Landscape
Are you wondering how the landscape of search and social is changing, and how to benefit from it?
To learn about the key changes in search and social, and how they impact your marketing, I interview Lee Odden for this episode of the Social Media Marketing podcast.
More About This Show
The Social Media Marketing podcast is a show from Social Media Examiner.
It’s designed to help busy marketers and business owners discover what works with social media marketing.
The show format is on-demand talk radio (also known as podcasting).
In this episode, I interview Lee Odden, author of the book Optimize: How to Attract and Engage More Customers by Integrating SEO, Social Media and Content Marketing. He’s the CEO of TopRank Online Marketing and the editor of Marketing Blog. Plus there is a killer SlideShare tip you’ll want to pay attention to.
Lee shares his insights into the world of SEO and content marketing, and the elements of his strategy that have contributed to his success. You’ll learn about the four categories of content that you must create for your sites, and tips for getting the most out of them.
Share your feedback, read the show notes and get the links mentioned in this episode below!
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Here are some of the things you’ll discover in this show:
Search and Social
Graph Search and what Facebook is doing
Lee believes that Facebook is always going to progress towards having a more robust search engine.
Right now they are collecting a lot of data, and as Graph Search continues to roll out to more people, they will refine and optimize how it works.
It’s not just about providing a better user experience, there is ad play too. Lee feels that this is the driver. Lee believes that Facebook will move towards providing marketers opportunities to get in front of people and offer contextual advertising in the way that Google does.
Before implementation of Graph Search, when you did a search on Facebook, the results would come from Facebook’s own data set such as Fan Pages, Profiles, Groups, etc. If Facebook couldn’t find what you were looking for, they would provide search results from Bing.
Facebook is still working with Bing, but the search result set they offer is a lot different. The filtering options are more robust. However, today when we want to find something specific, we still use Google.
As a marketer, Lee feels that it’s important to understand the customer’s journey and experiences. Often an idea surfaces on Facebook, and to validate the idea, people go over to Google expecting to find something that they can act on.
Listen to the show to find out how the Facebook search capability is similar to what they have allowed to advertisers.
How Google is using Google+ to impact the results consumers see
Marketers need to consider the public social content crawled by Google Bot, the integration of Google+ and authorship, and the association between Google+ profiles and associated content in search results.
Lee believes that it’s virtually impossible to employ a successful organic search optimization effort without robust social content or social presence. These social signals have eclipsed signals like links.
When you look at simplifying SEO best practices, we are not just talking about content, keywords and links. We have to equally include the importance of social content and social signals.
Marketers really need to understand the search results landscape for their key search terms, and to what degree social content competes with you.
Lee gives an example of how social is impacting search results. Every search experience result could be unique because of geography, and whether you are logged in or not.
As marketers, we still have to execute standard SEO best practices. We have to make it easy for Google to find and understand our content. Our website content needs to be organized in a logical way that’s easy to understand. If you want to be known for something, then be specific about it. Make sure it’s interesting, compelling and shareable.
Optimization is a lot about making things easier for Google and easier for people to consume. At the same time, you want to have robust interactive and proactive social participation. You want to create and promote content and interact with others who are topically relevant and building up their influence as authors.
Use plugins so people can easily share your content to the social networks that they belong to. It will have a big impact. It’s going to allow more people to trigger into the social graphs that they have interest in this kind of content.
If you think Google+ is where your market is, or you want to accentuate the social impact on search, then you should really emphasize Google+, not only from the widget standpoint, but also your interactions with people there.
Listen to the show to find out the plugins and tactics Lee uses to encourage his audience to share his content.
Is the idea of search engine optimization really dead?
Lee says it’s important to understand what you are doing in the context of who you are trying to impact—it’s the results and performance in sales that pay the bills.
One major shift that his company made 5 years ago was to start to understand the interests, goals and pain points of the target audience they were marketing to. As you understand what your target audience is interested in, you’ll want to create profiles. Then you should use keyword research with the understanding of what you want to optimize.
Traditionally, SEO involves going to Google Adwords keyword tool, entering some keywords, and going after the most popular searched phrases. The difference comes when the consumer interacts with these keywords. What if your content is not compelling and engaging to them?
Current SEO is the idea of understanding who your customers are and what they want. SEO is about creating content that moves your customers along the sales cycle, so when they find it, they realize it’s what they were looking for.
Listen to the show to learn why as more people share and consume your content, you will become more discoverable.
The future of search and social
Lee shares how platforms such as Apple, Amazon, Google and Facebook are all driven by creating value for shareholders and monetization. Innovation happens at some level. You need to create a better user experience; otherwise, people won’t come to your site to use you. These companies are driven by the need to generate revenue.
With regard to the future, Lee wonders whether there will come a point when consumers will get dissatisfied or become more like sheep.
If people are willing to compromise their privacy, then Lee sees Facebook as more of a destination. In addition, if Google stops focusing on making search a part of what they stand for, then their growth will remain the same.
Google has a lot of free things that we integrate into our daily life, such as Google Docs, Gmail, Google Maps, etc. They’re disrupting other business models. Many people also forget that YouTube is owned by Google.
Listen to the show to find out why Facebook doesn’t provide the waterholes that Google does right now.
The current state of content marketing
Lee talks about how companies have been marketing with content for a long time—as early as the 1800s—and that the notion has been popularized over the last couple of years. In Lee’s mind, people are doing other things under the umbrella of content marketing, and feels that this is unfortunate.
The reason why search engines exist is because of content. Content is often the outcome of people sharing on the social web, and companies are creating content specifically for marketing.
You’ll discover Lee’s definition of content marketing and why guiding the customer through the sales cycle is so important.
Listen to the show to hear why content marketing is more meaningful than infographics, white papers, etc.
Content marketing ideas that work
You’ll learn about the four different types of content, and why you would want to include them in your marketing.
- Evergreen content
- Co-created content
- Curated content
- Repurposed content
Lee explains what happened when Joe Pulizzi, founder of Content Marketing World, approached his company to help promote one of their conferences. Not only did the promotion get 40,000 views on SlideShare, but it made SlideShare’s Presentation of the Day, Week and Month within a couple of days.
You’ll discover the advantages of promoting your content on SlideShare instead of a blog post and how to use Slideshare for lead generation.
Listen to the show to hear the marketing techniques Lee used to promote one of Content Marketing World’s conferences.
Lee’s Blogging Success Strategy
Lee sees blogs as an extension of what you are thinking about, and a means of creating information that’s useful to your target audience.
Whether people contact you to hire you, or ask you to speak at events, or when influencers want to do joint projects with you, or even when the media reaches out to you, it’s a result of discovery through search and social.
Lee and his team members contribute to his blog. It’s an agency blog. It exists to serve the purpose of the agency in his community. It’s perceived as a publisher. From the SEO perspective, Lee’s blog is seen as an industry blog, and it adds a premium to Lee’s company’s brand.
Lee explains that all their business is inbound. Some of the companies that have hired them include McKesson, HP and Dell. The reason why companies approach Lee is because they’ve heard of him through the content found on his blog.
Listen to the show to hear how Lee got to do a presentation to a $22-billion company.
Lee’s Top Tip
Lee’s advice is to focus on the people you’re after—the consumers.
Make an effort to empathize with people you’re trying to do business with and decide what you want their experience to be like. Think about what you can do to optimize their experience, how they find the information and what you want them to do.
Listen to the show to hear why this has been instrumental in a lot of companies that Lee has worked with.
Discovery of the Week
You might want to check out a really cool tool by GTmetrix that helped us get to the core of a problem that we’ve had recently at Social Media Examiner.
It runs an analysis on your website and not only tells you how fast it is but what can radically be reducing the speed of your website.
Some of the results include:
- How fast the pages are loading
- Total size of the page
- Total number of requests
Listen to the show to learn more and find out what was slowing down our site at Social Media Examiner.
This Week’s Social Question
Maranda Saling from Bellflower Communications asks, “Is there a way to embed your blog into your website, to reap the benefits of both?”
Maranda, here’s what you need to do.
The best thing you can do is to integrate WordPress into your website. For example, you could set up your website to include your blog, which will give you something like bellflowercommunications.com/blog.
Or you could do like Social Media Examiner, and have your website become your blog. Many people build their entire website on top of WordPress and it’s very easy to use.
It’s a good idea to have your blog and your website integrated if you are trying to attract more search traffic. There are only a few circumstances where you would want your blog separate from your website. One is when you want to create a different brand and another is when you start a blog that takes off and it becomes bigger than your brand.
Listen to the show to gain more insights into why the ideal situation is to add a blog to your website.
Call in and leave your social media–related questions for us and we may include them in a future show.
Other Show Mentions
Social Media Marketing World is Social Media Examiner’s latest mega-conference—taking place at the waterfront San Diego Marriott Marquis & Marina in San Diego, California on April 7-9, 2013.
As you’d expect, Social Media Examiner recruited the biggest and best names in the world of social media marketing for this conference. Only the best for you! Be sure to check it out.
Lee Odden will be one of the presenters, along with over 50 others, who are some of the biggest names in the world in social media marketing.
Key takeaways mentioned in this episode:
- Connect with Lee Odden on his Marketing Blog
- Check out Lee’s book: Optimize: How to Attract and Engage More Customers by Integrating SEO, Social Media and Content Marketing
- Read more about Facebook’s Graph Search
- Try Google Adwords keyword tool
- Check out Apple, Amazon, Google and Facebook, the companies driven by creating value for shareholders and monetization
- Take a look at some of Google’s free tools: Google Docs, Gmail and Google Maps
- Discover more about SlideShare
- Check out three of the companies that hired Lee’s company: McKesson, HP and Dell
- Head over to GTmetrix to check out their really cool tool
- Discover more about Bellflower Communications
- Learn more about Social Media Marketing World
Ways to subscribe to the Social Media Marketing podcast:
- Click here to subscribe via iTunes.
- Click here to subscribe via RSS (non-iTunes feed).
- You can also subscribe via Stitcher and Blackberry.
What do you think? What are your thoughts on search and social? Please leave your comments below.
Michael Stelzner is the founder and CEO of Social Media Examiner, and author of the books Launch and Writing White Papers. He's also the host of the Social Media Marketing podcast. Other posts by Michael Stelzner »