Merging Search and Social Media: 5 TIPS from the Experts

Search and Social is the title of the presentation I attended yesterday as part of Digital Capital Week.  The session, sponsored by Ketchum, PR (Katherine Watier) and Search MoJo (Janet Driscoll-Miller).

I KNOW social media and do some SEO (like installing the WordPress SEO plugin from Yoast, doing keyword research, and on page SEO), but I’m certainly NO expert. So, let’s see what these two Search Divas had to say.


It used to be you had an SEO expert helping you get content on the first page in organic search and a social media team building engagement to create a loyal community clamoring for your product and sharing your content across their social networks.  A couple of months ago, Google merged these tactics so now, content that performs well in terms of social engagement gets posted higher in organic search.

What’s New About the Merger of Search and Social Media?

Tip #1 – build strong networks across multiple social platforms

Organic search results also differ based on your social network.  so, if a friend “liked” a link posted on Facebook, a search will present that link much higher in the search results than otherwise.  The same thing happens for pages related to your friends.  Business take-away:

The more folks in your social network, the

more likely you are to show

Think about it.  The more fans you have, the more likely it becomes that the person searching for a keyword, has a friend who is one of your fans.

And it works the same if your friends give a page a +1, so you need to build your circles in Google+, too.  Now is also the time to build that coveted Google+ brand page, as Google just opened this option.

Tip #2 – follow trending topics

Google rewards valuable content that’s updated regularly.  But, you can get an extra boost when your posts incorporate insights from trending topics.  So, take a look at Google Trends or Insights for Search to see what folks are searching for right NOW.  Use this to create posts and you’ll get extra page rank from Google.

Be careful, though.  If visitors find your posts don’t really contribute to the trending topic, they’ll bounce.  And a high bounce rate tells Google folks don’t like what they see when they visit your site and Google will stop sending folks your way — ie. bury your link deep in the search results.  Business take-away:

Create valuable, insightful content

Tip #3 – add rel=author to your website

What this does is link you (specifically your Google profile) with pages you create and you can learn more about how to add rel=author to your website in a post written by our buddy, Yoast (Joost de Valk).

So, what do you get by adding rel=author? For one thing, your picture shows up next to post you’ve authored in the search results and folks are much more likely to select a link with a picture than 1 without.

I don’t have data to support this, but I would also assume visitors are more likely to form a relationship with you (and your website) when they see your picture.  This likely means they’ll subscribe to your RSS or email list or buy from you when driven to your site with a picture.

Having a picture also means you get a little more space in the search results and a picture draws attention.  Both help your link stand out from others on the page to drive more traffic to your site.

Using rel=author also ports your authority from one website to another.  This means you build authority across the internet, not just on your website.  Business take-away:

Use rel=author to drive more traffic to your pages

Tip #4 – Go MOBILE young man!

Increasingly, folks access the internet from a mobile device — a smartphone or tablet.  So, your site needs to be mobile-friendly.  Google won’t serve your site up in results on mobile devices unless it’s mobile-friendly.

A couple of websites can help ensure your website is mobile  —, is one of them.  But, being mobile-friendly is more than the technology — it’s thinking about what visitors are looking for with their mobile devices, such as your address or phone #.  Don’t bury this information 3 clicks into your site — put in on the home page where visitors can find it easily.  The business take-away from this is:

Ensure your site is mobile-friendly

Tip #5: Measure, don’t guess

Now, I know looking at numbers all day isn’t much fun, but it’s critical for creating success.  Use free Webmaster tools from Google — they can be easily integrated with your Analytics so you only have 1 dashboard to check.  See where you rank for your keywords (I like to graph this over time so I see trends more clearly).

Every time you change something on your site, check out the impact.  Keep doing what works and change what doesn’t.  I may not have a crystal ball to guarantee what will work in your specific context, but I sure know where to go to find information that will create success.  Business take-home:

Measure, monitor, track

Anything to add? Please share your tips in the comments below.