Social Engagement Operation – The New SEO

SEO should stand for Social Engine Optimisation or Social Engagement Operation because the SEO game has changed forever. No longer is it OK to buy links; no longer is it OK to article spin or sign up to never ending directories. As SEO get more social so it becomes more time consuming, on the other hand it can be more rewarding. If you are serious about improving traffic and search engine positioning, you really have to be human. You need to appeal to humans and communicate effectively with them. You need to respond to humans with understanding and logic.

social-media-engagementSearch engines, especially Google are getting much better at making robots recognise human activity and behaviour. If you use Chrome, Google can track your every move. It can see who you engage with, where you go, what you like and change your search results accordingly. It can also apply information about what your friends and social acquaintances like and visit, and this information too can affect your search results when you have personalised search switched on (which will be your default setting).

SEO is all about Social Engagement

Not only is Google watching you and all of your online associates, it is watching your site. It is seeing how socially active your site is and how much it engages with the outside world. How many, Google Plus shares, +1’s, Facebook Likes, Tweets, digs and stumbles your content gets will send signals to Google about how good your content is. What’s more it says something about your business to Google that is becoming increasingly important to its algorithm. It says that you are real, it establishes you as a business that is trusted, and trust is something that Google wants to measure.

Of course link building is still of paramount importance, what is changing is the types of links that have the most weight, it’s getting harder to fake these links using paid for or spammy techniques. Social media provides some serious link building opportunities.

Finding the Influencers – the Holy Grail of Social Linkbuilding

The greatest links of all, the ones that will send you traffic and establish you as an authority are those gained from building relationships with key influencers with authority sites and cultivating relationships with them.

How do you find these influencers?

You can find them on Klout, Google+ and Twitter. Search for keywords relevant to your niche or market and look for people with the most followers.

What do you do next?

Keep a record of the people you identify, find them on Twitter, LinkedIn, and their blog, Google+ etc. and follow them. I use Google docs spredsheets to save information on key influencers, this document contains all the social accounts they have publicly and thier blog if they have one. Comment on their posts with longish and meaningful responses. Retweet them often. Share their content. Massage their ego enough and soon, with any luck they will recognise your name (this is one reason why using the same icon for all social media channels is a good idea as then you will be remembered.)

Wait until you get a response and thank them for it, then write a killer article on something you know that interests them, add them as a reference in your article. Provide a killer image to go with, add a link to your product or service in the by-line, it and politely and humbly ask them if they would consider publishing it.

Written by Heather Buckley of Silicon Beach Training providing SEO workshops in Brighton, Sussex UK, as well as Social Media courses and Prince2 project management training.

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