SEO companies will tell you that Social Media should be a key element of your SEO strategy. This could be a huge mistake that leads to damaging your online reputation and costing your marketing budget dearly. While SEO elements should be built into your Social Media efforts, letting an SEO specialist build and execute your Social Media campaigns and strategies is like letting the plumber do your electrical work.
SEO is Search Engine Optimization; it’s all the elements and pieces of designing a site architecture and content to help search engines find your website easier and give you top of page placement for certain terms and keywords. SEO is inherently a marketing function. SEO also works better when relevant content is delivered to the person clicking on your link.
Social Media is about engaging your customers, suppliers, potential employees and other stakeholders in a conversation that strengthens a potential or existing relationship. Using a blog simply to improve your search rankings is costly and may likely backfire. SEO works through understanding search algorithms and processes and tweaking the words. Writing and communicating in a blog, microblog or other form of Social Media is a completely different approach, writing style and engagement strategy. They are in many ways, completely opposite each other.
Over time, a consistent effort at Social Media using a definitive approach and strategy, will automatically contribute to better search engine rankings. As you build inbound and outbound links and communicate with clients, you will end up writing content that matches search terms of your key audiences by default.
I’ve encountered a number of cases where an SEO firm sees yet another opportunity for a quick buck through adding Social Media to it’s services roster. Inevitably this means writing some blog entries and seeding some links. In the end, the company does not end up using the blog, which stagnates and does not get any engagement with prospective clients. This may improve your search results, but does nothing for sales or improving your brand presence online. If the SEO company has a separate division providing Social Media services and can point to some successes, then it may be worth the discussion, otherwise, save your pennies and find a company that truly has Social Media expertise.