SEO integration: Why you should merge Social Media and SEO

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Hi all, sorry it’s been so long, but finally, I’ve got another post up!
I am going to talk about why you need to be looking at fully integrated marketing campaigns as opposed to just building links for SEO…

I previously talked about why and how we should merge SEO and PR, now I want to talk about how we can merge SEO, PR and social, while using a cheeky bit of PPC (or more display ads really) to help you get a decent ROI from an SEO perspective.
What if I said I achieved an additional 2,000 Facebook fans, improved the level of social interaction for and achieved a substantial number of contextual links and PR coverage with a single campaign? Here is how…

It’s fair to say that I have had a fairly varied amount of experience in marketing – albeit a little vague in parts.  From copywriter to wannabe social media Exec – to a now more contented SEO and online PR Exec – I’ve done it all.  But, one thing I never really considered is how different disciplines can be merged together to form the ultimate SEO marketing machine!

Don’t be strangers…
We’ve all done it – at least I know I have… I have been part of marketing teams that comprise social, SEO, PPC and even PR – and yet nobody would ever really work together on the same campaign – and more fool us.  We may have chatted; we may have shared news on what we were up to in meetings. But, have you ever stopped to think about how you can all work together on the same project to , if not achieve the same goals, just get equal return.

Let’s say you’re an agency who ‘does SEO’. You want to up-sell social but are perhaps struggling to see how you can sell in both to a single client – because they are either ‘handling’ it already and simply cannot see the value of handling them together. The types of integrated campaigns that I’ll refer to should give you a better idea of how you can persuade them of the value of merging these two disciplines. And for those of you work in-house but often feel detached in what you do – then I hope the following will be of use.


Integrate… integrate…integrate..

They tell you that social interaction is good for SEO right? And, that quality and relevant links are what we need. But, how do we get both with one campaign? I’ll show you how – to illustrate what I am talking about, let me offer you an example of a recent campaign that I ran for


Buyagift’s next pet model
So we launched a new range of pet gifts and accessories and needed to secure strong links and coverage in order to boost the visibility of these products – but what to do? A pet modelling competition – that’s what! Stay with me here, it honestly has been pretty successful from an SEO, PR and social perspective.

The campaign:
We ran a competition where we asked people to upload a single picture of their pet to our Facebook page via a specifically designed app, people could then vote for the picture they like through this app. But we wanted to add more credibility to it all, with proper judges. I myself am a dog lover so opted to get in touch with a well known animal rehoming organisation to see if their guys would be interested in coming on board as judges – and we’d also agree to donate a sum of money to them on behalf of the winner of the competition – win win for all. This charity then has the difficult task of choosing the winner – the chosen pet would win a range of top pet gifts, but the owner would also receive  a sizable amount of money to donate to this charity in person – while also being given a tour of the shelter – great angle for PR and pet blogger out reach, right?!

The social element…
In order to enter, they were required to become a fan of us on Facebook, hence the social value. We saw an increase of almost 2,000 fans in a month – and we can be fairly sure that 90% of that was down to this campaign.

The logistics…
We used Short Stack, a fairly solid app that allows you to set up specific competitions. However the problem with this is that the app acts as a separate page in a way, housing all of the uploaded photos away from our main page – this means that although people voted on the photos, this interaction couldn’t really qualify as a social signal – which as we know, would now be beneficial from an SEO perspective. But, we got round this by incorporating a second album on our Facebook page that consisted of the better photos that people could then ‘like’ – score!

In case you didn’t know, social interaction is becoming more and more of a ranking factor so the SEO benefit is clear. Have a read of the above article (although I do plan to talk about this in greater detail in my next post).
I also reached out to top pet Facebook pages in order to try and get them post a link to the competition – a good amount actually obliged, which I think contributed to our influx of fans.

And the links and PR…
So that was the social covered – what about the meat, the Holy Grail, the ever coveted LINKS?
I wanted the outreach to be entirely natural. I therefore decided to build a competition landing page which would be hosted on site – you can find that here. This page contained information about the campaign – from the charity aspect, to what they need to do to enter.
Of course, we wanted direct links to our pet products, but asking people to link straight to the category just wouldn’t be ‘organic’, and I doubt many would be inclined to do so. The idea behind the page was to give bloggers and journalists something to link to in their coverage.

Buyagift's next pet model    pet 2  Could Your Pet Be The Next Top Model    Pet Hooligans

But where would the link value be, I hear you ask? As I say, although my ideal would be for them to link direct to our main pet category (and in some cases they did without me asking), I thought the better of attempting that. What I did do was put a link to the pet’s page on the competition landing page – meaning all links pointing to it would pass some degree of value down (not robust, but it’s way more natural).

The results of the outreach was pretty good: we achieved almost 30 pieces of coverage – all with follow links. The fact that I targeted pet blogs meant that ALL of the links were highly relevant, and what we would refer to as ‘contextual’. As far as I am concerned, these are the ONLY links worth having.







And the PPC?

OK, so there was no PPC benefit , but we were able to use Facebook and display advertising to reach a wider audience – which is exactly what we did. We simply set the ads to display for people with pets.

The results:

The cold figures don’t lie:

  •   2,000 additional Facebook fans,
  •  A good level of relevant social interaction s
  •  Almost 30 pieces of quality and contextual links and PR coverage from sites of up to PR 6!

So, why do I think it went well? Simple: it was natural. It was a fun, open competition that pet lovers and animal bloggers were more than happy to share and participate in – the fact I was only asking them to link to a competition landing page as opposed to a commercial product page also made it more appealing to them.

The impact

We received 1,500 unique visits in a month off the back of this.

Landing Pages   Google Analytics

It’s all little too early to see if there has been any impact on rankings, but rest assured I have set up the report in Advanced Web Ranking that I’ll be keeping a close eye on.

There is always room for improvement though – I’d love to hear about any campaigns that you guys have launched….

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