Social Media for SEO: Social News Sites and the Long Tail (Part II)

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Part I

Social News Promotion & SEO

Now, some social networks are more geared for interacting with other users, and some social networks are geared more toward sharing interesting, third-party content users find on the web. So if you want to attract a ton of these social media links, you should be looking at sites like Digg, StumbleUpon, and Reddit, to name just a few.

Here’s why: When you submit a piece of content to one of these sites, users can vote it up or down. Every time a user votes for your content, you get a link on their profile. Score. If enough people vote for your content, it appears on the homepage of Digg or Reddit – both PageRank 8 pages. Super Score.

This isn’t to mention all the traffic that gets pushed through to your site, which leads to other residual links, such as from blogger.

Now, StumbleUpon is a bit different in the sense that it doesn’t have a public homepage where links are displayed. But it does still send through a ton of traffic that leads to those other residual links.

Granted, you’re not getting targeted anchor text to your product pages. But you are getting a slew of links to content pages, and that bolsters the overall authority of your domain. For example, a relatively successful push should generate about 100-200 backlinks.

As a result, a socially successful piece of content is usually quick to gain PageRank of its own. This means that when you’re done promoting the content, you can interlink it back to product pages.

So the next time Google does a PageRank update, you’ll have (yet another) PageRank 2, 3, or 4 page on your site (in general), and you’ll be able to link it back to your products pages with targeted anchor text.

So, now that you have an idea of how social news sites can bolster your SEO, the question becomes: how do you go about leveraging them?

Engaging the Social News World

There are probably two key components to a successful social news push: (1) a refined content strategy, and (2) a couple power accounts.

First, you’ll need a content strategy that can reconcile your brand’s content needs with the nature of social news sites. This means understanding and producing branded content that’s socially viable, and then pushing it out across the sites that have a receptive user-base.

You see, while certain kinds of content works on with the social news crowd in general, specific niches of content are better suited for some sites than others. For instance, Top 10 lists tend to work well across all social news sites, but a list of Top 10 Medical Breakthroughs might work better on one site, while a post about the 10 Most Expensive Houses will work better on another.

Second, if you’re going to successfully seed a piece of content and get it voted up, you’ll need access to power user accounts. These are accounts that trusted by the social news sites algorithms because they (1) are old/have tenure, and (2) have a lot of contacts/followers. More importantly, you’ll need those contacts/followers to vote up your submissions.

This is where things get tricky, because you can’t create a bunch of power account overnight. So if you don’t already have access to a few of these, you’ll probably have to partner with someone who does.

Social SEO

Social media, no doubt, offers a variety of ways to target users. Through recommendation and Facebook ads, you can really target users within a certain demographic and with a certain set of interests.

But by using SM for SEO, you target users beyond their social networks because you’re increasing your brand’s visibility in the SERPs. You can also better track your ROI because of increased rankings and PageRank – not just traffic, which can be ephemeral.

So after some time, you know that if you invest X-amount on pushing a piece of social content, you can expect X-amount of links and X-amount of PageRank. Of course, that being said, using SM for SEO will require an investment (unlike installing TweetDeck to just listen). You’ll have to invest in a content process, as well getting access to the social news power user accounts.

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