tedster - 10:54 pm on Oct 9, 2010 (gmt 0) [edited by: tedster at 12:22 am (utc) on Oct 10, 2010]
The emergence of Social Media Marketing (SMM) has created something of a split in the SEO community.
For example, many old time technical SEO people wish that Twitter would just go away. They have spent many years learning how to get rankings for their website with technically sound changes to their site's architecture, content and backlinks - and they don't want to mess around with that soft, schmoozy social media thing.
"What's the big deal - all those links are no-followed anyway, even on blog comments!"
To this type of SEO mind-set, when Social Media Marketing people speak, it sounds like they're just shoveling smoke. These folks want the tech talk - all that good "Mars-style" food for the left brain. They don't care for all that "Venus-style" right brain nonsense!
The Mars-mind SEO is puzzled that Google would take so much interest in Social Media. And yet, the Mars-mind has also been screaming for years that Google should not use backlinks as such a big part of the ranking algorithm. Guess what - Google has their new source of ranking signals!
Many web marketers got it early on and they embraced social marketing. Yes, it is more challenging to measure. And it's also more like traditional offline marketing - it's all about generating buzz, engaging your market, listening to feedback. In short it's about other people, meeting them (at least virtually) and making some friends. And now this whole phenomenon is coming at us like the stream of a firehose.
Here's a quote from a blog today that I loved - and this is a technical SEO blogging here, not just some blabbering shoveler of smoke (yes, I hate them, too):
Now, let's just stop for a second and try to FORGET about links, social media front pages, traffic and all that stuff that we can't live without. Let's get back to the basics: to people.
Building contacts with real people is the most important step in promoting your business. You can't do everything yourself. If you think you can, you will fail. You need people who will follow you and trust in you. You need people who will bring friends to your business and who will get the word out when you need it.
This is Venus talk, not Mars talk. I think there are a lot of bewildered old-school SEOs who need to get this message - at least to the point of partnering with someone who does have the social mind-set natively and can take on that side of marketing.
Google is watching and measuring social media. You can't dummy things up in SMM by simply broadcasting your marketing message on Twitter, Facebook, a blog or YouTube. If you don't really have the human relationships for support, or you can't maintain them, then your "broadcast message" will not "go viral". It will not generate the kind of secondary, follow-up signals (including editorial backlinks!) that then show Google a real interest in your core message from around the marketplace. You just become the TV commercial that gets lost in a Tivo fast forward.
This is a paradigm shift that not every Mars mind can make. Ever notice in earlier days how heavily male the SEO population was? And now, how the social media scene has many, many female bloggers - and even "stars"? I don't mean exclusively, not all. But I did choose Mars and Venus for a good reason, here.
Google does reward the site that has both Mars and Venus marketing going for it - effective SEO and effective SMM. It's getting harder and harder to do effective SEO with out some Venus signals in the mix.
Do I know Google's secret sauce here - the recipe for mixing Venus signals into the ranking recipe? Hardly. But I do know that they're in there. Too much Mars and not enough Venus in your SEO is like a recipe with all meat and no vegetables. You need the vegetables to live, but you CAN live without any meat at all. So... meat is from Mars and vegetables are from Venus?
[edited by: tedster at 12:22 am (utc) on Oct 10, 2010]