The search and social revolution: How to become one of the cool kids

By: Alicia Beard, PR & Marketing Account Manager

Just like social media forever changed public relations and marketing, it is now altering the way we approach search engine optimization, or SEO. Before social media, businesses and organizations communicated to consumers through the media—news stories, advertisements, websites, etc. In just a few short years, social media has turned that one-way monologue on its head and has instead created a two-way dialogue where consumers shape the conversation and reputation of your brand.

As social media continues to dominate our communication styles and dictate our online behavior, it is also re-shaping the way we think about search and optimizing search rankings. While social search is still evolving, what’s clear is that search is no longer entirely dependent upon established algorithms where results are determined by analyzing text and link popularity of websites. Search results are increasingly influenced by a person’s social connections (oftentimes called social graphs) as well as the social activity of businesses and organizations.

Without reciting the full history of how we got here, suffice to say that search engines love new content. And social media sites, review sites as well as mobile-based sites are content-producing platforms that provide companies and organizations an opportunity to increase their search rankings and visibility outside of their company websites. Pair this with the fact that people are spending more time on social sites than search engines and tend to trust what their friends tell them over search engine results, and you have social extending its reach into search for the foreseeable future.

It can get complicated quick, but in the simplest terms what this means is relevancy is becoming the key factor to being found, shared, re-tweeted and ranked accordingly by both social channels and search engines alike. It also means that if you haven’t spent time creating a strong social presence with your brand loyalist, now is the time.

Secondly, WildRock recommends you become one of the cool kids. You heard me right! Maybe in the past you lacked the confidence or the right clothes, but this is your big chance to change all of that and become the online rockstar you always knew you were.

You can start by working your way up the popularity food chain and incorporating your social media, search and public relations efforts into one cohesive strategy. And like any strategy, it all starts with research and understanding consumer behavior in your industry. Once you’ve done that, identify the keywords, Twitter hashtags and urls that you should be linking to in your social content and press releases. From there, you can create content that includes those keywords, hashtags and links to target specific consumer groups and engage online visitors (i.e. your new online cliques). Then you can prove your coolness to the online world by including social share buttons so visitors can tell everyone else on their social channels just how truly cool you are. Trust me, search engines will take notice and rank accordingly.