Larry BraunerAt the Search and Social Leadership Forum, Veronica Fielding, whose Digital Brand Expressions sponsored the event, presented case studies of several companies that had optimized their web marketing campaigns by creating synergy between search and social.

These projects were very complex and required expert execution. However, less complex ways exist for you and I to realize similar synergies, each of us according to our own levels of expertise, by integrating search and social on personal or company blogs. Here are six easy ways you can integrate search and social on your blogs:

  1. Content - Post to your blog very frequently. Blogs are social, and they’re content generators. You write; others comment. When you post to your blog, you’re supplying content that attracts both search engines and humans. When you post frequently, your content is fresh. Readers like to find fresh content, and it’s like caviar for Google and other search engines, since searchers crave it.
  2. Comments – Elicit comments, interact with readers and build your community. Consider making your comments dofollow to increase reader participation. Comments augment content and attract both readers and search engines, just like blog posts. Similarly, frequent comments help even more. Some search engines interpret comments as votes for you and for your authority.
  3. FollowersMake it easy for visitors to follow and subscribe to your blog. The more people following and reading your blog, the more authority being conferred upon you by your audience and by search engines.
  4. Widgets – Install Google Friend Connect and other widgets on your blog to increase followers and your perceived authority. Website widgets can help build your following.
  5. Social – Build relationships with readers on and off your blog. I like to connect on Facebook, Twitter, by phone and face-to-face. Always keep in mind that social media is.. uh social. People who like you and your content will often refer others to you and link to you. Inbound links translate into authority with search engines.
  6. Search – Fine tune your search engine optimization. You may receive more visitors from search than from social, and search visitors tend to be searching for something you have. The search engines close the loop by sending new visitors who read, comment and follow your blog, helping you all over again with search engine positioning.

I’ve enjoyed our brief visit. Now it’s time for you to subscribe and leave me a comment. ;-)

Larry BraunerAt the BDI forum on Search and Social last week, SEO and business development consultant at 1-800-Flowers, Jordan Glogau, discussed recent Google search changes.

Jordan said that authority is up, i.e., more important, while relevance is down. Content is also more time sensitive as Google pushes for more up-to-date results.

Jordan GlogauAuthority is achieved by means of quality inbound links. Often it’s necessary to purchase these links.

Jordan recommended Pay Per Post and Review Me. Ask to have your product or service mentioned, not endorsed.

Recency is achieved by frequent blogging and use of social sites.

I personally suggest that while you may strive for greater authority and recency, you shouldn’t neglect relevance. After all, what good is SEO and driving Google traffic to your site if your content isn’t relevant to your visitors?

Larry BraunerI very much enjoyed an informative morning at the The Search and Social Leadership Forum, hosted by the Business Development Institute and NYU.

Veronica Fielding, CEO of Digital Brand Expressions, forum sponsor, treated us to a fast-moving overview of the direction digital marketing is taking.

Veronica Fielding Discusses Findability ConvergenceVeronica discussed findability, which as I understand it refers to the ability of a brand and all its associated content to be discovered and interacted with by people. She identified three key forms of findability and likened them to three forms of investment, underscoring their value and illustrating their complementary nature:

  1. Search Engine Marketing – Paid search results. Like cash, it’s instantly available.
  2. Search Engine Optimization – Organic search results. Like bonds, they’re for the long term.
  3. Social Media – Blogs and social media sites. Like the stock market, it’s volatile.

Veronica showcased companies successfully combining all three findability channels to build their web presence. We need use all three forms of outreach and to foster increased interaction and synergy between them. This is findability convergence.

Watch for more in the near future about this event and about the other excellent presenters:

Much thanks to Steve Etzler, Maria Feola and the BDI team for making today’s Search and Social Leadership Forum a big success.

There’s still space available for the next BDI event, Social Convergence and the Enterprise at NYU Midtown on July 21.

One final note: In case you’re new to this blog, we’ve reached the place where readers generally subscribe or leave me a comment. ;-)

Larry BraunerSEO is an ongoing process. Yet, in some cases, there’s low hanging fruit to be picked, and much can be accomplished with remarkably little effort.

Wouldn’t you agree that it’s much much better if your content appears on the 1st page of Google than on the 2nd? I do hope you’re nodding your head yes with me.

Useful SEO Hack

Low Hanging SEO FruitHow much effort would be required to move from the 2nd page to the 1st page? That depends, but if your content is at the very top of the 2nd page, it only needs to move up one position, from 11th to 10th, to be at the bottom of the 1st page.

Moving your content from the 4th rank to the 3rd would make a greater difference but may not be achievable, and even if it is, it would require much more effort than moving from 11th to 10th, since the 10th isn’t as competitive as the 3rd.

So when your content ranks at or near the top of the 2nd page in Google or other search engines, nudging it up to the 1st page is low-hanging juicy SEO fruit that you mustn’t neglect to pick.

Larry BraunerThe Business Development Institute and New York University are hosting a meeting of The Search and Social Leadership Forum in Midtown Manhattan next Thursday to discuss some of the opportunities and issues surrounding the integration of social and search.

The search and social symposium will be attended by top marketing and communications leaders from large brands. It’s my good fortune to have been invited to participate as a social media and SEO evangelist. I will not, however, be speaking at this event.

To learn more about the Search and Social Leadership Forum or sign up, please visit the event’s web page. Hope to see you there.

Larry BraunerI wrote this past week about how Social Media Marketing Impacts SEO.

There are essentially three ways that posting your content in social media can increase your brand’s visibility in search engine result pages:

  1. Your content itself ranks well in searches for your designated keyword phrases.
  2. Your content provides backlinks to other content which as a result performs better in searches.
  3. Your content engages people whose backlinks and online conversation help your content perform better in searches.

Ideally, when you would post your content in social media, all three benefits would be obtained. In practice, sometimes you achieve this objective; many times you do not:

Being virtually everywhere (pun intended) is a powerful strategy, so do not reject key social media venues just because they don’t help you achieve all your social and search objectives.

However, it is desirable to accomplish all three objectives with one action when possible, and here are some tips that can help:

  • Post on Amplify and Posterous, all-in-one blogging, micro-blogging and social bookmarking sites, rank well in search and feature both dofollow links and member interaction. They can also syndicate your content to a variety of social media sites.
  • Your blogs and online social networks, such as Ning sites, that you control can potentially help with all three objectives. It depends on the extent to which they influence both search engines and fellow humans. You can also set them up to syndicate your content.
  • Leave good comments on influential dofollow blogs in your brand’s niche, if you can find any. Most popular high PageRank blogs are nofollow. Always be careful not to spam.

My other blog, Online Social Networking, is dofollow. This blog isn’t — at least not for now. I suggest that you not let that stop you from commenting and subscribing. ;-)

Larry BraunerIf you and your organization are having difficulty justifying the high cost of social media marketing, consider this new and compelling factor:

Social media is increasingly influencing your visibility in the search engines. Businesses that fall behind in social media marketing could soon start noticing a reduction in their search engine traffic.

I wrote last year in The Long Tail and Social Media and Social Media vs. Search Engine Optimization about ways in which your social media marketing can be helped by search engines.

Shortly thereafter, I discussed in The NEW Search Engine Optimization some of the effects that social media marketing can have on your SEO and on your web presence. Now that the topic of social and search is gaining traction, I’m revisiting it, and I present to you a brief summary of social and search issues and benefits.

Dubious Value of Backlinks

The use of social data by search engines isn’t something new. Backlinks can be regarded as a form of social data. Search engines have for many years relied exclusively upon inbound links to evaluate a site’s authority. A well known criterion derived from the analysis of inbound links is Google Page Rank.

Backlinks are, however, of somewhat dubious value, since they often result from non-organic gray- and black-hat link-building techniques, such as link exchange, outright link purchase, blog-comment spam and spam blogs.

Social Media Content Authentic

Social media content is growing exponentially. Social content can be mined for useful data, and it will be. Social media sites and blogs yield data that’s authentic, and which coupled with backlinks, promises to more adequately measure a page’s authority.

Social media data may also enable search engines to return results that are more personalized.

Social Media Generates Backlinks

Not only can data from social media complement backlinks, social media itself can generate valuable backlinks to your website. Your blog posts, your comments on dofollow blogs and your content on dofollow social media sites, such as Amplify and Posterous, can all link back to your website.

However, the potential for backlinks doesn’t end there. Your participation in social media will attract genuine backlinks from within your communities.

Social Media Appears in Search Results

Search engines are indexing more and more social media content. Your content on social media sites appears in search engine results and can receive traffic from them. Your backlinks contained in that content, even if nofollow, permit visitors to click through to your website.

Furthermore, when your content is returned in search engine result pages, it occupies a slot that might have otherwise been occupied by a competitor.

Consider the numerous ways in which social media marketing can help search, and you might find it easier to justify costs, even if you cannot satisfactorily estimate social media ROI.