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Social Media is SEO in the 90s all over again

Forever 90s SEO Social Media

It was 1999, the year I started with search engine marketing. I had already developed a few websites, one of which was for my sorority, and I wanted to get it ranked well in the search engines, that was mostly Yahoo. Google didn’t even exist yet.

So after adding categories to my website, learning about meta tags and descriptions, we were found under the right categories, with a bulkload of categories, that were spot on to slightly related to the website topic.

Gaming the web was always part of Search Engine Optimization. As everybody was in the same race to get more and more traffic to the website. And reading up on SEO experts that were sharing their tricks, I remember experimenting with those technics.

 

Britney Spears gets you more traffic!

And it did. If you added Britney Spears to your meta tags at the time, then you might get traffic of people searching for Britney Spears to your website. And at that time, it was the most searched for phrase. It meant a lot of traffic.

Obviously, nobody was interested in pet food, accounting, or web hosting when they would search for Britney Spears. But that didn’t matter. The ruling metric at the time wasn’t the number of sales, or the number of interested clients coming to your website. It was traffic. How many visitors did you get to your website. The more the better. That was what SEO companies got paid for.

Until it wasn’t about the total number of visitors anymore.

The better the analytics tools became, and the more opportunities there were for companies to close sales immediately on the website (e-commerce implementations were hot around the year 2000), the more companies started questioning these techniques. At the same time Google came and led the way in what search engines were basing their algorithms on.

Even though Search Engine Optimization is still being gamed every day, and that’s why Google’s algorithm is always changing. Most companies know with SEO, it’s not just about the total number of visitors anymore.

It’s about the people that have a meaningful interaction with your website, that either interests them to make a purchase, or interests them to come back and stay involved with the content.

 

Social Media is not a pissing contest

Then came the rise of Social Media, and I see the same things happening. At first, most people are experimenting with social media and slowly but surely the number hoes start to appear. It’s all about the numbers and it seems to be the leading metric. Discussions regarding Facebook involved the famous comparison of “How many likes do you have?”, Twitter: “How many followers do you have?”, and lately: “How high is your Klout score?” Again, its the same discussion about numbers that in the end doesn’t matter.

It helped companies get started that shouldn’t have been born. Companies that sell Facebook likes, Twitter followers or YouTube views. As in the end it’s not about the number of people that follow you, its about the number of people that have a meaningful engagement with you on your social media sites.

The value is in the conversation.

People do business with people they like. Not because they liked your FB page, or because they follow you.

 

Turn the relationship around

It’s the other way around. Show them why they should like you or follow you, and they will.

The focus should be on building relationships with them on whatever forum, Facebook group, Twitter chat, so they want to like you, or follow you. And then they will.

Share the value and they will come.

 

Go away!

If you want to buy likes or followers, go away. I can’t help you.

I am sure your numbers go up when we write and interact with your intended community. Your potential customers. But frankly, I don’t care. I do care, however, about how many people are interacting with your brand on social media. How many leads we generate, how many people view your product pages after interacting with you. That’s what makes us happy, and if that makes you happy – then I am sure we are a good match.

For fresh ideas on how to attract new customers through social media, fill out the form on the right and we’ll talk. I look forward to that!

You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
  • http://www.pietyproject.com William

    I often see SEO as a duality…well perhaps more complex but two sides will be enough for now…where you can play the numbers game by driving traffic, any traffic, to your site or engage a smaller number of people with content they find meaningful.

    Although many of my social media friends think the meaningful engagement is best, I have business friends who win at the number game. I fine myself with the meaningful engagement camp but I understand probability well enough to see the other side.

    • http://www.butterfly-maiden.com Janet Stephenson (

      I agree with you, William, in that there is definitely a dual nature to SEO and Social Media. Higher numbers directly equates to the potential of making more connections, and depending on the industry you are in, can either be extremely important, or not at all.

      For me, in the personal development/alternative spirituality niche, the engagement and meaningful relationships are absolutely key. But, I have friends, like you, who are making a killing off of keywords and traffic and ad clicks… Sigh. I much prefer establishing connections, as this article encourages.

  • http://ocweb.pro/blog/ Oscar Gonzalez

    I agree with most of your perspectives on this, but I also think that a push for bigger numbers isn’t a bad thing. After all, how can you find new people to engage with you if you aren’t literally finding them. Either extreme is bad for business. On one end, you can get 10,000 likes without any engagement, and in the other end you can have the best engagement with a small community and maybe they’re just 100 people.

    But can a business be sustained with a tiny community? Regardless of how much “engagement” they give you, you’ll eventually want to grow that and there is only so much “organic” growth can give you.

    If you cast a wide net, you have more chances of finding more engagers even if your ratio drops, you’ll still develop a great community. Remember, at least over 75% of the people are just “watching” and they just do that without ever saying anything, but they sometimes buy. Let’s not dismiss them because they don’t want to comment, like or tweet at us.

    But I love your article and I think everyone should read this and understand how to apply it to their own marketing and development efforts.

  • http://www.brandingpersonality.com Marieke Hensel

    @Oscar, @William and @Janet, I agree that the numbers are important to make something work. If you have an engaged community of 1, for most companies that is not enough, there should be a minimum of people in a community to make it work. That is different for each company. But is based on the minimum number of clients you need to participate.

    My opinion is mainly that the total number is highly overrated. And that other factors are important to have on the forefront maybe more than numbers.

    Focus on the engagement, and then the numbers will come.

  • http://www.seoboom.es/ seo boom

    Even though Search Engine Optimization is still being gamed every day, and that’s why Google’s algorithm is always changing. Most companies know with SEO, it’s not just about the total number of visitors anymore.