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SES Chicago: Social Media Linking and Promotion


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Search Engine Strategies Conference returns to Chicago November 14-18. Marketers and SEO professionals will gather to discuss all topics related to search, social media and more. Interested in checking out the conference? Use priority code OGV20 at registration for a special discount.

I recently had the privilege to interview Eric Ward, president, EricWard.com. Eric is an expert on content linking strategies and has been involved in online marketing since 1993. Eric has helped a countless number of companies create and execute linking strategies to increase the awareness of their web content.

Eric is on a panel at SES Chicago, Social Media Linking and Promotion, where he’ll discuss how social media usage has created opportunities (and frenzy) among link building and promotion. Here is an excerpt of what Eric had to say about social media linking and promotion:

Brian Camen (BC): How has social media link sharing changed since the emergence of Facebook and Twitter?

  • Eric Ward (EW): In many ways, with unique characteristics and subtle differences between how and why people share links on Facebook versus Twitter. On Twitter, you’re much more likely to find the “expert curator” who tweets links to news stories or web sites that are in his/her area of expertise, almost like a quasi-news service. When you see someone with thousands of followers, but that person is not following back, you are on the trail towards a curator/influencer. It’s also the nature of twitter’s post size limit that lends itself perfectly to link sharing. As an example, I follow several subject experts because when they tweet a link it’s a link I need to see or read. Twitter has become an indispensable part of my news and link consumption habits. But the people I follow are not usually people who I know personally or well enough that we would end up being friends on Facebook. In fact, I don’t want their friendship; I want their news and opinions.With Facebook, you have the individual pages and the corporate pages. I won’t get into the foolishness of most corporate Facebook deployments, but let’s just say the Facebook ecosystem is much more nuanced than Twitter, in many ways, and many marketers miss this part of it. I might share a link on Twitter about a helpful product, but I’m really not that interested in telling all my “friends” via Facebook that I “Like” or am a “Fan” of Compound W wart remover. The other big change is the predictable proliferation of social link spammers and a marketplace for paid likes, fans, tweets, followers, etc.

BC: What are some tips that may lead to a near or long-term increase in others’ sharing links and helping you promote your web content?

  • EW: Social sharing has an “impulsive” aspect to it where the easier and quicker you make it, the more likely it is to happen. The easiest and most overlooked thing you can do is make your pages shareable, but not necessarily in the way you think you should. You can’t predict the point at which someone may choose to tweet your page, and it isn’t always at the exact moment they finish reading your content. Give people multiple opportunities to share your content, and never provide a sole sharing option that is at the very end of a page that requires scrolling before someone even sees it. Let’s use the Tic Tac example. When you go grocery shopping, you never put Tic Tacs on your list with bread, milk, eggs, etc. It’s when you are at the checkout waiting in line that you see them, and grab them. You had no intent to consume that Tic Tac content, but you did. Similarly, make sure people can share content in multiple ways and at multiple points along the consumption process. Also, it’s surprising how simply putting Please Re-tweet in your original tweet actually works.

BC: How do you see the future of social and search effecting link sharing and promotion?

  • EW: In a major way. Google’s dropping of the real-time twitter stream from the top of the search results page made news for the wrong reasons. People talked about some big competition or falling out between the two, but while Google always said it was an experiment, it was a really bold move in many ways that gave Google a real-time data collection method that they could and likely did use in the G+ rollout. Marketers are seeing the days of the standard list of ten blue links go away from the search results. Blended search, local, social, personalized. It’s becoming much harder to rely on search rank alone as a traffic source, and this will, and has, led to an increase in alternative methods of traffic generation. Social promotion is a logical place to go.
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