The worlds of social media and SEO are getting more and more intertwined every day. Both Bing and Google have admitted they use social signals and author authority as part of their ranking algorithm.
The Bing-Facebook integration strives to personalize Bing search results with Facebook data, and Google launched their own social network (Google+) to compete with Facebook for social prowess.
Related: Improve social marketing with an online marketing professional
There is no denying that having a strong social media presence on sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ can be a huge boon to your SEO, but what about other, smaller social communities like highly specialized social sites. For example:
- CoolRunning.com (for marathoners)
- LabRoots.com (for scientists),
- thiswaytocpa.com (for accounting students)
How do these social communities help your SEO?
In an interview I did with search and social expert Rob Garner, who has always been a huge fan of forums, he said;
Though I've been in digital marketing since the mid-90's, I've spent thousands of hours administrating and participating on forums for business, hobbies, and for research. From a marketing perspective, owning or engaging in communities keeps you up on current language of a target audience, provides social interaction around content in real-time, and also creates user-generated content for search engines.
Broad vs. Niche
While larger social networking sites like Facebook and LinkedIn might have millions of members and therefore a much farther potential reach, small and hyper-specialized social communities instantly connect you with exactly your target audience.
For instance, if your company sells running belts you'd want to build a strong presence on a site like CoolRunning.com because it is a site specifically for serious runners, the exact kind of person who would be interested in your products. Links from a social community site like this are highly relevant and can potentially deliver a lot of traffic to your site over time.
In my opinion, one link from a highly relevant site that could send potential customers your way is worth far more in the long run than a dozen links on generic or low-quality sites.
In the wake of the Google Penguin update the quality of your backlink profile is more important than ever and site owners should focus on building the right kind of links, not just every link they can. Links from social communities typically fall under the "right kind of link" umbrella.
Using Social Communities
Some social communities allow their members to participate in forum discussions, post blogs and articles, advertise, or even sponsor events. All of these things are great ways to develop and even stronger presence on that social community and build your brand authority among the people you're trying to reach.
Remember, SEO is about making your website as visible as possible so when someone is looking for what you have to offer you're positioned well to meet their needs. Although Facebook and Twitter might be the 800 pound gorillas of the social media world, don't forget to keep an eye out for the smaller, hyper-specific social communities that can provide high quality inbound links and allow you to interact directly with your target audience.
Bio: Nick Stamoulis is the President of Boston-based full service SEO company Brick Marketing. With over 13 years of B2B SEO experience, Nick Stamoulis shares his expertise by writing in the Brick Marketing Blog and hosting online and in-person SEO Workshops. Contact Nick Stamoulis at 781-999-1222 or firstname.lastname@example.org