It takes an army to publish a web page for most big brands. Someone represents editorial, creative, UX, design and there might be an engineer if the page requires a fancy new widget. The smart companies also include someone from SEO to review the page and ensure it is deployed in a search engine discoverable manner addressing a particular keyword theme. Producing a single web page can be very expensive and can consume dozens and sometimes hundreds of human-hours.
The web page seems to be on top of the digital asset pyramid; receiving love and attention from everyone in the company. Social media assets, on the other hand, never seem to garner such attention and a very common social media mistake is forgetting about SEO.
I no longer cringe or experience shock when a Facebook or Pinterest post is blank, without messaging or an outbound link to a proper landing page. I also no longer feel pain when I review a company’s YouTube channel and see a panacea of missed opportunity. By the way, YouTube is not just a social media dumping ground for a bajillion hours of video; it is the second largest SEARCH ENGINE in the WORLD.
Nope, I no longer feel any anguish when I see these common, yet disastrous, social media mistakes.
Because almost everyone forgets to incorporate SEO into their social media asset production process.
I have worked with a ton of big brands, and none of them were awesome from a Social SEO point of view. They may have rocked at the social media aspect of engagement and creative. However, none of their assets were discoverable after the initial posting. None of the videos ever appeared as a search result for a valuable search query within the social media platform where the asset resided or in a Google or Bing search.
Unfortunately, sometimes the issue is something much more insidious. The owner of a social media program for a large telecommunications company once questioned why my reports included social media referral traffic, revenue, and conversions from their social channels back to the company website. All that person wanted to see was monthly trend data for retweets, likes, video views and followers. They were not interested or understanding why we should drive more visitors to the site to buy their products. Please someone out there, give me a multi-million dollar budget just to get retweets!
If a company is going to invest in producing digital assets for their social media playgrounds, then they need to inject SEO into that process. Want to know why?
Here are the numbers for YouTube.
- One billion users – nearly 1/3 of all Internet users
Let that marinate before we highlight a few more notable statistics. Deep breath. Inhale, and exhale saying the phrase, “One billion users.” Now a few more tantalizing metrics.
- 50% YoY growth for the last three years
- Number of hours used on a mobile device is up 100% YoY
- 50% of YouTube views originate from a mobile device
How often do you use Google for a “how-to” search? I ditched Google for those search queries years ago. I do not want to read how to change a light bulb for the temperature control gauge in my 4Runner. I would rather watch someone execute the task, to I ensure I do not screw it up. And yes, there is a video for that exact task for a 2007 Toyota 4Runner. Simply brilliant. It saved me a couple of hundred dollars since I did not need to use a repair shop.
YouTube videos also appear in Google general Web Search and Video Search results. You are going to rack up organic visitors from the external search engines as well!
Are you on Pinterest? “No way man! That’s for clothes and jewelry,” proclaim people with a severe lack of understanding about Pinterest. It turns out Pinterest deployed their website correctly and external search engines crawl, index and rank their content within their search results. Like YouTube, if you sprinkle some SEO with a presence on Pinterest you can increase your brand visibility on Google and Bing as well.
Search for “modern kitchens” in Google Web Search. That term generates approximately 14,800 monthly searches on Google US. Today, positions 6, 7 and 8 are Pinterest entries. This was an unpleasant thorn for IKEA USA a few years ago. The Pinterest search algorithm is very rudimentary and even though Google is now leaning on machine learning, we still need to educate these algorithms about the subject matter of a digital asset.
IKEA USA was very creative in naming their Pinterest boards. Their bathroom board was something like, “Calming Zen Time.” No one searches for that, and none of their competitors were being creative with their Pinterest boards. It is brutal for the marketing artists out there, but creativity sometimes kills search visibility. Save the abstract and vague for TV and radio. On the web, please join your creativity with recommendations from the SEO team.
IKEA USA was not ranking in the top several hundred for the phrase “Bathrooms” in Pinterest. They made a few changes to the board name and description and within a week or so cracked the top 10 when searching for “bathrooms” on Pinterest – delivering some calming Zen time for their digital marketing team.
The Other Children
Yes, please apply best SEO practices to LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and the others. Just keep in mind that material will not get nearly as much action, if any, in external search engines like Google and Bing. However, if one day they do you will already be prepared, if you follow the mandate below.
Ask your social media and SEO teams if they are collaborating. Ask if they work together in producing social media assets. Find out if your SEO team has access to the company’s Pinterest and YouTube profiles. Are they executing SEO on those platforms, like they do for your company websites? They better, or you are leaving a lot of chips on the table that should be in your pocket.
Get both teams in a room and hammer out a new production process. Ask that future keyword ranking reports include Pinterest and YouTube performance. Monitor the before and after views for referral traffic, conversions, and revenue. You will see considerable improvement from the social media channel.