Searching to be social

Yesterday was another great installment of the Silicon Valley/San Francisco chapter meeting of the Social Media Club. This night’s gala took place at the offices of Zannel, a mobile multimedia aggregation too – which we got to see the power of throughout the night. However, the topic of the evening was not about mobile marketing or aggregation tools. Rather, the focus was on how you can optimize your work on search engines through the use of social media.

It was quite amusing to hear two search engine optimizing experts speak about how to help drive traffic to your work through social media. What topped off the night was having a social media expert speak about how he takes it to promote his work along with his client. Now before you think that it’s all about simply finding the right keywords and flooding your content with it in various spots to help with your keyword density, it’s a little bit more complicated when you throw in social media.

We’re not talking about optimizing your social media experience, but rather throwing it into the mix. So, if you have content on the past inauguration, for example, then how are you going to get your voice heard amongst the thousands, if not millions, of websites out there that are doing writeups of the inauguration? Well you can take advantage of social bookmarking sites like Del.icio.us, Digg, Reddit, Mixx or if you have a document that you’d like to share, then use SlideShare, post a video onto YouTube, or tag your photos on Flickr.

The experts seemed to agree that it’s no longer about finding keywords that will help you get noticed. Rather, it’s about relevant key phrases. So you’re not going to put “inauguration”, but instead you might choose the phrase “inauguration of Barack Obama“. The goal is not about getting conversions when employing social media. It’s about receiving qualified links. The more links you have on your website will help search engines determine your worth on their results page.

An interesting example that Daniel Riveong from E-Storm brought up was his own trials in getting his presentation on Facebook Demographics noticed by search engines and to help raise his viewership. Obviously if you type in “facebook demographics” in Google, you’re going to get a bunch of results and just an ordinary blog post or webpage may get lost in the clutter and you’ll find yourself with a medium to probably low rank. But Daniel found a way around that by simply uploading his presentation to SlideShare. Results? It got him the #1 rank on Google…over sites like AllFacebook.com and iStrategyLabs.com – sites that perhaps have studied more about the particular topic or even have more relevant content.

But why would SlideShare.com give more weight on Google versus other sites? Because you’re working on a community of the web that has a niche audience that will give you more weight than by relying on word of mouth for people to come to your site or other means. Social Media offers you a tremendous opportunity to get “immediate” weight on your content. If you want the most impact, I would use social media…but you have to use it wisely. People typically spend their time on mass content/user-generated sites like YouTube, SlideShare, Digg, Flickr, etc. so any new content that’s posted, will probably grab their attention. If they like it, they may comment or share with friends – there’s your word of mouth. OR they could tag your content on those social sites. OR they could blog about your sites. OR they could link back to that site.

Compare that to the regular plain website, then you don’t have that immediate notification from your audience. Less touch points. But there’s not a need to automatically post everything on social sites. You can still keep a static page on your server, but what you should probably do is have the content you want called out placed on various sites so that it grabs people’s attention.

Last night’s meeting with the experts was recorded on Ustream.tv so feel free to relive the experience and hear first-hand from the experts.