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Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Social or SEO – Which is better?

There has been a lot of talk about social media and social book marking as taking over the tradition SEO industry. While it is true that some of the major social media sites are taking over the top listings in Google.

These days it isn’t unheard of to see multiple listings for the same content that has been linked to from the various sites like Digg and Boxxet. Sure these sites will help you get your content spread all over the search engines but is it the same as getting your page to rank high in the search engines? The short answer is no.

You see the reality is this; your content will rise to the top of the engines quite quickly but not for your site, it will be for the social sites that are hosting the snippets of content from your site. Good for the social site and if anybody actually visits those links, it could be good for your site as well.

Another way that this is different is in the amount of time that your content stays at the top of the search engines. At the time of this writing these social sites usually were ranking for about 2 weeks before they disappeared from any meaningful rankings. This is not too bad for content that has a short shelf life but what about content that has a longer shelf life… not so good.

Also, how long do you really think it will be before Google steps in to the fray to deal with what in essence is nothing more than duplicate content diluting their so called “quality results”? Does anybody truly need 20 or 30 listings to the same story spread over just as many social domains? I think not. Do I take advantage of it? I sure do!

Now what about SEO – is that going to disappear as a marketing tool? The quick answer is hell no. If you were given a choice on getting your site/pages to rank at the top of Google for years or weeks I am pretty sure which of way you would go.

Back in 2004 I obtained top 3 rankings for some fairly competitive gambling related terms in Google and those sites have had almost no updating or link building since then and yet they remain at the top of Google. You are not going to get that kind of sustained ranking with social book marking.

At this time the best thing one can do is to use the social book marking while it still works, to help your sites gain some ground in the search engines by combining it with solid SEO tactics.

Yesterday I wrote a quick little tongue in cheek article about the alleged Jessica Simpson Curse. Fairly topical these days given the NFL playoffs are quickly well underway. I added this to my sports betting blog and then I added the article to some social book marking sites. Within an hour not only was my blog ranking in Google but so was the social book marking listings.

When my blog got listed in Google there were a few sites that ranked higher for the search term “Jessica Simpson Curse” but not for long. Within 24 hours my blog page took over top spot in Google* for that term and the social book marking pages started to slide in the rankings. While it was good to have multiple page 1 rankings for my blog, I think I still prefer to have my actual page ranking in number 1 rather than somebody else’s social media site.

Social Media is the buzz right now but it can’t last as it is way too easy to exploit just like some of the other techniques of old – can you say keyword stuffing? Use it while it lasts but trust me – it ain’t going to replace solid SEO tactics. That will come later when there is a breakthrough in artificial intelligence brought on by semantic search but that is for another rant.

* results may vary depending upon datacenters

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Monday, June 25, 2007

Social Media Marketing – What is it & who needs it

By now there are a few sites that you should have heard of, Craigslist, Digg, YouTube and MySpace – these are just a few of the social media sites and there are quite a few more. Social media sites are sites that people can go to congregate to share pictures, ideas, videos and more. I know it sounds like just about every other site out there but there is a difference and that difference is in the level of interaction. You see social marketing sites encourage involvement and promote a sense of community

Social media can be used for more things than sharing your holiday pictures or goofy videos. Social media sites can be used to find new employees or perhaps a new love interest or even find an old one. Social media can be used to bring in a whole new level of collaboration when joining in with a similarly minded community.

Perhaps one of the best things that social media sites can be used for is reputation management. Let’s say that some person has printed some negative comments about your company and those pages rank highly in the search engines, this is clearly not a good thing for your business. Creating social media accounts can certainly help in some cases.

You see due to the high level of traffic and linking to these social media sites, some of these sites can rank quite highly within the search engines. Given the power of these networks you should be able to create your company pages that will soon out rank those negative comment pages, forcing them to fall in the SERPS and hopefully, right off of page 1. Of course you would need to set up several profiles to push those negative comments off of page 1.

Here are a few of the more popular ones.

Judy's Book
Yahoo Answers

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