Social Media as a Marketing Service

Dave Snyder asked me to post a topic to the Search and Social study group, but thought it may be a good idea to post my same question here and see what you all think.

Last week we did a quick local SEO 101 presentation/training session where a highly-regarded PR firm attended. We were happy to see them, and had an engaging conversation on the impact of SEO and social media in the PR landscape.

But this in itself presents a challenge for anyone who works for a search marketing firm. With the growing comfort level for search marketing and social media at agencies and internal marketing departments, how does an SEO firm work with a client who already uses an advertising agency or PR firm that offer the same services? Do you “consult” on the projects that are already “optimized” by other agencies? Do you start offering these other services, expanding solely from search (such as social media efforts)? If so, how do you introduce social media as part of a search strategy? Do you provide the content development and syndication service as part of social media plans?

Of course, the folks in this arena are well-versed in social and the impact on search, but once presented with a potential client who has enough understanding to be dangerous (yet still confused), the challenge of _not_ sounding obtuse and buzz-wordy is a big one.

I’ve done a little research on social media specifics that you can actually offer as a service, but most service descriptions I’ve found (mostly from agencies) have been very broad, with lots of marketing-speak that just make my eyes roll.

As you can imagine, this could go in many different directions, and would love to hear your thoughts, or if you’ve come across the same challenges. I’ll be happy to compile the results and share the feedback.

The Technical Struggle of Converting to WordPress

I was reading SEOBook’s post on how to migrate blogs from Blogger to WordPress , excited to see a step-by-step process for something I really need to get on since WordPress provides a lot more flexibility and customization. But once I saw the first step, I started to panic:

Step 1: Download and install WordPress (also requires setting up a MySQL database).

Umm, I don’t have a clue on how to set up a MySQL database. Or hack CSS by hand, or create conditional php statements, or rewrite .htaccess files. So how am I supposed to take advantage of the SEO benefits WordPress provides when I’m technically lost?

I consider myself technically-savvy, many colleagues and friends can attest to that. But after I read that blog post I started thinking of the value of marketing vs. technology. Where does search marketing really fall? If I had the best, most up-to-date technology, will search follow? It’ll help I’m sure, but unless I create value, fill a need, and engage with community, does it really matter?

So I’m still considering WordPress because it really is better. But what I may just do is just provide a static link back to Blogger. That sounds nasty, it won’t be well-optimized, but I just don’t have time to learn php. I could always just stick with Blogger and forget about WordPress altogether. Unless someone out there feels generous and wants to help – I’ll be happy to reciprocate.

Quick and Dirty Tactics for Video Optimization and SEO

Blending listings from news, images, video, local listings and book search engines, Universal Search from Google will be delivering video more often to the top spots. There are steps to take when thinking about marketing video online, which extends a lot further than just creating a channel on YouTube.

Basic SEO tactics still apply – video optimization really uses mainstream search optimization

Write a relevant, but catchy, video title: Use related key phrases that is relevant to your product, service or brand.

Optimize with tags: Tag your video with key phrases that people are likely to use or based on keyword research. No need to hold back on tags.

Don’t forget your video file name and meta description: Use keywords in your video file name. And don’t forget your thumbnails too.

Develop inbound and cross links: Use keywords as anchor text to link to your video from other areas of your site.

Provide transcripts: This may be difficult to put right on the page, but you could provide an outline of the transcript with the option to download the full version. This helps optimize the copy on the page.

Video best practices help with marketing and SEO

Keep videos short: Rule of thumb is five minutes max online. 1-3 minute segments is better. If it’s a longer segment, break it out into multiple clips. Use good titles and tags, and provide thumbnails for each segment with descriptive highlights. It’s easier for users to pick up where they left off without having to go back to the beginning. Also it offers the opportunity to use more keywords, and helps when users are viewing video on mobile devices.

Use video as an entry point to your other content: Post videos on YouTube, vMix, FaceBook, etc. to provide links back to your site and other content.

YouTube it: YouTube own more than half of all video traffic online. If you post to any user-generated video site make it YouTube. Video search engines are already there, including Google.

Try the Google Video Upload Program: it’s a great tool to upload batch video.

Provide a video sitemap.

Syndicate your video with RSS: Use a publishing tool that supports a Media RSS output, and the optional Media RSS enclosures related to SEO. The most important fields for optimizing video data are the title, description, and keywords.

Offer social bookmarking tools: Provide icons and options to digg, StumbleUpon, delicious, technorati (for blogs), Facebook, etc.

Be viral: Provide the option for users to embed the video code onto their own site.

Brand your video: You’re going through the trouble of creating the video and syndicating it, make it yours and put your logo on it.

Allow comments AND ratings: Videos that receive higher ratings from users are the ones that users tend to favorite and save.

Measurement – who is watching your video and how often?

Now that your video is well-optimized, it’s time to do some tracking. Segments you want to measure for video activity include:

– Overall and individual time spent
– Most watched videos
– Videos with both the highest conversion rate (call-to-action) and the highest abandonment rate
– Failure rates (number of people who could not open the video in their browser)
– If you capture ratings and comments, include the most popular videos with the most feedback.

If you can, create a special section for your video content (subdomain, video site map, video archive on your site, etc.), in order to track how many people are watching your videos. Any web analytics software package can measure this, including Google Analytics. And ifyou use FeedBurner for RSS, it offers trackable items the free package, including measuring total subscribers and total downloads.

Need more? Check out other these sources:

SearchEngineWatch.com

BruceClay.com

SEO-Space.com

SearchEngineLand.com

There are many more, please share.