Social for Search: How to Fail

Jul 14 2010

You’ve heard of the term “Social for Search,” right?  The idea is that your social media marketing efforts can be used to improve search engine rankings for your properties.  How?:

1.  Use a listening system to find keywords that are being used in your space

2.  Research those keywords and find others around them:

  • What keywords are people actually using in searches?
  • How are your competitors using keywords?
  • What does recent trending look like for those keywords?

3.  When you’ve narrowed down your top keywords, use them everywhere in your social media marketing content.

Sounds like a foolproof plan!  Except it isn’t.  Here are a few examples of how social for search can go terribly wrong:

1. Awkward blog post title

When you try to include too many keywords in your blog post title, it can become long, awkward and confusing:



2. Tweets full of hashtags and links, with no content

It’s a great idea to use your keyword hashtags (or keytags, as I like to call them) in your tweets, but it’s also possible to take it too far.  If you don’t include an actual viewpoint in your tweet, why would people retweet it…or even click on it?



 3. Multiple URLs

If you want to rank in Google for all of your keywords, you should register false user names and create a separate Facebook or Twitter page for each keyword, right?  Wrong.  As Siouxsie likes to say, “Transparency is the new black.”  Don’t underestimate your target audience.  People who have been around social media for a while can tell when an account isn’t genuine.  Any SEO gains you might make will be negated when your accounts are forcibly closed.

Have you seen any examples of how social should NOT be used for search?   How do you use Social for Search?

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