The New SEO = Social Engagement Optimization

SEOSEO is not dead. As with all living things, SEO is always evolving. While many in the search community are witnessing and acknowledging the evolution, they cling to the notion that SEO only stands for “Search Engine Optimization.”

The concept of search dates back to the days of cavemen searching for food. So does social interaction and the exchange of information, which inevitably impacts how people search. It’s time to add an additional meaning to the Three Letter Acronym of SEO and start teaching this to all the people with C-Level titles (COO, CMO, CTO, CFP & CEOs) in the world.

The Influence Of Social On Search


Over the past few years, the influence of social properties (Facebook, G+, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.) on where people search, how they search (i.e., crowd source), and even how the search engines rank content in their search results, have dramatically increased. The influence of social on search will continue to evolve and become more critical over the next few years.

In the late 1990′s, organizations and their respective C-level management were slow to embrace the Web, and in the early 2000′s, they were slow to embrace strategic search engine optimization.

Today, the C-level management team is slow to embrace the structure and strategic use of social properties (Social Media) to enhance their findability when a potential customer seeks the products and services the organization offers.

Word-Of-Mouth Marketing

What’s puzzling is this is old school marketing and something that was taught in business and marketing classes for the longest time. It’s called “word-of-mouth marketing.”

Yet, the latest generation of marketers don’t seem to know about it and professes that it’s something else. Something new and shiny that must be tried out and tested. Meanwhile, the perplexed senior executives in their organizations learned about word-of-mouth marketing when they took their business classes back in the 70′s & 80′s.

The key to old-school, word-of-mouth marketing is simple. If someone asks you to recommend a vendor for something, you give them the name of someone that you were happy with or warn them of someone who you were unhappy with.

This is what search engines started replacing (word-of-mouth marketing) in the late 90′s. Two decades later, search engines are being replaced and influenced by online social engagement, which is basically electronic word-of-mouth marketing. We’ve come full circle and any organization that doesn’t realize it is failing to compete with more nimble businesses and likely destined for the scrap heap.

Social Engagement Optimization

To effectively and strategically implement a Social Engagement Optimization strategy, the C-suite can simply let their organizations hire a recent graduate who completed a social media college course and set them loose with the corporate social media strategy.

This may be less expensive than someone who has years of traditional marketing experience, possessing the expertise and ability to relate historical successes and failures to the new social technologies for doing old-fashioned marketing. Yet, the reward for using experience to create measurable benchmarks and milestones based on historical and traditional concepts, is that your organization will succeed in the new environment of online social media marketing.

Corporations and their executive teams need to think about how they are going to use social properties to engage with both current and potential customers and then how to optimize their experience to maximize sales and profits. In essence, they need to relearn how to do something that businesses have done since the dawn of commerce and to educate their marketing teams that SEO must now also include Social Engagement Optimization.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.

Related Topics: Channel: Industry | Internet Marketing Industry | Social Media Marketing | Social Media Marketing Column | Word Of Mouth Marketing


About The Author: a partner at Digital Always Media, is a public speaker, award winning author, corporate trainer (SEO, social media marketing & digital analytics), and an online instructor for the University of San Francisco's on-line Internet marketing and analytics programs He also co-hosts of the weekly Twitter Chat #SocialChat

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  • Maureen Thorne

    Hiring a new grad can work in certain situations. However, the reality is that experience and deep understanding of the buying process, what the prospects want to hear and the detailed analysis of what is working, what’s not and why requires the direct involvement of a more senior, experienced resource. The C-Suite needs to value and invest appropriately.

  • Jason Magee

    I agree with Maureen… People fresh out of school may be savvy with understanding and navigating social media, but they don’t understand the other intangibles that professionals develop with experience, e.g. branding, product placement, B2B relationships, professional interaction, etc. While it can work out, just because someone knows how to engage on a personal level doesn’t make them a genius at the next level.

  • Alan K’necht

    Oh I’ll be adding more on the subject in future articles. First step is to get people thinking about a concept and then lay the path before them

  • Alan K’necht

    I’m seeing the tip of the iceberg starting to realize this, but far too many still hold on to the old way of thinking. This is especially true for those who don’t get out to conferences to discuss the changes with peers or even keep up with their reading.

    I can’t tell you how many times at new clients that they keep telling me they’ve hired people to put in keywords in their websites and SEO doesn’t work. Do I need to say anything more?

  • Hyd imarks

    SEO can’t be express in any better way than you people did in this post… Happy to read it … We being the most reputed and well known platform for SEO Services In Hyderabad want to add that even remember to add proper meta tags for your website when you optimize it. It will be very good for a web search engine to find your website on all those related keywords for the business you are dealing with.

  • Interactive Arts LLC

    What actually happened in the late 1990′s was that marketers hijacked the network that was originally established for the sharing of research documents. Three decades later, social media marketers are hijacking this same technology and calling it “electronic word-of-mouth marketing”. The only problem is that no one seems to know how to accurately measure results from a ROI perspective.

  • nickie snyder

    To achieve success in this dynamic environment of
    technology, one needs to hire professional social media optimizer to attract more
    customers unlike traditional marketing which approaches less people and is
    comparatively expensive.

  • Pekay Moloto

    I agree Jason but what measures can be introduced through casual work (Part-time) incentives???


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