Engineering Traffic Patterns with Social Media

in Facebook,Google,SEO,Social Media,Twitter

I just re-read an excellent post over at SEOBook.com, entitled “The Next Big Shift In Web Marketing“, in which Peter Da Vanzo explores the importance of seeding and promoting content within social streams such as Facebook and Twitter. For me, the one major take-away from the article was the following quote from Google co-founder Larry Page: “I have always thought we needed to index the web every second to allow real time search. At first, my team laughed and did not believe me. With Twitter, now they know they have to do it.” As evidenced by the quote above, it’s critically important for your content to be discoverable in social spaces. The following strategy outlines one way that publishers can semi-automate content seeding within social networks.

Now, I’m going to assume that you have a blog. If not, go out and buy a good domain, get some hosting and install WordPress. While you’re at it, I would recommend investing in Chris Pearson’s stellar Thesis theme. Once you’ve got your blog up and running, start working on content. And by content, I mean stuff that you think your market would be interested in. By all means, resist the urge to publish self-promotional fluff and try to write with the interests of your market in mind.

If you haven’t already done so, go get a Twitter account. Try to secure an account that either a) reflects your brand name, or b) reflects your target keywords. Theme your account along the lines of your website (logo, colours, background, etc) and link back to your main site from your profile. At this stage, you should also sign up for accounts at Bit.ly and TwitterFeed. Bit.ly will let you track clicks on links dropped in your tweets, and TwitterFeed will auto post your new blog posts to Twitter.

Then go build a Facebook page for your website / product / service. Again, try to be consistent with your use of colour, logo, catchphrases, etc. and be sure to cross-link your Facebook page with your blog and your Twitter account. Add one of the RSS apps that allow you to publish blog posts to your page, and submit your blog feed. You can also sync your Twitter account with Facebook, in one of two ways. Firstly, you can add the “Notes” application and import your blog posts or tweets via RSS. Alternately, I discovered another app by a company called Involver that allows you to add a dedicated Twitter tab to your Page. Note: the “official” Twitter Facebook app will *not* allow you to publish to a page; only to a personal account as far as I know.

It may seem like a lot of work, but once this system is up-and-running your blog content will be syndicated to both Twitter and Facebook automagically. While there is no direct SEO benefit to be had by using this strategy (aside from indexing and some minor link juice flow), it would be foolish to think that Google is not looking at social traffic patterns and other such metrics to determine trust factors; especially in light of Larry Page’s quote in the first paragraph.

While the example above is limited to Twitter and Facebook, it could easily be extended to social networks beyond those mentioned.  Friendfeed, for example, allows you to sync your account with your Twitter account for cross population.  For those willing to invest some time and effort, there are loads of opportunities for creative content syndication within social media.

Last Minute Update: As of August 20, 2009, Facebook Syndicates Updates From Pages To Twitter, Still Holds User Updates Hostage.

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