I’ve been doing SEO before it was a “thing” and certainly before it was called search engine optimisation. I’ve seen it through many life stages and love it still.
I think the era I loved SEO the most was when it was a speciality. Arguably, in recent years SEO hasn’t been a speciality. People have used phrases like “standard link building”, “business as usual” or even “hygiene” to discuss various aspects of the skill.
While I’m not suggesting that some important hygiene aspects of running a site do not influence your SEO (page retirement strategies, for example, retailers) and that SEO had become rather productised in recent years I think this is now changing.
SEO has returned as a speciality.
To be successful in SEO today – and importantly; tomorrow – you need to engage and activate audiences. Links that matter (should you care a lot about links) are those that have been earned from platforms and publications that are trusted. I’ve written about this in my The Link Singularity series.
So what’s the difference between Social Media and SEO then?
Social Media is certainly about making connections to audiences, engaging with them, being useful, telling stories and building interest, buzz and intent.
Media today is social. All media is social; just ask the dancing pony, those promoting a new movie as the initial tweets come in or special offer sales designers.
The difference between SEO and Social Media is what you hope to achieve. Social Media’s challenge is to engage with audiences. The SEO must go further. The SEO must engage audiences and earn the signals that matter to Search – links, signals, and demand.
For example; what’s the difference between a social media infographic and an SEO one? The SEO infographic will generate links back to the target brand. Good SEOs know how to do that. Yes, even the infographic.
Another example; social media might manage a blogger outreach campaign to get some writers to cover a new product release. SEO experts know how to get that coverage and increase the chance of getting links back from those bloggers and to the write client page.
One more? Sure; content marketers know how to market content but it’s the SEO specialist who knows what sort of content will attract links, signals and which audience has the highest propensity to link and share in the first place.
Picture credit: Andrew Adams