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Can social media be the new white hat SEO technique?

Several months ago, I met up with Mike Moran in New York and we were chatting about search. Well, at first, we were getting to know each other. I told him a little bit about what my company, Gerris digital, does, and then we started talking about search. Let me explain and let me introduce myself because Mike has offered me the opportunity to be a blogger here, so I thought I would put everything into context and perspective.

When I started my agency, it started out as an organic SEO shop. Soon I realized that there were quite a lot of people who were consulting with organizations large and small about how to optimize their own sites and properties, there were black, gray, and white hat strategies who were offering e-books and conferences, training, and services to the point that the market was getting crowded, I was outclassed, and SEO and SEM were threatening to become a commodity, resulting in lower prices and a competition to the bottom. Besides, back in late 2006 (and as late as 2009), Search Engine Optimization was considered to be snake oil, especially since Google was obviously omnipresent and had compensated for silly things such as ALT, Description, and Meta tags, right?

I had even done Online Reputation Management (ORM) to quite a lot of success, but even there lurked constant threats of commoditization, as well as competitors willing to do something faster, and cheaper, and better.

Instead, I threw myself and my agency into blogger outreach and social media marketing. The more social media marketing and blogger outreach AH did for its clients, the more these clients dominated the first page of Google. Not merely for their own name or brand, but for the topic spaces they were interested in owning organically for keyword terms they were already spending huge contextual advertising bucks bidding on with Google, Yahoo!, and Bing. Don’t believe me? Well, I will have case studies out the wazoo and we’ll go through how this all works.

Long story short, we were—and are—routinely earning a couple hundred-a-month to a couple thousand-a-year earned media mentions for out clients. These mentions are sourced from social media news that is both authentic and optimized for search. As part of the interview and kick-off with the client, we carefully develop copy, resources, assets, and collateral the same way a lot of you teach copywriters to optimize their copy.

So, that’s the reason I am lucky enough to be the newest Biznology blogger. Mike and I were chewing on how to develop authentic, legitimate, timely, and attractive promotional and PR campaigns compelling enough to be picked up by hundreds and hundreds of bloggers, re-tweeted and Facebook’ed by thousands of social networkers, and noted and posted, recommended, dugg, liked, and upped by thousands of social bookmarkers.

That’s my goal as blogger here. We all know that being the most beautiful is not enough any more. The social media-sphere is too crowded. “Build it and they will come” doesn’t work online and never has. Being beautiful is only the first step. Building the best suite of assets and resources in the form of “gifts,” exclusive information, helpful tips, funny videos, compelling images and photos, controversial comics, etc, is only the first step, however it’s a step that too many advertising agencies stop at.

While I don’t suggest that it is possible to turn every campaign into a universal viral global meme, I daresay that many of the things we at Gerris digital have learned in our four-plus years have enabled us to amplify our clients’ messages, create import and impact, act as air cover in current and past reputation crises, as an inoculation against potential future crises, and, finally, to really move the chain in search for just about any authentic, legitimate, and relevant keyword phrases.

Yes, lots of work and very expensive—in both human, time, asset, and cash resources—but, depending on how much you spend on advertising, SEO, and SEM now, and depending on whether you or your clients have hit a nasty plateau that you can’t quite transcend—it might very well be worth it for you.

What Mike Moran and I might have discovered is an authentic, earned-media, white-hat link-farming technique. Seriously. I kid you not. And I aim to share everything here—so please stay tuned.

Learn more about Chris Abraham at Gerris digital.

Chris Abraham

Chris Abraham

Chris Abraham, digital strategist and technologist, is a leading expert in digital: search engine optimization (SEO), online relationship management (ORM), Internet privacy, Wikipedia curationsocial media strategy, and online public relations with a focus on blogger outreachinfluencer engagement, and Internet crisis response, with the digital PR and social media marketing agency Gerris digital. [Feel free to self-schedule a 15-minute call, a 30-minute call, or a 60-minute call with me] A pioneer in online social networks and publishing, with a natural facility for anticipating the next big thing, Chris is an Internet analyst, web strategy consultant and adviser to the industries' leading firms. Chris Abraham specializes in web technologies, including content marketing, online collaboration, blogging, and consumer generated media.  Chris Abraham was named a Top 50 Social Media Power Influencer by Forbes, #1 PR2.0 Influencer by Traackr, and top-10 social media influencers by Marketwire; and, for what it’s worth, Chris has a Klout of 79 the last time he looked. Chris Abraham started doing web development back in 1994, SEO in 1998, blogging in 1999, influencer engagement in 2003, social media strategy in 2005, blogger outreach in 2006, and Wikipedia curation in 2007. Feel free to self-schedule a 15-minute call, a 30-minute call, or a 60-minute call. If you want to know the services that Chris offers check out Services If you want to work with Chris use the Contact Form You're welcome to follow me via Social Media You can learn more about Chris over in About Chris writes a lot so check out the Blog Chris offers webinars so check Events

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Discussion

  1. Avatar chemistry

    I don’t think that social media could really be a white hat SEO technique. Maybe in some other areas of the SEO it couls be used but not really to the point that it could be a white hat. Social media has a limited SEO.

  2. Avatar Mike Moran

    Hi chemistry,
    Do you have any reasons for what you say? I think that Chris laid out how he is thinking about this and it makes sense to me.

  3. Avatar lighted makeup mirror

    I think yes,as long as you do not spam or damage any of your competitor’s site, it’s still white hat strategy.

    1. Chris Abraham Chris Abraham

      My question for you is, who gets to choose what is spam and what is damage? You or the competitor? Or, public opinion? Or Google’s algorithms?

  4. Avatar Andreas

    Social media definitely will be a SEO offpage optimization factor in 2011 since google and other search engines already openly confessed to use authority metrics from twitter in order to rank their real time result.

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