When most people think of search engine optimization for a company, it’s usually as a marketing function. That makes sense since SEO is such a low-cost, high impact and measurable method of attracting new customers and revenue. However, I think looking at SEO and optimizing social media solely as a marketing function is like looking only at the eyeball of your favorite portait. Take a step back and you’ll see a bigger, more interesting picture.
Think Outside the Marketing Search Box. Companies publish a variety of content besides products and services but usually rely only on people’s familiarity with the company website to find that information. Customers, employees, partners, job seekers, news media, industry analysts and investors need a variety of information from those companies and with over 11 billion queries handled every month by Google, search is a prime channel for discovery. So is social. Facebook has over 800 million members, Twitter has over 200 million and LinkedIn over 100 million. If content has a purpose and an intended audience, why not optimize for findability and shareability?
Go Holistic. As companies are making plans for resource allocation in the coming year, I’d suggest consideration of how to facilitate the ease of connection and sharing between the online content published by the brand (on and off the corporate website) and the intended audiences. In particular, the holistic application of search keywords and social topics on marketing, PR, Customer Service, Talent Acquisition and HR.
ROI on Optimization Isn’t Just for Marketing. There are more departments that publish online content than those above, but it’s a good example of the opportunity that companies have to make it easier, more efficient and effective for intended audiences to discover and engage with a company’s content. If Marketing can show a return on investment based on content optimization that attracts website traffic and converts visitors into sales, then so can optimizing other types of business content with a specific purpose. For example, optimizing news content for discovery by journalists, bloggers and analysts who are doing research.
Amplify PR Investment with SEO. If a company is spending $10,000 per month on a Public Relations firm retainer and part of that budget is specifically for media relations and getting press coverage, then optimizing press releases, the newsroom, digital assets like PDFs, images, video and even social media content can help connect the brand story with journalists who are in need of sources. With effective PR content optimization, the impact of that $10k spend might be increased by 50%. We spend nothing on media relations (not that I don’t think we should) and gain about $5k in value of media coverage every month because our news content is discovered by journalists, analysts and bloggers through search and social media.
Make Connecting & Sharing Easier. So think of search and social media optimization not only as way to boost leads and sales, but as a way to amplify the effect of communications between the brand and its community of customers, media, job seekers and employees. Whatever can be searched can be optimized. Facilitating search and social media based discovery of that content can mean attracting better employees, solving customer service problems online without phone calls and increasing credibility of the brand where key constituents are looking.
Are you optimizing for search and social media discovery outside of marketing? If you could show an impact on increased effectiveness or even a deflection of costs, where would you start?