Lee Odden

Social Media & SEO at Search Congress Barcelona

search congress barcelona 2011Yesterday I spoke at Search Congress in Barcelona Spain on the topic of improving online marketing (and PR) with Social Media and SEO. My co-panelist was Aaron Kahlow of Online Marketing Connect and the moderator was the famous Massimo Burgio.

Just before the event, Massimo suggested we break out our Spanglish in the presentations plus I ran into Bryan Eisenberg who did a keynote – unexpectedly in Spanish because the translator didn’t show. “Gracias” and “si” are about all I know, so you can imagine the situation.

Speaking and presenting all in English wouldn’t be very considerate to the audience, so I decided to use Google translator (suggested by Mike Grehan) and translate most of my slides from English to Catalan. The presentation went over fairly well I think:

Search Congress Barcelona @leeodden

Here’s a summary of what I presented:

Search is increasingly social with the incorporation content from social sources (video, blogs, images) into standard search results ala Universal search in 2007 followed by potential toolbar data and information captured while logged in.

All major search engines take data feeds from Twitter and Facebook. In fact, if you compare the search volume numbers shared in this Search Engine Land article, Twitter is the second most popular search engine (Google 88bn, Twitter 18bn, Yahoo 9.4bn, Bin 4.1bn queries per month).

It’s an understatement to say social media usage has exploded in the past year. LinkedIn is over 100 million users, Twitter has over 200 million accounts and Facebook is around 600 million users.

The way consumer and B2B buyers discover, consume and share information has been influenced significantly by search and social technologies.

For example, I might ask my friends on Facebook if anyone can recommend good restaurants for Tapas here in Barcelona. I’ll get a few recommendations and search Google for the restaurant names. On the restaurant site I might see that Fodor’s or Lonely Planet has reviewed the restaurant and after reading that, looking at the menu, comments and Flickr photos I may decide that’s the place to make a reservation. At the restaurant I might check-in on Foursquare, take a few photos and Tweet what great (or horrible) food and service there is. Afterwards I might even leave a review on Google hotpot.

It can be argued that I’m somewhat of an early adopter, since a lot of people I know would probably only ask their friends via email for recommendations. Then they might Google the options and update their Facebook status if they had a particularly good or bad experience. But that’s still a reflection of changed discovery, consumption and sharing behaviors over a few years ago.

As marketers we have an opportunity to stay in tune with customer behaviors and adjust our marketing accordingly. To do that, here are two tactical approaches to consider:

Cycle of Social Media & SEO

Cycle of Social & SEO:

  • Create, Optimize & Promote: The cycle starts with optimized content creation and promotion.
  • Spark an Interest: Content is noticed, shared & voted on. Grows awareness.
  • Grow the Network: Increased exposure attracts more subscribers, fans, friends, followers & links.
  • Attract a New Audience: Increased links & social exposure grow search & referral traffic.
  • Extract Insights from Data: Traffic & community help research, develop & further grow social networks for content & SEO.
  • Learn, Modify, Repeat:  With the information gained from community data, editorial optimization plans can be refined for more effective content creation, optimization and promotion.

SEO Strategy Content Marketing

Hub and Spoke Model for Social, SEO & Content Marketing:

  • Create a social hub: blog, Facebook Fan Page, YouTube channel, Forum, Niche social network, whatever you want to drive social traffic to
  • Develop distribution channels and communities off the hub
  • Spend time creating, optimizing, promoting great content on the hub and growing networks in the spokes.
  • The exposure of content to communities empowered to publish creates editorial visibility and links back to your hub.
  • Links send traffic and increase search visibility.

Three things to do now:

  1. Establish a Listening Program:  Audience analysis, brand monitoring, social keyword research.
  2. Create a Social Media SEO Strategy:  Create, optimize & promote social content, develop networks.
  3. Make it Easy to Promote & Be Promoted:  Build a distribution network for content promotion & network with influencers.

Thanks to Ouali and the team at Search Congress for the opportunity to speak as well as Matt McGowan & Mike Grehan from Incisive for inviting me and Aaron Kahlow from OMS for being a co-panelist. I hope to visit Barcelona again in the future.

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Lee Odden About Lee Odden

@LeeOdden is the CEO of TopRank Marketing and editor of Online Marketing Blog. Cited for his expertise by The Economist, Forbes and the Wall Street Journal, he's the author of the book Optimize and presents internationally on B2B marketing topics including content, search, social media and influencer marketing. When not at conferences, consulting, or working with his talented team, he's likely running, traveling or cooking up something new.


  1. Avatar Luis Cintra says

    Very considerate to those of us who travelled to Barcelona to this event and actually do not speak catalan. Next time, since you were in Spain, why don’t you try using SPANISH instead, so the entire audience can understand the slides?

    • I appreciate that Luis, but no information was available to us regarding the demographics of the audience (local vs. outside of Barcelona). The advice we received was from the moderator of the session to use Catalan. I don’t know if I’ll be in Spain for another event like this, but if I do, I would certainly use Spanish.

  2. Lee, thanks for sharing this helpful cycle. Are the slides from your presentation in Barcelona available online? Would love to see them.

  3. Avatar Amelia Vargo says

    Thanks for sharing this! I’m impressed that you translated into Catalan – great idea, and very considerate.

    The cycle is great, I love that kind of illustration.

  4. Lee, I very interesting article! I liked your strategy Cycle of Social and SEO. have same questions, would be good to look the slides from your presentation in Barcelona.

  5. I like your information very much, in fact I did a similar system for one of my clients. Thanks for sharing it, and I agree with Ken if your slides are available I would love to see them as well (english (lol) no hablo catalan )

    • Thanks Anthony – I’ll upload an English copy of the deck to slideshare and post a link here. Check back early next week. 🙂

  6. As Social Media and search become more intertwined, everyone will see the value.

  7. I´m so sad that I missed your presentation,I had no idea that you were comming, next time…I’m a huge fan of your posts! I’ll translate this content for my blog,it’s great as always.

  8. Great post Lee – have a look at my take on the top 10 seo social media ranking parameters – http://www.searchmuse.com/blog/2011/3/21/top-10-seo-social-media-ranking-factors.html

    • It’s an interesting post Paul. I have no doubt Google and Bing factor signals from social sources into traditional search ranking. What I’m really looking for is data to go with some of these hypotheses. Tough to do but certainly of interest.

      In the meantime, there’s the indirect measurements between creating, optimizing and promoting content in combination with social engagement measured against intended customer behaviors. That does not mean x “likes” = y ranking but it does mean things like x positive engagements via. comments = y sales lead inquiries. That sort of thing. There, additional search traffic is icing on the cake.

  9. I’d like to use your social and seo graphic in my blog post and credit you and link to this post.Thanks!

  10. Hi @leeodden:disqus : Can you share with me what plugin you are using for the “rate this post” function at the bottom of the blog? Thanks!

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