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For big brands, social media and SEO link building are virtually one and the same

Ten years ago, there was no such thing as “social media.” But there was social friendly content (blog posts, video, infographics, etc.) and social networks (we called them forums) and guest posts. There were also plenty of influencers for virtually every niche in existence. Granted, there were a lot fewer of each of these things, and they didn’t get nearly the amount of mainstream press that they do now, but any marketer (particularly of the SEO variety) worth their salt was already leveraging these elements to build the links that ultimately provided the foundation of their SEO success.

Fast forward to 2012, and it’s clear to me that the only way sustainable way to build SEO-friendly links for an enterprise brand is via this thing of ours that we now call social media. Paid links definitely still work, but big brands that rely on them usually end up as NY Times article fodder. Cookie cutter techniques like directory submissions and article syndication likely have some value, but for competitive niches such as my new employer’s online shopping universe, these outdated approaches simply don’t have the juice to be a game changer.

But building links via social media is, for lack of a more sophisticated phrase, really freakin’ hard.

Why? Because it requires close coordination and alignment with a variety of parallel business divisions and stakeholders.

You have the usual suspects such as brand marketing and public relations. These are key because they can provide leverage and connections that get you in the door with top tier social influencers like celebrities and traditional publishers. Then there’s the social media and content marketing team (or teams depending on how your organization is configured). Trying to develop the content assets needed to facilitate social media-driven link building without having buy-in and support from those folks is an exercise in futility and frustration (all too often, I see SEO teams attempt to create link-building content assets in a vacuum, and 99% of the time those efforts fail before the content even has a chance to be created).

And for some verticals, there can also be legal or even tax-liability hurdles that need to be overcome before any significant link building efforts can begin.

This is no small task. It’s time-consuming and potentially painful, with plenty of need for education and mentoring along the way.

That said, the brave and patient souls that are willing to work through this myriad of communication, presentation, and approval end up reaping truly massive rewards. After all, Aaron Wall is right when he insinuates that it’s nearly impossible to outrank a big brand that’s got all of its ducks in a row.


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  • http://twitter.com/madeale Alessio Madeyski

    I agree. things are not always easy, but it’s such a waste of opportunities when SEO and social media department don’t even know each other! thanks for this, forwarding to a lot of people.

    • Anonymous

      Glad you enjoyed it, Alessio, and thanks for sharing it with your friend! It’s much appreciated. It’s scary to know that there are many companies where SEO and social are still completely siloed.

  • http://yoyoseo.com DanaLookadoo

    Glad you let people know there’s no easy formula. Yes, “really freakin’ hard!” You and Aaron are right… It’s impossible to outrank a brand who is doing it right!

    Hope many read this!

    • Anonymous

      Thanks for chiming in, Dana! I think that folks that don’t work in the enterprise niche fail to realize just how difficult it can be successfully execute SEO strategy. It’s like the difference between controlling a 20′ foot boat and an aircraft carrier. But once you get that thing on course, there’s no stopping it!

  • Pingback: Enterprise SEO Link Building & Enterprise Social Media Marketing … | DC Tech Wholesale

  • http://seowebservice.de/ ambroskristof

    I’m also agreeing! It’s not too easy. I’m really impressed to know the news that social media and SEO link building are virtually one and the same. Thanks for allocation.

    • Anonymous

      Thanks for chiming in, although its worth noting that this is really just my personal opinion/perspective as opposed to objective news.

  • http://www.ThePoised.com/ Thom Holland

    I think we might see a huge shift in how marketing/advertising is done all together soon.

    It’s much more cost-effective to advertise through people and their networks. It’s a race to see who is going to figure out the business model first.

    At the moment, I’d put my money on Klout and the approach they are trying to take. However, it could just as easily be Facebook, Google+, or some MLM company that figures it out.

    • Anonymous

      Thanks for chiming in, Thom! You make an interesting point. I can tell you that as an avid YouTuber (and someone that has virtually abandoned traditional TV watching except for live events and the occasional sitcom rerun) it’s nearly impossible for brands to get to me if not via my people networks. And I know for a fact that with every passing day, more and more people are “unplugging” from the traditional ad-driven media lifestyle.

  • link building

    Thanks for sharing such useful information about social media and link building

    • Anonymous

      Glad you enjoyed the post!

  • http://www.brickmarketing.com/ Nick Stamoulis

    Link building in social media is hard. But it’s essential. It’s important to build up a loyal following and share content that is worth sharing. It’s a long term process, but well worth the effort in the end.

    • Anonymous

      Couldn’t agree more, Nick! Thanks for chiming in.

  • http://brianshaffer.com/ Brian Shaffer

    It’s especially difficult for large Fortune 500 enterprises that try to compartmentalize tasks. They say “Go do SEO.” The key is integrating the entire marketing message and being given the reins to interact socially and build quality backlinks.

    • Anonymous

      No doubt about it, Brian. A lot of marketing execs at Fortune 500 companies still think that SEO is mostly (or all) related to technical changes to the site itself. They don’t understand the various off-page, off-site components that are crucial.

  • Spook SEO

    Thanks Hugo for sharing the link building through social media. The social media are quietly used nowadays. Through a social media networking we can increase the small business and use for free advertising of business. The social media play a vital role to increase the blog page rank and also increase the traffic of the blog. The some social media use for link building like Facebook, Google+, and the Linkedin, etc.