On my way to and from work, I have a lot of extra time; I commute via train since I live about a mile a way from one train station, and work within walking distance from another. Instead of tweeting, draining the battery and my data plan on my phone or sleeping, I’ve been taking the time to either create content or read books. I’ve been making my way through various non-fiction books, and the latest one I’ve read was “The Thank You Economy” by Gary Vaynerchuk.
In the book, Gary (@GaryVee on Twitter) explains that the world has come full circle; the world has simultaneously become smaller and larger.
In the olden days (in our grandparent’s and great grandparent’s generations), we did business with people we knew and had relationships with. Small business was what made the world go around. Then somewhere along the way, big businesses came in and changed that; the economies of scale they had drove the smaller businesses out of business, and things became about profit, profit, profit. Now, with the rise of various social media tools, we are coming full-circle. Smaller businesses, which once had no chance of competing, can now compete (somewhat) with the bigger guys, by growing relationships with customers through various social media channels, showing that they genuinely care about their customers, and by ultimately saying “Thank You”.
I agree with many things he says in the book. For instance, he says that by using various social media tools, you can engage with people, grow your following and demonstrate your ability. Eventually, people will begin to treat you like an expert. I can attest to that, and I’ve seen it happen with some clients of mine. People begin to find them, and see that they know what they’re talking about, and their following grows. That’s what happened to Gary; He would use search.twitter.com and other tools to talk to people that were talking and asking questions about wine, and help them through the process by explaining things and giving recommendations.
While I do agree with many things he said in the book, the one thing that he said that I disagree completely with is that he thinks Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is dying, and that the money you invest into SEO should be reinvested into hiring people to say “thank you” for you. What Gary fails to realize is that, while there are many parts of SEO – keyword research, link building, content creation, meta content, et cetera – Gary, by very nature, is practicing the most valuable SEO lesson that there is: SEO is all about trust. Kaiser The Sage explains it perfectly on his blog.
You might be wondering “What do you mean?” To explain, search algorithms change at a fast pace to avoid people gaming the system, and things are weighted differently all the time. So in order to achieve high rankings, you don’t necessarily need to know the technicalities behind search engines. The name of the game is to become an authority in a certain field (which could arguably be a keyword or set of keyword phrases). So once you decide what you want to become an authority in, you use various tactics – the vast majority of us use content creation, keyword research, and the like – to build up authority in the field. Gary Vee did this by:
- – Setting up searches within search.twitter.com related to various wine terms (he saw what people were talking about, which could be seen as Keyword Research)
- – Creating video blogs, teaching people about wine and what to look for when buying wine (THIS is content creation)
Through this, he built authority in the subject of wine. As his authority began to grow, people saw that he was an expert, and he acquired many speaking gigs, interviews and news articles. People began to write blog posts and news articles about him, and link to his content and his wine store. As the amount of content he created grew, his authority grew, the amount of links he acquired grew, and his popularity which most likely led Google to believe that he was an expert in wine.
He may not have done search engine optimization in the most technical sense of the word, but his authority grew and as a result, his trust grew. Though it isn’t technical SEO, it’s still search engine optimization.
Another reason why I don’t believe that social sharing should be the sole way you share your content is in the fact that it’s very fleeting. To elaborate, my company’s social media team wrote a blog post about Klout Perks, how some businesses are doing some very real things with Klout score, and how having a higher one can come in handy. The blog post was actually seen by the CEO of Klout, and he tweeted it to his followers. Though he only has a few thousand followers, his tweet was retweeted by someone who had over a million followers. We saw so much of a traffic spike that our servers went down a few times that day:
Though we DID have a traffic spike that day and saw 10 times the amount of traffic our blog normally sees, our traffic was back to normal 2 days later.
By writing more content like this, however, we hope to become an even bigger authority on social media and search engine optimization in Dallas, TX and nationally.
I’ve heard this said many times before, have said it many times before, and I can’t understand why there is a battle between the two, but I truly believe that the best strategy is one that combines search engine optimization AND a strategy like Gary Vee’s, in which social sharing and social bookmarking sites are used. Being an authority on social media sites, in Google, in the real world, in the long-term, and in the short term, is the best strategy.