5 Steps for Integrating SEO and Social Media Marketing Activities

I’ve always felt that there is a great similarity in engaging audiences through social media and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), since success in both requires you to tap into the interests of your audience through the content published and shared on your blog, social networks and email.

Yet often the people working on these marketing activities for brands and their agencies are in different teams. Particularly in large organisations, there can be silos which mean the two activities aren’t integrated.

I know from talking to marketers attending training courses that this situation is being improved as barriers between teams are broken down.

Increasingly we’re seeing combined responsibility for social media and SEO, and teams and agencies responsible for SEO, social media and PR are working more closely together.

The importance of this for success was hammered home once on an Advanced SEO course where I asked attendees to give a top tip based on their experience of SEO.

One attendee, working for a mobile network service didn’t give a specific SEO technique, but instead suggested that encouraging teams responsible for SEO, social media, PR and web teams to meet more frequently was the key to success.

So true! But difficult to make happen in practice.

Working together

One common approach that different teams involved in SEO and social media can profitably work together on, is through understanding consumer interests as shown by keywords.

SEO and social media experts tend to use different tools and have different mindsets, so working together can develop a better approach in Keyword Analysis and research for both activities.

A keyword research process for integrating SEO and social activities

Consider these steps involved in Keyword Research and Targeting that we cover in our 7 Steps Guides to SEO and social media to see how a common research approach can be used to develop a Keyword Strategy:

1. Identify themes for target keywords

Don’t start with detailed lists of target keywords, instead start with a much shorter set of themes. These should mirror custom concerns as they search for content and share what they’re interested in.

For a mobile phone network or manufacturer, for example, consumer search behaviours include searches for different brands and types of phones like camera phones, plus selection criteria like features, pricing or information about the latest models.

2. Define target keywords and review current effectiveness

Next we produce a more detailed target list of phrases, grouped by the themes or behaviours we identified in 1. The key here is grouping – don’t just use a long list of random keywords sorted by popularity.

Analytics tools and keyword research tools can be used here to perform a Search gap analysis, which enables you to explore potential visitors against actual visitors.

Social media listening tools using similar themes can be used to compare against topics discussed in social networks and forums.

3. Set targets for engagement and sales

A review of effectiveness through a gap analysis for improving on existing visitor levels attracted through search marketing. It’s important to look at the quality of traffic rather than just volume, so that you can see conversion to lead or sale and justify further investment.

4. Develop content marketing approach to target keywords

Success in SEO today is no longer about following best practice rules of online copywriting for SEO or building links. Instead it’s based on developing engaging content that helps attract the right type of visitor and will be shared through social media.

Social listening tools can be used find specific interests by finding which types of content in the sector are shared well. In the next article I’ll explain an approach we recommend to identify the right types of content.

5. Implement a communications strategy to use SEO and social media

Finally, you need to develop an operational calendar across each quarter to implement the content themes you have agreed. This can include editorial calendars and detailed calendars. Social listening tools are also helpful here to find the influencers you can seed content to.

I’ve found these 5 steps to be a useful structure to develop a process to help different marketing teams to work more closely together.

In my next post for Brandwatch, I will drill into more detail on each to show some of the key questions to ask and answer. I’ll also recommend a series of tools to use to help with these activities.


Dave Chaffey is a bestselling author of books advising on digital marketing including Digital Marketing: Strategy, Implementation and Practice which was originally published in 2000 and is now in its 5th edition. More advice on best practice in SEO is available on the hub page on managing SEO on Smart Insights, including a free 12 part series on SEO planning and analysis.


  • http://seojaxfl.com/ DavidCrowell

    Good way to put them together as one.

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  • James Simmons

    This is right that search engine optimization and social media optimization are two completely different things. The truth is that an organization cannot do good SEO without aligning it with its social network marketing activities. We must do both SEO and social media for better keyword ranking.

  • LizB4

    Very helpful! Thanks!!

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    Thanks for the information.. looking for more updates

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  • http://www.smartinsights.com/ Dave Chaffey

    Thanks for the comments Steve, Liz and David! Glad it’s helpful.

    Great point James – SEO should be integrated with Content Marketing and Social media and need a single role to co-ordinate that – for example – I was talking to an “Earned Media Manager” at a company yesterday who co-ordinates exactly as you suggest.

  • Johnson Jung

    Thanks for Sharing this valuble information and it is useful for me and also who wants Search Engine Optimization Complete Information

  • http://www.brandwatch.com/author/iris/ Iris Vermeren

    Thanks David!

  • http://www.brandwatch.com/author/iris/ Iris Vermeren

    Glad you find it helpful!

  • http://www.brandwatch.com/author/iris/ Iris Vermeren

    Thanks Liz

  • http://www.brandwatch.com/author/iris/ Iris Vermeren

    Thanks guys! We share updates on a daily basis on our blog here. Make sure to check out the Brandwatch Updates category. Hope you find them insightful.