Four channels to bolster your search presence

Search marketing and social media can reinforce each other’s value when planned in conjunction with each other. Here is how retailers can use four social media channels to improve their visibility in search engines.

Search engines love blogs for several reasons: Blogs are usually frequently updated with content that’s relevant to specific topics and queries; their architecture is full of the appropriate headers and tags that are easily spidered; and blogs with any following tend to constantly have new links pointing to them.

Marketers can benefit from blogging, but they can reap additional rewards by reaching out to other blogs about seasonal promotions, new site features or other content that they may host on their site. One effective strategy is to offer bloggers your own

Web widgets, lightly branded applications to share video, games or other content that can be posted to blogs, social network profiles and sites.

The model for Wikipedia can be replicated on a smaller scale on retail sites, where consumers all contribute content around a certain theme. Some consumer brands are already taking part. T-Mobile and Motorola, for example, both have wikis that create communities around particular products.

By allowing consumers to tag existing content with preferred keywords, retailers can offer descriptors or meta data to products and Web pages. And by making it easy for consumers to tag content with social-bookmarking sites, you create more inbound links. Tagging builds a folksonomy, a consumer-generated taxonomy, and reviewing consumers’ tags offers revealing research.

Commercials or other video assets should be embeddable on other Web sites to encourage links back and deeper engagement. Retailers are increasingly resembling online publishers, and there are countless ways for any retailer to offer relevant video content on their sites. A clothing retailer can offer behind-the-scenes footage of a fashion show, or an electronics retailer can post entertaining product demos. Tying this back into blog outreach, marketers can share these videos and continue to spread the word they want to get out.

These are four social media marketing strategies to consider.

What all have in common is that they work best as an integrated part of any campaign, like SEM itself.

David Berkowitz is director of emerging media and client strategy at 360i LLC, New York. Reach him at [email protected].

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