Why SEO and Social Media Are Digital Marketing Partners – Here’s Why #71

Learn how to combine the forces of SEO and social media to make them bigger than the sum of their parts, using what Mark Traphagen calls “reciprocal leverage.”

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Eric: Hi, I’m Eric Enge of Perficient Digital, and I’m here with our Mark Traphagen, to help you understand how we use social media and SEO in partnership to drive better digital marketing results for our own site and for our clients.
Mark, what does a company gain by getting their SEO and social media working in tandem?
Mark: Well, Eric, as you know, this is something we’re constantly testing and monitoring. Now, I think the main advantage we’re seeing is what I would call reciprocal leverage.
Eric: Reciprocal leverage? What’s that?
anchor content key to content marketing successMark: Well, let me try to explain. It all starts with creating what you’ve called anchor content. That’s content that is highly relevant to both your audience and your brand message but that also stands out from the other content in your market.
Eric: These days, everything worthwhile in social media and SEO is rooted in content.
Mark: Exactly. Now, that kind of content is worth sharing on social media and stands some kind of chance of attracting the right audience. It will also help you build your social media followings with the right people and get you noticed by influencers who can help spread your message.
Eric: While there isn’t any good evidence that social media is used by Google as a direct search ranking signal, social can have a number of indirect effects on your SEO and nobody disputes that. In these days of Google cracking down severely on paid or manipulated links, your best bet to build search authority is in earned links, that is links to your site that occur naturally because the site thought linking to your content was useful and relevant to its readers. The hard part is, how do you earn those links?
Mark: Now, people can’t link to content they don’t know about. An effective social media program increases the exposure of your content. If your content is memorable and it is exposed to authors or site owners who create content relevant to yours, it may occur to them to link to you to underscore a point they’re making or provide background or support to their own arguments or thoughts.
Eric: As those links increase the ranking and search visibility of your content, many new people are brought in through search, and they then may share that content on their social media.
Mark: That’s the reciprocal leverage I spoke about. Social media increases content exposure, which increases the chances that other content creators will see your content and link to it. Those links raise the SEO power of that content, exposing it to new audiences, who then share it via their own social media, and on and on it goes in a great wheel with continually growing returns.
[Tweet “Do you use the power of Reciprocal Leveraging for social and SEO? Learn how!” quote=”Do you use the power of Reciprocal Leveraging for social and SEO?”]
Eric: But we should raise an important caveat at this point. What we just described doesn’t happen automatically. In our experience, with both our own marketing and our clients’. We see the power of reciprocal leveraging working only when there are careful and intentional alignment and cooperation among the SEO department, the content creators, and the social media team.
Mark: That cooperative effort of SEO, content, and social needs to be focused on both the company’s unique value proposition in their marketplace, as well as a profound understanding of the needs and desires of their customers. Only then will they be producing the right content targeted at the best audience. That’s the very lifeblood of reciprocal leveraging of SEO and social media.
Mark: That’s a good idea. To understand the basic relationship between social media and search, start with my article “Does Social Media Affect SEO?” In that post I provided an in-depth analysis of what I think was one of the most revealing videos by a prominent Google spokesperson ever.
Eric: For a comprehensive look at how to build the reciprocal leverage strategy using content, social media, and SEO in cooperation, check out my search engine article “How and Why Content Marketing Works“.
Mark: Well, that’s all for this episode.
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About the Author

Mark Traphagen was our Content Strategy Director for Perficient Digital until February of 2019. He has been named one of the most influential content and social media authors in numerous industry listings.

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Thoughts on “Why SEO and Social Media Are Digital Marketing Partners – Here’s Why #71”

  1. Thanks for this nice post on Marketing. This article can help by preventing risk and right preparation. Marketing is simple yet complicated. For that we need to find good innovative strategies. Truly its a nice job sharing this. Thanks a lot.

  2. All this sounds well and good, I have been hearing this about content for years. I have found very little about how to create content for eCommerce. In particular, simple products like work pants, for example. How much can anyone say about work pants? Even more, how can this subject even be very engaging and “linkable”?

  3. Hi Scott – the best way to think about this is what’s the closely related content you can produce. Check out Seventh Generation and what they do ( They sell home good like cleaning fluids, paper towels, and toilet paper. Their content focuses on how to run an eco-friendly home, and it does really well for them.
    While that specific idea probably wouldn’t work for you, perhaps you could create content on trends in workplace safety, or something along those lines.

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