I am always reading (or viewing infographics) on the latest statistics about Facebook’s mobile usage increasing, Bebo being on the decline and more recently MySpace teaming up with Facebook as it moves away from being a social network to being seen as an entertainment platform. However, the study that has stood out to me this week has one been undertaken by Seomoz which looked into why people start blogs and use social media. An article in emarketer states:

Nearly 71% of respondents said they use social media as part of their SEO strategy.

Improving visibility was the primary reason nearly a fifth of respondents gave for doing social media marketing at all, and link building was behind the efforts of another 13.5% of them.

While search marketers also use plenty of non-social techniques to gain stature on engines like Google and Bing, several popular tactics have a social basis. Nearly 53% of respondents had started or grown a blog with SEO goals.

I have been blogging for quite a number of years now and the reason I started was to get involved and share my advice with people, not for SEO purposes. However, one of the useful by-products of a well created and written blog is better search engine optimisation. Now I have read some really good blogs from bloggers which have strong opinions and I have read some terrible blogs which have just been created for SEO purposes and I know which I prefer.

When we meet with clients we ask them why they want to use social media and what they are looking to get out of their strategy. If the reason is purely SEO then fair enough but we advise them to be mindful that you can get far more out of it as a company or brand if you use these channels as a medium for communication rather than simply search results.

Many smaller businesses for instance don’t really have big budgets to hire PR specialists to secure them coverage in their trade titles or local/national media. However, a blog gives that business and business owner the opportunity to share the latest news with what’s going on in the business and if they are lucky that might get picked up in the media too.

One of my big bug bears with SEO established blogs is often they are created with keywords throughout but the articles say very little. In other words they are created purely for search purposes but that’s not what blogging or online PR is for in my mind. I also strongly believe that if you write a blog post for search traffic and don’t add any real substance to it, people won’t come back and you are wasting your time trying to establish that blog.

My old colleague and dear friend Becca Caddy who now writes for Reputation Online wrote an interesting article the other day about how PR professionals now need to understand search and she is right. The two are blurring but I always say that well written content will win the day for us in the PR industry – I have no doubt about that at all.

About Chris Norton

Chris Norton is the founder of Prohibition and an award winning communications consultant with more than twenty years’ experience. He was a lecturer at Leeds Beckett University and has had a varied PR career having worked both in-house and in a number of large consultancies. He is an Integrated PR and social media blogger and writes on a wide variety of blogs across a huge amount of topics from digital marketing, social media marketing right through to technology and crisis management.