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15 Reasons to Make Friends with an SEO Pro

If they met at a party, it would be easy to introduce them: “Social media, meet search engine optimization. SEO, this is social media. You guys have a lot in common.”

But in real life, it’s a little tougher getting social media and SEO together. The disciplines have grown up separately, and both sides are guilty of some stereotyping. Just like social media marketers aren’t all short-attention-spanned butterflies who spend all day LOL-ing on Facebook, SEOs aren’t all Google-scamming nerds who live in their parents’ basement.

Luckily, I do social media for a community that includes many SEOs so I’m in a unique position to introduce you. As social media practitioners, we have more in common with SEOs than we think, and we need them more than we may realize yet. We both have a lot to gain from collaborating, but how does it begin? By making a friend in SEO! Here are 15 reasons why you should.

1. Search and social aren’t separate anymore. As social grows and SEO changes (with a little help from Google), the lines between the two are getting blurrier every day. Social media activity is a growing signal for search engines as they work to determine the importance of a site or article. It’s one world now.

2. You need their insights. A critical element of SEO is knowing user behavior, and that’s information you can use in social media. In the words of a pretty smart friend, “a social media pro can tell you what people talk about, but an SEO can show you what they actually care about.” Are you talking to your audience in the right words about the right things? SEOs can tell you.

3. People search on social sites, too. Guess what? Search doesn’t just mean Google. Twitter’s no slouch here, and Facebook is stepping up its search game, too. Facebook users perform anywhere from 350 to 400 million search queries in a month, and two dozen Facebook engineers are working on an improved search for the site as we speak. Are you optimized?

4. They know your job, but you don’t know theirs. It’s an SEO’s job to keep one step ahead of Google, so the smart ones saw the social-search mind meld coming from a mile away. They’ve seen how social affects their work, and they’ve gotten into the game. Have you gotten into theirs? Stay competitive and level the playing field.

5. You’re both optimizing. While you’re devouring every study to get an edge on Facebook’s Edgerank and experimenting to determine the best times to tweet for maximum audience, SEOs are poring over Google algorithm updates and search rankings. See the similarities? You may be going about it in different ways for different channels, but you’re both after the same goal: results.

6. What Google does affects you. Google and Bing crawl and index publicly available Facebook Pages. Social shares matter in Google’s ranking algorithm. This stuff matters. You don’t need to be able to decipher the algorithms, but it doesn’t hurt to be able to tell the different between a Panda and a Penguin.

7. You’re both into great content. Ever heard of link bait? It’s the SEO version of what we in social media call “viral content” – basically, something so interesting you can’t help but notice it and share it. SEOs produce this kind of content to gain links, while we would focus on social shares. But at the heart of it in either direction is great content. You both want it. You both have unique resources and ideas to make it happen. Do it together.

8. Relationships know no boundaries. In social media, we’re discovering and building new relationships every day – with customers, influencers and newsmakers. So are SEOs – it’s how they create those much-coveted links. Things like guest blogging and influencer outreach campaigns are where social and SEO can come together for a great one-two punch.

9. Everybody likes links. Speaking of links, they matter to social media marketers, too – they’re a way to keep up with your mentions and share of voice across the web as much as they’re a factor in search results. And link building is strongest when SEOs and social media marketers work together.

10. It makes you a more well-rounded marketer. Social media may be a big job, but it’s not the only job of a marketer. As Peter Shankman memorably put it:

“Being an expert in Social Media is like being an expert at taking the bread out of the refrigerator. You might be the best bread-taker-outer in the world, but you know what? The goal is to make an amazing sandwich, and you can’t do that if all you’ve done in your life is taken the bread out of the fridge.”

Give yourself some job security and get to know the rest of the sandwich. Learning some SEO basics will give you a new context and a more advanced skillset. It’ll make you better.

11. They’re misunderstood. OK, time to address the stereotypes. If your image of an SEO is a scammy, scummy cheater or the guy who takes all the fun out of your writing by stuffing it with keywords, you’ve met the wrong SEO. The good ones focus on good content and building relationships – two things we know a little something about, too.

12. You’re both in the trenches Their job changes on a whim every time Google makes a move. Our job changes with every new Pinterest, Instagram or Google Plus. Let’s commiserate.

13. They’re smart. The best SEOs are ravenous readers and bloggers, and generous with their findings. Seriously, you’d be amazed at what you can learn.

14. You’ll be on the cutting edge. It’s still going to be a while before these words truly collide, which means smart social media practitioners have a big advantage. Get into the SEO world now. Initiate conversations and reap the benefits down the line while you watch everyone else try to catch up. Because….

15. Together you’re unstoppable.

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