The "Search and Social Synergy" Post: Re-think Visibility

So as a "social media strategist" (I know, I know) who was not born out of the practices of SEO, but rather from a research background in emerging Web technologies, I have long cringed at the "search and social synergy" promises touted by search engine types (that is to say that social activity increases visibility in search engines). Why you ask? Certainly activity in social media produces benefits of creating visibility in search engines, and you will find many an article and blog post on just how to use Twitter or blogging or YouTubing to increase visibility in search. And that's all very well indeed...but I take issue with the notion that visibility in search engines = visibility period.

While we know search engines are vital touch points (indeed, usually the first touch point of the majority of online sessions), we would be remiss to assume that this is the only place where visibility matters. Indeed, it is in social spaces that people "live" online...endlessly traversing an ecosystem of social spaces-- an ecosystem in which content and links are exchanged as currency.

So what of visibility in social spaces? Building visibility in these spaces is developed through active, ongoing participation (that is relevant and useful)-- and not simply through the oft-SEO driven tactic of simply pushing content and seeking to link build.

So let's re-think our notion of visibility....visibility in engines and in social spaces. The first of course, being visible when and where there is specific intention to find information and the second, being visible for unintentional, or passive discovery. Certainly the two work in tandem, but the approach to building visibility in these two core areas are very different. Visibility in social spaces comes through building real social equity, or network influence, as gained through timely, useful (real value exchange) and relevant engagement over the long haul.

Lets think about being Visible in these two ways:

Discovery with intent = visibility in engines

Discovery without intent = visibility in social spaces

Both are key.

Am I sounding like the echo chamber? Perhaps...but hey, I think its worth it for us to keep discussing...

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