One of the most overlooked aspects of SEO is the area of search interest and how to grow an active search based audience. Sure, you can use KW research to see last month’s popular terms, or Insights to check trends based on history, but can you actually grow search activity around your brand or product?

Many people overlook this, yet its a powerful ‘white hat’ SEO technique, in line with the great content philosophy powering the latest Google ‘Farmer/Panda’ algorithm updates. If you create your own vibrant search engine keyword buzz, you’ll be doing no harm to anyone by blatently aligning your content in front of it, right?

In the past though, it’s been mainly left to offline marketing to drive takeup of unique keywords, derived from brands or product names. All well and good, but it’s felt like the equivalent of directing clients to Saville Row to buy a suit instead of your shop address, with competitors gaining from your own marketing.

But a study by GroupM shows that Social could be the key to healthy home grown search activity. While undoubtedly smaller scale, if searches are triggered in response to friends posts and likes, this makes for a motivated audience that has great potential to convert.

Mgroup’s findings show that 48% of people engaged in search as a result of social media interest from friends. So there’s real opportunity to create the audience you need around your brand.

We recommend starting things right for the outset – ensure your website pages are optimised for Open Graph data, so that postings in Facebook show correct info and pictures. Use unique names in conjunction with your regular product or brand, and measure the spread of these unique keywords into search.

For example, an accountancy firm may choose to launch the ‘Superflex Accounts For Freelancers’ package – pushing this primarily via social media first. Monitoring your incoming search traffic for ‘superflex’ instead of the normal ‘accountancy’ terms will really start to help find the signals from social-inspired searches.

So why still cater for search, you may ask – what’s wrong with social media links that jump straight to your product pages? This is where it’s worth paying attention to your own search habits, and why we are becoming immune to links all over profile pages. I often search on keywords in Google, even if a link is there in front of me. It helps with context and authority – i.e, if this product is as good as my friends say, then I should be seeing a positive set of results in Google. And this habit looks set to increse, as Google increasingly use social signals to give rankings weight, and filter out content farms even more.

So, if you can encourage search activity from social engagement that is easily identifiable around YOUR brand, you have a visitor that has passed through social and search checkpoints, and well on their way to converting.

No bad thing at all.