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3/7/2011
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BrightEdge Introduces Social Analytics SEO Tool

Technology analyzes tweets and Facebook "likes" to help businesses determine the best ways to use social networks to boost search engine optimization and traffic.

Looking to help enterprise businesses make themselves heard in the clutter of social networking noise, BrightEdge Monday released a search engine optimization tool that lets companies identify and predict the impact social media is having on SEO in order to boost the return on their marketing investment.

The developer has integrated social media data into its BrightEdge SEO platform for the Internet, enabling its technology to analyze the content of tweets and Facebook "likes" to determine the areas within social media that companies can target to boost their SEO, BrightEdge said.

In addition, BrightEdge will provide clients with reporting tools so brands can identify social media strategies that will help boost their search rankings, the company said. These social media results will be integrated into BrightEdge's dashboards and insights, and the company will call out specific terms, keywords, and activities that search engines are using as a signal for authority, according to BrightEdge.

"The million dollar question is how to tie everything 'social' to ROI," said Jim Yu, CEO of BrightEdge. "With these capabilities, brands can derive additional measurable ROI from their social media activities and make sure that their message breaks through the massive amount of social content that is created every day."

In a 2010 study, 64% of respondents integrated social media into their SEO marketing plans, according to MarketingSherpa . However, 46% of businesses claiming to integrate social media with SEO had no formal procedure in place, performing the process randomly, the study of 2,194 business-to-business and business-to-consumer marketers found. Two-tenths had no process at all, and only one-third of those surveyed routinely performed a formal process for social media and SEO marketing, according to MarketingSherpa.

"In order to gain the maximum benefit from SEO, it is necessary for marketers to challenge themselves and formalize their processes for practicing this impractical tactic," the study said.

Privately held BrightEdge integrates its social media insights into the BrandSafe Link Audit Program, designed to identify so-called "black hat" SEO tactics which artificially inflate a site's ranking, often by pasting together meaningless streams of words and phrases.

Google last month updated its search algorithm as part of its ongoing effort to reduce irrelevant search results and improve the tool's usefulness. This step removed 11.8% of the Web sites appearing in Google search results in the United States, according to the company. Google plans to roll out the update to other nations over time.

"This update is designed to reduce rankings for low-quality sites -- sites which are low-value add for users, copy content from other Web sites, or sites that are just not very useful," said Google fellow Amit Singhal and Google principal engineer Matt Cutts in a blog post at the time.

Prior to that move, Google unveiled a browser extension that allows Chrome users to filter undesirable Web sites from their search results.

For its part, BrightEdge uses "white hat" methodologies, which are above-board, the company said.

As a result of BrightEdge's technology and tools, its clients generate more than $3 billion in organic search revenue, the company said. Customers include seven of the top 10 retailers, as well as large enterprises involved in e-commerce, technology, Internet, financial services, consumer goods, and media, the San Mateo, Calif.-based company said.

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