By Mark Sherbin published November 10, 2013

6 SEO Steps for Successful Content Marketing Using SlideShare’s Secret Search Sauce

successful-content-marketing-slideshare-sauceSlideShare’s quick rise to prominence caught content marketers off their guards. Now, some of the world’s biggest brands (including GE, IBM, and HP, among others) consider it a top content distribution channel. So, how did an upstart presentation engine crack the top 150 most visited websites in the world? The secret is in the search itself.

To be more specific, SlideShare is incredibly search-friendly — in fact, the website’s engineers built the site with search optimization in mind. The platform attains SEO superstardom by automatically transcribing copy from uploaded presentations. The search value of this is incredible.

Since a strong search presence is a huge boost for content marketing, SlideShare could be just what your brand needs for more successful content marketing. Think of SlideShare’s link juice as rocket fuel for the content you post on the platform. All you need to start borrowing some of the professional network’s clout is a coordinated plan.

6 steps to capitalizing on SlideShare’s SEO sauce

In general, SlideShare benefits from typical SEO best practices. So when it comes to successful content marketing, starting with careful research on relevant keywords — and where your brand currently ranks — should be a given.

Applying this research to SlideShare content creation is how you formulate a plan. Below is a guide on how to take SlideShare’s built-in search friendliness to the next level.

Step 1: Build content around the search terms your business dominates: Brands competing for visibility on dominated search terms have a friend in SlideShare. Borrowing on the website’s search-friendliness is a shortcut to claiming keywords for your brand.

Even large and well-known brands can’t always get a grip on the search terms that are crucial for their business. In an ideal world, you get link juice for your website. Using SlideShare as a juice-booster is a strong option if the competition is too well entrenched.

This path is especially effective if lead generation is your goal. SlideShare’s built-in lead form simplifies lead capture. Your presentation doesn’t have to have the means — it can be the end itself.


Tip: Make your content long and in-depth

It’s no secret that search engines love long-form content. Longer content isn’t so much an excuse to cram in more keywords as it is a reason to consider the author a major stakeholder and serious expert. (This isn’t always true, of course, but search engines are more adept than we realize at sniffing out the BS.)

Anytime you upload a presentation, the technology crawls the presentation for words, replicating them for HTML placement and a beefed up search presence. SlideShare’s automatic word transfer (marked as the “presentation transcript” in the bottom portion of your presentation page) means all of that presentation copy you worked so hard on becomes a huge search asset. Not surprisingly, a bigger time investment in your content pays off for SEO.


Step 2: Spend time crafting a search-friendly title: The “title” field of your SlideShare presentation corresponds to your typical browser title. It could be based on the headline of your designed presentation file. It could also be something more keyword-specific. Whatever it is, it’s what people will see when they search for your keywords.

Any search professional will remind you that starting a page title with the words you want to rank for is important for SEO. Cisco’s Troubleshooting Wireless LANs with Centralized Controllers is a perfect example of a keyword-rich title. It performs so well, in fact, that it’s the first result in Google if you search the phrase “troubleshooting wireless LANs.”


Tip: Keep your title short (i.e., fewer than 70 characters), descriptive, and relevant. In the long run, it’s still more important to have a compelling and provocative headline than it is to have a generic one. Coupled with keywords, a strong headline is an advantage for your SlideShare content.

Step 3: Optimize your presentation description

When you upload a presentation, SlideShare prompts you to add a description. But this is more than just a preview of the piece for social networks — it’s also an SEO tool.

Take SAP’s 99 Facts on the Future of Business, for example. The presentation (which earned 130k+ views in just a month) includes a descriptive two-paragraph summary:


Tip: Write an accurate and catchy description for your presentation. But don’t forget to integrate the keywords for which you’re hoping to rank. Do it naturally, being careful to avoid keyword stuffing.

Step 4: Add tags (they aren’t meta keywords, but they’re still important)

SlideShare’s tagging feature is unique to the platform’s search function. It draws attention to your content by helping presentations show up in more onsite searches. You can add up to 20 different tags per presentation.

Unfortunately, tags don’t have the same power as meta-keywords—specific elements that give search engines a head start on categorizing pages. But they do add normal keywords to your presentation, which still creates a boost in search juice for those keywords.

Step 5: Embed presentations to increase their reach and authority

Like any SEO tactic, you want your presentations to gain footholds across the web. SlideShare presentations are embeddable, making them easy for viewers to spread the word by sharing them on their own sites and social networks.

The more places you can embed your presentations, the more authority they’ll receive on search engine results pages (SERPs). So, if you can convince other blogs and websites to run your presentation, that’ll help boost its SEO value.

Innovation agency faberNovel’s Facebook, The Perfect Startup is one of the most popular SlideShare presentations of all time; it’s a powerhouse piece of content that has logged more than 6 million views. That clout stems from some 360 embeds, including on major websites like TechCrunch.


Tip: Create short blog posts around new SlideShare presentations you have created, and embed those presentations into the posts themselves, as well. And if you convert older blog posts into SlideShare presentations, make sure you go back into those posts and update them with the SlideShare embed.

Step 6: Repeat the process until you’ve built a large presentation library

Quality is a top priority. But quantity is still important to a successful content marketing strategy, as it increases the chances that your business’ content will be found. While it may seem like a no-brainer, producing enough content becomes less of a challenge when you start recycling the content you have already created, such as your business’ blog posts, white papers, or web copy, into new SlideShare presentations.

Tip: In some cases, organizations may think that producing more SlideShare content is cost-restrictive, particularly when it comes to design. To save on design resources, SlideShare solutions consultant Kevin Fisher suggests using big, beautiful fonts in your text, to make presentations more eye catching — even if you are unable to incorporate actual images in your presentations.

Eye-catching text is an easy design strategy that content marketers can use without paying a pro. For example, Haiku Deck is a cheap option for text design (if you own an iPad).

That isn’t to say you should skimp on design when you can afford it, especially for your best and most extensive pieces of content. Cover page design is crucial for grabbing visitors’ attention and drawing them into the presentation, for example. But you can’t always get a designer involved, and for those projects it helps to have an inexpensive and time-saving option on hand.

Weigh in

How do your SlideShare presentations rank for certain keywords? Let us know why you think certain pieces of content perform well in search results.

Looking to improve the performance of your SlideShare presentations? Check out CMI’s latest e-book, How to Get More From SlideShare: Super-Simple Tips for Content Marketing.

Author: Mark Sherbin

Mark Sherbin is a freelance writer specializing in technology and content marketing. He shares occasionally insightful information at Copywriting Is Dead, where he promotes authentic communication between organizations and their audiences. Contact him at

Other posts by Mark Sherbin

  • Kameel Vohra

    Completely agree. This is a really thorough analysis. Personally I’ve found that SlideShare contributes an enormous amount of traffic to some of my articles and resources.

    The embed feature has also been an incredible mechanism.

  • Allison Schoner

    SlideShare is also great for SEO

  • Greg Elwell

    Hi Mark – Thanks for the great tips on ways to make your SlideShares more visible and optimized for search! I agree that SlideShare is an up and coming content distribution network and it’s only getting better.

    One thing I’ve discovered lately is the ability to repurpose a podcast into a slidecast and then embed that in a blog post. I did it 4 days ago with my interview of Joe Pulizzi and friends on his new book, Epic Content Marketing. It’s gotten over 1100 views in 4 days and was a featured presentation by SlideShare within several hours of it being published. Really has opened my eyes to the power and possibilities of this network with over 60 million unique visitors per month!

    Question for you: In the SAP example you show, there’s an active hyperlink in the beginning of the description. How do you get that to work as an active link? I’ve tried but so far no dice, I’m a PRO member, too.

    Thanks Mark, great stuff!

    • Mark Sherbin

      Hi Greg — Glad you enjoyed the post! I have a query in with a contact at SlideShare about this, but I think you need to have an enterprise account. I think they’re more willing to work with enterprise customers on customization. (Again, that’s an educated guess.) I’ll keep you posted when I hear something!

      • Mark Sherbin

        I actually just heard from Kevin Fisher over at SlideShare. He says that you can embed hyperlinks in the description with a Pro account. All you need to do is add “http://” before the link. Hope this helps!

        • Greg Elwell

          Thanks Mark, I will give that a try and see what happens!

  • michaelbrenner

    Mark, thanks so much for the mention. The 99 Facts was an awesome project to work on and we are thrilled with the results!

    • Mark Sherbin

      No problem, Michael! It’s a great piece of content.

  • Parmveer Singh

    Timely Post for me 🙂
    I am planning to focus on slideshare for my next content marketing experiment. Really Helpful.

    Can we have an estimated ROI calculation if we invest our resources on slideshare for next few weeks?

  • dageko35

    like Hazel answered I am impressed that a person can make $9602 in 1 month on the internet. Full Report ­j­o­b­s­6­4­.­c­o­m

  • Judy Caroll

    Really agree with these, Slide share is I guess the best way to be rank higher on search engines, I mean it is interesting way were you gave life out of your usual content. And it is worth sharing.