November 29, 2013
Both Google and Bing have shown an increasing interest in the value of social signals, making an overall strategic social media plan an essential part of your marketing landscape. Understanding how and why social signals are so crucial to SEO will assist you in planning your overall SEO tactics.
How Social Signals Can Increase Your Rankings
The level of social interaction your customers have with your brand directly and indirectly impacts your SEO clout. Organic search rankings have been increasingly affected by social signals, and while it’s arguable to what degree (and varies by search engine as well), it is abundantly obvious that overlooking this aspect of SEO is flat out foolish.
How do social signals directly impact SEO?
The following are critical:
Google+ Circles – Yes, it’s apparent many folks have challenges with the popularity of Google. The thing is, Google loves its social platform, so if you learn to embrace it too, your SEO results can see a boost. Note that the number of people you have in your own circles is not as important as the number of folks who include you.
Facebook Shares – Get your Facebook followers engaged in your content. How? By creating truly valuable posts, ideally rich in graphics and video.
Twitter Followers and Tweet Mentions – Remember that a bigger audience isn’t necessarily better. You again want a demographic that is engaged and active with your content. Retweets and social mentions are golden – getting folks to write #yourbrand is extremely valuable.
Facebook Likes – Quality over quantity rules here too. 1,000 active followers are better than 2,000 fans who ignore your posts. Engagement is always key.
Social signals increase rankings in an indirect manner too.
Examples of these actions include:
Positive Reviews – If folks are saying nice things about you on sites like Yelp, Google Local, and various prominent blogs, your SEO will show it. In fact, Sam McRoberts of Vudu Marketing says the number and tone of these reviews are two of the three most substantial factors in determining local search. It’s integral that your social media strategy include near real-time responses to users that have issues or questions; many people now use social profiles for brands as their go-to for customer support. These interactions can then assist in your overall SEO results, so make a commitment to be very active in this space. You won’t just see an increase in your rankings through this policy, but in overall customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Inbound Links – These help increase your visibility and credibility, and have been the darlings of SEO efforts for some time. Matt Cutts, the Google search spokesperson, has repeatedly hinted that links are still SEO-critical. Although some feel this impact has been lessened in recent months, links still should not be ignored. Creating a strong social presence and a website that extends the feeling of credibility and professionalism is your best bet to attracting link support from equally reputable partners.
Advice on How to Improve Your Social Signals
You get it – social is crucial. So how do you increase your social signal power?
Here are some practical tips:
On-site Updates – Make sure your website has oodles of opportunities for folks to share your content. Let them tweet articles, Google +1, recommend, bookmark – you name it. Encourage visitors to follow you on the various social platforms too. Blogs are also essential – they not only give visitors lots of options to share, but frequent high-quality and current content makes search engines very happy.
Updated Social Profiles – Choose only those social networks that actually pertain to your business, and dedicate a member of your team to keeping it current. Profiles should be complete, and monitored daily for comments and questions. Facebook and Twitter are a must, as is a LinkedIn profile. Sites like Vine and Pinterest are hot too, and relevant if your demographic fits the bill.
Integrate Your On and Off-site Efforts – Every time you publish content on your blog or website, you should in tandem alert your social stratosphere. Give viewers the ability to follow you on your social spaces, and to comment as well. You don’t just want eyeballs, you want clicks, comments, and shares. The quality and frequency of your content is essential, as is your willingness to engage in return. Make sure everything you do is reflected appropriately on all your social channels. And please take the time to treat each social network separately – status updates and content shares on LinkedIn, as an example, need to be professional and concise. Facebook can be more informal and wordy, and Twitter is obviously short and sweet. Respect the nature and demographic of each network and your efforts will be rewarded.
All the tactics above will not only increase your SEO rankings, but your brand credibility and reach as well. Focusing on social signals is that proverbial win-win.
How have you seen your SEO impacted by your social reach – either positively or negatively? What tactics do you feel are the keys to success?