With Facebook approaching 1 billion members, Twitter with 500 million members, and Google+ passing the 100 million user mark, it’s evident social networks are a great place to connect with consumers. And although social media has many marketing benefits in its own right, it’s also a powerful SEO tool.
How exactly does social media impact SEO? Here are four examples:
Increases Organic Search Rankings
One of the ways search engines decide how to rank site listings is by their perceived value. Of course, search engines are computers and not people so they can’t make their own judgements, which means they must rely on specific data to help them decide what is really worthwhile. Part of the data they look at is social media signals (tweets, “likes,” +1′s, comments, etc.). Basically, the more social signals your content receives the greater its chances to rank high in search listings.
You can improve the number of social media signals your brand receives by having awesome content that motivates people to “like” and share it. You should also make your content easier to share by having prominent social buttons available on every page of your website.
Makes People as Important as Content
SEOs are always stressing the importance of content, and while great content is crucial, you need user engagement to back it up (you can’t have one without the other). The social signals as mentioned in the first example are one way Google judges a site but it also looks much deeper. If the elements included in the Google Analytics’ social report are any indication, the network is also investigating on-site user engagement, traffic patterns, conversations, and more.
Consequently, to see SEO benefits, you need to get visitors talking, interested in your content, spending time on your site, and returning for more.
Gives You More Exposure
Both Google and Bing are offering social search options for their users. This means, when someone enters a query into a search box they are given both organic results and results from their “friends.” If your business happens to be that person’s friend, any content you’ve ever posted which relates to their query will appear at the top of their search listings — this gives you high rankings just by being associated with them!
Still, even if someone isn’t a friend or fan of your business, you can still appear in their personalized search results if one of their friends has ever mentioned your brand.
For example, let’s say you’re in the air conditioning repair business and Google+ user, Jan, is using social search to find an air conditioning repair service. She’s unaware of your brand and doesn’t follow you through any social networks; however, she is a Google+ friend of Betty who recently used your services and wrote a positive comment on your Google business page. A link to Betty’s comment appears in Jan’s search listings and, because Jan is a friend of Betty, she clicks on that link and sees your brand. Since Jan knows and trusts Betty, Voilà, she decides to choose your business for her AC repair.
A similar scenario occurs between Bing and Facebook users, so by being socially connected, you not only increase your exposure but make your brand appear more trustworthy — a surefire way to increase traffic and conversions.
Connects You to the Mobile Crowd
Social networking and mobile devices go hand in hand, and overall user time spent on mobile gadgets is soon expected to surpass time spent on desktop computers. Thus, more social shares and consumer to brand interactions are happening mobily. This means by participating in social networks you have greater access to the rapidly growing mobile audience, and having your brand always available to people no matter where they are creates the possibility for more likes, shares, traffic, and all the things that make up good SEO.
Of course, it also helps to have a mobile friendly website and to create content suitable for devices with smaller screens and for people on-the-go.
Social media should be a critical component of every SEO strategy. Yes, there are other important elements that are part of smart SEO, but no one can deny the traffic and brand awareness a well-executed social media campaign can bring. Why would you want to miss out on such huge potential for growth? If your business has been dragging its feet on joining the social media trend, it’s time to get on board and reap the SEO benefits.