Search Engines finally come to embrace Social Media and increasingly so over the past two years. So should you, especially if you want your website to continue to rank top for important business search terms.
What impact does Social Media have on your Search Engine Rankings?
As well as being a great standalone marketing strategy, Social Media are increasingly having an impact on Search Engine listing results. Search Engines are continuously tweaking their algorithms to include Social Media signals, when searching for the most relevant web pages. This trend will continue and probably accelerate, making Social Media’s ability to drive Search Engine Optimisation a topic of intense debate.
Clearly, integrating Social Media into your online marketing mix will provide long-term benefits. Failing to do so will potentially deflate your rankings over time and undermine your SEO efforts. Popular Social Media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr and Foursquare are already attracting the attention of Search Engine algorithms. After all, much of the Web’s content is shared via these popular Social Media networks. Both Google and Bing have ramped up the importance of social quality signals when assessing relevancy and popularity. The acquisition by Google of PostRank and the launch of Google +1 illustrate even more the synergy between Social Media sites and Search Engines.
Practical tips on how you can use Social Media to influence Search Engines
Social Media play a small role in online marketing ROI calculations for most companies. However, the question is less about whether Social Media is justified, but more about whether is it necessary and to what degree? At least one has to understand that Search Engines are going to take social signals into consideration. Google is using many social signals such as likes, tweets, reviews, news, blogs, reviews and ratings when analysing content and authority. You have to be prepared for the possible impact those signals may have on your rankings. Doing so will surely help future-proof your business online, not forgetting that Google likes websites with large numbers of unique visitors and social media generates visitors too.
Here some practical things you could and should do:
Facebook Shares were believed to be a powerful catalyst on Search Engine popularity and rankings. Start a Facebook page for your business or brand. Add a visible ‘like’ button on all your web pages, blogs and any other online channels you use to market your business or brand. Make it easy for users to share and like you.
Grow your Twitter following and tweet frequently. Share news, useful information, tips, links (to your web pages), insights and reviews. Tweet anything that will gain you authority in your business niche. Re-tweets are a powerful signal of your website’s popularity to Search Engines. Your tweets will also show in real-time search results, helping your online visibility and search traffic.
Share your promotional banners, product images and brand photos on Flickr and other image sharing sites. Get reviews and ratings to signal your popularity to Search Engines. Publishing images will also get you found in image searches, which can generate additional, targeted search traffic.
Publish news articles and distribute your press release online. Both bloggers and tweeters actively look for fresh content to share. The more news you are publishing, the more chances you have of being mentioned in a blog post, a review or a tweet. The more you publish, the more you increase your chances of your content being shared.
Get reviews of your business, products or services wherever possible. Getting positive reviews on independent, relevant websites can be a powerful signal to Search Engines confirming your popularity. Beware, negative reviews won’t affect your rankings but they can have a negative effect on your brand’s reputation.
Keep blogging. Fresh, relevant blog posts are still a great way to engage your visitors. Search Engines love new blog posts. Depending on your site’s authority, Search Engines will show new posts high up in their listings for relevant searches. Blog posts are also useful feeds for new tweets and offer great content to share on Social Media networks.
Clearly, depending on your niche, there is a lot more you can do. The above list is just a start to keep you in the game. Whatever your views on Social Media ROI, Search Engines will take those signals and will increasingly use them to assess your relevancy and popularity, hence influencing your ROI at least indirectly.