Social Media continues to influence the way people communicate, do business, and perceive other companies, their services and products. Social Media is an increasingly important marketing tool for business of all shapes and sizes.
Having a solid Social Media marketing strategy creates a signal referred to as a social signal. The strength of this signal is an indicator of your brand’s credibility and trustworthiness. Search engines use a myriad of factors to determine your website or web page credibility and authority. Your social signal is a major factor and significantly influences your search engine rankings.
Millions of people use social media platforms every day to search, communicate with friends, family and colleagues. It is used by businesses to share service and product information and by their customers and prospects to learn, comment and make recommendations. Almost 50% of the searching population use social media prior to making a purchase. You can see why companies around the world heavily use this efficient and cost-effective channel of communication for marketing purposes.
Social Media Marketing (SMM) is a form of online marketing that uses various social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to connect with customers to gain more website traffic. Its activities usually include social sharing of content, videos and images for marketing purposes. The marketing benefits of social media for marketing purposes are numerous. Some of the obvious benefits are:
According to Bing’s Webmaster Guidelines, Google, and SEO authorities, social media plays an important role in today’s effort to rank well in search results. Companies with a strong social strategy become influencers. Time has proven that if you are influential socially, your followers will share your information widely, which in turn results in strong social signals. These signals are factors that influence your organic search engine results.
Some months ago, Google made a statement that created confusion and frustration in the SEO world. At face value, it seemed they were suggesting that social signals do not have a direct impact on organic rankings. However, when you look at the peripheral and consequential data, you’ll note that because Google crawls social websites (which are in fact, large search engines in and of themselves) and finds links and references to your website and “likes,” “shares,” and “talk about” your website, it has a strong organic influence on your search engine rankings.
In fact, Danny Sullivan, a Founding Editor of Search Engine Land, spoke directly with Bing and Google to learn how they look at social signals as a ranking factor. Both search engine companies reported that the degree to which you are an influencer on Twitter can impact how well a page does in a regular web search.
Several studies, including SearchMetrics’ Rank Correlation for 2013 and case studies outlined in this infographic from Quicksprout, supported the theory that search engine results are influenced by social signals when ranking a site.
Additional proof of this is a statement by Google’s Matt Cutts that “Facebook and Twitter pages are treated like any other pages in our web index and so if something occurs on Twitter or occurs on Facebook and we’re able to crawl it then we can return that in our search results”.
The positive effects of social media as it relates to search can no longer be ignored. Top-ranking URLs tend to have higher social signals than those that don’t rank as well. It is official, social media can affect your website SEO ranking. However, simply having a profile on the most important social media platforms will not help your website ranking.
Every social network requires a specific strategic approach and simply posting and even boosting your post isn’t enough. To create value and impact on social media channels you must have a comprehensive understanding of how to:
The reason so many companies fail to gain traction on their goals is that they don’t get all of these steps accomplished effectively. Social media success requires a great deal of know-how, time and attention in order to achieve growth and be useful.
Increased social signals are indicators of a good and growing domain authority. They also demonstrate the value of the URL. According to Moz, social signals have both a direct and indirect impact on organic search rankings. Direct impact comes from the number of:
Indirect impact comes from:
Every SEO thought leader and expert will confirm that your social media efforts can contribute to the overall organic success of your website.
Important! Be sure to build your follower base organically. Building it any other way will do you more harm than good. Search engines, like Google, can distinguish real followers from spam or fake followers and your chance of getting penalized is huge. Penalties reduce your ranking – so, it’s simply not worth the risk.
Instead, attract and retain followers with conversation and direct engagement. Create and share content relevant to your target audience and related to your business. Ask questions, share breaking news in your industry as it happens, important statistics, helpful tips and inspiring quotes. Post regularly and respond promptly to comments, especially negative ones. Growing a solid base of followers is a slow process and eventually it will be worth your while.
It is important to recognize that Social Media Marketing is a heavy hitting SEO factor and it has a direct influence on your search engine results. More and more search engines are leveraging social media channels for quality content. Understanding all aspects of SEO and Social Media Marketing strategies are crucial for providing ranking benefits, more traffic, more conversions and more customers. Make the most of both by providing added value to your visitors and potential customers. Work on your social media strategy and implementation and you will enjoy the positive effects that follow!
Social Media is complex and understanding what is required of you to achieve your goals within each industry relevant channel is literally an industry in itself.
Social media is not longer a wild frontier. Not only does it yield quantitative results when done well, it leaves you with major value gaps when it isn’t done properly. Not doing it all is worse still.
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