As you’ve probably heard, social media has an increasingly large impact on search engine results. The line separating social from search is fading quickly. Companies that have concentrated on using search engine optimization techniques to send traffic to their websites won’t be able to ignore the effect of social media. They won’t be able to approach the two as separate entities any longer, either.
Here’s what you need to know.
Clash of the Internet Titans
In the war between Google (the world’s top search engine and most visited website) and Facebook (the #1 social network and the 2nd most visited site on the planet), your company can be the victor.
James Whittaker gave us a glimpse into Google’s obsession with one-upping Facebook in his widely publicized blog post, “Why I Left Google.” That obsession has been a driving force in Google’s social strategy, and it holds a powerful key to using social media to supercharge your SEO efforts.
Google is working overtime to attract new Google+ users. As part of their “Search Plus Your World” initiative, the search behemoth has made two particularly aggressive changes:
- The new “People and Pages on Google+” section on the results page. Although Adwords is Google’s primary source of revenue, ads are often displaced to make room for this information.
- Content shared through Google+ is being pushed to the top of search rankings, often appearing before more keyword specific and relevant content. Content that gets +1s also receive ranking boosts.
These changes have created a major opportunity for early adopters of Google+. It’s never been easier to get your website on Page One of Google’s search results. In addition, URLs shared through G+ are crawled and indexed almost instantaneously, meaning it’s never been easier to be the first source for breaking news.
Because 66% of all searches in the US happen on Google, leveraging G+ to promote content probably has the biggest bang for your buck of any social network when it comes to SEO.
Many companies have been hesitant to become active Google+ users, but with its growing influence on search results, those that start taking advantage of the benefits now stand to reap massive SEO benefits.
Bing Likes Facebook
When Facebook users are logged into their accounts, Bing’s social search prioritizes content their friends like and share. It will even tell them how many and which friends hit the Like button.
In general, content on Facebook is not very search-friendly. Search engines investigate title tags, headers, etc., on pages they crawl; Facebook pages are structured in a way that doesn’t give the search engines much to work with.
Although Bing only handles about 15% of American search inquiries, this exclusive partnership with Facebook makes Bing the best search platform for spreading Facebook content.
Optimize Through Social Proof
All search engines recognize that content that is shared repeatedly is probably high quality. In traditional SEO, backlinks (especially from authority sites) are a signal of good content. The same idea applies to social media. People are liking, retweeting, re-pining and +1ing for a reason. The sharing makes the link very visible to the search engines, and it is seen as proof that there’s something noteworthy there.
For that reason, “going viral” will make content dominate any and all search engines.
With that in mind, there are two areas you absolutely must focus on if you want to maximize the SEO impact of your social networking:
1) Create and share great content. Don’t just blast out constant stream of content to make sure you’re always being seen or heard. Concentrate on creating interesting, valuable content that your audience will love. People like to share the stuff they really enjoy.
2) Grow and nurture your network. Obviously, the bigger your community, the more people you have direct access to for marketing purposes. It may not be as obvious that the more followers you have, the more search engines view you as authoritative. When you share or like something, your “thumbs-up” carries greater weight.
Apply the Golden rule: treat your network the way you’d like to be treated. The more they like you, the happier they’ll be to promote your content. The more they share your content, the more attention it will get from search engines.Donnie Bryant is a direct response copywriter and marketing consultant working with ZD design. He specializes in radically improving businesses with Stealth Salesmanship and Strategic Marketing. Find out more at http://donnie-bryant.com/