12 Aug 2011

Social Media and SEO

I often hear business owners claiming “I don’t have time for Social Networking”. I also hear “Facebook is for kids”.

The point that these business owners fail to see is that Social Media and Social Networking sites have a great impact on their search results.

Both Google and Bing have publicly admitted that shares on Facebook and Twitter (and now Google+) have a direct impact on ranking results.

Example: You share something relevant to your business on your Facebook Page and Twitter profile.

  • User 1 comes along and “likes” your post
  • User 2 comes along and shares your post (reposts it on their wall and/or re-tweets it on the Twitter profile)
  • User 3 re-tweets user 2’s post
  • Users 4 – 20 see the Facebook post that user 2 shared and visits, likes and reads your Facebook Page.
  • Users 13 – 19 share that same post on their Facebook page

You get the idea. By sharing in the social sphere, you generated a bunch of inbound links and introduced your business to a number of potential buyers who had no prior knowledge of you.

But what about consistency? Does participating in social networking increase your odds of being consistently found at the top of the search engines? Yes it does. Make no mistake, inbound links, authoritative user status (gained by likes and +1 clicks) and content all factor into your rank result. Once these items are posted, liked, and shared online, they are there forever. Searches garner much more than just web site results. A search result includes pictures, videos, news items, and results from social media sites. So, by simply participating in social media sites, your odds of being found in search have increased exponentially. Google also pays attention to who shares your information. If someone is deemed to be an authoritative user and they like, +1, re-tweet and share your post, your rank just got upped too!

To be truly successful in the social media realm, you have to practice reciprocity. In other words, don’t be there to just post about you. Make sure you share relevant content from other people in your networks. Consider the difference between a link farm (low quality) web site and a content rich, authoritative (high quality) site. Sharing other people’s information in your social networks shows the search engines you are there to provide a rich, authoritative experience to your community and not just tossing out links to generate link bait to your site.

Social Marketing is something every business owner needs to make time for and work. The bottom line is, your SEO plan is incomplete without including a Social Element.