3 Ways Social Media Impacts SEO

SEO and Social are Married NowYou know that everything on the web is social.  The phrase “let’s get social” appears on just about everyone’s website.  But, until the last couple years or so, social media had very little, if any, impact on your search rankings.  It still had value, no doubt, as companies able to garner huge followings were able to drive followers to their websites and increase brand awareness and sales, among other things.

But now, social has a lot to do with your search engine optimization strategy.  We’ll show 3 concrete ways in which it does.

Examples of how Social Media directly impacts SEO

Personalized Results

If there’s one big trend on the web, it’s relevancy, and personalized search is always more relevant to the searcher.  You see that icon with the circle around it?  If you search in Google and see that icon, it means it’s a personal search result you’re more likely to see when signed in to Google.

 Jenny Stradling Personalized Result

When you sign in to Google, it examines people who are in your Google+ circles, and whenever you type in a search term, you’re more likely to see a result from someone in your circles than any other search result.  For now, Google only does this for its own social network, but other social media websites are lobbying to be included.

This is also true for Bing. Because Bing is integrated with Facebook, when you are signed in to Facebook and you search Bing, guess what shows up? Social Results:

Bing Social Results

Follower Count/Social Shares

Google takes these two important metrics into account when deciding which content is more authoritative.  Follower count isn’t emphasized nearly as much as the number of social shares (retweets, Facebook shares, LinkedIn shares etc…) because it can be easily manipulated, but both metrics play a role in determining your search engine rankings.

Think of it this way:  say your content gets 100 social shares on average each time you promote it on a social network, but say your competitor’s only gets 5.  All other factors being equal, who’s more likely the trustworthy source of information?

Searching Directly on Social Sites

Facebook recently introduced its new “Graph Search.”  It’s slightly different from Google in that it searches your friends, places, interest, and photos to help you immediately find an answer to your question, rather than providing a link to a website.  Practically speaking, you might use Graph Search to look for “Chinese restaurants.”  Then, you can see which of your friends went to a Chinese restaurant near you.

Which are you more likely to trust:  a highly rated restaurant that people you don’t know on Google say is popular, or a Chinese restaurant your best friend recommends, whose tastes you know you like?

And the interesting part is SEO has almost no place in this type of search.

Build Your Social Media Following!

The most important takeaway from all of this is that being active on social media is essential to your search visibility now, and in the future.  At a basic level, develop a presence on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest, and give away interesting content you think will benefit your target audience.  It takes a ton of hard work to build and maintain your social media profiles, but it definitely helps increase your marketing ROI.  If managing your social media accounts is too much for you, remember you can always contact Eminent SEO for help. We offer a full array of social media services from banner designs to fully managed solutions.

Jenny Stradling

Owner and CEO at Eminent SEO in Mesa, Arizona. I started doing SEO and marketing work in 2005. I'm a {very} busy mom of 4 and I owe my sanity to my partner in work and life, Chris Weatherall. I love sharing and engaging in business and marketing conversations, and I'm heavy into social media and blogging on these topics. I love coffee, wine, food and other people who enjoy the adventure of seeking out the best places to eat and drink. In my free time (what's that?) you'll most likely find me studying philosophy and spirituality, cooking for my family or relaxing with a nice glass of wine, a funny movie and the people I love.

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