It’s more or less common knowledge that search engines have begun incorporating data from social media sites into the algorithms that determine their SERPs (or “search engine results pages”). What is unclear to many is how this can be utilized for their company’s benefit. The fact is that it’s always been possible to influence and bend these algorithms somewhat; the fact that they’re implementing data from social media sites makes this process even easier. This doesn’t guarantee a high SEO (or “search engine optimization”) ranking will be handed to you on a silver platter by any means. It still takes a great deal of effort to raise your profile and get the attention of the almighty Google bot. Even so, sharing content to a large, inclusive audience has never been easier and that opens up new potential opportunities for SEO.
Any given SEO rank is determined based upon your relationship to the keyword submitted to a search engine’s system. The more closely related your site is with that keyword the better your SEO rank will be, and the better your SEO is the higher you’ll appear on the SERP, making you easier for potential customers to find. You become identified with certain keywords through several means. Firstly, there’s the prevalence of that particular keyword in your content. Some sites hope to cheat the system by repeating a certain keyword an unreasonable amount of times or by utilizing duplicate content, but search engines are now on the lookout for such practices and they are not advisable in high profile campaigns. Another way to become identified with a keyword is through the actions of others. If your users closely link your site with a certain keyword the search engines will, in time, learn to as well, and a great way to define and strengthen this link is through shareable content on social media sites.
Each site has its own unique advantages, which is briefly covered below:
- Google+: A rising star in the world of SEO, Google+ is an appealing choice because it’s so closely linked to Google, the world’s top search engine. Posting popular content on the site can be very beneficial to your SEO. Of course, the user base of Google+ is smaller than that of Facebook or Twitter, meaning that you can’t possibly reach as much people through the site alone. However, it’s still a fantastic resource for any growing company.
- Facebook: This social media giant is an obvious choice because of its overwhelming popularity. Build up your likes, post engaging content regularly and post links back to your site. Do well enough on Facebook and your SEO will almost certainly increase. Remember that shares aren’t the only interactions that influence your SEO, likes and comments can help a great deal as well.
- Twitter: The amount of characters you can post on Twitter is limited, but that just means its users will be more forgiving if you cut out the extraneous bits and get right to the point. Twitter is a great way to spread important news and information in a straightforward, direct manner. You can’t include much content on the site, the character limit won’t allow for it, so simply post its title and include a link back to more detailed material on you site. In this respect, the backlink becomes the central focus of the post. Twitter may be a bit less versatile than Facebook or Google+, but it’s still a great way to spread information.
- Pinterest: A bit overlooked at the moment, Pinterest is gaining a reputation as an important social media site. With a user base of 70 million, it’s clearly not a site one should simply ignore. Keep in mind that 99% on the content on Pinterest is purely visual. Some companies may view this as limiting, even severely so. However, if you’re able to boil down the essence of your content to one compelling image and then provide the link to that content in the image’s description, your SEO could experience a significant boost.
- Linkedin: LinkedIn’s audience may be a little more specialized and a little less diverse, but they’re also more likely to be interested in your content. The whole point of LinkedIn is to make professional contacts, to meet other people in your industry or in related industries and make beneficial connections. These are the kind of people who might very well be fascinated by content related to their field. Not only that, but LinkedIn actually has excellent SEO authority. LinkedIn is a powerful enough resource that every business should at least consider developing a presence on the site.
So, what do you do once you develop a presence on these sites? How do you utilize them to improve SEO? Share content. It’s that simple. Make the content as compelling as possible, make sure it’s relevant to the needs, wants or interests of your user base, and then get it out there. You can influence the system a bit by offering promotions or giveaways (“the first 100 people to share this content gets a free t-shirt” for example), but the main idea is to post effective material and do so regularly. The more successful your content is the more followers you’ll gain and the more your SEO will increase. Be sure to link back to your site often. Post links to your in-site blog or news page. Use social networking buttons on your site, allowing users to easily like, +1, tweet or share your content. Never allow your commitment to slack.
Of course, developing a successful social media presence isn’t easy. It requires diligence and care. Post too little on one of your profiles and your users will become less engaged. Don’t check the site regularly and you might miss out on important data, the kind that can save you money and time in the long run. The more social media sites you add to the mix, the more time will have to be spent maintaining the profiles you’ve created. Building your SEO is a constant process, and you’ll need to put in the time every day to do it.