Who here has a Facebook account? A Twitter account? How about an Instagram account? Too many to count. So, let me rephrase that… Who here doesn’t have any of those? I’ll bet you no hands will be seen.
Social media is now at the forefront of the Web. Just take a swift look at online activities today. Virtually everyone who knows how to use a computer and log in to the Net has a social media account of some sort. People may have accounts and profiles in Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and other social media sites. They use these sites to interact with friends and loved ones; share photos, videos, links, and other information; play games; or search for something they’re interested in. They may own blogs where they can share their thoughts, ideas, and experiences.
As social media evolved, so did its purpose. No longer are these sites just tools for communicating and sharing. For many businesses, social media sites have become avenues for promoting their products, services, events, and ideas. Businesses have used them to reach out, interact, and get intimate with their markets. And ultimately, get revenue.
SOCIAL MEDIA: AN INTEGRAL PART OF SEO
Promoting a business through the clever use of social media sites is now part of search engine optimisation. In fact, many believe that traditional SEO techniques such as keyword optimisation and link building are obsolete. Visibility in a SERP will be determined by social media interaction in the future. Yes, social media undeniably has a great effect in the way information is discovered or shared. However, it has not replaced the way people look for a website using search engines such as Google, Yahoo, or Bing.
Rather, one should look at social media marketing as an instrumental element in an SEO campaign; it should not compete with or take over standard SEO techniques. To understand how this relationship works, let us see how social media impacts a website’s rankings in search engines.
Social Shares and Link Building
Since the birth of SEO, link building has always been an essential factor in determining whether a site is a reliable and high-quality source of information. Usually, a business may ask a website owner to put a link in their articles that point back to the business’s website.
With the advent of social media, the strategy is to compose original content that is shared across social media sites. Links to a website on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, YouTube, and other social media sites enable search engines to determine if the website is credible, significant, authoritative, and should be ranked for specific keywords.
For example, a link to a website that has been shared many times in Facebook will have higher visibility and ranking in a SERP. The search engine assumes it has relevant content since many people have decided to share the link with entities in their social network.
Sometimes, certain content may be so interesting, fascinating, intriguing, or beautifully executed that it easily catches worldwide attention. Often, people share the content to their friends, relatives, loved ones, colleagues, etc. in their network. In turn, those contacts share the content through their own networks. The chain goes on much like how a virus spreads in the human body. In a short time, the content has reached billions of people, hence the term “going viral.”
This is the concept of the viral trend, which exploits the expansive power of social media. No amount of standard SEO tricks can make content viral; it has to be shared via social media to make it viral.
If that viral content is linked or has a link to a website, then that website gets an incredible boost in popularity and ranking.
How Authoritative Are You
The introduction of Google+ has allowed the Google search engine to become better integrated with social cues. Specifically, an author can associate his content with his Google+ profile so that his bio and account are linked to his content in a SERP. In other words, an author’s listing appears on the search engine just below the link to his content or site.
Having an author bio visible in the search engine is important because it builds credibility. If the content by a specific website is high-quality, interesting, informative, and well-received, both viewers and search engines will reward that author with recognition and trust.
According to Google’s latest algorithm, the credibility, recognition, and trust of an author are now taken into account when determining ranking.
The Power of Google+
In terms of market share and traffic, Facebook and Twitter are on the better end. However, Google+ enjoys a larger percentage of search power. Why? It’s simple: it’s owned by Google, the largest search engine in the world. Since Google, not Facebook or any other social media website, creates the algorithms for search engines, it follows that Google+ will always be in conformity with those algorithms.
That is why having a Google+ account is a must if a business wants to ace up in Internet marketing. One has to remember that Google+ is not simply a social network. It is a venue that helps you interact closely with other Google products – products that have a say in rankings.
As search engines evolve, so does social media. Know how social media sites relate to search engines to better reach out to your market. After all, the Internet, as a whole, is a global society.
Joe Ryan is the Founder & CEO of UK online marketing agency, Digital Search Group, which specialises in smart internet marketing. He is a specialist in online marketing strategy and brand building. When he’s not considering the next best online marketing strategy with his team, he enjoys travel and spending time with his family.