Social Media Can Turn Into SEO Gold.
Between 2010 and 2012 localized SEO results were listed directly in SERPs to organize data while offering new advertising opportunities. This was done by displaying results while a query is being typed out. Additionally, social media’s influence began to drive results derived from social engagement. In this period, Google+ was born along with the +1 button, both of which played a significant role in boosting content visibility.
To successfully optimize a website, marketers developed content that was valuable, shareable, and focused toward its users. This content was distributed through the web as social media created backlinks and engagement to build authority. These trends lead to the birth of the fast-paced, personal, and more engaging web we use today.
Now, we find ourselves at a crossroads.
There is a hard-to-find balance between personalization and privacy. As major search and social powerhouses build a user-intent based digital environment, many users plead for security and less invasive marketing tactics. The Internet is shifting to offer more personalized, instant gratification. Users want search results to offer immediate, appropriate results with little to no effort.
Smart tech and wearable gadgets show a trend in consumers being constantly connected while assisting in predictive content solutions. SEO will continue to advance and fill this need, possibly by leveraging data from outside platforms to personalized search and offer even more value.
SEO in 2017
It’s critical to prepare your brand for SEO shifts by incorporating new content around how users search, such as in-app content. Inspire exposure and engagement with concise, direct content optimized for user intent.
Social sharing directly increases the visibility of a page because Google now considers linking to be social activity. That heightened visibility increases the chances of the page being noticed by a content creator. When a creator references and links to the post in a piece of their own content, the page is then more likely to rank. This sharing process improves rank if the linking meets each of the following:
- The link increases visibility among content creators.
- Those content creators found it useful, and they linked to it as well.
Social influencers amplify impressions, but content creators create the ranking benefit. Content creators include:
- Bloggers and blog editors
- Academic Researchers
- Event producers
A method to help this process along is to actively build relationships with content creators, such as sharing your content with them specifically. This should sound familiar to anyone who understands PR.
If rankings are important to you, relationships with content creators are important to you. Typically, they are an overlooked target audience for most businesses.
Google now places a huge emphasis on displaying search results for location-based inquiries by utilizing NAP information. NAP stands for Name, Address, and Phone number. Considering all information is correct and consistent on the organization’s website and across all other platforms, like social sites, search will deliver it within the results of local searches.
There is a report in your Google Analytics that displays new links to your site. You can find it by going to Acquisition, then Social, and it is available in Trackbacks.
Not only does Google consider linking to be a social action, but they also report on how many times each link was clicked. This is another sign that all links should be created around human engagement.
Links cause sites to rank higher, but any link created solely for SEO purposes is considered spam. It is an attempt to artificially manipulate rankings. Not properly understanding links and SEO can lead to your site being banned from Google altogether.
How many times have you searched a phrase and you see endless search results in blue links? You click one link, then land on a page that doesn’t seem fitting. You return to the results to choose another link in hopes of finding a more helpful page. Seems familiar, right?
Well, Google was watching. Remember, they own the search engine. They most likely own the browser too since Chrome is the world’s most popular browser. They know that the searcher remained on one page longer than the other page.
Search engine researchers call this the “long click.” It’s obvious that Google would use this as an indication of quality and relevance. Time on site and bounce rate are both considered “user interaction signals” reflecting that the guest was interactive with the page at one point.
What else correlates social with engagement?
Likes, shares, +1s, tweets, and comments are signs that viewers found the page relevant or enjoyable. Pages with engagement tend to rank higher. Social media interactions correlate with quality; quality correlates with higher rankings.
For the record, there are many ways to improve the user engagement signals on a page besides social media engagement.
Naturally, if you want to rank higher, make a page that people love to visit. Google has been saying this for years. Of course, you need to pay attention to keyword research and usage, but focus on the visitor experience. What is good for social is usually good for search.
Ranking are also directly affected by Google+ activity. The results rely on the searcher being logged into their Google+ account. Google+ posts rank in Google. For someone who is in your circle, Google+ posts rank almost instantly for phrases included in another user’s post. Therefore, savvy G+ users write content with “titles,” usually bold headlines at the top of the post.
In Google, text is bold by including asterisks around the text. +1’d content ranks higher in personalized search results. Naturally, Google+ activity does not affect Bing or Yahoo search rankings, but this has a direct impact on search rankings through social activity.
Yelp Helps Power Yahoo! SERP
Recently, Yahoo! expressed enthusiasm and eagerness on its partnership with Yelp! Both Yahoo! and Yelp! further elaborated that the return they saw was prosperous and plentiful. Concluding, the two stated that Yelp! Reviews would be fused in to Yahoo! Search and Yahoo! Maps when seeking a business.
Yelp! reviews have also been integrated into Yahoo! mobile search results. The new integration of Yelp! reviews and photos give Yahoo a boost in utility. Nevertheless, the company is still playing catch-up to Google in many respects. Yahoo! must invent a new form of technology to re-emerge and build momentum, but partnering with a social network like Yelp! is a great start.
Rankings are an outcome, not an action.
The best search optimizers are very active in social media due to their understanding of the indirect benefits. Every aspect of modern marketing is based on relationships, including search. And today, those relationships are built on social media.
Marketers should broaden their concept of search and SEO to consider the various ways people search content on the web. Increased social engagement can potentially impact their search rankings, as well as the ranking of their social media pages in search results. Ultimately, the web is fundamentally social, and there’s no reason that SEO best practices would go against the grain.
In a nutshell, social media = relationships = authority = rank.
Is your social strategy helping or hurting?