Social signals and marketing success
The impact of social signals on SEO has been a hotly debated topics for years among marketers. In January 2014, however, Matt Cutts of Google released a video that seemed to indicate that social signals were not particularly significant.
This announcement took the marketing world by storm, but rather than serve as a basis for marketers to abandon social and SEO integration, we would venture to argue that social continues to remain an important factor in the success of content. The critical integration between search, social and content continues to play a critical role in SERPs and how well content is able to reach its intended audience.
The role of social signals in search
Although Google has indicated that they do not particularly look at the number of Likes a piece of content has, there are still plenty of other social factors that can impact how well a piece of content ranks.
Google wants to display pieces that are engaging and informative. Quality and popularity signals impact SERPs, such as:
- the number of backlinks a piece of content has
- the number of views content has
- the bounce rates of visitors on the page
These factors are all influenced by social engagement. When your content receives a number of shares on Twitter, Facebook, or Google+, for example, your social media metrics in each of these categories will increase as well. Google indicated in the same 2014 video with Cutts that while they might not look at social signals specifically, the Google spiders do look at social media pages the way they would any other website.
This means that when material is shared in crawlable networks, then your backlink count will increase. The crawlable major social media pages are all considered reputable sources and rank highly on Google. Links coming from these sources would likely be considered high quality backlinks.
When pieces are shared regularly through social media, you will also increase the number of views the content has. People who share content through social media are vouching for it, which makes their followers more likely to click and engage with the material. This high number of views and strong engagement metrics will also influence the SERP ranking of the material.
To be able to leverage the power of search and social signals, however, you need to produce quality content. Content that adds value for the page visitor will be the material that attracts the desired social attention and shares. It is also the content that has strong engagement rates because the information draws in the reader and encourages them to explore all that the website has to offer.
How to leverage social signals with your SEO strategy
Know the topics that are trending on social media
You should leverage tools like Twitter Trending on BrightEdge to gain a firm understanding of what topics are trending on social media. Know what people are interested in reading about to gather ideas about good topics to post. The more traction your content gains on social media-- the more powerful the search and social intersection will be for you.
Develop high quality content
Content is the cornerstone to any digital marketing strategy. Your content will not gain the signals you want to see unless you take the time necessary to develop high-value material appreciated by your readers. Use the topics researched in step one and use your research and personal experience to interest and educate your page visitor.
Ensure your material is optimized for social signals
For your material to get more views on social, you have to be sure that it is optimized for viewing on the different platforms. The use of images and the right keywords, for example, can impact how many people pay attention to your postings. Tools like the BrightEdge Social Site Audit allow you to see how well you are leveraging Open Graph implementation and will help you ensure that your content is appealing to page visitors.
Make sure your social pages are ready to compete
Social profiles themselves also have a tremendous impact on the success of search. Profiles on major social sites rank highly, and thus will often be on the first page of search results for a company. An appealing profile will also attract more attention from visitors, which can therefore increase your content consumption. Tools like the Facebook Preferred Marketing Developer can help you make sure that your pages have been optimized for search while also helping you analyze the success of your efforts and measure the overall impact of your social campaign.
Measure, refine and improve
As you adjust your social media presence to better meet the demands of modern web users and improve the success of your content strategy, few steps are more important than monitoring your progress. Monitor the metrics of your content as you begin to integrate social signals into your strategy. Use dashboards to see how your progress compares to your competitors and look for areas to improve. Refine your techniques to better match what your customers want to see from you.
The impact of social signals on SERPs has been a hotly debated topic. The intersection of search and social continues to be a powerful motivator for content success. By leveraging social signals, you can improve your search performance and witness the content acquisition power of social sharing. You might also like: Using the Marketing Funnel to Improve Your Conversion Rates.