When companies think about Social Media Marketing the things that normally come to mind are viral marketing and how many people have liked, followed, subscribed, or otherwise engaged the company.
While these are all measurements companies will want to keep an eye on, if these are all a company looks at, there is a major benefit of Social Media being missed: Search Engine Optimization.
The Often Forgotten Piece of SEO
While anyone who has done some basic reading and learning on Search Engine Optimization understands the on-page factors of the art, many forget or don’t understand the off-page piece. When we look at off-page optimization, we look at those things not directly on the website that impact placement in search engine results (SERP’s). These factors can include things like linking domains, anchor text, domain authority, and more.
One of the newer pieces of SEO is what’s known as social signals. As we reported in April, social interactions (e.g., Facebook “Likes” and Google “+1’s”) are beginning to influence SERP’s. However, social has much more to offer SEO than these overt social signals.
How Social Impacts SEO
- Direct Social Influence – As we just mentioned the Facebook Likes and Google +1’s are directly impacting SERP’s. This is becoming more important as Search Engines increase personalized results. As users continue increasing their social interaction, we will continue to see this increase in the influence of search results.
- Social Shares – One of the signals Search Engines look at is how many times your content has been shared on social space (Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Social Bookmarks, etc). Having a socially ready website and/or blog is the beginning (this means having sharing options like the AddThis toolbar built into your website). It also means you have to be letting users of Social Networks know your content is available, and you have to produce content they’ll want to share.
- Virality – We mentioned this above, and many people think about it, but not many people understand it. This term simply means you’re creating content users are excited to share, which is evidenced by the amount your content is being shared.
- Links Links Links – One of the biggest factors influencing SERP’s (next to on-site SEO), is the link quantity and quality pointing back to your site. Having your content shared in the social space is a great way of creating links back to your website. Now these links are often NoFollow links, which are less powerful than DoFollow for influencing SERP’s, but they still hold value. Also, links on social spaces often generate a high level of traffic to your site (which is another factor Search Engines look at).
- Search Engine Dominance – When someone searches for your company or a term you’d like to be visible for, would you prefer to have only one listing on the Search Results, or? Owning more “real estate” on the SERP’s is called dominance, and you really want to have as many listings as possible. Leveraging well-optimized social profiles is a great way to increase dominance. Just having a profile isn’t enough to get them ranked in SERP’s, however; you must be actively providing content that is relevant for your search term.
Making Social Work For You
If you’re going to work with Social as a part of your SEO strategy, you’ll want to make sure you’re leveraging it for all it’s worth. This means there must be a strategy for how to approach the social space. Additionally there must be a commitment of resources (both time and money) for the proper development of your social campaign.
While there are many companies who will offer to “generate fans, likes, followers, etc”, and who will offer to create content for your networks, these oftentimes do not effectively develop into long-term success. What will help develop long-term success is if there’s an internal commitment to engaging and learning to create the content your audience will want to share.
Working with an effective SEO expert will help make sure you’re on the right path. These experts know how to monitor your audience across social networks as well as be able to provide guidance on how to be more effective in what you’re doing in Social. They will also help with some of the technical aspects of social marketing, like effective branding, landing page development, cross-platform integration and more.
If you’re ready to leverage social for all it’s worth for both direct marketing activity, as well as increasing your website’s performance and your search engine dominance, then look to partner with DirectiveGroup. To begin that partnership, either contact us to get started on a Social Marketing Strategy, or join us at 8am EST on the first Friday of the month for the live stream of the Social Networking Coffee Hour (or catch the recording if you can’t the live event).