The Social Media Effect on SEO – Give Yourself the thumbs up rather than the V’s!
Does Social Media have an effect on SEO? According to Eric Schmidt the Executive Chairman of Google in a recorded interview at Le Web in December 2011, it does. And with the release of Google + and the new Search Plus Your World it means that social signals will have more and more impact on search results.
What is a social signal?
A social signal is an act of recognition, positive or negative about a circumstance. So for example if you buy a product and you are unhappy with the customer service and you post something on Facebook highlighting your grievance, that would act as a social signal.
Likewise if you hired Jim the local handyman to come and put some shelves up for you, he did a good job, the shelves looked great and he even cleaned up after himself, you might tweet your following to tell them that. Then that tweet acts as a social signal.
If you read a piece of content on a blog, like this one, you find it informative and you Google + 1 it or like it, then that is a social signal. In effect it is alluding to human interaction.
Why is social media so important to SEO?
No matter how much Facebook makes out of their IPO, I still perceive Google to be the king of the internet castle. Google makes money by being the motorway that we all use to travel across the internet, their goal is to make the journey as smooth as possible and get you to the right destination first time around. On the way they might put up a few billboards that might be of interest to you and cause you to detour, but ultimately they aim to make you happy.
In the past there have been many organisations that have been able to game the system using fair, and some less scrupulous tactics, to position themselves at the end of the motorway where all the traffic ends up.
Moving forward, Google will be looking into the web and asking the question how has this site got here? What social proof is there that this site is providing value? How many comments are on the site? How many Facebook likes can be tracked back? How many retweets are there about what this site is doing?”
The search engine will be assessing this entire question when making a judgement on the value to its customers. Why? Because how can something be the very best at providing a solution to a problem if nobody, or very few people, are talking about it? The digital age has meant that there are few secrets!
If something is good, really good, then in every day human life people talk about it. People share and recommend it to their friends because they think it could be useful to them. If a product or a service is just ordinary, would you really bring it up to a friend or a client? Of course not! Because it might damage your own brand or reputation.
So what can you do to stay on the right side?
- Write great content that encourages debate.
- Produce content that warrants being shared.
- Make it easy for people to share your content
- Be active on Social media
- Engage your audience
- Share content that you find valuable.
- Give other people the thumbs up!
The effect social media will have on SEO is only going to increase. So if you want to be recognised as an authority in your niche, meaning the top spots on the search engines, you need to have the recognition, support and backing of others.
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