Social media is here to stay and most marketers have realized the importance of social media in enhancing brand awareness and as a means to connect with customers directly. However, the significance of social media in boosting search rankings is being missed by many marketers and not leveraged to its fullest potential.
The future of search is likely to be dominated by social media and if you incorporate strategic social media tactics into your search strategy now, you will gain significant competitive advantage.
There are four important factors that drive the influence of social media on search rankings.
Google Wants to Offer the Most Relevant Results to Searchers
Clearly, Google wants to make sure that people get the most relevant results for their search queries. Traditionally Google bots relied on keywords as a measure of relevance. Now social signals have also come into the picture. When a particular piece of content containing the relevant keywords receives high number of social recommendations such as Facebook likes and shares, Google +1s, LinkedIn shares etc, it further reiterates the relevance of the content to the search term and accordingly boosts the search ranking.
Google Has Become Very Content Focused
Earlier, in the tussle between writing for search engines and writing for humans, invariably the former won, because it was necessary to please search engines to rank high. Not anymore. Google launched the Panda algorithm to weed out low quality, duplicate content in a bid to deliver content that adds value to readers.
A comprehensive social media strategy that results in maximum social recommendations and social shares for your content signals to Google that your content is of high quality, which readers are finding of value. The simple logic is that as real people share content on social media (and not automated software bots), they will not share worthless content with friends.
People Seriously Consider Online Reviews
The internet has really opened up options for people. Whether is a mobile phone or a vacation destination, searchers have numerous choices online. Which will they choose? The option with maximum positive reviews. And hence having a presence on relevant social media and encouraging reviews and comments is an important strategy. Businesses with more reviews tend to rank higher, because people are looking for results with more reviews to help in their decision making.
People Trust Recommendations from Friends
While reviews from strangers are fine, obviously recommendations from friends carry higher trust factor. This is the logic behind Google’s personalized search results. When logged in to Google, the search results are influenced by recommendations made by the searcher’s social acquaintances. For instance, if your content has been +1d by someone in the searcher’s circle, it will figure higher in the searcher’s personalized search results. Naturally, the more +1s you generate, you are likely to appear at the top spot in more search engine results pages.
What other factors, in your opinion, enhance the influence of social media on SEO?