We all know it: SEO is an ever-changing industry. Therefore, it doesn’t come as a surprise the game is no longer just about building X amount of links and optimising Y amount of webpages. The new strategy is about being more out there – engaging and interacting with your clients and prospects. And guess what, social media is the right place to make that happen!
Nicknamed “social signals”, social interactions have significantly changed the way we perceive and comprehend search engine rankings. Along with social media’s growing importance in the world of Google, these “signals” are becoming a highly sought-after currency on the web.
What exactly are “social signals”?
Now let’s get the easy bits out of the way, shall we? In a nutshell, a social signal is an action performed by a logged-in user, which basically includes the actual sharing of web content on various social networks. These actions range from likes and shares on Facebook, tweets, retweets, and mentions on Twitter, all the way down to pins and repins on Pinterest, +1’s on Google Plus, and upvotes on Reddit, Digg, and Stumbleupon (just to name a few!).
While a few SEO methods were getting outdated due to Google Panda and Penguin updates, social signals were developing into more accurate metrics for evaluating a website’s performance: the more social signals created, the better.
From there, I think the next logical question is:
How do they affect rankings?
For search engines, social signals in SEO imply that consumers are talking about your brand. What does that matter? Because they can improve your SERP ranking, as these signals are deemed by search engines as reliable recommendations. Why do they impact on rankings, though? And what are the chances they start weighing more than old school links?
1. Seriously, everyone’s on social media. And not just that, but “social” also now happens to be the top Internet activity – with hours spent on it daily, a much higher time-spend than any other major online activity like e-mail. That said, there’s been a growing trend among brands to engage consumers more on social networks, which then boosts the role social signals play in determining the popularity of brands to consumers.
2. Social shares indicate content’s shareability. Social networks use the nofollow attribute to their links, sure, but the point here is this: if Post B gets heaps of social media shares, then it means it’s linkable and, therefore, shareable. Makes sense, right? A share suggests a particular content’s value; and so, more shares mean good vibes channeled to search engines.
3. We all trust our pals’ recommendations, don’t we? For obvious reasons, we’re more likely to check out what our friends are into. So, for instance: a post that gets shared among your group of friends, which then gets retweeted, re-pinned, and +1’d. That, right there, is a clear indication of relevance. That’s the essence of social signals, and that’s pretty much the same thing that gave rise to Bing’s and Google’s social search features.
4. Ultimately, social media presence boosts brand loyalty. While it’s a perfect spot for building relationships between brands and customers, social networks contribute to business websites’ conversion rates, as well as help in earning positive reviews, more natural backlinks, and even greater brand awareness.
It’s a fact that SEO is in constant evolution – and right now social signals in SEO are clearly becoming a hero for the success of brands and the strategy of choice for keeping both clients and prospects engaged in ways that traditional methods can’t.
So, what now? I say get those creative muscles working – you’ve got an online presence to build. If you need some help establishing your social platforms, contact us for assistance today! Click here.