Web search has come a long way, and made some of its biggest strides over the last two years. Some would say it began with Panda, the algorithm tweak that first shook up the SEO industry in 2011 by aiming to remove duplicate and low quality content from the top of the rankings. This was proceeded in 2012 by Google Penguin, which focused on penalizing sites that spam their way to the top of the results pages, followed by numerous updates of each.
In between all the updates have been various signs and opinions suggesting that social media is now a factor that search engines are taking into account when determining rankings. The following four methods have been identified by SEO experts as viable ways to use social media to boost search visibility.
1. Create Inbound Links in Social Channels
For years, inbound links have been the number one ranking factor search engines take under consideration. While the landscape has evolved, nothing has changed on tahis front. That would give the links generated in social channels considerable juice. Here are some tips on creating those essential links.
Create a social presence. Use social networks like Facebook and Twitter to build your following. This not only results in links from your profiles to your websites, but opportunities for those links to be shared by others.
Facebook = http://facebook.com
Twitter = http://twitter.com
Google Plus = https://plus.google.com
Linkedin = http://www.linkedin.com
Connect your social accounts. Social networks make it incredibly easy to connect the accounts you have on different platforms. This is something you definitely want to take advantage of because the more you cross-promote, the more links you create.
Encourage action. You will get the most bang for your link bucks when fans and followers are helping you create them. But in order for them to do so, you must give them a reason to take action.
2. Share Valuable Content
The people in your social networks will be far more likely to create those critical backlinks when you deliver strong content that encourages them to share. This step is easier said than done. Some marketers spend all day tweeting and posting status updates, yet have little to show for their efforts. That’s why you should take some time getting to know your audience and what they want in terms of content. It wouldn’t even be a bad idea to monitor your competitors to see what type of content they’re generating. Content quality matters to search in and out of the social web.
3. Socialize Your Web Address
With all we know about internet marketing and doing business online, I think it’s safe to say that a website is a must-have piece of real estate. Whether it’s contacting you, buying from you, or subscribing to a list, it acts as the central headquarters to all things relating to your business and online presence. Social media gives you another channel to promote your existing presence through, but you can also bring the social channel to your existing presence.
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social networks provide a convenient way to connect their platforms to your website. From buttons that allow visitors to share your content to feeds that deliver real-time updates of your social activity, all signs indicate that this level of integration can work wonders for your SEO value.
4. Get on Google+
The SEO industry really started to play close attention to the impact of social signals when Google jumped into the game with Google+. Shortly after launching the +1 button, rumors began to swirl about votes or endorsements from the feature being naturally factored into Google’s search ranking system. The speculation heightened to an all new level when the company introduced Search Plus Your World, an update that delivers personalized results from and to those logged into the social network.
While its exact influence is questionable like other social signals, it is now widely believed that Google+ is a key factor in the SEO equation. That is why we are suddenly hearing experts strongly recommend creating an active presence on Google’s social platform.
Even Matt Cutts, Google’s go-to-guy for SEO, has gone on the record to state that social media’s influence on search will only increase as the web evolves. The takeaway — brands that have yet to make the move will want to devise a social media strategy sooner rather than later. Keep these tactics in mind, and you could get off to a headstart that enables your brand to enjoy a considerable edge over the competition.