There are a variety of factors that affect the performance of a companys website and overall online presence. Search engines give credit to relevancy (using similar keywords in your meta descriptions, title tags and anchor text) and authority (amount and type of sites that are linking to your content via inbound links). These practices are still very much alive, but another facet has entered into the mix: social signals.
But not in the way that you may think. Jennifer Slegg of Search Engine Watch recently pointed out that social signals do not appear to be a direct ranking factor, based on a statement from Matt Cutts that indicates Google does not have any such signal in search ranking algorithms. So why do social signals matter?
Likes, shares, retweets and other forms of citation are comparable to receiving an inbound link to your site. The more of these that you accumulate, the more it indicates that you are providing some sort of value, and the better it is for brand awareness and driving traffic to your site. Furthermore, based on the nature of social shares " people share things that are helpful " there is a correlation between great content and volume of social shares (another indication of the importance of remarkable content for SEO).
Social Signals Also Indicate Credibility...
92% of consumers trust the recommendations of friends and family more than any form of advertising. And increasingly, these recommendations are moving online via social media. Social signals are like digital word-of-mouth; when people share, talk about or endorse something on social media, they are telling their network that it is trustworthy and worth their time.
Furthermore, consumers now expect to be able to find brands, products, and services on social platforms. If they have a question they can tweet the company and expect a response. Similarly, consumers can use a brand's Facebook page to research new products and read comments from consumers who have bought that product or used that service. Consumers can connect with one another online, sharing, tweeting and citing, which can help build brand authority and increase SEO performance.
There are two simple ways to increase your websites social signals both on your website and off. They include:
1. Website elements:
- Share buttons (like, recommend, tweet)
- Social profile connect icons (Like our Facebook page, Follow us on Twitter)
- Your Blog
2. External elements:
- Social media profiles ( Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn)
- Pinterest boards
- Youtube account
- Guest blog postingIn today's digital world you must integrate social into your online marketing. Social is earned media, and earned media is always more trusted than paid media. If you fail to utilize social media as a tool, you are letting a formidable opportunity pass you by.