Social media is a huge part of everyday life and the industry has grown rapidly since the days of MySpace and Bebo. Being interactive, engaging with friends/businesses and ‘Instagramming’ pictures of your Sunday dinner have become the norm and it is hard to see this changing anytime soon.
People will always want to communicate with each other and social media has given users the ability to easily share a funny cat video with someone thousands of miles away.
Aside from the personal benefits of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn etc. businesses are able to use the various social media outlets to improve brand awareness, increase Google rankings and improve conversion rates.
Social Media for Businesses
A recent study by Searchmetrics indicated that 7 of the top 11 ranking factors were social mediarelated. That’s 63%… Therefore as an SEO, it is essential to tick these boxes in order to rank well in the Google SERPs.
Google+ (3rd highest ranking signal)
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out that Google’s own social media platform is the highest ranking of the 5 main ones. The platform has developed a lot in a similar way to algorithms such as Panda and Penguin. With each update, the algorithms become more and more advanced, with new features and guidelines. Google+ is the same; the most influential aspect (IMO) being the Knowledge Panel/Graph.
A knowledge graph, in its simplest term, is the box that comes up on the right hand side of the Google SERPs page. Although there are a number of ways of getting a knowledge graph for your business, the easiest method I have found is to create a business Google+ page, containing a verified address, phone number and a little paragraph of company information. This is a great way of improving SEO factors such as click through rates, user generated content/business reviews and localisation.
Ultimately though, the ranking factor is Google+1’s, which are gained by creating shareable content, engaging with users and simply being friendly and helpful.
Facebook dominates the social media market and according to The Independent, it was valued at $192bn in July 2014. Everyone seems to be on Facebook now, from babies to Grannies, animals to businesses.
At Deepblue, once we take on a new client one of the first things we will determine is whether the client has a Facebook profile, how often posts are posted and how many ‘likes’ the page has.
Reverting back to the ranking factors, Facebook Shares (5th), Facebook Total (6th), Facebook Comments (7th) and Facebook Likes (10th) dominate the social media influence top 10. This indicates how important it is to have a presence on Facebook, engaging with people and generating content that is likely to be shared. (social link building discussed further on).
Businesses are really taking advantage of this social platform and the benefits it can create as a business owner. It provides a simple means of communication between the business and a potential customer, whether they are seeking guidance on a particular product, some help and advice or to lodge a complaint.
The main feature that can be used for SEOs and Earned Media departments alike is ‘trending’. A company, a hash tag, a certain keyword phrase trending is something these two departments aim for. It essentially means that a large number of people are talking about this specific phrase and ultimately, generating brand awareness, click through rates and social link building.
(Top trends 10/10/2014)
The ranking factor graph by Searchmetrics simply states ‘tweets’ as a ranking factor. I would suggest this is the number of tweets and how they engage with people and whether they are generating shares. Posting tweets irrelevant to the company or uninteresting facts aren’t going to get shared and are essentially pointless. Instead, you want to be generating shares and coverage by creating interesting, shareable content, explained further in this blog about generating great content.
Social link building
As a final word on social media and the benefits it creates, social linking has to be mentioned. I would suggest this is one of the most important things to be aiming to achieve as an SEO. It combines link building, social media and brand awareness, 3 huge factors that can be a great plus for any business.
This hugely ties in with content marketing, but creating something shareable is the pinnacle of succession on social media. The more impressions it receives, the more people see it and the more people click through it to your website the better.
Social competitions are a great tactic for this. Simply asking people to retweet, share and repost an image or link to win something is a great way to create some brand awareness and CTR.
Social media is a key ranking factor that shouldn’t be ignored. It is a great way to create brand awareness, increase click through rates and link build. Doing the basics is easy – being friendly, responsive and having a personality. The difficulty comes when you are trying to generate shareable content that will engage a large amount of people.