Social Media: Hype or does it really help you rank on Search Engines?
Link building is still an effective way to increase your search engine ranking. But now, links aren’t as easy to obtain anymore, especially those of high quality. Webmasters have been very stingy of giving out linkjuice to other people as they are wary of spammers. Many people block links to help combat spam. Links can be bought and sold, destroying the credibility of inbound links.
You could always email a webmaster and beg him to link to your website, but imagine he gets hundreds of emails like yours every single day. Your email is probably not read at all and just sent straight into the trash. Link building methods and ideas were being exhausted as time went by, until social media happened.
Instead of building or, rather, begging for backlinks, social media way better medium to obtain “votes” for your website. Even Google and Bing have admitted to referring to signals from social media sites to gauge your credibility. Does this mean link building has changed for the better?
Social Media Reputation and SEO
Much like how you can build backlinks by posting junk comments on any blog, anyone can also create numerous social media accounts and spam them to death. But, search engines don’t look at social media accounts and treat them equally. They are monitored for reputation.
Instead of having a thousand Twitter accounts so you can tweet amongst your fake accounts in hopes of making your website a trending topic, you might want to focus on having quality connections instead. When you have a social networking account with real, loyal subscribers, your content may be more likely passed around by people who trust you.
When I say search engines are monitoring your social accounts, its real. Bing and Google have admitted to looking at a person’s social account before considering your search engine ranking position. They monitor the amount of people you are following and how many are following you in return. They also take into account the activity of your social account, for example; how many posts you are making per day and how many people are interacting with you daily.
Getting connected with famous people
Considering the social accounts now also have PageRank, it pays to get connected with famous people on social media, as well as focus on getting the PageRank of your own social account up. When you get retweeted by a person on Twitter account with a PageRank of 7, that’s incredible link power. Not only that, your content is being retweeted by that person. That itself is social proof. A proof that your content is of value and is worth sharing. More people are likely to click through that link.
The biggest advantage of social media is getting recommendations. If getting a backlink from a website is considered a “vote”, getting someone to share your link on Facebook, being retweeted and +1’d are also forms of social voting.
As mentioned previously, it’s the same as getting “recommended” by a famous figure on Twitter. When people are passing around your content on social media, you are getting backlinks built automatically. And do you think your content will just stay on Facebook or Twitter? Well, I would say they would probably end up on several blogs as well, which will in turn invite more traffic and readers.
When Google launched +1, it was like a counter against Facebook. Google Plus since then became a “social recommendation” tool for Google’s own search engine. It was a way for Google to see if your website or content is worth, well, ranking high on the search engine.
+1 for #1
You’ve probably noticed that when someone in your Google Plus network +1’d a website, that website would have its search ranking enhanced.
They say word of mouth is the best advertising, and its true with social recommendations. It makes sense. If you are searching for something on Google and are returned with two results. One result looks like it has relevant information and the other, while it also looks like it has relevant information, twelve of your friends gave it +1. Which one would you rather click on?
Even for Adwords, you are starting to see Google Plus being integrated into the interface. This is also being done by Facebook as you would see that your friends also liked some of the ads. When tested, clickthroughs with ads with +1s went up significantly.
There is a significant disadvantage with this system though. If you are relying on a higher ad clickthrough rate and search engine ranking, your Google Plus network had better be huge. For these benefits, your prospect must have people in their network who have previously gave your website or ads a +1. What are the chances of this happening? There are people selling Google +1s. While I am not sure how this could add to your SEO campaign, I would probably avoid it. Those +1s aren’t from real people anyway.
How to Get Better Social Recommendation
If you want to increase social recommendation, here are some tips that may help you on your journey.
- Make more friends. While social media is not entirely a numbers game, it helps to have a huge base. When you have a huge number of friends or followers to work with, you have a higher chance of having your content shared. It also pays to be friends and interact with the big names. Get on their good side and they will help you.
- Improve your EdgeRank. EdgeRank is basically Facebook’s answer to page rank. EdgeRank simply determines which of your friends or fans are the most important to you. The things you post will appear to these people more frequently. This algorithm also determines which content or post should appear more frequently.
- Ask for shares or retweets. Don’t be shy. Just ask for shares or retweets. People on Facebook and Twitter usually don’t mind helping you out.
- Social Plugins. No one wants to go through the hassle of copying your link and then pasting it on their social account. Include social plugins so people can share your website on Facebook on the fly while they give you a +1 and tweet about the beautiful pictures on your website.