It’s been a while since I did a new entry in my “SEO Speak” series the last entry being in January about what a content strategy is and how it impacts your SEO. However, with all the recent talk of changes to algorithms with Panda and Penguin, the SEO community has begun talking more and more about the importance of Social Signals to your rankings.
So what does this term really mean?
A social signal is an interaction with your website on one of the social media websites, such as a +1 on Google, a Facebook Like,a Tweet with a link to your site in it and now a Pin on Pinterest with a link to an image on your site. These interactions are read by Google and are seen to be a measure of how popular your site or content is. So the more of these social signals you can get the more Google will perceive your site to be important.
The increase in use of the term “social signal” really started to come about when Google launched Google+ as their social media site in competition with Facebook. Although Google were a bit late to the party, only making their service widely available to the public in September last year they have made it clear that they value social interactions with your website as being an important part of the search marketing world today. In January they began talking about “Search Plus Your World” Demonstrations of Google’s new importance on social have come through with the introduction of Social reports in Google Webmaster Tools and more recently Google Analytics.
As part of “Search Plus Your Word” Google are also promoting people’s social profiles in the SERPs so people who have connected they blog profile with their Google+ page will appear with an image and author name in the results, pushing interaction of people searching with real people. If you are a Google+ user Google will also promote search results for pages which have been +1′d by people in your circles.
So what does this mean for your Search Marketing?
Well, as these social signals become more prevalent and as you need to be making more use of social media sites to promote your business.
More and more you will see results with Author bios and promotion of pages which your contacts have +1′d. This means that the SERPs are very responsive to websites which have these social elements.
So, as I mentioned in my new year’s resolution blog in January; 2012 is the year to become social!
Social Signals also mean it’s more important to create great content which people will want to share as this opens the door for people sharing your content on other sites such as social bookmarking sites like Reddit, StumbleUpon and Digg.
What should I be doing?
Well, by now you should be up and running with pages on the major social media sites which are relevant to your market place.
Make sure that you are regularly engaging with your audience on these forums with news, conversation and monitoring what they are saying about you.
Make sure that the content on your website is easy to share on the social networks by using social share buttons on the
If your bloggers have Google+ pages ask them to connect their author biog on your blog to their Google profile.
Consider running paid social media campaigns as well, which can be used to interact with people who meet your target demographic, this can help to get more people to your site or could be used to create more Facebook Likes.
These are just some of the ways you can take advantage of Social Media and hopefully gives you a good view of what we are talking about when we discuss “social signals”.