If you work in the SEO and/or Social Media, you cannot help but notice how, with strong coaxing from Google, these two sectors are quickly becoming one. I am going to explain to you three key reasons why this is true today.
Last week, a person looking for SEO (Search Engine Optimization) services for his new business left a post asking for advice on Google+. He mentioned that he was looking for someone to help him create backlinks as quickly as possible. He also mentioned that he did not see the need to get very involved in Social Media.
In a later Google+ Hangout business panel that I host each week, I mentioned this matter to the other members of the panel – a business associate of mine named Jesse Wojdylo.
Jesse said “Social Media IS the new SEO!” All on the panel agreed with Jesse’s aha-moment. I made a note to myself to write something about what Jesse said before he could do so himself and take all the credit. (Love ya, Jesse)
If you expect to do well with SEO and with your SERP (Social Media Results Pages) results, Social Media engagement needs to become a big part of the equation.
If you are scratching your head about what “Social Signals” means, yes, it is one of those jingoistic terms that have emerged in the Social Media Space. It refers to what used to be known as “recommendations” but has now has evolved to“like”, “retweet”, “+1” or, hot-off-the press over on Linkedin, “endorse”.
Jingoistic as the term may be, Social Signals are becoming extremely important in the world of SEO. These signals do not play a direct role in your SERP rankings. Yet, they do provide more visibility and awareness of the individual or organization that is receiving these signals.
Google and Bing both pay attention to these signals. This is especially true if you click on a link from a Search Results page and give that web page a “+1”, or one of the other methods available for recommending content.
For example, when you click a +1 button, you relay to Google that the page you have viewed and “plussed” is more relevant to you than other results. The +1 button exists to provide relevancy feedback. Over time, personal search results reflect which sites, articles, blogs, or white papers you recommended through your “Social Signal”.
See it and believe it. If you are familiar with Google Analytics, I want you to go to your account after reading this article and click on “Traffic Sources”, select “Sources, and then “All Traffic”. More often than not, you are going to see the referrals from Social Media platforms listed near the top of the places that refer links to your website.
I am the CEO of TekPersona, and Google+ is my preferred Social Media home base. From almost the very day Google+ Brand Pages were rolled out, “plus.google.com” has been the #3 referrer to my corporate web site. Only direct and organic searches bring us more traffic. Facebook follows right behind, followed by Twitter and LinkedIn.
No matter what business you are in, posting content on Social Media Forums (which frankly represent your very own audience of relevant connections) will result in more views of your website. You also give millions of people the opportunity to provide feedback on what you do, and how well you are doing it.
If you do NOT post content created via a link on Social Media, you are giving up a potential audience of hundreds of millions of people. Some of these people might be looking for exactly what your business provides. Does my business get customers directly from our Social Media posts? Absolutely we do, and this is true of each of the four Social Media platforms where my business has a presence.
As for SEO, consider what happens should you write something about your business, or on a subject relevant to your business. Your writing might go viral with thousands or more views, resulting in hundreds of Social Signals. Done correctly, a guest blog post can temporarily represent a back link to your website. Do this once or twice a week, and do you think that will not help your SERPs? You better believe it does.
You want to be looking to post your content on sites with greater or equal PageRank than your own. I do not have to tell anyone in the SEO world what that can do for a site’s SERPs. Not only do you receive backlinks from wherever you put your content, you get links from the Social Media sites where you have shared your content as well. This creates even more opportunities to receive those valuable social signals.
Another associate of mine, Mark Traphagen was the first to turn me on to the potential benefits of Google Authorship – Google’s ways of attaching ‘Identity’ to the content you create. Though Google claims to not be considering Authorship for SERP rankings, Mark showed an example of his Google- Authored-Re-share of another person’s content. The result was that Mark ranked higher in a SERP result than the original author on the same page!
What is Google Authorship?
Google Authorship is a trust system between authors and Google for verifying your published content. An author inserts a (Rel= Author) tag in the HTML markup of their content, which links to the Google+ Profile of said author. The Author’s profile, linked to an associated Verified Brand Page, gives Google the information needed for verification. In turn, Google inserts the profile photo of the author, along with their associated content within search results.
The very day Mark Traphagen shared this gem with me, I signed up, and we have been using Google Authorship in all of our published content ever since. While articles and other content written might not contribute to SERPs, I have never seen a share of any of my articles outrank one with my authorship attached. One of the additional benefits of Google Authorship is that it provides a level of protection from site scrapers and plagiarists.
Authorship also enhances Corporate and Personal Branding. Authorship provides additional verification to those who might perform a search on you or your organization, tying your business to the content that actually belongs to you. I don’t have to explain the value of this to a business. Indeed, if a prospective customer can see your image or company logo alongside your quality content, that can only help.
There is no doubt that in every way, Social Media has become of huge importance with respect to SEO. It is not only about where you rank in SERPs, but the ability to provide better quality of information than your competition. You want search results about your business to be both relevant and timely.
I strongly believe that tools like Google Authorship, Social Signals and Referrals from Social Media will over time come to dominate what you see in both your personal and global search results. This can only mean that Social Media, as my friend Jesse said, IS the new SEO.