We have seen many instances over the last two years of social media sites like Facebook, Google+, and Twitter affecting the search engines. I see this having a positive and negative impact on marketing using SEO and search engines in general.
In the past, search engines used their best tools to evaluate the huge amounts of information they catalog in order to provide valuable search results for their users. Remember, google produces nothing on their own. They simply catalog and deliver other users content. Their job is to find you the most relevant and valuable content for your search term. If they deliver too much junk, then the Google users can go elsewhere for their search needs. This was true of the search engines of the past (dogpile, altavista, etc). They died a slow death due to poor results.
Having that in mind, how have things changed in the world of web content?
How Has Facebook, Google , LinkedIn, Twitter, and Social Media affected SEO (Search Engine Optimization)?
Facebook has grown and is nearing an IPO
This has huge ramifications as it validates the fact that Facebook has value beyond it’s current user base. If and when Facebook goes public, they will be looking for more ways to improve customer and shareholder value. This has included Facebook integrating with bing to show who of your friends likes a company, website, or link.
LinkedIn goes Public
LinkedIn has gone public in 2011 and is now rapidly evolving features past all other social media platforms. New features focused on delivering added value to advertisers are popping up. Recent features include the addition of LinkedIn skills to user profiles. This allows advertisers and recruiters to find candidates more easily, but also provides yet another way of using your information to determine your relevance to the subject matter people are searching for.
The addition of company pages and twitter like functions have given a new context, business, by which we can measure relevance of shared content.
Google launches Google+ and personalized search
We all heard he hype about Google+ taking over Facebook’s marketshare. We also know that it was not all that successful at first. However, recently google has started adding several things to their search algorithm including the social sharing value of links.
What do I mean? Well Google now ranks content that is shared via Google+ as more relevant. There is speculation that they also look at Facebook and Twitter sharing (but it is unconfirmed). This makes sense as you realize that content that people review tends to be more valuable than something a computer chooses based on keyword density. In the past the “social vote” was based the number of back-links from relative sites. So the more backlinks from credible websites you had, the Higher your page ranks.
Fast forward to now, if a credible person shares your link or gives you a +1, than this is q “social vote” for your webpage. The only question is, how do they begin to measure the value of way user to prevent “social spamming”, whereby users create bogus twitter accounts for sharing their content and making it appear like they are more popular than they really are.
Some sites like Klout.com might change that, but there are many flaws in the Social Scoring marketplace.
The other thing that Google has quietly done is Personalized Search. When you sign up for Google+, you have the option of turning on Personalized search results where google will show you hints it thinks are more relevant to you personally based on your past searches.
Although it is a bit big brother, it is interesting all the same. This likely means that all the old SEO techniques are going to be less effective.
So how do you stay ahead of this trend?
Social Optimization: Staying Ahead in SEO Using 4 Tips
1. Add Social Sharing Buttons to your Blog or Content
This will allow users the ability to share your content on social sites. At a minimum, Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ should be included. Others like Digg and social bookmarking sites are ok too, but focus your users on a few methods instead of 10 or 15 sharing options.
2. Build a Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, or Facebook Presence
Don’t go crazy on each site, but at least begin cultivating your presence on one of the sites that best suites your business goals. If you want to know which site to choose go to SimpleMediaMarketing.com and grab my free Social Media QuickStart Guide.
3. Locate and Connect with Thought Leaders in Your Field
Just like the famous Napolean Hill (Author of Think and Grow Rich) said, you need to surround yourself with people who support your goals and add value you to your Definite Desires. Connecting with people on Social Networks and adding value to their lives will add credibility to yours. Not to mention that it will expose you to all of their friends or followers which could position you as a thought leader as well.
4. Create Compelling Titles and Content
The single most important online marketing tip is to create great content. The new social media influence has put an increased focus on interesting titles. People read magazines because of titles. Great titles convey the topic well and focus on the end result. They set an expectation of what you will get out of it if you take the time to read it.
In the past days of SEO, people jammed keywords in heir titles and as long as the sentence was readable, google was none the wiser.
As people begin sharing your content, the title becomes just as important as the article titles do to the magazines in the checkout line of the grocery store. Focus on titles that say things like “3 ways to…”, “How to…” or “4 Tips for…”.
If you want more tips on how social media can impact the reach of your content go to www.SimpleMediaMarketing.com