How social media affects SEO?
31.10.2012 by Kristjan Raude
Social media is one of the most popular activities online. Facebook is the most visited webpage worldwide. YouTube and Twitter are also in top 15 most visited sites on the web (look at the statistics here). The average Facebook user in U.S. spends 8 hour per month on Facebook (Mashable). The total number of minutes spent on Facebook each month is 700 billion (Statisticbrain)!
As proven, social media is such an important medium that search engines have paid more attention to social results. Search engine king Google has added social results to its algorithms. Google+ influences search results more than any other social network. Social media has never before been so important for SEO.
Social media influence on SEO
Indication on search results – Google and Bing search engines show a thumbnail picture or a marking of a result that has been shared or liked by someone related to the user. Separate marking raises click-through-rate and thereby page visits.
Authors – Google+ account can be associated with articles and posts published by a user. That means a picture of the author is displayed on search result. The idea is to help users to discover great content. Picture makes the search result stand out from the crowd and more easily follow articles from a specific person. It also creates more trust. Read more how to connect G+ account with author information from Google Webmaster Tools.
Another concept related to the authors that influence search results is AuthorRank. Google considers various factors when calculating AuthorRank, for example the average PageRank of an author’s content, the number of G+ circles an author is in, the number of +1’s and shares authors posts get etc. SEOmoz explains in detail what is AuthorRank and how it affects search results.
Links – Social media is an excellent opportunity for creating backlinks. You can direct followers to your website where they get more information about a specific topic and create social buzz. You can also share links answering LinkedIn questions, make tweets in Twitter, post news on Google+ and Facebook etc. Each social network is an extra chance for creating links.
Pages get indexed faster –Data by White Fire SEO claims that tweeting cuts indexation time by 50%. Google+ has also a great impact on reducing the indexation period by +1 the page.
Better positions on search results – The more people are talking about your business the better ranking your page gets from Google. Social media is a perfect tool for creating active communication and discussions with your clients who share and like your posts.
A study made by SEOmoz revealed that Facebook shares have the most influence on SEO. A shared post reaches through the fan to his friend’s walls increasing the social impact. Likes and comments have also an important position in obtaining a better correlation in search engine positions. Twitter has less impact on search results, but Twitter is important for gaining links. In this survey, SEOmoz didn’t consider Google+ results, they only compared the impact of Facebook and Twitter on SEO.
Knowing that shares help to improve the search results most effectively, more attention should be given to content to encourage sharing. The easiest way to boost sharing is to add plug-in to your website that enables sharing content. Besides affecting the search results content shared by users generates more trust and your message reaches to wider audience.
When Google launched G+ the excitement was great and the amount of registered users increased rapidly. Soon enough the interest vanished and the amount of active users remained very low on G+. Compared to Facebook where average user spends 8 hours a month Google+ gets only 3 minutes visiting time per month. Nevertheless, Google+ dominates on Facebook and any other social network on Google search results.
Google has directly linked Google+ accounts and +1’s with search results. The fastest way to get your site indexed is by +1 it. Google+ increases the page rank and influences search results more than other social channels. Google follows shares, +1’s and the authority of people engaged. The higher the authority of people engaged with your businesses’ social media account the higher is the ranking by Google.
Google Plus Your World
Google launched Google Plus Your World in the beginning of the year. The objective of this update was to personalize search results for users. Personalized results include pages shared or liked by people connected to you. Google links your friends’ interests with your interests as users trust their friends and acquaintances more than search engines, meaning that personal search results are more trustworthy. Social results make search more social than ever before and businesses who want to take advantage of social impact on SEO must take social networks with full seriousness.
The study conducted by SEOmoz mentioned earlier revealed that not only tweeting impacts SEO but also who is tweeting. The higher is the social reputation of a person tweeting about your business the higher impact it has over SEO. This helps Google to determine the quality of the page. The amount of tweets also has a great effect on SEO, more tweets means greater impact on search results. The impact Twitter has on search results occurs rapidly. A page can be indexed a lot faster if someone tweets about the page. Also, the search position can increase just within few hours.
Social media is everything but fad. Social media has come to stay and search engines play an important role in it. Businesses who have avoided social media like a plague should reconsider their statements and create social media accounts as soon as possible. The question is not about trend but competitor advantage. Social media is another tool that brings great success when used wisely.