When we discuss SEO we are essentially talking about your website’s credibility in major search engines. Google, Bing, and Yahoo first and foremost want to make sure their customers are happy. They do this by providing the most valuable and relevant search results possible. And as we’re aware they use advanced algorithms that online marketers are consistently trying to crack. An example would be a comparison of Police Radar vs. The Radar Detector. As more and more marketers try to “game the system” search engines are now constantly looking for better methods to determine if a website is a legitimate and credible source for information.
With the rise of online social media platforms search engines are now including social signals as one of the credibility factors to produce more accurate results. Social signals can be defined simply as the activity taking place on a social media platform. If factored correctly social signals bring a unique element that can reliably produce credibility. What is that element? The crowd of users. If lots of reliable sources in the crowd (social media platforms) are sharing particular information (posts, images, news, etc…), then it must be worth something, correct? Yes.
At Raincross Marketing we are often asked this question:
“How does social media affect our SEO?”
And in all honesty that’s a difficult question to answer. No one has the full answer to that question yet. Don’t let someone or some company tell you that they do.
What we do know is this:
“Search engines are now factoring social signals into rankings.”
In the past two years, Google and Bing both announced that links shared on social platforms do indeed affect your rankings. Inbound links are major factors in SEO rankings and the more credible and higher ranking the source that linked to you, the more opportunity to enhance your own rankings. This same logic is now being applied to social signals. The more your link is tweeted, liked or shared by authoritative sources, the better for your rankings.
As we all know from using social media there is a consistent and overwhelming stream of links and content. What search engines are attempting to identify, similar to web sites linked to other sites, is the authority and credibility of the social content. Who are these sources? Where are the links and content are coming from? Once they establish the credibility they assign how much weight these social signals will carry. Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter have a special “no-follow’ code on all outbound links, so that the search engines will not categorize those as directly from the their social platform. Search engines know to handle those user links as social signals. Within those links, they look at the following:
- Authority of the source
- Profile of the source
- Number of followers from the source
- Who the source follows
- How long they have been users
- The source’s activity level
Similar to getting an inbound link to your site from “The Press Enterprise”, a link in a tweet or a link in a post from a highly authoritative profile will carry a much stronger social signal weight.
So to wrap up we do know that search engines are now factoring social media activity into their rankings. What we still don’t know is how these social signals will evolve as search engines identify what is and what isn’t reliable.
This means you need to start, continue and improve your social media activity to assure that you providing consistent content and links now and in the future.