Two years back, #seo expert Danny Sullivan explored how #socialmedia signals affected search engine rankings. Back then, he surmised that while Facebook remains irrelevant to Google, retweets has become an invaluable part of building links. Immediately after, Google mogul Matt Cutts confirmed that organic SEO is indeed influenced by social media signals.
Although many SEO professionals are still evaluating the extent of social signal’s effect on rankings, various research studies prove that they are correlated to an increase in site traffic, rankings, and consequently, revenue.
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Social signals affect rankings in two ways: direct and indirect. Direct social media ranking signals include:
· Facebook likes and shares
· Twitter followers and retweets
· Tweets where your brand is indicated or which pertain to a linkback to your site
· Individuals who included you in their Google+ circles
On the other hand, indirect influence is directed by these factors:
· Inbound links and mentions
This is the most important role of social media. The more linkbacks and social media mentions you procure, the more brand awareness and online visibility you raise. In fact, inbound links , especially from high quality sites, are far more important as a ranking criteria than social media and Matt Cutts has made this pretty clear.
· Positive feedback in Google, Yelp and other similar sites
Through social networking channels, businesses are able to create a distinct and presentable image for their brand. More importantly, it allows them to establish genuine customer connection and trust and boost customer loyalty. This is turn, increases the likelihood of more positive reviews on sites like Google Local and Yelp.
Positive reviews mean satisfied customers. The number of positive feedback directly affects local and national search rank. The more satisfied clients you have tweeting about you or promoting you on their Facebook accounts, the better chances you have of attaining a higher ranking.
· Less bounce rate and longer visitor time on website
Decreased bounce rate means visitors are pleased with your web content, thus compelling them to spend more time on-site. Similarly, if more consumers are aware of your brand through social media, then the higher chances you have of acquiring repeat visits, and the longer time-on-site you have. Google is able to accurately gauge if a website did satisfy customer queries and how many repeat visits there are to the same site, which makes this metric an effective tool for increasing organic search ranks.
There’s also that recent implementation of Google AuthorRank, which is aimed at identifying credible authors so that their content do not just receive higher search engine rankings, but also give more value to their outbound links.
While the impact of social signals are still under continuous study, their expanding role in algorithms that pertain to ranking can not be denied. Companies who welcome social media signals with open arms and eyes have been proven to enjoy wonderful benefits in terms of lead conversion, customer loyalty and awareness, word-of-mouth advertising and ultimately, profit.