Social Signals and their Growing Influence over SEO
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) used to be the ultimate means to achieving top rankings in the search engine results pages (SERPs). More than a decade ago, when search engine marketing was still in its infancy, it was easy to dupe the search engines into believing how relevant a page was to a particular search term.
Years later, after several versions of search algorithms, the search engines evolved into highly sophisticated programs. SEO became an industry that was reserved only for the elite. And even among the elite, SEO was a cutthroat endeavor.
Then social media came along. The birth of Friendster, MySpace, Twitter and Facebook, to name a few, ushered in a new billion-dollar industry. At first, social media represented a stand-alone channel for marketing brands or for getting the word out about a certain cause.
Social media used to constitute a separate Internet marketing channel that offered instant traffic, but became more effective at creating brand awareness. Despite their effectiveness, social media initially had no influence over how a site or a web page ranked in the search engines.
But because of the growing influence of social media over how brands, products, or services are perceived and interacted with by stakeholders, the search engines no longer ignore it.
In fact, today, social media play a vital role in SEO. Because more people are turning to social media channels such as blogs, social networking sites, social bookmarking sites, and video-sharing sites to find things that interest them, search engines now factor in social signals to determine a site’s ranking.
To prove how social media influence a site’s search ranking, Texas-based digital marketing company TastyPlacement did a remarkable study on the subject (shown in their infographic below).
TastyPlacement promoted five different websites using the following five different ways of social media activities:
- Google+ followers
- Number of Google+ +1’s
- Facebook shares
- Tweets and retweets
- Number of Twitter followers
The results showed compelling evidence of how social signals influence a site’s placement on Google.
SEO significantly changed to include social media, a compelling array of marketing and communication channels. By including an active social media campaign into your online marketing mix, you will have a better chance of dominating your niche in the competitive search market.
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