Social Media SEO Benefits: Why it’s Important in Today’s Business Marketing World
“Social media” and “Search Engine Optimization”…two phrases that are repeated over and over again on blogs, in business meetings and across business marketing forums – for good reason. Social media, as we know, has changed the way humans interact on a daily basis while Search Engine Optimization represents the most vital factor when taking into consideration “website ranking;” if you own a business, you want YOUR company’s website to be listed atop the search engines when potential customers begin their online queries.
But how does social media SEO benefits influence search engine rankings? Are any of the major search engines actually using social platforms to rank regular search results? Once upon a time, marketing types explored the possibility of social “signals” – i.e. platforms – affecting website rankings, but this was early on in the beginning days of social media when “scalable” link building was all the rage. There was no question why this tactic was so popular: It worked. But at the time, there weren’t too many who could have seen social media’s vast potential in the industry.
That was circa December 2010.
Fast-forward to 2014, where it’s already been established that social media does, in fact, play a role in organic SEO…though many marketing experts are still trying to ascertain just how powerful a role. Various studies have been conducted to establish the exact relationship between social media SEO benefits and SEO rankings, some of which have yielded varying results; yet it remains clear that the importance of social platforms is increasing with every year that passes and that we’re headed into more of a social media-driven landscape.
To this end, experts such as those at Multiverse Media Group have begun to seriously take a look at social media SEO benefits and factors such as:
- How and why social media “signals” improve rankings
- The future of social media signals with regard to SEO
- The steps that should be taken at this immediate time to improve a website’s social signal
Our goal here at Multiverse Media Group is to help our clients develop not only a fundamental understanding of the critical elements comprising social media platforms as they relate to SEO, but essentially achieve the true success of online marketing: Increased website traffic and, ultimately, revenue.
Social Media SEO Benefits 101:
How and Why Do Social Media Applications Improve SEO Rankings?
First and foremost in the analysis of social media SEO benefits, we believe that social media has both a direct and indirect impact on organic search rankings.
Direct impact derives its essential foundation from:
- The number of individuals that “like” your brand on Facebook
- The amount of Facebook “shares”
- The amount of Twitter followers
- The number of Tweets that mention your brand name or feature a link to your website
- The amount of people that “keep you in their circles” via platforms such as Google +
Indirect impact is derived via:
- Increased inbound links and citations courtesy of improved brand awareness and online visibility
- Increased positive reviews on Yelp, Google Local, et al from satisfied customers
- Decreased “bounce rate,” increased time-on-site numbers and more repeat visitors to your website
Taking a Closer Look at the Indirect Impact Elements Social Media Has on Organic Search Rankings
Beginning with the first bullet point we cited above – increased inbound links and citations courtesy of improved brand awareness and online visibility – the bottom line is that if you and your company are able to be found online, you are then able to be linked to…and these links are still the most important and valuable ranking factor. So much so that many marketing gurus continue to believe that links are actually more vital than the social “signals” of social media platforms.
Still, there is the “increased positive reviews” factor to take into consideration. With social media being regularly utilized as an extension of a company’s modern day customer service department, users can now “tweet” to a company…and expect their tweet to be answered. Similarly, customers can receive support for a new product on a company’s Facebook page, thus rescuing them from the ambiguous automated phone menu systems and sometimes uncooperative outsourced customer service departments.
Studies have shown that this easier access to a company and its resources aids in users feeling closer and developing a more “organic” connection with the brand; further, customer loyalty, customer trust and, ultimately, better reviews on sites like Google Local and Yelp are eventual outcomes thanks to this tactic. We have been saying for years that participating in social media channels – which are even available to CEOs – brings brands closer to the consumers they’re serving, while developing potential customers.
A brand’s social media “voice” has been proven to define its image while distinguishing it from a “distant entity” to a chic, trendy and on-the-bleeding-edge brand; just think about what Apple did with its now-famous “I’m a Mac, I’m a PC” ad campaigns, in which the older gentlemen (representing the PC) stood next to the younger, hipper kid in the trendy clothes (representing the Mac).
The amount of reviews and the positivity flowing within those reviews are two of the three largest factors in local search rankings. With that being the case, is it difficult to imagine Google using information such as that in its national rankings as well?
Finally, we have found that consumers familiar with a particular brand through established social media interaction are more likely to become repeat visitors of a website – and spend more time there. This, in turn, increases the average “time-on-site” metric we mentioned above, as a lower “bounce rate” is usually indicative of higher quality content. And isn’t that what you want on and for your own site?
Looking Toward the Future of Social Media and SEO
It may be difficult to absorb for those refusing to change with the times, but the truth is that companies that don’t have a robust social media strategy will be left in the proverbial dust by those that do…perhaps as soon as in two years’ time. Social media is quickly becoming the new essential key in terms of overall importance in the ranking algorithm game, with the aforementioned direct and indirect impacts on par to eventually surpass links as the most valuable ranking factor.
Why would this happen? There are a myriad of reasons, but from our perspective here are the major ones:
1. The World is Continuously Becoming More “Social Media-Centric”
It’s amazing to witness, but today’s youth are quickly becoming tomorrow’s big consumers (in some industries, they’ve become primary consumers) and they are raised on a regular diet of Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and other popular platforms. As this generation gets older, more consumers will spend more time on social media outlets/channels which is being poised to increase social “signals,” as those consumers interact with their favorite brands on the Internet. People already spend more time on their favorite social networks as opposed to search engines, and we see this gap continuing to grow.
2. Today’s Computer-Savvy Demographic Will Trust a Website Recommended by a Friend Over a Search Engine
Doesn’t seem that long ago that search engines were our go-to source for all information, does it? For many of us, that still rings true…but websites with a strong social presence are more easily shareable and accessible, thus easier to recommend. Search engines also have the ability to analyze these shares as recommendations, fueling the website’s credibility – and rankings.
3. Websites Boasting a Strong Social Presence Show Better Conversion Rates and Brand Loyalty
This one’s a no-brainer, because it ultimately leads to more sales, more word-of-mouth referrals and increased brand awareness…which all lead to inbound linking and more positive reviews.
Multiverse Media Group is a Jacksonville social media agency specializing in intuitive, forward-thinking social media services. From branding, optimization and setup to content creation, we have become our clients’ one-stop social media shop, utilizing social media management tactics for the modern world we live in.