By now, you probably already know that social media affects SEO. The ultimate goal of the search engines is to provide users with results that are highly relevant to their interests. By incorporating social signals into their algorithms, the major search engines are now able to provide results that are more personalized to the individual searcher.
But what exactly are the social signals that are important for SEO? And what does all of this mean for you? Read on to find out, and share your own thoughts by leaving a comment at the end of this post.
Sharing and participation amongst friends
If you’re signed in on Google and perform a search, you’ll notice that many of the search results have annotations showing which of your friends shared this link on various social networks. In the eyes of Google (and other search engines), a search result has more relevance to you if one of your friends liked it than if no one you know has liked it.
Simply put, people trust their friends and other people in their social circles. Whenever you’re looking for a recommendation for a good restaurant, you’re more likely to go to the place one of your close friends recommends than the place some restaurant reviewer you’ve never heard of gave 5 stars.
Level of influence
Not all sharing is created equal. The whole premise of incorporating social signals into search is that a link that people share must be valuable, and if that link is shared by users with high influence, it must be even more valuable. In other words, a link that’s Tweeted by someone with 10,000 followers will be seen as more important than one shared by a guy with 5 followers.
Level of influence matters when it comes to social media and SEO. What does this mean for your SEO efforts? It means you need to strive to get your content shared by the influencers in your niche. That requires building relationships with them over time, so that they’ll begin to notice you, read your content, and share it with their followers.
Volume of shares
Finally, the total number of times a link has been shared across the various social media sites influences its ranking. It makes sense when you think about it. If one link was shared 500 times and another was only shared 2 times, it’s a strong indication that the first link has more importance and relevance than the other.
This means you really need to focus on making your content easy to share, interesting, unique, and relevant to the needs of your audience. And you have to put in the work to really promote it on Facebook, Twitter, Digg, ReddIt…you name it. The more your content gets shared, the better it will be for your SEO efforts.
How do you think social media affects SEO? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.