Confirmed! Social Media Impacts Search Engine Optimization
While today the search engine algorithms rely heavily on links for ranking pages, it only makes sense that the search engines will have to increasingly weigh social factors into their algorithms. Over the last few years, the dominant “voting” mechanism to judge quality content on the internet has been the lowly hyperlink. The landscape is evolving however as new social media platforms are allowing users to easily share quality content by simply clicking a “like” button or “tweeting” about a page – No HTML markup required.
A recent interview with Google and Bing has revealed that links shared through social media sites like Twitter and Facebook have a direct impact on search engine rankings. SEO professionals have often considered this, the interview revealed some other important findings.
What are the likely social factors that influence search?
Both search engines confirmed that the social authority of a user does matter and is used as a signal for relevancy. Bing looks at how many people the user follows and how many follow them. In addition, Google considers how many people shared a particular link.
The user’s authority is computed and evaluated by the search engine. This includes everyone from celebrities to authors, in order to determine the relevance of their tweet. Evaluating these link-sharing activities based on who is sharing them is referred to as “author authority” by Google and “social authority” by Bing.
Now, you’re probably thinking to yourself, “That’s great – but what does all of this mean to me?” Here are a few factors that may play a factor in social sharing and the relevance of the link:
- As with links posted on blogs and websites, having 50 tweets from one account isn’t as valuable as having 50 tweets from 50 unique accounts.
- The amount of “thumbs up,” clicks, “likes,” and retweets may impact how much weight is given to a specific link. And, it’s a two-way street. Make sure you’re retweeting and interacting with others so there is mutual engagement.
- Along with you being considered a high-authority follower, it helps to have high authority followers and friends.
- The content of your post or tweet can play a factor. When writing, pay special attention to the content and include one to two specific keywords when possible, without sounding clunky.
- The consistency and patterns of your sharing behavior could also play a factor. For example, let’s say you’re a real estate agent. Linking to a home renovation article will have much more of an impact than if you link to a fashion-related blog.
- The search engines may associate you with the site you’re a part of. For example, if you continually share stories or articles from your website, it might be less effective than when you share links from different sites.
- Tweet and post often. Search engines like fresh content from sites that are frequently updated. This also helps with user interaction. If they know you’re continually providing relevant information, they’ll keep coming back.
- Gain digital PR. Aside from links, getting an endorsement from influential members of your industry is helpful – you’ll get more followers and more important, more “high authority” followers.