Our clients often ask us if social media influences rankings. Is it worth the time and money for a small business owner to invest in sites like Facebook, Twitter, Houzz, Google+, and Pinterest?
It may not seem like a top priority compared to other things. But with the release of Hummingbird and the growing focus on building trust with Google, it’s more important than ever to focus on developing a social media strategy. If you don’t have time to implement one and build out your social networking profiles, just give us a call and we’ll do it for you!
Personalized Search Results
If you are signed onto your Google account and type in a search, you’ll receive personalized search results. That means you’re likely to see content from users in your circles or that your friends on Google+ have “+1ed”.
So if your potential customers search something like “HVAC company in Baltimore,” they’ll probably see a business their friends have recommended at the top of the results.
It may not seem like Google+ gets a lot of use compared to Facebook. But as a small business owner, it should be a critical part of your marketing strategy. This is actually a great example of how social media affects SEO. Here’s why:
Establishing Google authorship can improve your click-through-rate. Though there’s been a decline in Google authorship results since mid-December, having that photo next to your links tends to improve your click-through-rate—which of course affects your SEO!
Google+ pages are often included in the top results. So by optimizing your Google+ page with relevant shares and accurate contact information, you could get some extra visits—and even leads!
Links shared on Google+ have their own canonical URL. This can boost your link authority and trust in the eyes of Google.
Though it’s still in beta, Google+ is also beginning to offer pay-to-promote options for its users—check out our recent blog on new Google+ display ads for more information!
More Engagement Means More Authority
Google views engagement on social media sites as an important part of gaining authority on the internet. That means that when your clients retweet and share posts on Twitter, for instance, it can directly influence your search engine rankings! The same is true of other search engines where people are “liking” or sharing your content.
Not only can this increase the number of inbound links to your site, improving your credibility, but it shows how popular your content is as well. This can improve your rankings and you may also notice social media profiles showing up near the top of branded searches as well—so it’s worth taking the time to optimize them for improved conversion rates!
Developing a Social Media Strategy
Building out a social media strategy can certainly affect SEO and improve your search engine rankings, helping you gain authority as a company—but it must be executed properly to be successful.
Of course, you’ll want to get involved on the basic sites, like Facebook and Twitter with Google+ being a top priority. But don’t just build a profile and let it sit there—use this opportunity to connect with your clients! To get started, I recommend you:
Optimize your social media profiles using keywords in your “about” section and linking back to the core services on your website
Make sure you have accurate and consistent contact information on all social media websites
Respond to any negative reviews or complaints your clients make on these sites
Answer any questions your clients may have
Build albums with photos that appeal to your prospective clients
A very visual business, like a landscape design firm or a remodeling company, should also make the most of sites like Pinterest and Houzz to display their work and hopefully generate some conversions. While there’s no proven formula for success, I have seen our clients rank directly from social media sites like these that have a high level of user engagement:
Keep in mind, though, that not all niche-based social media sites will work for all businesses. An HVAC company or a plumber, for example, probably won’t benefit from such visually-oriented social media sites like Houzz. Be sure to do your research and evaluate which sites could work for your business and appeal to your target customers. And if you need help developing a social media strategy to improve your rankings and help you generate authority with Google, just give us a call!
About The Author: Lexie serves as Blue Corona's Content Marketing Manager. She's also the author of our soon-to-be famous, and someday to be written white paper, "Horse Hat SEO: Giddy-Up Your Google Rankings."
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