There’s a lot of talk right now about the impact of Social Media on SEO – how important it is for businesses to be building online communities, monitoring mentions of their brand online and connecting with customers throughout the web. Social media is churning up so much data that can be tracked and mapped that it is inevitably becoming the backbone of the internet. For a growing number of consumers, Facebook has become the window through which they browse and view the web. Think about it… you probably know at least a few people that have never even opened the web browser on their smart phone – they go straight to the Facebook app!
Any business seeking to participate in the internet (and quite possibly the economy) of tomorrow MUST understand social media.
The companies investing in social media today are going to be the winners tomorrow – from an SEO standpoint and in general – as the internet evolves to take into account how they fit into the overall community online:
Do they have a fan-base and if so, how many fans do they have?
What are the demographics on that fan-base?
Is the overall sentiment about the company positive or negative?
How do they measure up against their competitors?
All of this data online is increasingly quantifiable and will play a greater role in the organic search engine results. Why? Because metrics like these provide search engines with rich insights into how authoritative your company is – which is key to your long-term SEO success. Authorities matter – everything else is just noisWhile everyone in the SEO community chitter chats away about the latest Google algorithm updates, recognize this: If you want to rank well organically, establish yourself and your company as THE authority for what you do in the markets you do it. There are no tricks and no (worthwhile) shortcuts. It’s really that simple.
If you’re not tending to your online presence yet, prepare to get washed away as the internet evolves without you!
Social Media = New Metrics
Social networks are adding more and more human data to the internet than you can imagine. There are over 500 million users on Facebook and each user has filled out a profile with unbelievable amounts of detail – age, gender, location, interests and much more. Users are connected through an ever-expanding network of friends, family, and colleagues. Think about the amount of information about yourself that is online: Work history, relationship status, relationship preferences (if you are on online dating sites), shopping history, TV/movie/music preferences, subscriptions, browsing preferences – the list could go on and on! Who we are and how we interact with others is increasingly becoming quantifiable with data that can be tracked and mapped.
What’s even more important is that we are continually volunteering this information for a more custom online experience. And this is where the beginning of the new internet begins – an online experience that blends and replicates the “social graph” of the offline experience. As more “social” data becomes available for websites to provide that “custom experience” that users desire, where individuals and companies rank in the “social graph” is going to play an important role in how they interact online.
The Beginning of This Trend: KLOUT and Influencer Ratings
The beginning of this trend has already begun with the emergence of tools that measure “influence.” If you are on Twitter, visit the website Klout.com and type in your Twitter username. You will receive an in-depth analysis of your “influence” and network. This is much more than the mere number of followers you have. Your Klout score is based on a broad spectrum of data including @Replies, RTs, and DMs.
For those of you who don’t speak Twitter, the data is based on how you interact with your network – how many people are sharing your content, interacting with you, clicking your links. It looks at who the influencers are in your network and who you are influencing. While Klout has its flaws, and its application is still fairly abstract it serves as a glimpse into the future of what it means to manage an online presence.
What It Means for Businesses
This evolution of the internet to incorporate more social metrics and data means that is no longer enough to just have a website. Your company needs to become a part of the overall online community with engaged fans and social credibility. Think about the Klout score for your business and what indicators may be used to rank your company on the internet of tomorrow:
How many people are connected with your business?
What are people saying about your company online? Is it positive or negative?
When people ask a question, does your business provide an answer?
Are you responsive to your customers?
Are people recommending you to their friends?
When you share something online, how is it received? Are people clicking on your links or do your posts go ignored (or even blocked)?
Who are the influencers in your network and what are they saying?
Who do YOU influence and how big are their networks?
All of these points and more are going to become central to your company’s online presence as the internet evolves. It is more important now than ever to begin building and shaping your company’s presence through social media so that you can help shape your online credibility. Search giants like Google and Bing have acknowledged that social media has begun to play a role in their algorithms that determine how you business ranks on the page.
It is inevitable that as the data becomes more organized and available, it will play an even more significant role. The internet, and quite possibly the economy overall, is rapidly evolving. Is your business going to be ready for it?
About The Author: Ben Landers is the President and CEO of Blue Corona, a data-driven, inbound internet marketing company. Submit an inquiry to book Ben to speak at your next conference or event.
View more blogs by Ben Landers
“This has by far been the best return on investment I’ve ever seen. This has opened up another door for revenue to come in. My website has turned into my best sales rep. The company markets itself! ”