A brief history of social networks as a factor in SEO positioning
More than two years ago, in December 2010, Danny Sullivan wrote an insightful article about social networks and their influence on search engine positioning . The article explored the possibility that social networks could affect rankings, but the article was ahead of its time, a time that was dominated by scalable link building methods that were in vogue, since it was what really delivered results. , and no attention was paid to social networks for the issue of SEO positioning by a majority of SEO agencies.
“The main search engines really use social networks to position search results”
It concluded that most of the Facebook data was not used by Google, due to the lack of access to the data posted by users on their Facebook walls, but that “re-tweets” did serve as a new way of link building. Get your page mentioned in influencer tweets, this can help raise your page’s rank in regular search results, but only up to a certain point.
About two weeks later, Matt Cutts released a video confirming that social networks do, in fact, play a role in organic SEO rankings.
We are still trying to understand exactly what role social networks play in organic SEO rankings: various investigations have been carried out to determine the exact correlation of networks and SEO rankings, with varying results. However, it is clear that the importance of social networks is increasing as time goes by, and that raises a few questions:
- How and why do social networks improve positioning?
- What future do social networks have regarding SEO?
- What is the best way to link social networks with my website?
We’re going to explore each of these questions to help develop a fundamental understanding of the critical elements of social media and how they tie into not just SEO, but the entire digital marketing strategy.
How and why do social networks improve rankings?
Any answer to this question would always be up for debate, we believe that social networks have a direct and indirect impact on organic searches.
The direct impact depends on the following factors:
- The number of people who like your page on Facebook
- The number of times your page is shared on Facebook
- Number of tweets that mention your brand or include a link to your website
- Number of people who “have you in their circle” within Google+
- An increase in links and mentions due to better online visibility and brand awareness.
- An increase in positive reviews due to happy customers.
- Reduced bounce rate, more time spent on your page, and more returning visitors
While the direct impacts are quite clear, we are going to explain in more detail the indirect impacts.
An increase in links and mentions due to improved online visibility and brand awareness: The most important indirect impact of social media is its ability to generate new “inbound links” by improving brand awareness and online visibility.
If they can find you, they can link to your page, and links are still the most valuable factor in ranking. In fact, while the debate was heating up at SMX Advanced 2012, the most important SEO conference/expo, about whether social signals were going to catch up with links in terms of direct impact on the ranking algorithm, Danny Sullivan conducted an interview with Matt Cutts in which Cutts hinted that links were still the most important criteria compared to social signals.
Cutts stated, “There is a perception that, yes, everything will become social, or that the links are completely outdated and I think it is too early to jump to that conclusion. I do not doubt that in ten years the social will be more important, and those will be the most important signals, but I would not write the epitaph for the links yet.”
An increase in positive reviews due to satisfied customers:
Many times today social media is used as an extension of a company’s customer service department. Users can tweet the company and expect it to respond directly to them. Additionally, customers can receive support for a new product on the company’s Facebook page, avoiding unappetizing automated telemarketers and outsourced customer service departments.
This easy access to a business makes the customer feel a closer and more organic connection to the brand, increases customer loyalty, and bolsters consumer trust, all of which lead to more and better ratings on review sites like Google and Yelp. . Participating in social media channels brings brands together with customers and potential customers. The voice of a brand’s social media defines its image and differentiates it from a distant entity, turning it into a fashion brand that is not afraid to be close to the user.
According to Sam McRoberts, CEO of Vudu Marketing, the number of reviews and the positivity of those reviews are two of the three biggest factors in local search rankings. If that were the case, it wouldn’t be hard to believe that Google uses that information in national search rankings as well.
A reduced bounce rate, more time spent on your page and more visitors returning to your page: Consumers who are familiar with a specific brand through social media interaction tend to become loyal visitors to a website and spend more time there, thus increasing the time data on the web. There is a lot of debate about whether or not bounce rate has a very high influence on SEO rankings, but what is certain is that having a low bounce rate helps.
However, “time on web” can be used as a measure of organic search ranking. By timing the time it takes a user to return to the search page after clicking on a search result, and by analyzing the new search entered by the user, Google can measure whether the visited site gave the user the information or answer they were looking for. In addition, Google tracks repeat visits to the same web page, often showing frequently visited sites more often in personalized searches, ie when we are logged in with our Gmail or Google+ account. So we already know that Google tracks these metrics, but does it use them for ranking purposes? There is no clear answer, but we think so.
What future do social signals have regarding SEO?
In two years, companies operating in competitive niche markets that do not have a strong social media strategy will be overlooked by companies that do; Social signals are becoming the new “link” in terms of overall importance in the rating algorithm. While we don’t believe that the value of links as a ranking indicator will ever completely disappear, we do believe that both direct and indirect impacts of social signals will eventually become more important than links as a ranking factor.