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The True Power of Social Media for SEO

The True Power of Social Media for SEO

A year ago I would not have stressed the importance of having a Strategy that complements SEO and online marketing however this has all changed. Social media is not only a way to discover new content, it also affects how a business is searched for and found through search engines.

Something which I came across just yesterday was a recent study conducted by Searchmetrics. The results from this study were fascinating however I’m definitely not surprised. As you can see below in regards to SEO ranking, Seven out of the top 8 SEO ranking factors are social.

SEO Ranking

As you can imagine, Google+ is at the top of the SEO ranking list as Google is the worlds largest search engine so of course their social network will be influential in SEO ranking. Facebook also proving to be strong for SEO with four of it’s feature in the top 8 followed by Twitter and Pinterest.

As this study suggests, social sharing is now the number one driver for SEO ranking. Google and the likes of Bing are constantly monitoring social activity for each site and determining from this how high they should be ranked. In other words, the more social you are, the higher you will be ranked in Search.

So, how do you use Social Media to improve your SEO? Here are 3 tips to help you improve your SEO through social.

1. Be actively using Social Media

Its obvious but for social media to play a part in your SEO, you do need to posting on all of your networks every single day and you should also be engaging with your audience as much as possible.

2. Share fresh content

When using social media, search engines are not looking for you to create content that you think they will like, they want you to share content for your community. If they see you connecting and sharing relevant information, this will help you increase your SEO ranking.

3. Unique Sharing Options

The typical share buttons that every single site has on the internet is no longer helping with SEO. You need to be more inventive. Try running discounts or promotional codes through your social channels that they can receive once they have joined your community. This is a great way to show google that you are thinking about your consumers needs.

The true power of social media for SEO is huge and if you aren’t maximising your social channels, you will be missing out on free, constant traffic to your website!

Is Pinterest The Future For Online Sales?

Pinterest. The hottest social network around that everyone has heard of but doesn’t know how to use. As the fastest growing social network ever, Pinterest has proved its market value and I believe Pinterest will be one of the key networks to the future of online sales.

73% of Pinterest users use the platform to find inspiration on products they want to buy as opposed to only 17% who use Facebook for the same reason. Granted, Pinterest is more visually target to consumers who want to find inspiration but a social network will always be a social network and because of that, they will always be compared.

Looking at the traffic from Pinterest, consumers are 10% more likely to make a purchase compared to those who network on the other social media sites. This is a huge indication that Pinterest is proving a hit with consumers and they will ultimately be the force of online sales for the future.

Pinterest is the third most popular networking site, with only Facebook and Twitter as competition (for now). Since January 1st 2012, Pinterest has seen 145% increase in its daily number of Pinterest users. Unique visitors are up by 2,700% from May last year and Pinterest’s overall growth is much better than Facebook and Twitter at the same point in their history.

With the ability to offer prices on products you pin inside of Pinterest, it allows consumers to make a decision there and then regarding purchasing products. Facebook and Twitter are struggling visually to compete with Pinterest. Referral traffic coming to Pinterest is actually 3.6% more than LinkedIn, Google+ AND YouTube combined! When a social network can outrank the second largest search engine in the world when looking at referral traffic, you know they are doing something right.

Overall brands are finding it a lot easier to connect with their target market inside of Pinterest than any other network. The ability to follow and re-pin your favourite products always retailers to really understand their business and the products their target audience wants to see.

Did you know than the average order price from Pinterest is leading Google, Amazon, Bing, Yahoo! and is DOUBLE Facebook’s average order price? This shows how ready Pinterest users are to purchase products based on the images they can see.

I am a firm believer that if a business uses Pinterest the right way, it will really benefit their business. Pinterest is in my opinion, one of the factors contributing to the future of online sales. Do you agree?

10 Tips to Improve Your Social Graph for Google

Google and Bing the 2 biggest search engines in the world have bot openly stated that “What we do in Social Media matters”

Quote from Google: YES, we do use it as a signal. It is used as a signal in our organic and news ranking. We also use it to enhance our news universally, by marking how many people share an article.

The great guys from SEOptimise have put together a quick fix list of the 10 top actionable ideas for you to implement for your business. The idea behind this was to provide actionable ideas based upon Matt Cutts’ announcement in December that social signals are a ranking factor. Here are the tips:

1) Use social media buttons – encourage your users to share content on facebook and twitter by using the social bookmarking button plugins. Like Addthis

2) Build a Facebook fan page – build a presence on Facebook where people can subscribe to updates and you can publish latest content. Ideally you’d want to build up a strong number of fans so that people can frequently “like” your posted links.

3) Use images – Facebook walls display photos far more frequently than other updates, such as statuses. So make sure when you publish links they contain an image where possible as this may improve it’s chances of being featured as top news on facebook homepages.

4) Fake it until you make it – firstly make sure you don’t overdo it and this doesn’t suit all brands. But on you can pay $5 for someone with lots of friends to invite people to like your fan page. The idea here isn’t about targeting quality, it’s a numbers game so that you can get towards the tipping point which boosts the popularity and trust that people have when visiting your page in order to become a fan.

5) Promote via social bookmarking – while seemingly not a social signal itself, if you can promote your content via sites such as StumbleUpon, this is likely to indirectly lead to facebook shares/likes and retweets. Especially if you are already using the relevant social button plugins.

6) Create a branded Twitter profile & build relationships – firstly this gives you a platform to tweet your links. But by interacting with and retweeting other users you will greatly improve the potential coverage of retweets for your own content.

7) Use hashtags – a great way of finding popular discussions to contribute to is to follow the latest hashtags and trending topics. Again don’t overdo this and keep it relevant – but many people monitor and search the latest trending topics, so by tweeting about these it could be a good way of getting some extra retweets and picking up some new followers along the way.

8 ) Use great headlines, but leave space for retweets – make it easy for twitter users to retweet your posts by ensuring it is concise enough that it doesn’t need to be edited when adding an “RT @username” etc. And of course headlines are not only the first thing people see on facebook and twitter, but normally the only thing. Poor headlines means these won’t get clicked, great ones are gold!

9) Run social media competitions to give incentives – compared to Facebook advertising, the ROI of getting signups to a fan page should be greatly increased when running a competition. iPad giveaways have worked very well recently and it’s a great way of boosting your social media presence. Just make sure you read the terms and conditions as Facebook and Twitter do have rules on how these should be run.

10) Most importantly, have great content – the above tips are all very limited if your content is average. Look at top performing sites on Tweetmeme, such as Mashable, who consistently write great content with a social media audience in mind. Top lists, infographics, how-to posts etc all generally perform very well.

What is working for you?

Google and Bing, Confirmed That Facebook and Twitter Affects SEO

Big news for web marketers out this week: Bing and Google both confirmed that links shared on Facebook and Twitter will affect SEO ranking. This is something that has been suspected for some time in the SEO community, but this week’s confirmation means much more certainty for web marketers and social media optimizers going forward.

In an interview at Search Engine Land, Google and Bing revealed that social media affects search results – but that it isn’t a straightforward “more links on Facebook=higher search results” equation.

First, Search Engine Land notes that both Bing and Google have social media-specific search results pages. Bing’s Facebook Liked Results and Google’s Social Search deliver search results that are influenced by your friends and social graph, based on the links they are sharing. And Bing’s Social Search and Google’s Realtime Search offer real-time results of what’s being shared on social networks at large.

However, these are separate from regular search results, the search engines note. The major reveal in Search Engine Land’s interview with Google and Bing didn’t have to do with the separation of social search from traditional search, but rather the integration.

Google revealed that it uses Author Authority to gage the SEO ranking of sites, using Twitter users’ “author quality” to make the calculation. And Bing has a similar measurement called “Social Authority”.

The two search engines say they use this social or author authority to influence organic search results. Presumably, if you are a highly influential Twitter user who shares a variety of tweets (which are then commented on, re-tweeted, and shared across your large network), you’ll have a good cache of authority and the links you share will enjoy a boost in SEO.

Marketing Times expands on the interview from Search Engine Land by positing a few ways that Google and Bing might be calculating how influential a link is on Twitter. Some of these items might include: diversity of sources (the more Twitter accounts sharing a link, the more social authority); timing (breaking news vs. links with more longevity); surrounding content (using the whole tweet as a replacement for anchor text); and engagement level (the number of clicks, shares, etc.).

Both search engines also treat links shared on Facebook as they do the links shared on Twitter. However, they assert that they have no access to personal information on Facebook walls, so they cannot calculate authority in the same manner.

Warren Knight thanks Lauren Dugan

The 4 Stages to ‘Line of Attack’ for Social Commerce

When Facebook was first launched in February 2004, its use was based around a social universe where you could keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Now, in 2010 social networking sites like Facebook have now been catapulted into the world of Commerce.

Those who are fortunate enough to own a computer will also have a connection to the popular networking sites. The industry now understands that to be successful; they must take their product to where their consumer is most likely to see it – we all know where that is! In the recent months, time and effort has gone into working out how to market and launch social content and resources into offline commerce but most importantly ecommerce.  When selling a product through a website like Twitter or Facebook, the most important thing is to come up with a strategy that will enable you to generate a sale at the point of social;

1.      Be specific in your target audience by using fan pages to bring them into your product.

2.      Be unique with the product you are selling, make sure that it is attractive to your target audience without altering the price.

3.      Use adverts, special offers, questionnaires ECT. to raise awareness and to get your specific clientele interested in your product.

4.      Use a different strategy of marketing to calculate ROI. (Something unseen and unique).

The best way to sell a product through a social networking site is to keep it within that social bubble where the buying, selling and transaction of that product will stay within the walls of that social commerce. Just recently, a company called Bing has just teamed up with Facebook to make search social;

”Starting today, Bing is integrating data from your friends and social network into search results. This could include information on “likes”, reviews, photos and links from your friends into your search experience. “
The Bing/Facebook Alliance – Oct 15, 2010

The question on all of our minds is;

‘Will users actually purchase a product through a social networking site?’

Only time will tell…