What Effect Will Social Media Have on SEO?
What do you use social media for? Checking what Paris Hilton is having for lunch? Chatting to colleagues when you’re meant to be working? Sharing that video of the roller-blading Killer-Whale with your mates? Whatever the answer is, chances are that you see social media as ‘a bit of fun’ or ‘something to pass the time’ While it is all of these things, the fact that the uptake for the two most popular platforms, Facebook and Twitter is already huge, at almost one billion combined, means that Marketeers will need to start treating social seriously if they wish to stay in the game.
Businesses are starting to sit up and take notice of the social media revolution, many of them dabbling half-heartedly only to find that direct marketing speak does not sit well with those looking for a rich, social online experience. Soon however, those wishing to reach their (growing) online publics will have to adapt because social aspects of the web are about to become a whole lot more important.
Bing, the world’s second favourite search platform has been integrating with Facebook and Twitter for some time now, pulling in news feeds from both networks to integrate with traditional search results. More importantly, however, Google has now followed suit and began throwing social search results into the mix. The idea is that searches will deliver more personalised, relevant results as your network of friends comments, shares and status updates are taken into account alongside the vast reams of information on the web.
For users, this means that a search for ‘Barbados holidays’ for example will not only return results from companies selling holidays, but also any mentions of the keyword(s) from people in your online social circle. This adds a deeper, richer aspect to search because it will allow you to find not only where to find the cheapest all inclusive price, but also what your pal Jimmy thought of the coconut vendors that roam the beaches near Bridgetown.
Digital agencies will need to start keeping a close eye on how these social aspects are affecting search results and modifying their SEO activities to include social media optimization. This seems like part of an overall agenda on Google’s part to make search results ever more tailored to the individual with recent innovations like Places, Hotpot, and Boutiques all placing the impetus relevancy and proximity.
Discussions around Social Media and SEO are becoming more and more prominent with the internet marketing community as it appears that these two previously distinct disciplines are gradually merging into one. ‘So what you can do in terms of social media to make your site more SEO friendly?’ I hear you cry, here are some simple tips;
- Have a presence on all the main social media platforms and more importantly, update them regularly with fresh content
- Blog. This is the starting point of all social media ventures and should be the around which you create engagement and conversation
- Enable users to share your content by using ‘like’ and ‘tweet’ buttons on your blog
- Take ownership of Google map listings and publish the details of your business (e.g. opening hours)
Social Media is no longer in its infancy and it is only a matter of time until it becomes a major player in the search game. We are already starting to see signs of this with Bing Social and Google Real Time as social teeters on the edge of mainstream search.
What do you think about social media affecting search results and SEO? Do you think the increasing influence that social is having is a positive thing? Comment and discuss.