With recent advancements in Google’s search algorithms, it’s no longer a question that social media sites have a profound influence on search engine rankings. Now, the real question is how does social media influence rankings?
The first social variable that impacts SEO stems from “social signals.” These are Likes, Tweets, +1’s, Pins, Shares, etc., that individuals attribute to a webpage. When a specific page, whether a blog post or YouTube video, has a wealth of social signals, its SEO-value increases.
Think of this as Google’s way of knowing that real people find the content of a webpage credible and interesting, and thus deserving of higher search engine rankings.
The second social variable centers on the brand or business’s profile page. In addition to providing a quality link back to its website, some social media websites enable companies to build citations.
Citations, which are simply mentions of a company’s name, address, and phone number, help to make its website appear more credible and legitimate from the perspective of search engines. For local SEO and earning a higher placement in Google’s local search listings, simply put, citations are the bee’s knees. These are important variables that any small business marketer should keep top of mind.
So now that you understand how social media sites influence SEO, let’s get to the good stuff: the top social media sites for SEO.
Not only do Pinterest profile pages rank well in the search engines, but you get a nice DoFollow backlink to your website. Setting-up a Pinterest page is super easy. The time-consuming part is creating pin boards and pinning images (which can be effectively done by investing about 20 minutes a week.)
SEO Tip: When building your Pinterest page, use keywords to describe your pinboards, as well as define the URL and description of your profile page (e.g. “Atlanta Tax Attorney”)
Similar to Pinterest, Facebook profile pages can also rank in top of the search results (depending on how competitive a keyword is). Beyond SEO, Facebook offers a massive and widespread audience to connect with.
SEO Tip: Again just like Pinterest, try to include your keyword targets in the profile page’s URL and in the description. Also, include a link (or better yet, a clearly visible icon) on your website that links to your Facebook page. This will help promote more likes and help grow your audience (making your page more authoritative for SEO.)
Twitter carries a great deal of SEO potential for small businesses. Tweets and re-tweets are among the most powerful social signals for SEO. So when you share your website’s content on Twitter, and it’s well-liked amongst your followers, its overall ranking potential increases.
SEO Tip: Take the time to reach-out, follow, and re-tweet posts of like-minded influencers and businesses. The greater the following you can cultivate, the greater exposure (and social signal potential) your tweets will have.
From a search engine perspective, LinkedIn is one of the most trusted and authoritative social domains. This why you see LinkedIn pages of both professionals and companies ranking well in the search results (similar to Facebook and Pinterest pages). LinkedIn “shares” are also incredibly potent for SEO. And at the very least, by creating a LinkedIn profile for your business, you get a quality backlink to your website, as well as trusted citation.
SEO Tip: Just like Twitter (and virtually all social media platforms), connect with as many colleagues and friends as you can. A strong LinkedIn following will increase your page’s search engine authority, in addition to increasing the likelihood that your LinkedIn posts get shared. You can also include keywords in your page’s content, but be careful not to degrade the quality of your page with over-optimization.
Although an emerging social media platform (and one many small businesses overlook), Google+ offers incredible SEO potential in many respects. Google+ Local pages (which have replaced Google Places pages) are what appear in the Google Local search listings (the dedicated local results accompanied by the map with little pins.) A well-populated Google+ Local page will empower your small business’ ranking potential in these listings. Additionally, Google+ page also provides a backlink as well as citation for you website.
What’s nice is that you do not need to spend a lot managing a Google+ page for your business. Simply building a presence and ensuring your page contains accurate information will provide significant SEO benefits.
SEO Tip: After you’ve built a Google+ page for you business, include the suggested “site verification” link on your website (directing back to the Google+ page). This linking tells Google that your company’s website and Google+ page are one of the same entity. This can be found on your profile page (while in edit mode), and essentially it ties everything together.