- Posted by Tanya Zheleva
- On 27.09.2016
- 9 Comments
The answers of this question are contradictory. I have read lots of opinions about this topic – some experts at this area reject the idea of boosting your page rank with the help of social media. According to others sharing of links from Facebook or the number of tweeting and retweeting play an important role for generating results by search engine algorithm.
With the present article I want in some sense to expand the view to this topic. We all know what the SEO specialists do and what the goals of SEO services are. Briefly: a certain website to get higher position (ranking) in SERP. Why do we need this? So that our business or company become more popular. Of course, this can be achieved with lots of techniques, tricks and maybe some secret technologies that only the best SEO specialists are familiar with. Now let’s get back on track and talk about Social Media.
Why did social media occur in our lives?
Aristotle said once: “Man is by nature a social animal…. Anyone who either cannot lead the common life or is so self-sufficient as not to need to, and therefore does not partake of society, is either a beast or a god.” People will always need to communicate to each other and social media’s development is the result of this need. When work became more intensive and more connected and dependent on new technologies people looked for new way of communication. And enterprising minds in the world of technologies provided the society with a new method of communication, information and staying up-to-date with the newest events. So the new Social Media’s generation was born. Facebook was invented in 2003-2004. Since then various websites, providing different social media services, started showing up – YouTube (2005), Twitter (2006), LinkedIn (2003), Instagram (2010), etc. – each of them offering different type of communication. And I said “new generation”, because actually the first Social Media was a website called Six Degrees, created in 1997. It allowed people to create profile and then to friend with other users, to create family member list, to invite external contacts to join the site. (History Cooperative)
Social Media is a way for people to stay engaged with everything that happens on- and offline. User-generated content like comments, annotation, conversation, discussions etc., build the online world of Social Media which very often is based on offline events. Being part of it people participate in community, where the information is spread very often virally “from many to many”. And Social Media’s influence on people is still growing. We can talk even about manipulation through Social Media. Nowadays people use it as a channel for advertising and popularizing their business.
Some numbers about Social Media
Below are presented some statistical data summarized by MOZ which proves the growing importance of Social Media.
Facebook has over 1.19 billion active users monthly;
If Facebook were a country, it would be the world’s 3rd largest (after China and India) and 3.5x the size of the U.S. population;
75% of brand “Likes” come from advertisements;
72% of online adults use social networking sites;
9 billion photos are uploaded to Facebook each month;
Twitter is adding 300k users per day;
YouTube reaches more US adults ages 18-34 than any cable network;
92% of consumers trust peer recommendations.
SEO and Social Media – Friends or Strangers?
Having in mind the statistic shown above we should use the advantages of Social Media as wise as possible. If we interpret a business or a company as a human being, to function well it should be internally healthy (good on-site optimization), be socially connected (off-site optimization) and should have perfect reputation (Social Media). Since we talk about Social Media as a part of off-site optimization let’s concentrate on this.
The contribution of Social Media to SEO
The good presenting of your business/company in Social Media like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. play significant role. If the business profile gets good maintenance through meaningful content, useful information, helpful tips, relevant articles, open inquires, socially important discussion, it will receive more likes and followings. As a matter of fact in this case the quality is as much important as quantity. Search engines will detect the quality of your followers (Forbes). That means you should generate likes and followings organically. Buying likes, sharings or followers is not an option. The more qualitative likes and/or followers you have, the better positions in SERP you get.
This is proven also by the fact that very often business profiles in Social Media are amongst the first results in search engine. Having a social profile matters to Google and the other search engines. Besides it is easier to keep the content up-to-date and to intrigue customers with it in comparison to website. And we know the time-factor also plays a role for your search results.
On the third place we have to mention that creative, original and qualitative content in social profile offers the opportunity more external sites to link to your content. As Jayson DeMers wrote in his article for Forbes: “the more diverse external links you have, the more authority you’ll gain in Google’s eyes”. (Forbes)
And last but not least, sometimes Social Media serves as search engines too (Kissmetrics). Very often instead of searching for some company in Google I open Facebook. And I anticipate to find relevant content with information (articles, pictures, posts) that is up-to-date. Sometimes I open it to find out what the other users/customers have shared as a comment or critic, what our next topic refers to.
It is hard to change the convinced person.
The “technical parameters” were presented so far. But now it’s time to look also at the psychological aspect of Social Media, which is quite strong and reflects your business performance on the Internet. Maybe you have heard about Leon Festinger, the author of Theory of cognitive dissonance. I won’t go deep into this but I want to show you the connection between SEO, Social Media and Psychology. If there are proofs that shake our hard beliefs we will find ourselves in the uncomfortable condition, called “cognitive dissonance”. Unfortunately it turned out that this is a very common used strategy in business. Sometimes “negative information” comes from competitors, sometimes from unsatisfied customers. If an unsatisfied customer complains in Facebook, in a blog or forum, shares a video about a bad service they got, how will this affect your business?
1. People will share this information. If a potential customer, who looks for information, comes across these negative comments it is more likely to believe them instead of the positive ones.
2. According to researches unsatisfied customers will complain to 5-7 people, while satisfied customers will make positive comments in front of 1-3 persons. In terms of Social Media this statistic might change, because the sharing there is easier.
3. It is hard to change the convinced person. Have you ever returned to a company, which has already disappointed you?
The viral sharing, which serves as a SEO service, can have a positive as well as a negative effect. It contributes to the brand’s authority. You will benefit if people share positive posts and information about your business, but if they are negative then the effect will be exactly the opposite.
Social Media have significant role for the online reputation – they can increase the brand awareness but also can ruin your business. According to Jayson DeMers increasing your brand reputation on social media will increase brand presence. This will lead to more branded searches on Google, and “the more branded searches your brand receives, the higher it’s likely to rank for non-branded keywords” (Forbes).
In conclusion you should be aware of your presence and reputation on social media, because the good SEO needs positive base.
To wrap it up…
To wrap this topic up I would say that SEO and Social Media are not perfect strangers, but not yet best friends. Unquestionably Social Media can improve your ranking on Google. Maybe in future search engines will make their algorithm more sensitive to signals coming from Social Media. As I mentioned before we should accept the website/business as a complex organism, which needs internal and external maintenance and good reputation in order to be successful.
If you need help for creating or managing your Social Media campaigns our SEO experts are at your disposal. Do not hesitate to contact them!