We all read articles and debates about if and how much Social Signals are affecting the rank on the SERP. Some while ago I wrote an article about why Social Media Optimization of your website is important to SEO where I emphasized that good SEO with optimizing your website for social and “getting valuable mentions/votes related to your brand and more exactly your website” will get you higher in the search results.
Contrary to popular belief among some managers that “Likes, Tweets, Fans and Likers” are just a waste of money, I think that those actually help in many ways including SEO. If I look over my articles in the search engine, I clearly see that the most shared ones and voted ones are also higher on the Search Engine Results Page. The links I get to the articles are having almost the same link juice, so the only thing affecting it should be the social engagement.
A study made by Search Metrics back in 2012 shows that the most important ranking factor is the number of Facebook Shares followed by the number of Backlinks. But if we look closer at the total of Facebook actions, we see that Facebook has a very big importance in the ranking. Tweets are also in the race for the most important factors, it comes right after Facebook and backlinks.
SearchMetrics.com, who did the study are saying that they only presume that this is how Google ranks, of course nobody knows except the Google employees working on this. Still, testing, interpreting and optimizing is something SEO managers do daily and succeed into having good results, meaning that the data should be right. Another article on SearchEngineJournal.com written in 2011 by Matt Krautstrunk talks about the impact of twitter mentions, presenting also some examples.
So, Twitter mentions are affecting the search results, the question is how many are necessary to have a great impact on your rankings? My personal belief is that any number of tweets can affect your ranking but a high number can boost you to the first place. Branded3 has made the biggest study about the number of URL tweets that is necessary to affect the search rankings in a beneficial way. The study revealed that after 50 tweets you can see some level of boost but after that, the increase of the benefit is minimal till it reaches 5000 tweets. URLs retweeted around 5000 times are getting a good rank but not in the first 5, having over 7500 tweets it get’s you where you want to be: first 5 places . I know that for 5000 tweets and more, it has to be something huge and the chance of it happening, is minimal.
You are maybe already aware of what you can do to motivate and easy the way people share your pages, but let me recommend you some things that are important to succeed:
1. Create good quality content for humans and not for search engines.
2. Search Engine Optimize and increase the usability of your website.
3. Have social media presence and optimization.
– OnSite: connect the page as much as you can with the social platforms. Use social meta-tags and plugins, but don’t exaggerate, use only the ones that are needed. Have a blog and communicate with your audience.
– OffSite: Create social accounts (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, G+, Pinterest, Youtube and others), but keep in mind that if the social network is not relevant to your business and audience or if you don’t take care of them, it’s better you don’t create them. Optimize your social content, be more human and create discussions. Place your website domain in the social networks. For G+ you can verify the website and link it to a business page or have the blog authors verified.
4. Integrate your site with social networks, such as having Twitter Cards which give you a better visibility. If your URL looks good in social networks, these are more likely to be shared.
5. Create social media campaigns which are more likely to have a sound in the social sphere. Giveaways and contests can be used for this. Keep in mind that you have to create them in a way that is not against the TOS of the social networks and in the same time help you get relevant mentions and votes. These might not bring you instant conversions into money, but might have a benefit impact in the future on your rankings which bring more users and a better conversion trough SEO.
Did you know that if you post a link on Facebook, G+ or Twitter and it get’s votes/tweets/shares on the social platform, it totals with the votes you get directly on the page via the buttons? If relevant, you can share the same link multiple times at specific time intervals.
What are your experiences with social signals and search results?