As search engines shift their priority for rankings from emphasizing the technical aspects of SEO, such as keywords and link-building, to delivering more personalized results, social media becomes more important. Why? Because social media specializes in the signals that search engines are craving right now: identity and relationships.
Think about it. If a stranger walked up to you on the street talking about why you need a Bobcat Skidsteer and that you can purchase one for a great deal down the road at their dealership, are you going to trust them and follow them down the street? Maybe. But, if your friend who recently visited that dealership, made a purchase, and had a great experience, told you about it, you would be more likely to trust that dealership and make a purchase from them.
Because search engines are looking to provide results to users that are more personalized and relevant, such as by location, past behavior, or from people that you trust, social media begins to develop more authority with search engines. Here’s why:
- Social shares are the new link building. Today, social link building helps search engines determine what websites are credible and should be ranked for specific keywords. This means that developing original content (see our previous blog post!) allows for the opportunity for social sharing across Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc., which is more important now than it has ever been. Something that is shared multiple times will have higher visibility with search engines because it is assumed to be quality content for that topic.
- Social media leverages local search. Since search engines are working harder to give users the most relevant information, local searches are important now more than ever to businesses with a physical location. The rise of mobile use means a majority of local searches are on the go, and search engines are favoring social networks such as Yelp, Google+ and Foursquare for information about businesses near the user that time. Being active and up-to-date on these networks increases your chance of ranking for local searches.
- Social media helps increase your website’s authority. As more content from or about your website is shared across social media, the more rankings and authority your website receives across search engines, driving more traffic and credibility for long-term success. But much like search engines prefer fresh and relevant content for websites, they also prefer active social media accounts. Frequent, quality updates are taken into consideration with search engines to prove that your business is authentic, engaged and valuable.
Today, social media can not be ignored by small businesses. It is now a must have for your marketing strategy. If you are ready to get started with social and see how it can help increase traffic to your website and increase your search engine ranking, check out our recent blog post “How do I get started with my social strategy?”. For those of you with a social strategy in place, we want to know what ways you have seen social media impact the traffic to your website. Let us know in the comments section below.