There has been a shift in what search engines like Google prioritise in SEO. It used to be that the page ranking was just determined by singular keywords. As the algorithm that Google uses to determine page ranking has evolved, so have the demands of the people searching. People aren’t looking for a web page that just has a list of words – they are looking for a website that can solve their problem.
There is still a focus on keywords, but this has now shifted to the intent behind those words and search user needs. That means Google is looking to make sure that your website answers your customers questions. A list of keywords isn’t going to do that – but useful information that includes those keywords will.
That is why the focus has shifted to long tail keyphrases. These are things that will more likely appeal to your specific audience. The logic behind it is that if someone types in ‘Antique film noir fedora’ into a search engine, and you have that phrase on your site – they are much more likely to find the information they need on your site.
The other benefit of long tail keyphrases is that they more closely replicate speech. Google says that 41% of adults and 55% of adults use voice search more than once a day. With the rise of digital assistants like Siri, and home devices powered by voice like Google Home and Amazon Echo.
So what does this have to do with social?
Google treats Facebook and Twitter pages like any other pages it sweeps, and links those accounts to your website. The more content you put up on social media, the more keywords and phrases are linked to your site. (As the comments made by real people on social media are more conversational, it also means that they can help with your long tail keyphrases and prepare you for voice search.)
If you are creating backlinks to your website through a blog, promoting that blog through social media, and having people talk about it makes that blog seem more trustworthy and valuable to Google. As such, it will have a higher impact on your page ranking. If people share a link to your blog on social media – it can act as its own credible backlink to your website.
Google claims that it doesn’t take social signals into account when it comes to ranking pages, but there is a definite correlation between websites that do have a strong social media following and how they rank on the search engine. Bing overtly states that how often a link has been tweeted or retweeted (and the authority of the person it has been retweeted by) definitely does have an impact on how they rank a page.
Even if the retweets, likes and shares don’t register in ranking – the size of your organic audience definitely does. Just like a backlink from a reputable site makes that link more valuable, links to healthy social media sites are also more valuable. That means the better your social media presence, the more beneficial it will be to your SEO.
One of the emerging trends in SEO is the fact that user experience is becoming more important. More than just optimising your website for mobile and accelerated loading – Google is seeing how long people spend on your pages to determine how much people are enjoying the experience.
A strong social media experience means that people will spend more time interacting with your business. If people enjoy the social side of your business – Google will see that by recommending your site above others, people are more likely to enjoy the result they present. That can be as simple as embedding messaging into your site – or setting up a feed to see what people are saying on social media about your company.
The other important fact to consider is that social media is now another way to bring customers to your business. In the UK for example, 44 million people actively use Facebook every month. That’s 2 out of every three people. Many of them are on social media for multiple hours a day. They are as likely to find out about your business with a targeted post or ad on Facebook as they are by finding it in a search when they look from themselves.
It doesn’t mean that social media marketing is replacing SEO – but it does provide another way to bring business to your website. Ultimately, SEO and social media work well together. Strong SEO can provide data to create targeted and lookalike audiences on social media – greatly improving its impact. As has been detailed above, social can do a lot for SEO too.
The best solution is to have strong SEO and strong social media. As time goes on, social is not going to become less important. It’s also clear that people will still use search engines to find an answer to their problems. A website that they heard about on social media will carry more weight than another site, even if it ranks higher on the list. In the future, that metric will probably affect page ranking, but in the short term it definitely affects the click through rate.
Zachary Jarvis is a Digital Marketer with one thing on his mind: Results.
Uninspired by the never ending talk of ‘vanity metrics’ in the world of digital marketing, Magnate was founded – the ‘Social-First’ marketing agency.
On the very rare occasion he isn’t watching Step Brothers in his spare time – you’ll find Zachary in the thick of social platforms, learning what makes us tick.
This is driven by a fascination (perhaps a slight obsession…) with market trends and consumer behaviours