You use Facebook to share photos of your kids, Twitter to share opinions about the latest news (or your latest snack), and Google+ to…wait, what’s Google+ again? A recent study by respected analytics software firm Searchmetrics suggests you better find out – and start using it and other social media platforms to promote your website. Researchers collected massive amounts of data on search engine rankings and released their findings in an eye-opening whitepaper detailing correlations between high-ranking websites and various factors such as social media activity, backlinks, and page load speed. Since 2012, Google has substantially changed the algorithm it uses when crawling the web to deliver the best content to searchers, and this research helps us understand what are the best things to focus on if we want our websites to get found.
Share and Share Alike: Boost Your SEO With Social Media
At the very top of the list is social sharing.
Searchmetrics reports that Google+ “plus one” activity (which essentially endorses a website, similar to a Facebook ‘like’) is the factor correlated the most positively with high search engine ranking. That puts it higher than backlinks, keyword density, metadata, and amount of content on your website.
Second on the list is Facebook shares, followed by number of backlinks (links on other websites back to your site). After that come a slew of other social media-related factors:
- Total Facebook activity
- Facebook comments
- Facebook likes
- Pinterest activity
So what do you do with this information? How do you best leverage social media to increase the search engine ranking of your website? Here are five steps to get you started.
1. Update your content.
Want to make the news? Be newsworthy! Write blog posts, upload new photos, and keep your event announcements up to date. Fino frequently updates their menu with seasonal offerings and specials. Coco Ho adds her new press and also uploads photos with new quotes and motivation she finds to inspire her fans.
2. Enable social sharing on your website.
Using Websites 360®, you can add social sharing icons to any page or list-type block (like a blog post, an item in an items list, a job posting, etc.) on your website to make sharing your content on social platforms as easy as the click of a button. Be selective about which icons to add so they look simple to use instead of cluttered. Think about your audience and which sharing platforms they’re most likely to use, then enable those and only those. Too many options may paralyze people.
3. Share it first.
Regularly tweet, post Facebook statuses and update Google+ with links back to your website. If your menu gets a refresh, write a status that will make your followers’ mouths water, and link back to your menu page. When you write a new blog post, tell the world and give them a direct link to check it out. If you do a photo shoot you're proud of, upload one of the best images to your social platforms and link back to the rest in a stunning image gallery on your website.
4. Ask for shares.
Including a call to action is a powerful way to drive people to share your update with their networks. Once you've created a compelling, share-worthy status update or tweet, add something as simple as “Please retweet” to the end.
5. Promote your friends.
Engender goodwill and set an example by sharing the quality content your friends and contacts put out there. Look for tweets you can wholeheartedly support, and retweet them with a brief commentary. Post links on Facebook back to the websites of your favorite small businesses with your endorsement. Your voice matters, and the more you use it to help others succeed, the more likely they are to return the favor. Plus, doesn’t it just make you feel good?
There’s a sweet spot on social media – where you’re posting enough to be viable but not so much that you turn people off – and finding it is a matter of trial and error. One thing is for sure, though: it’s worth figuring out. The more you link back to your website and get others to, also, the more likely your website is to perform well in search results.
So what are you waiting for? Get social!