Social Media and SEO: What Signals are Important to Google

Social Media and SEO: What Signals are Important to Google

I thought I'll write a post on social media and how crucial it is for SEO today, and I remembered there's already a post on Content and SEO, so why not name this Social Media and SEO and write one more on Links and SEO. I guess this is the second part of a short blog series dedicated to the three main pillars of web optimization in the new search era. But before we get to the social signals.

Let's first look at authority

This is one of the key measures in SEO. The stronger your blog is when compared to other sites, the greater its authority, placing your content higher up in the search results. And who doesn't want that? When our links show up higher in the results they are more visible, and more people are likely to click them and visit our site when searching the engines to find the content or goods and services that we offer.

So how do you calculate authority?

It would be awesome if we could know all the factors that go into calculating the authority of our blog and brand or how to reach those desired statistics. Such information is crucial to perfectly shape our SEO efforts. Google reveals some guidelines in Webmaster Tools but does not go into specifics. Though if you look at the basics, they completely cover what everyone should focus on:

  • Creating content (and whole pages) for people, not search engines;
  • Avoiding tricks intended to improve search rankings;
  • Not deceiving your users;
  • And focusing on what makes your site and story unique, valuable, or engaging.

For search engines to see your blog as more authoritative (when comparing your pages with others to determine their position), your content must be of the highest quality, designed for real people to read and apply in everyday life. How do they identify quality? That's where social media comes in.

What social signals are crucial for SEO?

Google's robots scan your pages and look for on-site SEO signals, but they also look at how many times your content was shared on social sites, who and how often mentions your brand, what people discuss about your blog. When you have more engaged readers who enjoy spreading the good words about you and sharing your blog posts and videos, search engines will accept that as a clear sign that people see you as valuable.

And here are the four signals to focus on:

1. Engagement: Google assumes (and is probably right) that people only share and talk about quality content. So if more people like, +1, comment on, retweet, and share your blog content, and if they do it regularly, or even more, have higher domain authority, this will all push your pages higher in the results when search engines recommend you to users. Here are some tips to help you create engaging and shareable social posts.

2. Mentions: If people often mention your blog on social sites, Google will think that your content is authoritative and authentic and that your followers love it and simply must share it.

3. Linked content: Sign up for Google Authorship and connect all your posts and articles to your Google+ profile. This will help search engines assign your content to one original source. If someone tries to steal your unique writings, their website won't be able to benefit from your work.

4. Backlinks: The number and quality of the incoming links are still very important for SEO, just that those black and gray-hat techniques that worked before are now completely ineffective, and the accent is put on, coming from social sites like Pinterest, Reddit, Tumblr, or from other bloggers blogging about your amazing content. Just to clarify the image of how huge is the influence of social media over search engines rankings look at SearchMetrics list of SEO Ranking Factors in 2013. Seven of the ten most important are coming from social sites and activities.

So how's your blog doing on social sites? See if you are making mistakes, or read the tips for Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest. Drop your comments below

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