In the SEO world, there has been a lot of speculation about whether social media marketing is important. Through this discussion, it has been made clear that search engines do not have access to social media accounts. This means that the SEO implications of social media are limited. But is it possible that in the future, social media could have a significant effect on SEO?
Google is currently looking for a way to measure the quality of people's Facebook and Twitter followers. This is to prevent companies from being rewarded for simply creating a bunch of fake profiles to "like" their own page in order to look more popular. Right now, there is no way to measure this. This is another reason that the direct impact that social media has on SEO is very limited. However, that does not mean that a strong social media presence is not useful. Many of the benefits of having established, active social media profiles are also useful for your SEO, even though they do not directly affect your rankings.
The biggest benefit of social media is the social aspect. People create social networking profiles in order to stay connected with people. They remain active because they enjoy themselves. If you are a part of what they enjoy online, you are more likely to become something they enjoy in the real world as well.
Of course, creating an account isn't enough. If people follow your profile and never see updates, they will view you as irrelevant. If your information is too commercial or annoying, they will tune you out like television and radio commercials. They may even delete you from their profile.
In order to have an impact, you have to post updates consistently. These updates must be relevant to your client base, and should draw them in. The more engaged your fans are, the more benefits your sales will see. You have to create a community for people to participate in.
A lot of businesses try to jump into social media without looking where they are going. This results in mediocre updates to an apathetic or non-existent audience. The key is to master one platform before moving on to another. This way you can learn as you go, and take followers with you each time you add a platform.
The biggest asset that social networks offer is exposure. People are already on Facebook and Twitter. Seeing you there may be what it takes to draw them to your site. By making your website interactive with your profile, you may be able to increase traffic. Though links on profile pages may not be a huge SEO benefit, they can help draw traffic if utilized correctly. You can also have add-ons to your website that allow people to share content directly from your site to their profiles.
If you are in the process of building links, social media can also be beneficial. Sites that you want links on are going to check your online presence. By having recent posts and fan participation, you are showing that people really are interested in your services. If you are trying to get guest posts, you can prove that you are a real person and that a post from you could in fact drive traffic to the hosting blog.
Search engine bots are evolving; there is no question about that. By already having a strong social media presence, you are more prepared for the day when search engines can analyze social networking sites more effectively.
The ultimate takeaway is that whether or not social media is good for SEO, it can be good for your business. The whole point of SEO is better marketing. A successful social media campaign is definitely good for publicity, so whether it directly impacts SEO isn't really the issue.
Jeriann Watkins is a writer currently working for Page One Power.
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Nice post Jeriann. I disagree as well - http://www.facebook.com/SEOBlog.ScottTrue/posts/103674626463194 . And maybe we don't totally disagree and it's just a matter of semantics, but I definitely like to put more SEO weight on social activity.
Thanks for the comment Adam. I could have made it more clear in the title that I was talking about a direct impact, not a general effect. Your article's section about secondary links is something I feel a lot of people don't consider. Sometimes it is tempting to discount no-follow links because they don't directly affect SEO, but they can still lead to traffic, which is the overall point.
Hi Jeriann, I'd have to disagree with the premise of your headline, but then you do actually touch on ways that social can influence SEO in the article itself. I wrote something a couple months ago that you might find interesting: 5 Ways that Social Media Impacts SEO http://www.adamsherk.com/seo/how-social-media-impacts-seo/
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