Law Firm Web Marketing

    

5 Ways Social Media Impacts SEO

Social Meda in SearchMany savvy legal professionals are wondering how social media impacts SEO. Even though social media signals’ role in the ranking algorithms of Bing and Google is still embryonic, there's no doubt that these mechanisms are influencing SEO.

 

But more than just social signals (e.g. Facebook Likes, Shares, +1's, Pins, Tweets, etc.,) social media is beginning to rear an even great impact on SEO. So in this law firm web marketing post, we share 5 different ways in which social media impacts SEO.

Increases Site Engagement and Traffic Volume

One of the key factors employed in search engine rankings is the traffic volume that is visiting a particular website. In most cases, most traffic from social media is driven by event listings, blog posts, videos, or any other exciting content. If that content can make users stick around for some minutes rather than bouncing right away, it may help to improve search results. Search engines have the capacity to measure these metrics such as the bounce-rate, pages over visit, as well as time on site.

Social Media Personalizes Search Results

When a user is signed in, Google makes use of Google+ activity and reviews to personalize search results. For instance, if an individual is connected to you via Google+, and you have liked a page, made a business review or made a post on Google+ about a topic that the individual is searching about, that result will likely be ranked higher for him/her due to the connection.

The same thing is being done by Bing with Facebook activity of friends. Even though it’s hard to quantify, this personalizing of results has a way of impacting SEO.

Increases Link Potential

The awareness of website content or brand can be increased with the help of social media activity. This increased awareness can produce links. For instance, assuming a company posts a video of one of its new product features, which (the video) gets shared 20 times on Facebook. One of those posts is seen by another Facebook user who runs a blog. The blogger chooses to write about that new product feature and links back to the website and video of the brand in the article. That link only occurred after the writer had seen a post about the video.

Even though the links in the 20 posts didn’t directly contribute to the website’s overall link profile, they led to links being placed on a website via the article. These links have a say in the website’s overall link profile, thus impacting Search Engine Optimization.

Search Query Volume

Social media exposes one’s name to a wider audience. This helps to increase the overall awareness of a brand, thus leading to more persons searching for their brand. Google awards a higher ranking to brands that are being searched for by more people. This naturally depends on the query that is being searched for and is frequently more of a naturally branded search opportunity.

Authorship

According to the information provided by Google, in the future identities will be incorporated into search rankings. This implies that basing on the likely audience size, their authority and relevancy to the topic; some pages will get a higher ranking than others.

According to Google’s Eric Schmidt, this is already happening to some degree for verified profiles. In the search results, the information which will be tied to confirmed/verified online profiles will have higher rankings than that devoid of such verification.

Search engines are becoming more refined at interpreting search content, fighting organic spam and delivering relevant results; and thus yesterday’s SEO tactics no longer score it. To have a clear understanding of what is credible, relevant and popular; search engines are resorting to social media.

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The Role of Social Signals on Search Rankings: Myth or Fact?

Social Signals Search RankingsIn 2014, the head of Google Web spam Matt Cutts (now retired), came out clearly to tackle the argument of whether or not social signals affected Google ranking. Although he had strong points and facts to support his statements, it appeared there were still some inconsistency with what he said back then.

Cutts' Initial Statement on SEO & Social Signals

He said that social media sites like Facebook and Twitter were treated equally like any other webpage on the internet. So if anything occurred in any of those pages and their algorithm was able to crawl those sites, it would return those results on Google.

However, he also added that if a specific social media page had social signals such as a huge number of followers, likes and many others, their algorithm didn't have a signal that would allow that page to rank on Google. In other words, he was saying that Google's algorithm doesn't consider these signals when ranking a webpage.

The Observation from a SEO's Perspective

Some time back, Moz began ranking for articles titled "The Beginner's guide to SEO...". This happened nearly the same time Smashing magazine tweeting on the same topic. There are also reports that a SEO company called Shrushti moved from page 400 to the 1st page of Google because they had some really nice social signals, i.e. +1's, shares, pins and so forth.

How This Correlates With What Cutts Stated in 2014

Google's algorithm changes frequently, so we can't rely on what he said a few months ago. But generally, it's safe to make assumptions based on what we've observed during this period (not unless he's able to disapprove it in another video this year).

The things that Google is interested in:

1. Tweets and re-tweets a site has

2. The authority of that tweet or the person tweeting

3. The number of likes and shares on Facebook

4. The number of +1 a post has

Case Study

Moz published an article entitled "The Beginner's guide to SEO". Then another site called Smashing Magazine tweeted it out to its massive social media following.

After a short while, the page ranked in Google for the keywords "The Beginner's Guide", and this was followed by massive traffic back to the site. The moral of this action was that tweets from power users had the ability to influence short term ranking for chosen keywords.

Experimenting with Social Signals

An experiment was conducted with 6 similar sites in the U.S. The sites were basically on the same niche, so they shared the same audience. The results were attributed to social shares that those sites received. Here are the stats.

  • One of the sites received 300+ Google followers and their ranking shot by 9.44%.
  • Another site received 50% Facebook likes and 70% Facebook shares and their ranking shot by 6.9%
  • Lastly, one site received 50 tweets and their ranking went upwards by 2.88%

Conclusion

As you can see, this is quite contrary to what Matt Cutts had said back then. These observations are solid evidence that indeed social signals have a way of impacting Google's ranking. So what do we believe at this point? It is only a matter of time before the truth comes out. In the mean time, keep focusing on meeting all aspects of a solid SEO checklist and ensure your social presence is strong and legit.

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