Thursday, November 14, 2013

Social Media and Organic Search results

There’s been a lot of talk over recent years about whether or not social media marketing has a positive impact on organic search positions and, for a fair while, Google strongly denied it themselves. Despite this, many industry professionals had evidence to suggest an increase in organic search positions through an increased use and growing influence on social media platforms and there’s a wide range of case studies online where webmasters claim and showcase that they’ve ranked a site solely via social signals. The big question, however, is how much truth is there in the fact that social signals directly impact on search results?

It was actually way back in 2010 when Matt Cutts stated the following, confirming that Google do indeed use social signals as a ranking factor; “I filmed a video back in May 2010 where I said that we didn’t use that as a signal, and at the time, we did not use that as a signal, but now, we’re taping this in December 2010, and we are using that as a signal.”

Since then, however, the debate has continued as to the effects of social signals on search positions and, whilst there’s no grounds to deny that they are used as a ranking factor, the question has been to what extent are they taken into consideration? When Matt first announced that they were a ranking factor, it’s safe to say that they were only a very small part in Googles overall algorithm. It’s likely that they hadn’t developed the algorithm at that stage to a place where social signals could significantly impact search rankings and studies at the time proved that you needed a significant number of tweets, as an example, to see even minimal movement on the SERPs.

Fast forward to 2013, however, and it’s a very different picture. There’s discussions on internet marketing forums and news resources on an almost daily basis which outline the importance of social signals as an organic search ranking factor and showcase how powerful social signals can be. As an example, take a look at the following article which was published earlier this year on Search Engine Watch and see for yourself what just one of the leading internet marketing resources are saying on the subject. The SEO community is buzzing with talk of social signals and there’s been plenty of case studies which prove the effects which can be had. If you’re not using social signals as part of your SEO campaign in 2013, you’re missing a big trick. Whilst it should never be the only approach you take, it should be one of them and the greater influence you can build on social media, the stronger you’ll see your site rank.

Now that isn’t to say that you can ignore the likes of strong on site optimisation, content and natural link building, but social is something you simply cannot ignore. If you want to succeed online in 2013, you need to ensure you have a strong presence on social media and make sure that it’s strongly engrained within your SEO and digital marketing campaign.

If you need help or advice on your websites SEO or social media marketing, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us today and discuss your website and it’s needs with one of the team!