Social Signals in SEO 1

Here in the 21st century, it’s clear that social networking is here to stay. It’s become so much more than just a way to communicate with social contacts, keep up with the news, or share our personal thoughts on our favorite subjects. These days, social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter are increasingly important when it comes to SEO as well. With each passing year, they play an even bigger role in how the search engines determine the relevancy of a given site.

Even so, this state of affairs is relatively young. Even just a few years ago in 2010, it was still all about scalable link-building strategies because of their proven effectiveness. Although the SEO world at large had yet to start giving the social networks their due, there were a few people speculating about the possibility of their becoming big news. However, it would still be a little while before the theories were confirmed and social signals officially became a part of every serious SEO campaign.

Why Are Social Signals Considered Important?

social signalsOnce upon a time, people looked only to the major media outlets for their news and traditional advertising for recommendations on what services or products to purchase. These days — as people spend more and more of their time on social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Google+ — these platforms are swiftly becoming people’s go-to sources for these same things.

When someone is trying to decide what movie to see, what type of car to buy, or what brand of frozen pizza is the best, they look to their social networks to tell them. When they have something to share, they post it on Facebook or tweet about it. Plus, since just about everyone is active on today’s big social networks, the amount to which people are talking about your brand is a reliable indicator as to how relevant and important it is. The search engines have caught on to this and incorporated it into the way they evaluate a given site’s internet clout.

How Exactly Do Social Signals Improve SEO?

Many experts feel that social signals have both direct and indirect impact on where your site’s pages rank in standard web searches.

Direct impact comes from things like the number of people that “like” your page on Facebook, follow your Twitter feed, share your content, or mention you in their social media interactions. The number of people that “circle” you on Google+, pin your image or pages on Pinterest, and otherwise bring you up on alternative social networks counts as well.

Indirect impact comes from phenomena like elevated numbers of inbound links due to increased visibility and brand recognition in general. Lower bounce rates, repeat visitors, increased numbers of positive reviews on sites like Yelp, and higher average times spent on your site by visitors are other examples.

High social signals surrounding a particular site or brand are so important because they’re proof positive to search engines that something’s being done right. If people are sharing, talking about, and recommending content from a given site, it means it’s valuable, entertaining, and relevant – exactly why so many SEO manuals stress the importance of learning how to build a following on each of today’s top social media platforms.

Does the Connection Between Social Signals and SEO Have a Future?

SEO experts agree that social media is not only here to stay when it comes to its relevance, but that we can only expect it to become more important in the years to come. Companies and websites that don’t have a solid, well-maintained social media strategy in place will be left behind in favor of those that do. Social media signals are rapidly growing in overall importance as far as current search engine ranking algorithms go. It’s even estimated that the day will come when social media signals are significantly more important than even high quality standalone backlinks.

The world at large is becoming more social in the way they use the internet and handle information in general. Today’s children are being raised on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ as well. For that reason, the future of SEO is social signals.

One thought on “Social Signals in SEO

  • Tommy Landry

    Social SEO is a huge topic but is still also a work in process. Although we need to be planning for when it becomes a major ranking factor, the only true impact today is by way of Google seeing traffic volumes, which helps a small bit with domain authority. So the key is to build up the presence and activity, including the social graph, now, with G+ incorporated. Then start using social right to get visits to the website, and over time, it will dovetail as Google gets their own algorithm up to snuff. I, for one, am ready to see the day when author authority actually matters for rankings across the board, rather than just as part of Search Plus Your World like today.

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