[This is part of the The Blogger’s Essential Guide to Search Engine Optimization Series.]
There are thousands of articles and blog posts that you can read that essentially re-iterate what I’m about to share with you and many of you may have already read those posts, but I’m going to cut to the chase and share some of the essentials so that if there was anyone who was on the fence about the importance of social media and SEO then I could tip them to the right side.
The bottom line is this: Social Media does have an impact on your SEO and it’s one that you simply can’t ignore.
You see, sharing your content on sites like Digg, StumbleUpon, Facebook, Twitter, and more gives you not only credibility with people (and thus more traffic) but also inbound links which can increase your PageRank as well as provide other very positive signals to search engines that you’re a legitimate blog creating worthwhile content.
This is not an opportunity to waste my friends!
Don’t be fooled though – not all social networks and social media outlets and sites are ranked equally and thus the weight and value given to those links are different and varying since anyone can easily create 1,000 new accounts on the various sites with reckless abandon.
Typically there are two major signals and factors that search engines consider:
1. Number of Shares, Likes, Etc.
The number of shares/likes that your blog has in each respective social networking or social sharing site helps give you credibility and huge amounts of traffic to boot.
With the advent of easy-to-share buttons on the side of your content (or within your content) it’s a strategy unlike any other when it comes to getting significant exposure and an ever-expanding audience.
And it’s not a secret either – both Bing and Google have responded favorably to counting the amount of shares as a signal and value for ranking you in search returns! It’s been noted by many SEOers (through testing) and from their own mouths.
What does this mean for the average up-and-coming blogger? It means that building a following on your blog is only half of the equation – creating credibility and authority within your other social accounts matters and is part of your overall and global link building strategy.
Avoid these opportunities at your own peril.
2. General Reputation of a User
One of the most obvious factors that help you rank higher, especially the value given to a particular share, is the reputation of the user that’s sharing the content.
For example, Bing and Yahoo do look at the social authority and reputation of the user such as how many people are following you and how many you follow in return. This can add a little weight in your listing in search results.
This goes for not only Twitter and Facebook but also the other social sharing sites. Of course, this can be massively abused but it’s fairly obvious to anyone who the spammers are and the search engine software is quickly adapting to find and give negative value to spam accounts that do nothing but seek their own selfish interests.
What does this mean for your blog and your efforts for SEO? It means that creating amazing content that both adds value to your brand and creates exceptional value for your visitors will not only get you more shares/likes but also increase your authority with your readers and the search engines.
I don’t want to beat a dead horse but it’s simply this: Become the the blog that you’d trust and share with your best friends. Be the blog in the “circle” that everyone looks up to. Be the blog that everyone wants to be like one day. Be a model example of blogging excellence.
The result? Your social media efforts will increase not only your direct traffic through the shared content but an increase of organic traffic via search engines.
[This is part of the The Blogger’s Essential Guide to Search Engine Optimization Series. Images via Creative Commons, yewenyi, n3k.]