Can Social Media Help Your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Efforts?

Post by Frank Barry - 7.15.2009 - Follow me on Twitter

We have been talking about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) a bit here at NetWits lately so I thought I’d direct your attention to another dimension of the SEO game. Social Media/Networking. Have you noticed that social media/networking sites are increasingly showing up in Google search results? They have and they are here for good.

Social Media and SEOTry searching for your favorite nonprofit, business or product to see. Social sites like Facebook, YouTube, MySpace, Twitter and the like are showing up more and more due to the communities these sites empower and the viral nature of the content found in these places.

That that means your content has the ability to be spread further than ever before. If you publish something that the crowd enjoys or finds useful they’ll submit it to Digg, StumbleUpon, Reddit or “Tweet” it on Twitter. They’ll comment on it in Facebook or email it to a friend.  This effect has a direct impact on increasing the all-mighty inbound links to your site - Which we all know have a huge impact on your search rankings.

Put simply “Buzz generates citations, citations generate links, links generate rankings, top rankings = good SEO.” (thx Digeratti)

In case you are not intimately aware of what inbound linking is all about. From Google:

“A hyperlink to a page counts as a vote of support. The PageRank of a page is defined recursively and depends on the number and PageRank metric of all pages that link to it ("incoming links"). A page that is linked to by many pages with high PageRank receives a high rank itself. If there are no links to a web page there is no support for that page.”

There are even new search engines emerging that target the social web. Obviously people like Google, Microsoft and Yahoo are becoming aware of the need to search the social and real time web.


Let’s look at a few examples to demonstrate my point.


Life Rolls On (Google Search)

4 entries on 1st page of Google search results are social in nature


Life Rolls On Search Results



Athletes for a Cure (Google search)

3 entries on 1st page of Google search results are social in nature


Athletes for a Cure Search Results



One Campaign (Google search)

4 entries on 1st page of Google search results are social in nature


ONE Campaign Search Results



Will search engines begin to take “social” into account in their algorithms? Mike Grehan provides some excellent thought on this topic -New Signals to Search Engines: Future Proofing Your Search Marketing Strategy.

“Signals from end users who previously couldn’t vote for content via links from web pages are now able to vote for content with their clicks, bookmarks, tags and ratings. These are very strong signals to search engines, and best of all, they don’t rely on the elitism of one web site owner linking to another or the often mediocre crawl of a dumb bot”.


What this all means for you is … you should be paying attention, thinking about the social web with respect to your online strategy, discussing the possibilities with your web and marketing teams and planning for a future where “social” is a dominate force.


A few more things to digest:

Photo Credit: marciookabe


What am I missing in all this? Does my argument hold water? I know it’s an ongoing discussion that many have taken up. What can you add based on your experience?


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