6 Reasons Social Media Is Critical To Your SEO

StephanieFrasco
Stephanie Frasco VP, Social Media, Convert With Content

Posted on November 9th 2013

6 Reasons Social Media Is Critical To Your SEO

Social Media Is The New Link BuildingOnce upon a time, "the old SEO" ruled the website marketing world. This was during the early, pioneering days of online marketing -- before it was typical for a small business to have a website and long before your grandmother had an online presence that could rival a teenager. The old SEO strategy centered around one primary factor: Link Building. But today, link building as a direct SEO tactic is completely dead. The fact is, Google has found smarter ways to measure the popularity of your website: it's called social media.

The fact that social media is critical to your online presence (and your search engine rankings) is often a tough pill for small business owners to swallow. It can be a difficult marketing strategy to measure, and it can seem like a strange way to grow their business.

But the days of easily measuring your SEO strategy are long gone. It's no longer about building X amount of links and creating Y amount of optimized content pages on your website. These old approaches to getting search engine attention are very static. The new strategy is about being dynamic, engaged, and interactive within your marketplace. Social media is the only place you can make that happen.

Here are six reasons social media needs to be an important part of your website marketing and SEO strategy for years to come:

1. Link building was always about social proofing.

Think about it - why did Google ever allow links to determine which websites ranked above all the others? The answer is simple: links were like "votes" for your website. The more votes you get, the better off you are. So SEO companies started building links (aka "votes") manually. Then, Google -- to counter all of the fake voting -- figured out that some votes should count more than other votes. So SEO companies went around manufacturing websites with the best votes. And Google, finally, realized that SEO link building would never work long-term for ranking websites. So Google started penalizing websites with "fake votes" (which is basically anyone who pays a company to do SEO link building for them). Seeing a trend here? The idea behind links as a ranking factor is a very good idea, but since it's become so easy to manipulate, Google has been forced to turn to social media channels which do the same thing but are much harder to manipulate. Link building was always about social proofing.

2. Social media allows you to "crowd source" your link building.

When you have a following on Twitter or Facebook or LinkedIn, you create a team of fans who can share your content. That's what social media is all about, folks -- being social! (Imagine that.) So when you write a new blog post on your business blog, you can take that content and share it on Twitter and then get some of your followers to share your content. You can also get your website visitors to share pages of your site and your blog on social media by adding simple social buttons to allow people to quickly and easily "vote" for your content right there on your website. Sure, many of these people will never become your actual customers, but that's not your objective here. Your objective is to build buzz and attention around your website.

3. Being social is the fastest way to multiply your presence online.

The problem with old school SEO link building is your always building "signs" to your website in places where nobody is looking. It's something like buying a billboard in the desert. Social media, on the other hand, is a dynamic world of interaction and activity where things are constantly happening in real time. This is why it's so crucial that you have a social media PRESENCE -- not just social media accounts where you never or rarely post anything. You've got to be active, you've got to be social. This is the fastest way to multiply your online presence simply because it's where everyone is. If you get in front of the right people (which is a matter of consistency, not luck) then you can build some buzz around your business and your website.

4. Social signals is a real thing.

I'm sure you've heard the term "social signals" floating around out there. Love it or hate it, this is a real thing. Google is definitely measuring your website's "pulse rate" on social media channels. How often do you share content on social channels? How often do people visit your website for social channels? How many fans/followers do you have? Does your website have social sharing elements available for visitors? Social signals really is the new "link building" metric you should be concerned about and worried about. Forget about how many links you have -- especially if you're building fake links -- and start worrying about the health of your social media presence.

5. Social links bring real traffic to your website.

95% (or more) of links from SEO link building never bring a single new visitor to your website. They just sit out there pointing to your site and not really doing anything else at all. This was the other major revelation Google had: They realized that by promoting links as a way to popularize your website, they were creating a web filled with spam and junk all designed to get more links (and only that). Most SEO companies build links on sites that will never bring you an actual customer. They're just fabricating links to try and boost your search engine positions. Now that it doesn't work, you're basically throwing money down a drain every time you pay for link building. Social links, on the other hand, have the real potential to bring real people into your website AND into your social followers or social circles. This means at some point these people could very well turn into a customer or a content promoter for your business.

6. Google hates link building.

The bottom-line is link building doesn't help your search engine rankings. In fact, it could hurt you far more than it will ever help you. Google has been very clear about this - stop building fake links to your website and start focusing on providing value and being of value within your marketplace. Social media is the very best place to achieve that goal online today.

So there you have it - 6 reasons social media needs to play an important role in your search engine rankings strategy. At the end of the day, search engine rankings are still very critical to your long-term success online. Don't make the mistake of investing in shady, short-term practices and risk hurting your business long term.

Get on the right SEO track today and start building a more authentic social media presence today!

StephanieFrasco

Stephanie Frasco

VP, Social Media, Convert With Content

Stephanie Frasco is a leading social media consultant and author. Over the past 7 years, she's worked closely with clients from all over the world to help them get more results from social media and blogging. Through experience, Stephanie has mastered some of the most powerful social media websites. Download her engagement report.

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Comments

Marshall Crawford
Posted on November 10th 2013 at 4:49AM

Great post! Social media is an effective and economical way to promote a small business online. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are great places for companies to make contact with the public, receive feedback about products or services, and expand their online visibility to a wider marketplace. Consistent participation and posting is essential to increase click through traffic to your website.
 

Ant J
Posted on November 10th 2013 at 5:43AM

thanks for the post.

Ruslan Krastev
Posted on November 12th 2013 at 11:19AM

While I completely agree with the author, research has shown that social signals are only 6.3% of the overall ranking factors http://moz.com/local-search-ranking-factors

Sherwood Forest
Posted on November 13th 2013 at 5:56PM

Thanks for the post!

I totally agree that Social Media presence is important for your SEO. I know it can increase profits for your business as well. The problem is that business owners that are engaged in social media mostly do not know how to do it right, working hours and unable to see more than a few fans. It can be a big waste of time and lots of frustration if you don’t know how to manage your Social Media accounts.

KarenGutierrez
Posted on November 15th 2013 at 3:30PM

Thanks for the post. Question: How exactly do the search engines measure social signals? Is it based on links to your website that are shared in social media? That wouldn't make sense, as this would be just another form of link building that would fill social sites with spam. Twitter tags links as nofollow to prevent exactly this. 

Is it social activity that's integrated into your website, such as "like this" Facebook buttons under your content? 

Thanks for any insights on this.

Karen
 

TaylaBell
Posted on February 4th 2014 at 10:23AM

thanks for sharing this post. this post is very imp Notes for seo

Abhijit Gupta
Posted on February 26th 2014 at 12:19PM

Very nice article. Now days Social Marketing is controlling in every digital marketing campaign, the points you mentioned are really very helpful to build a strong SEO and SMO strategy.

Marcia Coffey
Posted on April 27th 2014 at 1:12PM

Especially important article for small business owners, Stephanie! The need to convert web traffic into leads, then convert them into customers is key and therein the power of social media, as I see it. In the old days we talked about the "warm market" and the "cold market". It was always easier to sell to the first one, of course:)  Singing to the choir so to say ... Great job!