Social Actions and social signals have become an integral part of an SEO’s strategy and not factoring in the relevance of these actions can be detrimental to your overall website’s performance. A white paper produced by Searchmetrics in 2012 which looked at 10,000 keywords and 300,000 websites for Google’s UK search engine results indicated that social actions had the biggest impact on ranking factors. In fact Spearman’s rank correlation coefficient actually had social actions as 5 of the top 6 factors in search results including facebook share’s, likes and comments as well as Tweets highlighting the importance of targeting social media within SEO.
The most interesting point for anyone wanting to begin implementing a social strategy – either in-house or for agency clients – is that social signals have arrived in the UK (Source: Searchmetrics)
Increasing your facebook’s edgerank could prove to be one of the most effective ways of increasing social actions and SEO so follow these 3 easy rules to increase engagement and social shares:
1 – Include Visuals
Pictures, videos and albums have been proved to increase engagement by as much as 180% rather than content alone so ensure you take this into account when designing campaigns
Asking fans to write captions on your photos increases engagement 5.5 times more than a standard post (Source: Hubspot)
2 – Launch Contests (More about that later)
Running contests are the most effective way of building engagement and are what consumers want. Using platforms like Shortstack to design competitions will give you the professional feel and can save you time in the long run.
3 – Be Responsive
Amazingly 95% of companies with a facebook page actually never respond to consumers requests so simply answering queries will place you in that elusive 5% that actually take action and that will do you no harm at all.
(Source: Hubspot How to engage fans on facebook)
For an up to date verdict on the changes to facebooks edgerank I would recommend this article from Steve Martin of socialmediatoday
Of course, keywords are still an important part of the overall strategy and should not be ignored but it would seem that social actions have overtaken them in ranking importance. Spearman’s rank correlation points towards the fact that keywords are most effective when used in backlinks and when used in the URL but although using keywords in headings and titles are still important it would seem that they no longer hold the weight they once did.
With this in mind, it’s now more important than ever to monitor these actions and Google’s social analytics tool can be helpful when it comes to tracking what content is proving to be most popular with your users. It can also help indicate which buttons are most frequently used and which are not, allowing you to remove unnecessary buttons that serve only to clutter up your site. They can also help you to gauge your level of conversions which will aid in understanding the impact that social actions are having on your business.
Social actions and the content that tends to drive the sharing process which leads to an increase in ranking is something that marketers are well aware of and one of their growing concerns is being able to deliver enough quality content that will influence this type of social action.
In a report published by Forbes Insights (The new rules of engagement - measuring the power of social currency) it was found however that although marketers understood the need to engage with consumers they didn’t necessarily appreciate what type of content lead to that invested feeling that brands are looking for.
“Marketers are not on the same page as their customers when it comes to the significance of social media activities” (Paul Alfieri, Vice President of Marketing Turn)
The report indicated that consumers actually found competitions and promotions to be the most rewarding type of engagement with 41% saying they felt most invested in a brand when entering a competition where as only 16% of marketers actively tracked this metric when measuring social engagement. It went on to say that only 7% of those polled felt engaged by following a brand on twitter but 36% of marketers used this metric to qualify engagement which again points towards the separation from what consumers are thinking and the relevance marketers are placing on certain actions.
An SEO strategy these days has to factor in so many elements of the digital Industry that it’s virtually impossible to manage every aspect that can affect your ranking but focusing on social media and the social actions that come as a result of this will do you no harm. Develop content that you know will appeal to your audience and will entice your users to share it with others. Content and blogging in particular can increase your web traffic by 55% but any type of content, whether it’s videos, webinars or competitions will have impact.
Social actions and the influence they’re having on SEO is obvious and if you’re serious about increasing your online visibility you’ll have to get active, creative and engaging because rest assured if your not doing it your competition will be.