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How social media helps your search ranking

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Every business wants to be discovered.

Whether it’s by intense, short-burst methods, such as marketing campaigns; or longer-term approaches, like search engine optimisation (SEO), the desired result is the same; a higher profile for your business.

But SEO has evolved exponentially since Google first conquered the online search world. Where once keywords were king, now the content must also be original and in context (thanks to increasingly intelligent Google algorithms).

A few short years ago, hashtags were barely a factor in social media and SEO. Now, with the rise of Twitter, they’re an essential part of the package.

Indeed, social media (along with compelling content) is emerging as an increasingly effective – and often essential – tool for boosting your company’s search engine rankings.

Social media shares and acknowledgements are not automatically embedded in search engine algorithms (but they likely will be soon). Instead, their direct effect kicks in after a popular or viral post or video.

So it would work like this; you create compelling content; that content gets shared on social media (increasing traffic and profile); then the content becomes popular. Your profile and traffic has benefitted, and after that, the SEO engine kicks in and your search ranking climbs – as people search for your business based on the social media shares.

Here are a few reasons why combining social media and SEO into your marketing campaign are critical to your business’s success.

1. The world is getting more and more social online.

As of August 2014, there were 2.95 billion active Internet users, and 2.03 billion active social media users. The internet is often accused of having too much white noise, which is why people use social media to source recommendations from trusted sources friends and family.

2. There is a strong correlation between rankings and social signals.

Social media shares aren’t directly linked to search algorithms (yet!), but there is a direct correlation between social media and traffic; whether it’s increased visibility from Twitter trending, or organic shares and clicks from evangelising fans as your content goes viral.

3. Not all traffic and profile is created equal.

Accidental clicks of ads is becoming a major problem, so much so that many marketing and internet giants (including Google) are working hard to address it. After all, what good is a visit to your page if the customer never intended to be there? Social media shares generate quality visits, in other words website hits based on recommendations from trusted sources, instead of accidental or fleeting clicks.

5. Social media draws in mobile search users.

At the time of writing, there are roughly 3.6 billion mobile Internet users (with that number climbing every day). As you’d expect, many of these users are social networking on the go. Want to increase mobile traffic to your site? Encourage social sharing, and make sure your site is appropriately responsive too.

6. Positive social media reviews help local searches.

Encourage and nurture social media interaction and reviews. Remember the value of user-generated content: Every picture, video and word of text relating to your business helps your profile. And that’s before we even talk about reviews on the likes of Google Local and Yelp, which can boost your page in local search rankings.

7. Social + SEO can boost brand engagement.

Customers shouldn’t just be purchasing and recommending your products: They should be engaged with your brands. This means more frequent visits to your site, discussions on your social media, recommendations, likes and Tweets, and ultimately, an increased bottom line. Repeat visits to your site are registered by search engine metrics and reflected in your ranking.

 

How video impacts search ranking

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Google’s algorithm Hummingbird was introduced in 2013 and has been honed and tweaked many times since. This update to Google’s search algorithm is good news for websites that provide quality content, and especially those who provide video. The new update takes into consideration the intent of the user, the context of keywords and the meaning of the search, rather than just showing you results based on keywords.

Google (generally speaking) exists to answer questions, so Hummingbird is more reflective of the user experience than Google in its previous form. Google has been using a similar type of functionality since the introduction of voice activation search, the small microphone icon on Google’s homepage allowing users to conduct a search by speaking. This allows Google to gather more information about the search query and provide more accurate and meaningful results for the user.

Providing original content is a key factor to determine search ranking. It is no coincidence that content ranks very high on SEO success factors. Some key factors:

Quality – are pages well written and have substantial quality content?

Research – have you researched the keywords people may use to find your content?

Words – do pages use words and phrases you hope they’ll be found for?

Engage – do people spend time reading or bounce away quickly?

Fresh – are pages fresh and about hot topics?

 

Google ranks content as one of the top factors, with quality being the leader. As such, your brand needs to be competitive in the online market; it needs to consistently produce original quality content to stand out from your competitors.

Video is still the favoured platform for people to use as an information resource. The old adage is that a picture is worth a thousand words, but according to Dr. James McQuivey of Forrester Research video is worth a staggering 1.8million words. If your potential customer prefers video to text or audio, then you need to ensure that your brand meets that demand. A good video can communicate everything you need to in a short, punchy and visually appealing format.

Allowing people share to your video content is also a great way to increase your search ranking: The more inbound links that are created for your website the better.

YouTube is still the most popular destination for video content, boasting the second largest search engine. And even though YouTube does not affect your search ranking directly, it affects your position indirectly. The number of likes, shares, followers, comments, subscribers and mentions affect your organic search rankings and also boost traffic. Social shares give you more inbound links and quality traffic. 95% of social media links involve real people, usually highly targeted audience in your social networks, which drives high-quality traffic to your website.

Video is “53 times more likely to appear on the first page than normal text” and search results with video have a “41% higher click-through rate than plain text.”

 

HIGHER CLICK THROUGH RATE

People view, click and play content that they find interesting online and that can be your brand’s content, whether you’re advertising or not.

 

STICKY CONTENT

According to the National Centre for Biotechnology Information, U.S., the average attention span of a human being has dropped from 12 seconds in 2000 to 8 seconds in 2013, one second less than the attention span of a goldfish. With this latest research in mind, you do not have much time to capture the attention of your customer, ensure your brand has quality and meaningful content.

Rich, quality video increases dwell time, engagement, reduces bounce rates which all lead to a higher sales conversion rate.

For best practices position your video above the fold and provide clear, correct and authentic video titles and keyword tags. Users will not return if they are shown irrelevant or deceitful content; the video equivalent of a “click-bait” headline.

 

VIDEO LINKS

People don’t share everything online, so the content needs to reach the right audience.

Video content that is specific and relevant to your audience more likely to be shared and have a viral impact. A YouTube channel is another way for your brand to get noticed and indirectly affects your search ranking.

These changes in online search and consumer trends are a great opportunity; a chance to engage your audience in a new way, and to encourage them to spread your message.

 

Source: Google, IAB, Aimclear and Facebook