At its core, search engine optimization (SEO) is about boosting a website’s position on search engine results pages (SERPs) in order to increase the volume of traffic to the site and attract more visitors who are likely to convert into sales leads.
Increasingly, search engines such as Google and Bing are turning to social media indicators to help gauge a website’s relevance and popularity. In turn, SEO strategies are putting more emphasis on the value of a brand’s social profile on networks such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest.
Search engines recognize when a website is garnering lots of attention via social networks, which is a strong indication of natural traffic and also signals that the search engines can trust the website’s links.
Personalized search results are another area where social media influences SEO. Personalization uses factors such as a user’s geographic location and social media activity to provide more targeted search results. As a consequence, companies with a strong social media presence may be more likely to appear in personalized results. Therefore, brand management becomes increasingly important, as companies with negative online reputations based on social media postings may find themselves with a lower placement in the search engine results.
Because user behavior can have such a significant impact on the way search queries produce results, SEO has been evolving to meet the demands of the social media audience. Getting likes and shares through social media is important, but it isn’t the only factor considered by search engines. The frequency of social activity, the perceived “authority” of the person posting and the level of user engagement can impact search results, as well.
The fast-changing nature of the digital age means that SEO also must evolve; each update or tweak to a search engine algorithm has the potential to change the industry landscape. In order to keep a website effectively optimized, it is vital to keep pace with the latest trends.
The impact of social media on search engine results is unlikely to diminish anytime soon; if anything, it’s more likely to grow. The core values of social media sites and search engines are based around the user. Engagement, personalization and authority are consistent factors that influence all areas of web presence, from social to search.
Relevant content lies at the center of social sharing and, by extension, at the heart of any digital marketing strategy. Without a well-developed plan for the social media sphere, marketers will likely find it difficult to fully optimize their SEO strategies.