Great Bedfellows: Social Media and SEO

Google & SEO | March 1st 2011

Using social networks is a great for bringing traffic back to your website. But why not treat yourself to better SEO while you’re at it?

While many people still don’t associatively link between social media and SEO, fact is most professional web SEO agencies are integrating social media into their SEO strategies.

The Merging of Social Media and SEO

Timeline

So when and how did social media become symbiotic with SEO? Here’s a little timeline showing the main events:

  • 2009: Google Social Search is added to Google’s algorithm, as a feature that finds “relevant public content from your friends and contacts and highlights it for you at the bottom of your search results.” When you search for something, you may find content written by someone you know, at the bottom of your search results with relevant links to Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, blogs, etc.

For example, when planning a trip to the south of France, my friend Brittany’s Flickr album pops up at the bottom of my search results:

Google Social Search

  • Dec. 2, 2010: Google and Bing both confirm that links from Twitter and Facebook can affect SEO. (Check it out in this article from SEOMoz.)
  • Feb. 17, 2011: Google made a tune-up to Social Search, lifting social content so it appears higher on a page, mixed in with organic search results.
  • Feb. 17, 2011: Bing released the Bing Bar – a tool that lets you access Facebook from inside Bing. Users can check their news feeds, notifications, update their statuses, and more. This was a sort-of “power move” by Bing, as Google Social Search does not include Facebook content.

Bing Bar

What This All Means or Google vs. Facebook

Let’s face it: many of us learn about breaking-news and current events from Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. By combining social web content with organic search results, Google and Bing are trying to get people back into the search box, and away from the “time-suck” of pure social media.

This merging of worlds could bring us more quality, comprehensive search results than we would receive from using only social media, or only search. The implications are huge. We could turn into more informed consumers, world-citizens. We may even find ourselves connecting to people in interesting new ways. Or we might just crack open a Bud and stare aimlessly.

How to Maximize Your Visibility on the New Social Web

  1. Customize your social media for the web. Wix recently released a great app for fully customized Facebook fan pages. Use it.
  2. Become an “authority” on social media sites. When someone you know searches for something you mention or offer inside your website, now you can boost the chances of appearing inside results. Post a relevant video on YouTube, a photo album on Flickr, maintain a blog, a Tweet-schedule and a Facebook campaign. Link all of these back to your website.
  3. Continue practicing SEO. If people wind up spending more time searching the web and less time stalking their Facebook friends, that means more search volume inside Google and Bing.

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