Until relatively recently, keywords were king in the world of SEO; however, as search engines have become more sophisticated, hundreds of other factors have gained prominence. One of the most interesting factors, in terms of having multiple ways of impacting on your traffic and the strength of your brand, is social signals.
Social proof and SEO
Social signals are valuable because they provide proof that people like and are engaged with your brand. Google has gradually been looking at improving the way in which it looks at and understands social signals. Naturally, one of the earliest improvements was placing importance on local reviews and rankings, such as Google Places and Google Plus; now, it also pays attention to the Twitter firehose and other parts of social media.
More than just extra links
Getting mentioned on Twitter or Facebook won’t help your ‘page rank’, but you shouldn’t be too worried about PR these days anyway. This metric is outdated and doesn’t really give an indicator of how well a website will rank.
Social media mentions do have an impact on your rankings in other ways, however, including improving your ability to reach people locally. If a Gloucester SEO agency is mentioned on Twitter in Gloucester Hour, with the right hashtag, then Google would − thanks the power of its modern algorithms − understand that http://digi-tel.co.uk/seo-packages/ is relevant to Gloucester companies in particular.
The new form of SEO is focused on the long term, which means it is more important than ever before to write interesting and informative − and therefore highly shareable − content.
Infographics, how-tos, whitepapers and opinion pieces are great forms of content that the search engines love. Social media shares and engagements add weight to a brand and also make it clear to the search engines that users are interested in the content on the page. Author Rank is becoming increasingly important as a way of profiling content across multiple sites, although a cautious approach is being taken.
The true impact of social signals is unclear, as Google does not want to introduce a system that would be easy to game with fake profiles and accounts; however, social signals do matter, so start networking and encourage your users to get involved with your brand online.