You’ve worked hard to build a great website for your online business, and even harder to create amazing content that’ll interest your readers. Sadly, this won’t do you much good, if no one ever sees it.
Social media has been around long enough for people to be aware of these networks’ huge importance. Still, not all have yet realized how crucial social interaction actually is for their website’s search-engine friendliness.
Higher Search Rank Is the Way to Traffic
In the “old” days, webmasters used different techniques to trick the robots into ranking their sites higher in search engine results, creating keyword-rich, overstuffed pages, and generating low quality links through link farms.
Considering that Google’s 1st position gets 33% of the search traffic (2nd gets 17.6%, and 3rd just 11.4%), it is no wander that everyone wants to get higher on the ladder and grab a larger piece of that pie.
However, as Google continued refining their search algorithm, and particularly after last year’s Hummingbird update, these black-hat SEO tricks does no longer work. Not only will search engines penalize your site for them and perhaps even exclude you completely from their search results, but they can also ruin your image and put your customers’ trust in your business at risk.
When you search for something online, what do you actually look for? It’s most likely something relevant, reliable, and authoritative on the topic of your interest. It seems, Google wants that too. And even more after this algorithm update, showing exactly how determined they are in their effort to provide only the best results for their searchers.
Domain authority refers to the power of your website compared to others that are competing for the same keywords as you. It’s based on the domain name age, size, and popularity. Domain authority is also one of the most important factors for SEO.
We could all perfectly shape our SEO efforts if Google just told us how exactly they calculate authority. But in their Webmaster Guidelines, they only mention publishing quality content and avoiding malicious tactics, without going into more details.
Search engines see only content and websites that first and foremost interest and engage real humans as authoritative. Businesses must shape and drive their SEO activities creating top-notch content designed for people to read, use, and benefit from in everyday lives.
But How Do Search Engines Recognize Quality?
They look at real people engagement. They turn to social media for brand mentions, discussions and shared content. If people talk about you, your brand and business, if they share and engage with your content, it is a clear sign for the engines that people see you as valuable.
Matt Cutts, the head of the Webspam team at Google, says social signals are not part of their search algorithm, meaning they’re not looking at the number of likes and retweets of a specific post related to your keyword when deciding your search rank.
But that doesn’t mean they want to ignore this social influence completely. The correlation is more indirect. What they DO look for are:
- Social engagement; people liking and circling you, tweeting your content.
- Mentions of your company, brand and website.
- Linked content to your Google+ profile.
- Quality natural backlinks coming from others blogging about you, or sharing your content on sites like Reddit, Pinterest, Tumblr, and so on.
How Do You Drive Traffic from Your Social Profiles?
When using your website as a primary channel for marketing your business, you must also work hard to drive traffic to it. Social media is one sure way to do this directly and strategically, and a powerful way to connect with your audience and potentially drag visitors onto your site.
If you’ve tried promoting on social networks before and it didn’t work out for you, check my post for common mistakes you might have made and how to fix them.
If you’re just starting out now, here’s what to do:
Add your website to your social profiles.
Every social network provides a specific position where users/businesses can put their web URLs. That’s probably the first thing you need to do to make sure your social traffic metrics start growing. You should also claim your vanity URL or your username on each network, or at least where this is required.
For example, “Facebook gives you an URL that looks something like this:
Not only is it not easy to remember, but it’s also very difficult to share with others and recommend your business. After reaching 25 ‘likes’ on your page, you get to create a custom Facebook URL, a unique username. Read how to do this on Google+ and Pinterest as well.
Monitor and engage on your social networks.
Once you’ve told your followers where to go to find out more, you should start getting active on these social networks. This means to regularly update your pages with fresh and interesting content (your own, or curated around the Web from popular authoritative websites in your niche), – post useful tips and how-to’s, add attractive images and videos, share humor, statistics, current industry events, etc.
If people see value in the content on your social networks, they’ll ‘like’ it, share in their G+ circles, tweet and pin it, expanding your reach in front of a much larger audience that could also end up on your website. Just make sure that you stay relevant to your niche. Also, listen to what your customers recommend and share to create new content that answers those interests.
Do you have a regularly updated company blog?
The lack of new content is probably the biggest problem blocking businesses from effectively using social media to drive traffic to their websites. Having a company blog continously sharing something great on social sites is the best way to make your website more dynamic and engaging to your audience.
And it’s not only written content that you can share. If you’re making YouTube video presentations, recording podcasts, creating infographics or SlideShares, embed them on your blog and share on your profiles. Your followers are more likely to click through and become your customers if they’re regularly updated with great new content on your website.
Facebook groups, Twitter chats, G+ communities and hangouts
Facebook groups and G+ communities offer amazing opportunities for businesses to attract greater attention to their websites, build quality backlinks, increase awareness of their brands, and grow their businesses.
There are dozens and dozens of such groups and communities, each with tens of thousands of members. If you post interesting and valuable content, and present yourself as an expert in your niche, lots of these people may end up on your website and become your clients.
Search for industry-relevant groups and communities to make sure their members are targeted to your products and services. You can also host a Twitter chat, or a hangout on Google+, inviting people to discuss and share insights about a specific topic. They’re great opportunities to share a link or two to quality resources on your website and drive followers to your pages.
What’s your social media experience?
What’s your opinion on this topic? Do you have experience using social media marketing in your business or company, or do you think social media can help your business position better in search results? What networks are most popular with your readers and customers?
Please join me on Facebook, Twitter or Google+ and leave me a comment on my wall, or as always feel free to share your thoughts and comments below this post.