How social signals help your position on Google.

social signals help your seo

Too many companies are relying on keywords.

Some facts about SEO

(True) SEO is important for customers who want to grow their business through online leads and purchases.

(Vaguely true) Google uses keywords to rank content.

(False) If you add the right keywords to your titles and your posts your website will get to page #1 on Google.

(True) If you get a bunch of people to share and like your content by creating articles of interest, then your website will improve on Google.

A short history of SEO

The reason Google is the most profitable company  in the world (don’t let anyone tell you it’s Amazon), is because they have organised a phone book of IP addresses, ordered by not only the most interesting addresses, but the most interesting addresses according to what you are searching for at that time (The paid ads and revenue is for another post). They do this by crawling websites and storing the information to serve pages matched to search terms. The problem with this is that people would “stuff” pages with keywords and try to game the system. It still goes on to this day but in a much more organic way. It’s called SEO. It was 2010 when Matt Cutts posted a video response to Danny Sullivan’s assumption that Google was using social shares, likes, and clicks to rank content and further boost the organic nature of website positioning.  

It makes a lot of sense.

For many years and even to the present, Google would use hyperlinks from page to page to pass authority through the web. How does that work?

Well if your blog has a link coming from a high authority website such as Nike (and your blog reviews trainers, for example), then google would see your site as important.

But who links from blog to blog? Only bloggers. This put a lot of power in the hands of bloggers as they were essentially the people who decided what was, or what was not, important on the internet.

Then came the advent of the social networks.

Everybody uses social networks. So now there was a different way for Google to find hot content.

How does it work?

In the words of Eric Schmidt“Within search results, information tied to verified online profiles will be ranked higher than content without such verification, which will result in most users naturally clicking on the top (verified) results.”

And this is where social media comes in. Nowadays, social networks make up some 25% of referral traffic, so they have a big impact on what Google decides is important or not. Posts with 1000+ shares attract a lot of traffic, and Google has to rank content according to its popularity.

Take a look at tools such as Buzzsumo, Ahrefs and Semrush. You’ll see that they are tracking and ranking posts according to their performance on social networks.

The algorithms that Google uses to rank content are constantly being updated to serve up the best content.

The theory is that Google will take a post that is performing well on social media and rank it higher in their search engine. Though not the most important factor, it will add to the overall page authority. If this wasn’t happening on an industrial scale, I’d be very surprised, but it must be said that only people who truly know the algorithm are the people who build it. At Google.

What can I do to improve my social SEO?

Let’s get into what you came here for.

Each network has its peculiarities. Instagram only has one link per account (discounting shops), while twitter allows for lots of links but only a finite amount of text. In every case, the more links you have, the more shares you get, the more mentions of your profile on 3rd accounts, and the more likes you get, will all affect your social SEO score. Too many people are relying on blogging to work their SEO magic: a keyword in the title here, a meta description there, and this will show Google what a great structure the page has. Boom, in people’s (self-centred) minds this is how to rank on Google.

Forget about it.

The old days are well and truly over. The idea that bloggers sharing posts and links across the internet are long gone. If Google wants to continue serve the best content (a thereby their revenue streams, they have to be looking at social media. It’s where 90% of the internet hangs out. So if you wanna get down with the kids, get on social and get posting.

How can I start a social feed that will help my SEO?

Behind my hand I’m going to whisper a word into your ear. Ready?

Buffer. Got it?

Buffer is a social posting automation tool that can programme posts through the day to automatically publish across a range of accounts. This means social posting can be done in a few hours for the whole week and then left alone to  whirr away publishing blog posts and curated content while you sit back with a Netflix.

Most of the content you see on brand networks is automated, certainly anything with shortened urls that look like owl.ly/kjb or buff.ly/jhbk. These accounts are using either Hootsuite or Buffer.

Which social automation tool should I use, then?

I recommend Buffer. It’s just faster and more intuitive. Hootsuite has a couple of annoying traits whilst adding images to posts and a convoluted way of shortening links. It does offer more functionality to follow your feeds as you can see your feeds and notifications directly in the app. But I find that having a couple of browser tabs open with your feeds is much more accurate and not so difficult to manage.

Isn’t this cheating?

It all sounds robotic, right? That people aren’t posting every day. Like we’re being sold a pup and it’s actually just a bot posting that stuff up. This is true. Social accounts using automated feeds get less engagement. Those accounts that are online, reacting to comments, sharing relevant content according to what their audience are saying generate better engagement. As you would expect.

In response, social networks are ever so slightly clamping down on social automated feeds. The latest punch Twitter landed was copying posts across Twitter feeds on Buffer. This was making for a very large amount of copied content across Twitter, so they whacked that mole. And rightly so.

The whole automation thing really is gaming the system as it was in the old days. People are throwing links and shares all of the internet in the how that Google will see their content as useful and give it a better rank. But at the end of the day, if you aren’t doing this, your website isn’t going to be visible.

Just another tumbleweed blowing endlessly with the billions through the infinity of Silicon Valley servers.

 

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