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The impact of social media on SEO


LinkingWhen it comes to online marketing, social media is dominating the conversation. Specifically Facebook, but also Twitter, LinkedIn, and a handful of other social sites are becoming a much greater force in search engine optimization (SEO).

These sites have hundreds of millions of visitors, and that amounts to raw power in external linking and traffic building.

How big?

Here’s a rundown of the most recent estimates of these sites’ sizes:

  • Facebook: more than 600 million users

  • Twitter: more than 400 million users

  • LinkedIn: more than 100 million users

Earlier this year, major search engines Google and Bing stated that social media links from Facebook and Twitter do indeed have a direct impact on a website’s SEO rankings. That was a shift from prior conventional wisdom, which held that social media links were “no follow”, contributing not at all to a website’s PageRank. (Some SEO experts, though, never bought that line in the first place.)

The result is a big shake-up of to accepted SEO practice.

Social Media’s growing SEO power

In 2010, when it looked like no other site could possibly compete with Google for search marketing impact, Facebook started to surprise some people.

In mid-year, the social media juggernaut became the first website that could challenge Google’s numbers. In November 2010, Facebook traffic was reported to have risen some 60 percent, and Facebook visits accounted for “almost one-fourth of page views and 10 percent of Internet visits,” per Information Week.

“Today, Facebook provides accountholders with more content than YouTube; in fact, the social media site delivered 24.27 percent of page views compared with YouTube’s 6.39%,” the Information Week article continues.

“In addition, Facebook delivers far more content than Google, which provided 4.13 percent of page views and Yahoo, which gave a mere 0.54 percent of page views.”

Facebook isn’t a search engine, of course, so it doesn’t—can’t—offer what Google does. SEO will still focus on what Google indexes. But this news means that Facebook is a means to market SEO via Google, and smart online marketers are already adapting their SEO and online advertising plans to this new announcement.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at how the biggest social media sites can help your SEO.

The dominant social networking sites

At this point, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are the Internet’s three biggest social media sites. And that isn’t likely to change in the near future, as the numbers above show.

So, how can you make use of these sites’ huge membership base to increase your SEO reach?

It helps to think of social media as separate from SEO. Work all of these sites and create profiles for yourself and/or your site — especially Facebook. But don’t try to use standard marketing there; different rules apply.

Think and interact conversationally. Social media is called social media because it’s social—it’s not business oriented. The original purpose of these sites was to connect people and create networks, and that’s still primarily what people visit them for. If you stray from that path, and start pushing your business, people are going to be turned off, and you’ll hurt your site more than you help it.

So, be casual in your tone. Make friends, hook up with business colleagues past and present, and network. Those are the marketing options social media offers. It’s a soft sell, but it’s very powerful.

On Facebook, Like and Share your friends’ links. On Twitter, re-tweet links from your followers, and they’ll be more likely to do the same for you.

There are paid advertising options on Facebook and Twitter, but it’s still primarily a social venue. So, the best way to take advantage of these sites’ SEO power is to build a presence on them, which you’ve presumably already begun.

And, now that we know that Google and Bing do index social media content, you’re building external links each time you work on your social media profiles and share links.

The bottom line is this: What works in standard search marketing and SEO doesn’t necessarily work in social networking. Stay tuned to the Blog for more updates on social networking and what it can do for your website and marketing efforts.

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17 Responses to The impact of social media on SEO

  1. okurei April 21, 2011 at 1:41 am

    Yes I do agree with a lot that you have stated in this article. With websites made freely available and easy on-line tutorials to set-up Facebook and the others it not surprising the phenomenal growth occurring at this time. The access to this is so free that a 6 year old child can go on-line and start a successful affiliate business. There lies the problem how do Facebook and others work the compliance to Terms & Conditions of registration and age of consent being 18 years. While the growth is with us has anyone done any research to how much longer this growth will last?

    • Kaylan April 30, 2011 at 6:39 am

      That’s way the bestest asnewr so far!

  2. cris-tiano wang April 21, 2011 at 5:31 am

    That right, social media are became very popular right now, is will be next trendy thing where can’t live without it for example hand phone.

  3. Jaymie Salguero April 21, 2011 at 11:55 am

    Terrific, this information is exactly what I was searching for. I am of course thankful to this topic because it surely gives useful information. Very well written blog. I look transmit to looking more. This blog is bookmarked! I really love the stuff you have put here.

  4. Richard Ng April 21, 2011 at 11:54 pm

    Totally agreed that social media is a key element in SEO now! Thanks for the post.

    • Warren April 23, 2011 at 1:02 am

      Glad you enjoyed it. Social Media should be a top component of any link-building strategy.

  5. Kimberly Quiroz April 22, 2011 at 2:02 am

    Excellant way to advertise

    • Christy April 30, 2011 at 12:32 pm

      Touchdown! That’s a really cool way of piuttng it!

  6. Gisa April 23, 2011 at 1:45 am

    Where is the facebook like button ?

    • Warren April 25, 2011 at 5:56 pm

      It’s on the top and bottom of the article.

  7. Angelo April 23, 2011 at 9:38 am

    Sweet blog post, stylish web page layout, keep up the good work

  8. mikeross April 25, 2011 at 2:49 am

    Terrific work! This is the type of information that should be shared around the web. Shame on the search engines for not positioning this post higher!

  9. Antone Schauf May 10, 2011 at 5:46 am

    Right here is the type of information I’ve long been looking for. Thanks for posting this information.

  10. automotive tools review May 24, 2011 at 7:16 pm

    Hello to all I cannot comprehend tips on how to add your site in my rss reader. Help me, please

  11. Pingback: The Rise and Fall of SEO | Nathan Denny, Writer / Editor

  12. Pingback: Social Media: The Basics of Social Bookmarking

  13. Pingback: Twitter: Five Tips for Great SEO

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