Each and every year there are dozens of new social media sites that pop up. Some succeed and even more fail. When it comes to SEO and ranking in search it is very important to look at what these social media sites have to offer. For the common business owner there is no way they will be able to spend the time on each social network to learn the nuances and intricacies that could help them rank in search.
Social Media Sites 2014-2015
Facebook is, by far and away, the largest of the social networks. From the beginning, Mark Zuckerberg has made a point to keep Facebook a walled in garden. This means Google robots or the Googlebot cannot crawl individual news updates or posts. Googlebot can crawl public Facebook business pages but it cannot assign a value to the success of failure of a Facebook business page because of the inability to crawl all of Facebook.
When it comes to social media marketing and Internet marketing Facebook is a subject that comes up early and often. Before deciding to spend thousands of dollars on growing Facebook likes it is best to discuss the ins and outs of Facebook with someone that understands how the EdgeRank algorithm works. The EdgeRank algorithm is very similar to the Reddit algorithm in that time matters. If a post receives quite a bit of engagement early it can truly gain steam and go viral. If a post gets little to no engagement early it could end up with zero likes and zero comments even if the Facebook business page has 25,000 likes.
If you are looking to better understand the value of Facebook and how it affects SEO and Google search do not hesitate to reach out to me. I have a deep understanding of how the Facebook business model works and how posts go viral. Also note that most people searching for a service or product are not going to go to Facebook. They are going to go to Google or a search engine to seek out an answer or service. This is why SEO is so very important to small businesses.
Twitter owns the second screen. This cannot be argued. That said, we also know that tweets have the lifespan of about 45 seconds. If you don’t have hundreds of thousands of Twitter followers there is a strong likelihood that very few people are actually seeing your Tweets. With this being the case, is it worth it to spend time on Twitter for SEO and search ranking value? The answer is likely no, but it can depend on your industry and what Twitter “celebrities” you have access to.
Most tweets are not crawled by Googlebot. This means the links that are shared via Twitter are not assigned a pagerank that gets passed through to the website being shared. With this being the case, setting up a Twitter feed to share all of your blog posts or articles might not be the best choice. If will definitely not be the best choice if you are spending a significant amount of money on this service. Look at your business model and decide if Twitter is right for you. If you own a restaurant, bar or clothing shop you should be on Twitter. If you are a dentist, doctor, orthodontist or lawyer you probably do not need Twitter.
During award TV shows and sporting events Twitter is huge. If you can find a way to increase reach during these opportunities, go for it. If you cannot, it would be best to build a powerful website with great content that will be shared across social media websites that are crawled by Google.
There is only one option available when it comes to posting links on Instagram; that is in the bio section. If you are a business looking to improve your link portfolio I would strongly suggest using this link as an opportunity to point back to your homepage. If you are a professional or consultant you may want to use this link to point back to your LinkedIn profile or an About Me page that explains your services.
At this point, Instagram is still a social network of high schoolers and college students. In the grand scheme of things, most businesses know this is not a market to spend a large amount of money to reach. Students are not buying new cars, homes or diamond rings. They are not taking $20,000 vacations and they are not earning six figures. While college students are quite valuable to some business models, the more high end businesses focus their efforts on the money earners. Those that are not paying college debts and trying to get by financially.
If you are looking to grow a presence on Instagram it is important to be “cool” or “popular”. I have noticed that talent and skill do not come into play. A photo of a teenage girl playing in the snow can get 2500 likes and an amazing HDR photo of a sunset that happens one time a season will only get 14 likes. Also remember that Facebook owns Instagram so they could easily change the way that users see photos in their stream on their iPhone or Android smartphone.
When it comes to social media networks that have SEO value Pinterest is one of the best. It is very important to note that Pinterest does not consist of a large number of business professional men. In fact, most of the active users on Pinterest are female. That said, there are still plenty of opportunities to carve out a niche in your industry. If you can successfully build a presence on Pinterest you will increase your social media presence while also increasing your search rankings.
Pinterest can be a very tough nut to crack simply because it is not all that social. There is no private message system and comments are few and far between. I currently have a pin that has over 2000 repins and it has a total of five comments. This is par for the course when it comes to Pinterest. Do not expect to get tons of comments on this “shopable” social network. Getting repins and likes means you are having success with Pinterest.
Rather than trying to build a large following, at first, it is best to get some pin boards build out. Use your creativity. No matter what your business or area of interest there is a strong likelihood there are plenty of visual resources on the Internet in which you can pin to make your board more attractive to other Pinterest users. Also, feel free to promote your pin boards on your website or anywhere else in which you have a presence online.
WordPress is awesome. There is no other way to say it. If you can type an email you can publish a WordPress blog post. Each time you publish a blog post it is another page that Google can index for your URL. All things being considered, the more quality pages that are indexed in Google the better a website will rank. It will also rank for a larger number of keywords including long tail keyword phrases. In my opinion, there is no better blogging platform than WordPress.
I lump WordPress into Social Media sites in 2014 and 2015 because it is a way to connect with other bloggers and website owners. If you have never been to WordPress.com and signed up for a blog I strongly urge you to do so now. You will find millions of bloggers publishing content on everything from TV shows to women’s lacrosse. There is very little that is not covered on a free WordPress blog. Ofter time, the content has consistently gotten better as well.
If you are looking to build out a business website while also using social media, WordPress is the way to go. There are a number of great social share plugins and buttons available. This will allow your readers to share your content across the web which in turn will get more links pointing back to your site. This is the natural SEO that Google loves. People sharing content that is going to be read by other people. What a novel idea.
This is one of my favorite tools when it comes to sharing content. I must admit that it is not the most social of “social media sites” but it definitely offers an opportunity to grow an audience. I have recently learned that Flipboard allows you to insert the price of a product if it is shared from an eCommerce website. I think this could be enormous for all of those retail catalogs and magazines that are physically mailed to homes throughout the United States. My mother absolutely loves shopping from these magazines but it would be much easier if she could just put her credit card number in online rather than having to call a 1-800 number and deal with a customer service representative. I am honestly shocked some of these retail and shopping catalogs still exist.
One of the best things about Flipboard is the usability. After signing up you can add the Flipboard plugin to Google Chrome and simply hit the red F any time you want to add an article, gif, photo or video to your magazine. I would strongly urge you to make several magazines as there are unlimited opportunities. You may also want to play around with the sizing of the images and gifs. Remember that gifs autoplay on a Flipboard magazine so you will definitely want to consider making your magazine cover a unique gif that illustrates the point you are trying to get across. Imagine looking at the magazines at a grocery store and one of them having a video that played. How awesome would that be? Well, you can do it on Flipboard. For much more information on the SEO value and how to get traffic from this social media site use this resource above.
This list will continue to grow as I notice more links pointing back to websites I maintain and manage. These are the social media sites I have noticed that have generated links back to resources I have written or have shared. It is important to note that these social networks are popular and valuable in the United States. The language and social barrier of other countries makes it difficult for me to analyze social networks outside the United States. This is not to say they are not extremely valuable for SEO and search purposes.
Will Social Signals Affect Google Search?
A better question may be, “do social signals affect Google Search?” This is the way I look at it. The Google algorithm was based off a college thesis with the content of the thesis being the content of a website and the references of the thesis being the backlinks pointing to the website. It doesn’t matter if these backlinks are dofollow, nofollow, social media sites, personal blogs or business websites. If the Google Spider can crawl a hypertext link that points back to a website it has some value. How much value is determined by the algorithm.
Throughout this resource and the resources for all the different social networks I will point out why some social media sites will likely have more value than others. One reference I will make over and over is effort. If it takes little to no effort for someone to share a link to a website that link is not going to be nearly as powerful as those links that do take effort. In more words or less, if you can set up an RSS Feed or an autogenerated post from a website that is going to be less valuable than physically going onto a social media site or on a blog and sharing a link. It just makes sense that Google would value links that take effort much more than links that can be updated without even signing onto the Internet.
That said, do not discount social media sites that offer a stream of information that is collected across multiple social networks. An example of this is Rebel Mouse. Rebel Mouse users can sign up to have their Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Google Plus accounts updated on their profile. It makes for a very unique experience to see an active social media users profiles from all the major networks. It is also a way for Google to actually crawl links that are in Tweet. Much more on the inability of Google to crawl Tweets in the Twitter article that is linked above.