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Just the other day a person in my office (who shall remain unnamed) was forced to resort to the chocolate biccie tin when someone announced they had read that social media is the new SEO. Now, you may or may not agree with that statement, but I certainly believe if you don’t start having a good old flirty fumble now and increase the social signals for your brand, then you may find yourself very sad and lonely in the world of SEO. Search and social are coming together.
What Are Social Signals?
The social signals I am referring to are not the ‘he looked at me twice today therefore I think he fancies me’ kind of signals. The ones that concern us in the digital marketing world are the ones linked to social media. When you ‘Like’, ‘retweet’ ‘endorse’ or ‘+1’ something then you are not just avidly sharing content with other people that you think is cool, informative, engaging for others to benefit from, but you effectively sending out signals are also telling Google that you think it rocks and believe me Google will take note about where this content has come from.
Why Are These Signals Important?
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As we know from the recent Google Panda updates, Google is no longer easily impressed with any old content. It wants meatier, sexier and ultimately useful content and will reward you if you have done a grand job. But, I hear you squeal, how does it measure how wonderful this content is?
Aha! Ever heard the expression ‘it’s good to share?’ Well these days it’s even better to ‘get shared’. The more your content is shared via social media the more Google and Bing too will take note of your business and the more visibility your brand will have. The social signals will be clearly saying ‘We friggin love this content!’ Seeing as Google+ has now become more integrated with Google and Facebook data into Bing its becoming clearer that search and social are becoming more and more entwined.
OK, these signals may not have a direct effect on SERP rankings (YET!!) but it can happen. Great content has the potential to go viral and create thousands of links to your site. However it can’t go viral without social media providing the platform for it to be shared. In any case, whether it goes viral or not, quality and relevant content is what Google wants since rolling out the Panda updates and unless you want to go and sit on the naughty step, this is what you need to provide.
With regards to driving traffic to the site, if you are already using social media then have a wee peek at your Google Analytics under ‘referrals’, I’m betting that you will find social media platforms as being some of the top referrers to your site and so they should be. These platforms are where the audiences relevant to your brand are hanging out and the more you engage with them the more they will notice you and come by your site to visit and potential buy your product or service. Hello traffic, goodbye loneliness!
Join The Party!
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What I love about working for the ThoughtShift ‘family’ is the shared belief amongst us that SEO works best as the best practice part of a whole digital marketing strategy and we aim to embrace that with our multi-talented and ever growing team of experts. We are not actually shocked by the thought that social media could be the new SEO because we have already joined the party and besides, any excuse to reach for the chocolate biccies.
As digital marketers we know the importance of knowing the audiences for each brand and listening to what they have to say and there is no better way than by social media. I mean, where are people mostly hanging out these days? Well, chew on this, there are over a billion users on Facebook and if were a country it would be the world’s 3rd largest and 2x the size of the U.S. population. Oh and apparently it turns out that Social Media has overtaken porn as the #1 activity on the web.
Best get jiggy then, innit?