How Social Media can help you boost your page rankings.

social media
Todays post is a guest entry from Gemma Thompson, a local expert with Social Media who has kindly written an article today based on her area of expertise, Social Media Marketing. You can read Gemma’s blog and get a regular flow of useful Social Media news, tips and general nuggets of gold by clicking Social Media Illumination. You can also find her on FaceBook at Social Media Illumination and on Twitter at @GemLThompson.

Search Engine Optimisation is undeniably important in this day and age; page 1 of Google is the modern day high street and if your website is there people are bound to wander in! But recent changes mean that social media activity now has an even stronger affect than ever before on your page ranking.

Social Media for SEO

One of the key aspects to getting and keeping your site highly ranked is to have plenty of links to your site spread around the web and social media has always helped this. In fact savvy SEO amateurs and professionals alike began using the first generation of social media forums this way as far back as the mid nineties.

Forums are still used for this today, as is commenting on blogs. To do this effectively it is best to comment sensibly, on related topics and not just slap your link anywhere and everywhere that you can – that kind of behaviour is known as ‘black hat’ and may get your site taken off the listings entirely!

social media - twitterFor the last couple of years social media has helped website owners as there are a multitude of sites where you are able to build profiles that include your website link. You can also link repeatedly to your site through status updates, maybe to send people to your blog, maybe to a catalogue listing of a new stock item, there are plenty of opportunities! [editors note - its very important to restate what Gemma has said above, please be VERY careful when using this approach, as your SEO and social media engagement have a direct reflection on your brand, and "spammy" activity may in the short term help your SEO, but will certainly NOT help your social media engagement and will also not help your SEO long term.]

Twitter is a prime example of this kind of thing.

social media - linkedinLinkedIn is particularly good for your page ranking as you can not only add your website link to your profile but also name the link with keywords. Yesterday I was helping a client that owns a sewing website create her LinkedIn profile, instead of choosing the normal ‘company website’ option and attaching the URL to that, we chose the option marked ‘other’ and typed in our own name for the link – the most popular keywords for her site are ‘liberty fabric’ and ‘hot patterns’ so we named the link with these keywords.

Another good way to boost your page ranking with LinkedIn is to start discussions. When you do you will see you have the option to attach a link, I almost always use this and when I do, I link to the page on my website that promote my services.

The exception in this has always been Facebook as profiles and updates are not searchable by Google. Pages however are searchable so having a link to your website on your business page is important, and linking to your site through the updates on your page is a good idea too. Do keep your audiences reading pleasure a higher priority than your SEO needs however, there is no point losing an already interested audience in the hope of attracting the attention of one that may not be!

Social Media and SEO converging

social mediaLately social media has become more important to search results, Bing partnered with Facebook a while ago meaning that Facebook Likes now affect search rankings. An article that might have normally surfaced on the second or third page of search results may appear on the first page if friends have liked it.

Bings new version of its toolbar includes a universal Facebook Like button. It gives you the ability to like any website or web page, regardless of whether or not it has added the Facebook Like button.

Google have countered this with their plus 1 button which allows anyone with a Google profile to effectively vote a website up in the rankings, it will also give greater credence to websites that have been voted for by your contacts. Although this is not completely rolled out yet and the votes won’t be integrated into Google’s normal algorithms for a while, it is still worth being aware of.

Google have also said that they will give Facebook likes on a website similar capabilities in the future – once they have resolved the technical difficulties in doing so.

But this may be too little too late – when Facebook integrated the Microsoft search engine Bing, Google’s dominance of search was so absolute it was hard to imagine it would ever be challenged, but more and more frequently people are using the search bar (powered by Bing) in Facebook. And the results are ranked in Facebook’s favour with the top slots promoting people, pages or groups with the keywords in first, the web wide results at the bottom.

It is most likely that someone searching within Facebook is searching for something or someone that will have a profile or page so ordering things this way makes sense, but as time goes on people become less and less inclined to leave Facebook to perform a search so Bing will be even more widely used … All the more reason to grab your page and page name now!

Thanks to Gemma for todays guest blog post on how social media can help your business. You can get definitions about social media by visiting Wikipedia, and of course we strongly recommend you pay a visit to Social Media Illumination to find out more about social media.

Tony is the Managing Director of Flosee, and also our lead developer. He has been building, modifying and beautifying websites since 2001 and is almost always glued to a keyboard in one way or another.

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