The truth behind social media and your rankings
As of date, I haven’t read many articles with good arguments on utilising social media for SEO benefit. All the articles I’ve read have been…
As of date, I haven’t read many articles with good arguments on utilising social media for SEO benefit. All the articles I’ve read have been more geared towards driving visitors through to your site via gathering more followers and utilising each social media tool differently. But, does posting URLs to your social networks really work?
Will link strategies through social media work and help your site rank?
In short, no. But that depends on entirely on the strategy you’re going to be using. It’s still pretty early days, but Google is definitely not going to be crawling Twitter, seeing a link and then automatically putting a value in such a link – that doesn’t make any sense and would be far too easy to manipulate. Rather, the value is in the creativity of your tweet, and whether the strategy is going to attract high volumes of retweets and links from other sources, people are only going to retweet or post a tweet with your link if they are compelled enough to do so, something which would be a key indicator for Google to say “Ah, this must be valuable if x people have retweeted and posted a link to y.
Once again it’s too early to tell what the real attributes are to Google crawling social media profiles, but it’s likely that it would use the following factors to decide whether a profile is trusted enough to add value to the links. Below is a graphical representation of two Twitter users @MrEvilSpammer and @MrNiceGuy. @MrEvilSpammer automatically posts standard tweets such as retweets, or automatic tweets on a certain topic, he spams and follows thousands of people (he’s an all round annoyance) posting the same links with tweets which are not unique. @MrNiceGuy, on the other hand, tweets organic, rarely posting links and when he does, they’re useful and he converses with people about them. Figure out which one Google is more likely to ignore:
Hopefully, you would’ve understood what I was saying and chosen @MrNiceGuy as the one Google is less likely to ignore!! As a side note, if your social media strategy looks like @MrEvilSpammer, seriously reconsider a new strategy.
What are my reasonings behind this? Google wants to have a natural index. They want it to contain information that the user wants, not information the user doesn’t want. Obviously there are forms of black hat SEO and negative social techniques which currently work but Google are ironing out, but in the long run Google is going to be looking for things people like too — people are sheep, they follow people who others are following but not just that, they’re sociable! They want to follow the guy who has genuine conversations and sends interesting tweets. So, in my opinion, these are factors which Google will notice when looking at your profile.
So, what’s the point of all this?
My point is that social search is not really about your rankings anymore, it’s about having a profile which is powerful enough for Google to not ignore. It’ll crawl your links, index them more quickly and take notice in what you’re doing. We’ve already seen tweets appearing in the SERPs for over six months, so if someone is searching for a topic and they’re displayed, in my opinion there are going to be features put in place to display not just the most recent social statuses but also the most relevant!!
However, my point wasn’t just about Google, it was about real people. In my opinion, @MrNiceGuy will continue to get followers, he’ll enjoy what he’s doing and make a name for himself. People will see him post a link, they’ll follow it and add it to Delicious/Pinboard, they’ll retweet that link and their friends will see it. So indirectly, the organic work on that profile isn’t just seen in the social media community, but also further afield — gathering links from all over the place.
The ideal strategy for you
Unfortunately I can’t tell you that, not because I don’t want to but because each company needs a different strategy and they need to know whether it will work. If you’re not seeing any results at the moment, try switching to a different company or readjusting the way you do this, it may make the difference in the world. Also remember that results won’t be immediate and social media is about interaction and talking to people (read: social) so if your plan is to just post links, that will fail.
Overall, you need to have a compelling reason for people to want to follow you. Whether it’s because they’ll get quicker help from your support team, they’ll get inside information or previews from upcoming pieces of software they’re all valuable things.
A model I swear by would be as follows (though is only really good for small to medium sized organisations):
- Company X has a Twitter profile where business news and tweets are posted. There is interaction between the company account and twitter profiles, but people know it’s real and run by multiples because it’s posted from CoTweet or there is a sign-off (for example ^JD for “John Doe” at the end of the tweet).
- Each employee has their own Twitter account with a profile saying where they work!
There are two levels of interaction here — people can talk to the company account or get to know (and speak to) the staff members. Not only does it help with relationships people would not get otherwise, it’s also the future of all companies who should be open and honest about everything they do.
It’s an ideal solution for people with passionate staff. They could be helping people with problems (showing their high level of skill), talking to people (showing their social skills), doing their own thing (showing that they support that football team, something to talk about in the next meeting) and much more.
Written by Jason John Mills