How being "Liked" impacts rankings
By Corey Morris, SEO Strategist
- Search engines have hundreds of variables that dictate the ranking of pages on the web for specific terms – this is what we know and try to address in SEO.
- People interact on social media sites and marketers use the sites to engage with customers – this is where we are with social media.
- Search engines have proven their interest in social signals with recent updates (ex: Google’s “Search, plus Your World”).
How do search and social intersect?
That’s a question worth considering, especially in light of the fact that our search team is often not the same as our social media team. There is a lot of good reading out there related to social media strategies. Engaging customers, driving site traffic, spreading viral content — all have the potential to attract new links to the site. This is a quality, content driven focus that works well. However, this isn’t tied to a direct relationship between social activity and rankings.
Important but often overlooked: How social and search directly intersect in terms of algorithm variables that impact ranking. Google and Bing (and thus Yahoo!) have different social signals built into their algorithms to allow social media popularity to impact rankings. Google uses the +1 button to determine the social popularity of content and Bing uses the Facebook “Like” button. As of now, Google does not have a partnership with Facebook and officially does not use Facebook data. Bing, however, does have a direct connection into the “fire hose” of Facebook data.
Advantage comes when opportunity knocks. How do we make sure we take advantage of this opportunity? We need to add Google +1 and Facebook “Like” buttons to any page on our site that makes sense. In some cases, this could be a page with video content, product pages, the home page, or every page on the site. A company or marketer doesn’t even need to have any type of social media strategy or presence on Google+ or Facebook to do this. Simply follow the instructions for adding the buttons to your site and get people to click them. Clicks of those buttons are tied to the “Likes” of the individual that clicks in their own Facebook account or Google+ account and the site gets credit.
Your homework for taking advantage of social’s impact on search engine optimization:
- Add the +1 and Like buttons to content on your site.
- Get clicks on those buttons, using your current or new marketing channels to get the word out.
- Monitor the impact on your rankings for terms related to the pages you have lots of clicks on.