One the challenges of functioning in a dynamic business environment like the online world are that there is tons of speculation. Self-proclaimed SEO gurus are never short of doling out advice which they ‘feel’ works. But for the newbie, this only increases the conundrum that they are already facing.
There is a lack of clarity on what works and what does not and this can skew a well charted SEO plan.
One of the most hotly debated topics has been the impact of social signals on rankings in search engines. Google admitted in 2010 that social signals are a part of their ranking algorithms and it was for a fact, a very important and efficient way to boost site rankings.
Four years later, they reportedly did a U-turn and said that social signals are no longer a part of their ranking algorithms. At least not directly! Does this mean that you should not include social signals in your ranking efforts anymore?
Absolutely not! Social signals when used correctly are easily the best way to gain traffic, get good quality links, create a buzz on social circles and most importantly, boost your site authority.
How it does that, one might ask. Here’s how.
It goes without saying that almost every popular social media platform is like a termite colony. It is teeming with traffic and millions of users in a wide range of demographics. All that you need to do is tap into it. And there is no better way than to use quality social signals.
Some SEOs throw in an argument that most Social media websites only send no-follow outbound links to your websites which do not pass on link juice. But that’s flawed logic. Irrespective of whether the link is do-follow or no-follow, traffic that comes to your website from any social media site is an indicator to Google that the site is popular.
It also indicates that the site is active and interacting with potential customers.
The real money, though, lies in the shares it generates.
While social signals themselves won’t get you any links, with good content, the chances of getting shares increases manifold. People love reading good quality articles and the shares can always go viral netting you even more ‘natural’ links. Think about it for a minute. You do not have to do anything out of the box to get these links.
All you need is good content and some social signals and you are all set. These are the types of links that Google loves. Further, you can have links in your profile on most social media platforms. Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest and Instagram are traffic magnets. Use links in your profiles to build authority to your business website.
Like we said, Google has not been forthcoming about the impact of back links from social media platforms on a domain’s authority. What we do know though is from experience, that social signals work very effectively to help improve a domain’s authority. Backlinko.com has explicitly stated that it does.
Having been in the business for a few years, we are aware that any SEO company’s words or predictions must be taken with a pinch of salt. But if you analyze the performance of your website before and after pointing social signals to it, you’d notice the obvious difference. The key here is the traffic that stems from these sites. Most search engines would consider this as a brand signal that originates from reputed social platforms and that will eventually begin to boost your domain’s authority.
Now that you know how social signals can contribute towards your domain’s authority, it is equally important to know how to use them correctly. Here are some tips to help you get started.
The most important thing is the quality of the social signals. You wouldn’t want to pinch pennies and buy signals from a cheap source like Fiverr. It will at best be a waste of your money and at worse, even lead to a penalty because when we tested it, we got about 10000 signals from fake accounts which were also pointing to porn sites and fake drug sites. That’s a neighborhood that you do not want to venture into.
Hire a service provider who can give you good quality social signals from original accounts. The accounts should be legitimate, active and have some kind of activity on a daily basis.
Throwing a bunch of social signals on your site will definitely help in the authority. But to ensure that you tap into this traffic, you must redirect them to your own social media profiles which must be optimized with your target keywords.
The flow goes like this.
Visitor from a social signal –>Your social Profiles -> Your website -> More traffic and followers
Any content that you create for social has the potential to turn up in search results. Use relevant keywords in the articles and hashtags where possible. Using call to action in the content is one of the best ways to increase engagement with the reader.
Contrary to popular notion, you don’t need a lot of words too. Anything that is short and concise and uses the right words has a chance of getting maximum click through rates. Check twitter and Facebook ad feeds for examples. People create engaging ads with just 15-17 words and have great click through rates.
It has been observed that using words like ‘Instantly’ and ‘Free’ can generate a better response.
It will take some practice and a lot of trial and error. But it is no rocket science. Once you have a clear idea of what works, it is just a matter of scaling it up. At the end of the day, social signals can impact your website in so many ways that it would be a glaring mistake to not include them in your SEO mix.
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