Why Every SEO Professional Needs to Focus on Social Signals
The extent to which social signals impact search rankings is a regular debate in SEO circles. While most people acknowledge that they have a certain impact — even if only in terms of backlinks — others believe they are integral to ranking. Whatever the current situation, it seems likely that the growth in social media will invariably influence SEO into the future. SEO involves staying on top of the changing algorithms, so it can only be wise to take social signals into account when creating your SEO campaigns.
As mentioned, backlinks from social sites will impact your search rankings. The algorithm continues to change, but backlinks still remain integral to long-term ranking. Long tail keywords might only require a small number of social signals, with little competition to trouble you. Tougher keywords will need more promotion, but social influence can be enough to start the sharing process among blogs and other influential sites.
The search engines want to rank the most popular sites for the most relevant search terms. Social signals help to indicate popularity, showing that people are interested in your content. Popularity was largely shown through backlinks, both in quality and quantity, but social media has helped to indicate what is popular at this precise moment. While old links from mature sites can be helpful, the search engines want to show sites that are up to date.
Ultimately, SEO is performed with the intention of driving traffic. Social signals can drive this traffic in a number of different ways. Firstly, many social sites can actually rank for long tail keywords, meaning your link could appear alongside your own site. Additionally, social sites often recommend relevant content through the use of things like hashtags, so you can gain further recommendations from your activity. Finally, there are indications that search engines are influenced by traffic, with signs that users are clicking links helping to strengthen the power of the backlink.
Engage with Followers
Social media is built around engagement, so remaining aloof is no way to build a following. Get used to interacting with people about content, comments, and ideas, letting them know their opinion is valid. As you start to build relationships, you should notice more people automatically share your posts. Using social media effectively can be time-consuming, but you can simplify the process by creating individual blocks of time over the course of the day.
Repost Influencers’ Content
Gaining the trust of influential personalities is one of the quickest ways to get content shared. Many people share your posts if they see an influencer has already approved it. Start by reposting these influencers content first, showing that you are contributing to their growth. Don’t be afraid to give your own opinions on their posts, even if you don’t always agree. By becoming noticeably active, you should start to see some reciprocation from authority figures in your niche.
Create Shareable Content
Some content is easily shareable, whereas other posts don’t lend themselves to being promoted in the same way. Most shareable content is intriguing, engaging, and digestible, with lengthier, complex posts not always achieving a great deal of social traction. Look to use an interesting headline, multimedia, and sub-headings if you want to generate the most amount of interest. It is also important to add prominent social buttons for convenient sharing. Finally, gain inspiration by using sites like Buzz Sumo to find relevant articles that have proven popular across social media.
Social signals will continue to be an SEO debate, but it looks highly likely that their importance will continue to grow. As social media becomes an ever-present part of online life, any business that ignores it will struggle. While some business owners find it time-consuming and distracting, a clear social media plan will bring traffic, backlinks, and strong industry relationships. Ignoring social media is becoming harder to do, so embrace the chance to forge relationships with your customer base.