When done properly, social media can have a very positive effect on your website’s search engine optimization. However, there is still some debate within the marketing and SEO communities on the negative impact that social networks, such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter can have on a website’s overall popularity and relevance in the search engines. In most cases, poor use of these tools is the culprit for a negative experience, however there are other factors that developers must consider before launching a new socially-based campaign.
Just the basic layout and methodology behind this type of media makes it extremely beneficial. Social networking helps developers to increase their reach, relevance and traffic, while opening the lines of communication with their target customer base. Social media is a great way to beef up your website’s ranking within the search engines. Savvy marketers know that the best way to utilize this tool is to integrate it in with products, blogs, ad campaigns, consumer contests, polls and other interactive marketing techniques.
While social websites do have the ability to move a major amount of traffic, it is important to remember that they cannot replace Google or other optimization and marketing strategies. The search engines need to remain the primary focus of web developers, marketers and search engine optimization gurus if they want to be able to effectively drive targeted traffic to their websites. A lot of businesses are carelessly overlooking the powerful importance of the engines and are focusing instead on the more popular social networking campaigns.
The Engines and Social Networking
The major search engines such as Yahoo, Bing and Google, have now all come on-board and have stated clearly that a web page’s ranking will be influenced directly by social media links. Prior to 2011, many SEO experts were concerned that social network links would not be able improve a page’s ranking because they were considered “no follow” links by the engines.
In 2010, Facebook changed the game forever, making ground-breaking strides in traffic, elevating it to near Google-sized status. A report published by Information Week showed that it was receiving as much as 1/10 of all Internet visits and nearly 25% more page views than YouTube by November 2010. Because of its popularity, Google gives social networking efforts a lot of weight, but developers still need to focus on other SE elements if they want to get a front page listing.
The Big Players
Recent studies have revealed that the major social networks have millions of user-created accounts with a majority of those users logging in on a regular basis. LinkedIn now has more than 100 million subscribers, Twitter has over 400 million followers and popular powerhouse Facebook has now attracted over 750 million members – that’s a lot of traffic by anyone’s standards!
The Bottom Line
It is important to remember that while these social networking sites are continuing to grow and drive a lot of traffic, they still aren’t search engines. Engines such as Yahoo and Google have the ability to offer much more relevant and useful content and will remain a popular resource for users as a result. Optimizing your website and online properties for the search engines should remain your primary focus. No matter how big or beneficial anything else is or becomes, don’t let it interfere with your SEO work.
To determine how well social networking is working for you and your web-based project or campaign, it is important to track your results via a reliable analytic tool that will categorize your data and help you see where you and getting your traffic. Social websites should be used primarily as a means of connecting to your business to your customers, to encourage interaction and elicit a response to your call-to-action. Once your customers begin to get involved with your pages, that’s when the power of social marketing will begin to work its magic on behalf of your website in the search engines.
Be sure to call us at Fall RIver Website Design (508-415-8648), New Bedford, Massachusetts. We can help you analyze your social media strategy and see if or how it might be impacting your SEO efforts.