Most companies with a website will also update a Facebook page every now and then, to try and build that ever-elusive Holy Grail of Google Search rankings – the community.
As this trend gains prominence and spreads the world over, asking oneself just how much social media presence matters in terms of SEO is a logical question.
The answer, unfortunately, is somewhat elusive, too, since, in spite of the many studies on the matter, things are not quite clear just yet. It is a fact that Google (and other search engines, too), will take into consideration social media presence.
It is also a worthy assumption that the importance of said social presence will increase in time, as search engine algorithms become more sophisticated, intuitive, and capable of understanding context and community.
However, the dilemma that remains to be solved is how to go about building social presence, in order to improve the visibility and search page ranking of one’s website. Here are a few suggestions, collected from around the web.
The more fans your brand has on Facebook, the better the visibility. Shares and general ‘talking about this’ activity will also count toward building awareness of your brand.
A few years back, the rather general consensus was that Twitter was solely for journalists, bloggers, and perhaps artists and media outlets. Nowadays, Twitter is just a good a source as any for increasing social activity around your brand. The power is in the numbers, just like on Facebook: the more followers, the better. Also, it helps to have people tweeting the name of your brand, as well as link back to your brand’s web page.
All being said and done, it’s important to remember that back links are still the top catalyst of good online presence. This was actually confirmed in a recent interview with Google’s main man behind the search engine’s algorithm, Matt Cutts.
Cutts confirmed the growing prominence of social media and communities. He stated that getting ‘a buzz’ going, and having people mention your brand and review your products is starting to matter to ever-greater extents. However, he subtly hinted that links are still the number one factor that will ensure visibility for any given brand.
To conclude, social media will definitely continue to go places when it comes to SEO, but it’s also worth bearing in mind that, for the time being, back linking still reigns supreme.
When approaching social matters in your SEO strategy, try to think of it as your online, publicly visible customer support department: you want everything to go as smoothly as possible, ideally keep everyone happy and react promptly, with transparence, whenever something negative hits the networks.