How Social Media Affects Website Search Rankings
If you run a website, you know how important search engine rankings can be. Getting your site on the first page of Google can bring in widespread awareness of your cause/product/service, or an influx of new customers.
There’s more to a high Google ranking than just optimizing your website for certain keywords. Social media can both really help or really hurt your your ranking, according to TastyPlacement, who have done a little testing to see how much Google+, Facebook, and Twitter actually affect search results.
In a nutshell, TastyPlacement created six websites based in six US cities. They let them be for ten months, and then began testing various social networks for each site, focusing on the following for five of the websites:
- Twitter followers
- Tweets and retweets
- Facebook shares and likes
- Followers to the site’s Google+ business page
- Google +1 votes to the homepage
(The sixth site was left as-is for a control test.)
They promoted these websites using the particular social network chosen for one month, and then measured how each site’s search engine ranking changed for a set of keywords.
So how did social media influence the search results?
Overall, the websites’ search rankings changed by between a fall of 1.22 to a rise of 14.63. So, social media does affect search results.
Google’s own properties yielded the best results by far (let the conspiracy theories roll through…)
The website that was linked to a Google+ business page saw a full 14.63 rise in its search position, while the website that had a Google+ +1 button rose 9.44.
And these stellar results, sadly, did not translate to Twitter. Targeting tweets and retweets only got the website a 2.88 rise in Google’s search results, and procuring 1,000 additional Twitter followers actually caused another site’s position to fall by 1.22. (Didn’t Google try to buy Twitter a while ago? May more conspiracy theories roll through..)
The Difference Between Strategy, Goals, & Tactics
Social media is not a strategy. It is not a goal. It is a series of tactics.
I’m not one for semantics, when it comes to your social media the difference between these three terms are important.
If you are a small business or a startup trying to venture out into the social media world, you can easily be led to think that you should neglect traditional marketing, customer support, PR, and just replace them with social media.
“We need to put everything on Facebook and Tweeter, that way we won’t need to send out newsletters!”
If that statement makes sense to you, or is even remotely attractive, HALT. Don’t even think about taking that direction. Go get your marketing plan, and consider where social media tools will support or extend your existing marketing strategy. (Social media can enhance more than just marketing, but that’s a good place to start)
These are the actual Merriam-Webster definitions:
Strategy : the science and art of employing the political, economic, psychological, and military forces of a nation or group of nations to afford the maximum support to adopted policies in peace or war
Goal : the end toward which effort is directed
Tactic : a device for accomplishing an end
Don’t get so hung up on these terms that you become paralyzed. All you need to do is have a clear, written plan to help you accomplish your corporate goals. You’ll use a variety of marketing strategies, one of which is social media.