How Social Activity Effects Your Search Rankings

The next time your staff, employees, partners, friends, associates complain or ignore your pleas for sharing content that you have lovingly posted – show them this great post by Cami at LocalVox. Posting with your Low-Competition Key Words is also KEY.

It might not be blatantly apparent how much social media activity plays into your search rankings, but that doesn’t mean Facebook, Twitter or Google+ shouldn’t be leveraged. While Google and Bing don’t openly admit that data from social sites helps determine how high your website ranks, there is evidence that shows the more engagement your social posts receive, the better your SEO ranking.

What social activity are search engines looking for?

Google and Bing look at four types of social activity from your social channels:

1. The authority of the person tweeting the URL

2. +1s for a URL

3. Facebook shares and “Likes” for a URL

4. Tweets and retweets for a URL

How does it work?

Anytime your business or content is mentioned by others on any social media platform (primarily Facebook, Twitter and Google+) it will boost your ranking in search results. Other influencing factors include how large your following is and how much engagement you have on your social posts.

For example, Moz started to rank on Google for “Beginner’s Guide” after Smashing Magazine tweeted out the guide.

For a local businesses, ranking for “Beginner’s Guide” isn’t realistic — or helpful. However, if we swap out “Beginner’s Guide” for industry-focused or local keywords, your business could win big.

For example, Louis’ Pizza (a fictional organic pizzeria in St. Louis, MO) got a tweet from the St. Louis Tribune about their fantastic pizza last month. The Tribune’s tweet received 300 favorites and 47 retweets. Not only does The Tribune’s Twitter handle receive activity, but Louis’ Pizza Twitter handle also receives activity. Since Louis’ Pizza has their website linked to their Twitter account, all their Twitter traffic is captured by their website to help them rank higher on search engines.

Low-Competition Key Words

Making it work for local business

Social engagement has a big effect when paired with low-competition keywords. When a keyword is general, such as “Beginner’s Guide,” it becomes increasingly difficult to rank for. Local businesses have an advantage here because low-competition keywords can lead directly to your business in search results.

Twitter, Google, Bing, Facebook, Digg

With this in mind, the content you share should always include one of your low-competition keywords. The more social engagement your receive for content that is focused on your keywords, the more likely you’ll rank higher for them in search results.

Going back to my Louis’ Pizza example: they would want to use low-competition keywords (or phrases) like “organic pizza st louis,” “authentic st louis style pizza,” “st louis county pizza” or “original cardinals pizza” in their social posts and review responses.

The more content you share from your website across social media, the higher your website will rank on search engines (and in-turn drive more traffic and lend credibility for long-term social and search success).

Start optimizing your SEO

However, before you use your social channels to boost your search rankings, you need to know how you’re ranking!

Step 1: Take an audit of your SEO. LocalVox offers this for free.

Step 2: Make sure you know the best keywords you should be ranking for.

Step 3: Use an SEO tool, such as LocalCast, to track where you have been ranking and which keywords you can optimize on your website (and social content) for even greater reach.

Need help? That’s what I’m here for. Vickie Christensen, your local Internet Marketing and Social Media Guide. 916.835.5704