As you probably already know, social media marketing can be a great way to promote your brand and drive sales. But did you know that social platforms like Facebook and Twitter also affect your search engine rankings?
Ranking better in search results can help boost your brand’s reputation, and increase sales. But the question is – how can you improve your search rank? One method for doing so is to improve your social signals.
What Are Social Signals?
Two of the top search engines in the world – Google and Bing – extract, and use data from social media sites to help determine your website’s search ranking. That data is called social signals, and includes:
- How many tweets and retweets your URL has, (also those with brand mentions)
- What authority the person tweeting your URL has
- The number of Facebook shares and likes your URL receives
- How many +1s your URL has on Google+
How Do Social Signals Impact Search Engine Rankings?
Shrushti and Moz are clear examples of how social media platforms can help you rank better in search engine results. Here are their case studies, which show how improving social signals worked for them.
Social Signals Case Study #1 – Shrushti
Social media helped Shrushti move from #400 to page 1 in Google. They tried using only social signals to rank a webpage for, “Argos Voucher Codes March 2013,” as a keyword.
The keyword wasn’t very competitive, but the page they were trying to rank contained a couple lines of duplicate content. They only used social signals (no backlinks) from various different sources to try to improve their search rank.
Incredibly, the page jumped from #400 in search results to the 1st page on Google.co.uk in just a few days.
Takeaway: It doesn’t matter if a page has duplicate content. Social media actions, (like retweets, and Facebook shares and likes), do impact the page ranking for keywords with low competition.
Social Signals Case Study #2 – Moz
Moz started ranking on the first page of Google for the search term, “beginner’s guide,” after Smashing Magazine tweeted their guide. But how did that happen?
Smashing Magazine, which has more than 1 million Twitter followers, tweeted Moz’s, “Beginner’s Guide to SEO.” As a result, the post on Moz.com jumped to the top of the search results for the keyword, “beginner’s guide.”
Takeaway: Tweets from users with massive followings can have a short-term impact on a page’s search rank for a certain keyword.
The Social Signal Experiment
To see the effect of social signals on a URL’s ranking, an experiment was conducted. Six websites (within the same niche) were created in 6 U.S. cities of similar size. They then tested how social shares affected the websites’ rankings. Here are the results:
- One site got 100 followers on their Google+ business page, and their ranking increased 14.63%
- One site received 300 Google +1 votes, and their ranking improved by 9.44%
- Another site received 70 Facebook shares and 50 Facebook likes, and their ranking went up by 6.9%
- Another site got 50 Tweets, and their ranking increased 2.88%
Here’s How You Can Get More Social Shares
- To boost the number of votes you get on social media, share your URL on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday at 9am, 12pm, 3pm, or 6pm EST
- To increase engagement by 200%, add an image to your social media posts
- Social users are 21% more likely to engage with your content if you ask them a question
- If you ask your social media followers for a vote, it can boost the chances of them liking your URL by 400%
- Launch a contest on social media to increase your engagement rate by 39%
- Create “How To” and “List” posts for an average of 47% more social shares
For an in-depth look at the correlation between social signals and search rankings, take a look at this gifographic from Quick Sprout.