Search engine optimization (SEO) has never been a piece of cake, (I can see SEO professionals nodding in vigorous agreement) given Google’s over 200 (secret) algorithms. And since late 2010, one more factor has been added to the mix – social signals.
The impact of social media on SEO is on the rise and social signals have become very crucial. And this has brought about some big changes in SEO strategies and some unlikely factors (which we would not have guessed would have anything to do with SEO in a million years) have assumed centre stage.
So what exactly are these factors?
Before we get into that, let us quickly consider the impact of social media on SEO.
Social Signals Impacting SEO
The two big ones are:
- Number of social recommendations for your content
- High authority social media figures (niche influencers with massive number of followers) sharing your content socially.
Now let us quickly move on to the factor impacting SEO.
Three Unlikely Factors Impacting SEO Today
1. The Position of Social Media Buttons on Your Content
A couple of years ago, SEO professionals may have laughed if told that social media buttons placement would affect the SEO strategy. It is no laughing matter now. It is clearly established that more social shares for the content is associated with higher search rankings.
And the social shares can be high only if the social media sharing buttons are prominently and optimally placed on the website. Because you can be sure that no one is going to spend time ‘searching’ for the social media buttons.
Should the buttons be at the top or at the bottom of the content? Should they be horizontal or vertical? Is the impact better when the social sharing bar is static or floating? These are different decisions that you need to make and you can be sure that your decision will definitely impact the search ranking. So choose wisely and choose well. This post is comprehensive on the subject, covering placement of both community buttons and social sharing buttons.
2. Your Ability to Build Lasting Relationships Online
Wondering if you read that right? Yes you did. Because social media has now become an integral part of SEO, your ‘social’ quotient is under scrutiny.
The idea is to use social media as a social platform to engage socially with your industry and customers. As you focus on adding maximum value via your content and comments and by sharing relevant content by others, you get ‘noticed’ by peers and (hopefully) influencers in the niche and they begin engaging with you. This can lead to two SEO benefits:
- A niche influencer may socially share your content because it is great and because he/she has a relationship with you. This is positive social signal for SEO.
- You can leverage your social relationships to bag guest blogging opportunities that result in high SEO value natural back links.
3. Your Photograph/Headshot
This has to be the ‘unlikeliest’ factor. By implementing Google’s new Authorship markup, your headshot will appear along side your search results, making your results stand out. This post tells you exactly how to get your photograph in the search results. I will give you a hint though – Google+ profile is compulsory (Surprise! Surprise!)
The SEO benefit of this rich snippet is that it increases the click-thru rates because it is more attention grabbing. And therefore ensuring that your photograph is shot in just the right light, from the right angle etc becomes important so that it does grab attention.
Now who would have thought this would be important for SEO? But it is, as this experiment shows.
Can you think of any unlikely factors impacting SEO?
Author Bio: Leading Canadian SEO consultant Yasir Khan wrote this post. His company Quantum SEO Labs offers all-inclusive SEO services incorporating 12 link sources and social signals.