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If You Don’t Think Social Signals are Important for SEO, You Don’t Know Google Very Well

Social Ecosystem

There are still many in the search engine optimization industry that are fighting the concept that Google (and Bing) is taking social signals into account at a high level when determining search rankings.

These people fall into three categories:

  1. Those who haven’t had the ability or desire to test it. If you test it thoroughly, it becomes extremely clear that it’s real.
  2. Those who do not have the ability to generate and promote high quality, shareable content as part of their SEO strategy. If you can’t do it, you might as well pretend like it doesn’t exist.
  3. Those who have read the blog posts of either of the previous two and took the opinions as truth.

The reality is that, based upon extensive testing that we’ve been running (not to mention some of the things that Google has said over the last couple of years), social signals have a significant impact on the overall SEO of websites.

There’s another thing to consider, though, as pointed out by Search Engine Watch last month. Google is paying attention to social signals through Google Analytics. Some might say that it’s a natural addition to the service since people consider social media to be an important part of their overall marketing, but that’s simply not how Google works. If they add something to Analytics, it’s because they consider it to be important. There’s no need for them to track it if they aren’t considering it in some algorithm, and the most likely algorithm that social signals could effect is their search ranking algorithm.

When Google says something with their actions, it behooves those in SEO to listen. Are you listening?

Views: 297

Tags: Google, SEO, Search, Search Engine Optimization, Social, Social Media, Social Signals

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Comment by J.D. Rucker on March 4, 2013 at 7:56pm

Brian - Absolutely. I remember when you started pushing dealers to get into content a couple of years ago and I wondered how many would take advantage of the insights. Not many did at the time, not because they didn't think it was important but because they had to add it to the list of things they were already doing which was hard. Then, when you started offering to build content for them, I knew it would take off. Savvy dealers should take heed.

Christine - Content for the sake of adding more words brings no potential for social signals. If the content sucks, people won't share it. Quality is the key and it's good to know PCG is on top of it with inhouse writers. We have ads out for three more of our own!

Manny - LOL, how perfect is that? It's easy for me to say, "post content." It's harder to tell dealers the reasons. Thanks for that valuable addition.

ROIROIROI!

Comment by Christine Rochelle on March 4, 2013 at 1:57pm

JD, 

Great article! I absolutely agree. We worked hard to make our content team the biggest team in the company because of their value in both writing unique content and utilizing social accounts for dealers in posting that content.

Content is often undervalued. I see many businesses in general who buy Facebook likes for a few pennies a like, or they buy outsourced content from a writer who doesn't understand the automotive industry and may not even write English that well - all to save a few dollars. Yet, time and time again Google is showing us that content and social ARE the real SEO strategy marketers should be building and you can't cheap out on it.

Comment by Brian Pasch on March 4, 2013 at 1:38pm

JD

I agree with you that if a metric is recorded in Google Analytics it is because it is important Google engineers. The lines between Social and SEO are blurring.  Our internal testing has shown that quality content created on dealership blogs/website, shared on Facebook, and promoted using Facebook's $7 "sponsored" post system, adds traffic and relevance that are helping content to rank.  

The social signals are clearly a part of a good content and engagement strategy.  Good content will by itself creating social signals, promoting good content fuels the fire.  

Our l content packages that we offer dealers often fills the hole that dealers have been trying to fill.  How can they expect social signals if they can't create engaging content.  

With that said, it is difficult to understand why dealers don't invest in outsourced content writing that comes from experienced automotive writers, when they know that consumers expect them to be the local subject matter experts.  Dealers reading this post from JD need to make the commitment to consistent, quality content creation that engages in-market shoppers.

It's so simple yet rarely executed on a consistent basis.

Comment by J.D. Rucker on March 4, 2013 at 10:01am

Agreed, Paul, and unfortunately our industry does have some who fall into denying category number 2.

Comment by P Chesher on March 4, 2013 at 9:36am

Are people in the SEO community really fighting this? If so, they don't know their own industry very well. The original "Page/Rank" system was essentially the first "social" signal. Moving forward, SEO companies have to embrace the notion that social will only continue to effect SERP rankings. 

To that end, I think "social media experts" are a bit of joke. Search, Social and SEM are all spokes on the same wheel. To be an "expert" you have to be an expert in all three pillars (ideally, even more).. To say you're an SEO expert without social is a silly as saying your a Social Media expert without understanding search..

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