Social media and SEO were once completely separate entities with different purposes and roles. This is still true to a certain extent but as technology and people’s usage has changed, so has the need for a more integrated approach to these two disciplines. Whilst best practices for these online communications tools will continue to evolve, here are some important points for professionals working in either sphere to consider.
Graph Search and the Rise of Social Search
Traditionally, SEO Agencies and webmasters were only concerned with getting their brand’s pages to rank in Google or other major search engines. However, with the introduction of Facebook’s new Graph Search feature, the importance of social search visibility has never been more important. Graph Search will essentially return results based on queries such as ‘friends of mine that enjoy music’ or ‘restaurants in the Northampton’.
This means that brands now need to make sure that their Facebook pages are optimised accordingly, to ensure that they are returned by Graph Search for phrases relevant to their industry. Furthermore, Graph Search will also return Bing web results as well as content within Facebook.
Strategically, this means that SEOs now ensure Google is not the only search engine on their radar, despite its continued market dominance. Whilst Graph Search is still in its early stages, it is important to highlight that this could be an SEO game changer and searching through Facebook could become commonplace and therefore it should not be ignored.
Link Building and Signposting
One of the most important components of search engine optimisation is link building and social media has started to have a profound effect on what constitutes a well-rounded back-link profile.
Every day, millions of links are created on social networks as a result of signposting and content sharing – links point back to a brand’s website from pages, profiles and posts themselves. For example, on Facebook, it would be best practice to use links as part of social outreach in order to create a diverse back-link profile as well as driving traffic back to other online assets.
If the content is well received and is shared a number of times, then organic link building from within the social platform will result. Whilst links in most social networks are not crawled (no-follow links) by search engines, they are taken into consideration by search engines when they are determining what sites to display in the results pages. Therefore, engagement with links an positively influence the visibility of a site in Google.
About the Author
Keredy Andrews is an account director at Punch Communications, an integrated PR, SEO, social media agency, serving a range of global clients. She has over eight years’ experience in communications and marketing, regularly contributes industry insight to websites, including the Punch Communications blog, and she can be followed on Google+ and Twitter.