Social Signals: Morphing the Search Engine Outlook
Can you believe that people now spend 25% of their time online using social sites like Facebook and Twitter? Search engines have integrated social signals into their ranking systems, and marketers have also re-tooled their strategies and budgets to include social sites like Facebook and Twitter. Social signals are harder to game and therefore are less susceptible to spam than regular content on search engines. Search engines have integrated these signals into their rankings which has completely revolutionized social marketing. So what does this mean for you?
The idea first introduced by Google called the link graph is becoming blurred. The link graph is the idea that websites are ranked based on links. Spammers have had incredible success in breaking this graph because of the enormous amount of money to be made by using search engines. Basically, Google and Bing are able to beat the spammers in the areas that they target, but not in the areas that they don’t. This leads to a lot of frustration on the side of the user and the search engine because it leads to bad results. Social signals are great because they are harder to spam and they introduce new ways for search engines to show users good content. Authority is very important when referring to social signals. The more influential people that follow you, the more influential you become.
Facebook has become integrated with search engines using the “like” button. The feature shows icons with your friends’ pictures to show which of your friends liked the content. There is a strong correlation between the number of likes that content has and the ranking that it receives. More likes = Higher ranking. The more likes that a page has by your friends, the higher the search engine ranks it in the results of a search. This only affects your results and not necessarily the general results. This is called the wisdom of the crowd.
Google has also gaining popularity with it’s version of the “like” button with the +1 button. Here’s how to leverage the increased level of engagement to your advantage. Use the:
- Like Buttons
- Send Buttons: post on your friends’ walls or emails
- Share Buttons: strong correlation between number of shares and ranking
It is also a new idea to replace the comments box in your blog with a Facebook comments box for the following reasons:
- People have to be logged in
- Inherent spam protection
- Works like a “share”
- Leverages the power of your friends
Positioning is also crucial in determining rankings. Links that have the first position have the highest click through rate at 37% and over 60% of click throughs come from the 1, 2 and 3 options. Also, cheaper CPC terms, or cost per click terms, have double the click through rate on the first page than expensive CPC terms and potential traffic is nearly three times greater.
Social signals have become a crucial aspect of marketing. When used effectively, social signals can greatly increase traffic and profits. They are inherently protected from spam and have a considerable effect on the search rankings. Are you using social signals in your online marketing? Tell us about it in the comments section below!
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