How Google+ and Others Are Changing the SEO Rules

Search engine optimization (SEO) is starting to become more social. In the past year alone, social media has become increasingly more important when optimizing your site for Google and other search engines. Although it’s true that  social media is still a relatively small portion of how the search engines determine the overall rank of a site, I believe we are just beginning to see how social is going to be used to influence search results and ranking in the future.

 

How Social Media Affects SEO Today

Using social media to promote content. This method has been used by search marketers since the early days of social media, and it continues to be a vital part of any online marketing plan. Social media can be used to promote your original content to a large audience. Using social media you can communicate your content to others who in turn help spread your message through their social circles. When done right, this creates brand awareness and “buzz” for you and your business. Using social media in this way also gives you a better chance of having others link to your content from their website(s). These links can improve where you rank in the search engines. Another benefit to promoting your content through social media is that it often leads to discovering new brand advocates, link building opportunities and bringing in people who will review/comment on your site.

 
Social signals affecting SEO. Last year Google and Bing admitted that they use actions such as tweets and Facebook “likes” to help define rankings. This means the major search engines are now using social data to help determine your authority and relevancy to search queries. It also means it’s more important than ever to begin producing social media content that attracts others to “like” it, tweet it, share it, and plus one it. Begin by creating content on your site that your target audience will find useful and want to interact with. Create status updates that will encourage conversation, ask your audience questions and get them to respond to your social media updates.

 
Google Search Plus Your World. This is by far the most obvious move towards the convergence of “social media search engine optimization.” Using Google+, Google is now including social media profiles as a part of  their standard search results. In the example below, Google shows both the standard search results (see the left side) and profiles of people found in Google+ who are relevant to the search query (see right side of results). Now wouldn’t you want to be the real estate agents who show up at the top of that search inquiry!

Google Plus in Search Results

Google is also using Google+ and +1’s to differentiate results when a user performs a search.  Using Google+ profiles, Google show content authors, as well Google+ users who you may be connected to directly in your results! Therefore, a user may see someone they know through Google+ in their search results, thereby increasing the likelihood that they will  click on that particular result. See example below. These new features from Google seem to indicate that a well optimized Google+ profile will lead to better rankings and potentially more business.

Google Circles in Search Results

 

 

Wrap Up

We are still at the beginning of the convergence of social media and SEO. A smart business owner, you should be aware of these changes and begin to formulate your plan and how you will make adjustment based on these changes. Additionally, it is never too early to start testing to see first hand how to best take advantage of these changes and other changes yet to come.

 

Written by: Dustin Thompson, Konnected

 

 

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About Karin Khuhro

Karin Khuhro is a Digital Marketing Strategist, Speaker and Copywriter. As the owner of Strategy E-ssentials she works with other savvy marketers, digital specialists and business leaders to bring knowledge, know-how and solutions to small and medium sized businesses. Connect with Karin on Google+ or Linkedin.