The Times They Are a-Changin’ as Social Media Begins to Affect SEO

Social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and Google +, have recently begun to affect what comes up in your search engine results. The problem is not that people don’t understand that social media affects SEO, but how it affects SEO. Google released Google Social Search tool back in October 2009 and made it available to all users in January 2010. This tool basically allows you to find articles written by people you know and trust, the same basic concept as following someone on Twitter. What people really want to know is; how much does social media news really affect search engine results?

Back in December of 2010 Google’s Matt Cutts stated, “I filmed a video back in May 2010 where I said that we didn’t use ‘social’ as a signal, and at the time, we did not use that as a signal, but now, we’re taping this in December 2010, and we are using that as a signal.” Social media has fit its way into SEO and has started to alter traditional organic search results. If you are logged into your Google + while searching for something on Google, your search results will be different than if you were not logged into a Google account. If one of your friends has a web content that is related to the topic you are searching for, then Google gives that web page higher placement on SERPs. Google and Bing have both admitted that they look at their users’ social authority when making search engine ranking decisions.

Social media can influence search results depending on the number of times an author’s content is shared on a social networking site. If you are not connected with any social media sites, do not fret because there are steps that you can take to change this. To get more traffic through social media, you first want to build a presence on a social media site and stay up to date with your followers. Optimize your website for social media sharing, for example if you are based in WordPress you can install the Sharebar plugin to enable sharing. Lastly, you are going to want to constantly encourage your followers/views to share your content through other social media tools. Just because social media is booming doesn’t mean that traditional SEO is irrelevant. There will always be that group of people that don’t prefer social media sites, so traffic for non-social media site users will not completely diminish, but realize that traditional SEO is beginning dwindle, so changing with the times is not a bad idea.

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