With Google’s recent algorithm updates and Facebook’s integration with Bing, social networks have become a critical component of every company’s search placements. Despite this, and the staggering amount of time people spend using social media, many small-business owners still neglect these sites.
Often it’s because they think their business doesn’t “work” on social networks. But anyone can use social media to improve their search engine rankings and to engage existing and potential customers. Here are some tips for doing so.
An experiment by SEO consulting firm TastyPlacement on how social media activity impacts organic search rankings found that promoting a company website via a personal Google+ network — to friends, relatives, and colleagues — and generating +1 votes can boost the site’s Google search ranking by nearly 15 percent. Similar activity on Facebook and Twitter (shares, “likes,” tweets, and retweets, respectively) can also increase a site’s position, but to a much lesser degree. Meanwhile, building a Twitter following, and even adding as many as 1,000 followers, has no real impact on search results.
Tip: Make sure to fill out the About page of your personal Google+ profile and link it, as well as your Google+ business page to your company’s website for strong (easy) links directly from Google’s social platform.
Facebook is the reigning king of social networks. With 1 billion users and counting, it’s also Google’s largest competitor for aggregate number of web users. This means your Facebook activities are less likely to result in substantial leaps in search rankings. That said, your network of friends can prove to be your biggest (and easiest) network of potential customer-evangelists because they’re people who already know, trust, and view content you share through Facebook.
Tip: Create share-worthy content on your website, even if it’s unrelated to your business. Facebook “likes” are important, but shares are what move your website in the search engines.
The proverbial sleeper of social networks, Pinterest is probably the most underused venue for sharing content and increasing online exposure. Many small-business owners have the idea that Pinterest is nothing more than a commercial platform for sharing pictures of wedding gowns, high heels, and vacations. In reality, it’s one of the simplest social networks to get started with, and correctly setting up your account provides powerful social signals and a very strong link to your website with minimal effort. Getting employees to pin regularly (an easy task) makes keeping up with this network a breeze. Familiarize yourself with the best times to share and get started.
Tip: Verify your website (under Settings) to make the link followable for extra search-engine love. For more advanced users, check out this article, which shows you how to use Pinterest to take your search rankings to the next level.
Is your small business doing something inventive with social media to boost its search ranking? Share your experiences and ideas in the Comments section below.