Just think, a few years ago back links were the main currency of SEO. Nowadays, increasingly, it’s social media signals. Twitter and Facebook have been important for years and now Google + is catching up fast. What are the special qualities of social media?
Trust – a review from a regular consumer is considered more reliable than from a professional.
Relevance – their social peers are in the same situation and thus have the same needs and problems as them.
Connection – they want to know these real people care about them and understand their problems.
Essentially, consumers don’t want to do business with a faceless corporation; they want to interact with real people. It’s an important fact that consumers are more likely to trust a product or service recommendation from their friends or peers, than from an advertisement.
All this means that sites well-optimised for social media tend to convert better as consumers feel better about making a purchase.
Ramping Up the Social Power
So how do you go about enhancing the social presence on a client’s website?
Firstly, make sure your client’s site is fully integrated into social search. When setting up their Google Places for Business listings, use semantic markup to help your client’s site become more prominent in the SERPs and attract attention and clicks. You can highlight your client’s Google+ profile and incorporate rich snippets that display reviews, events and other types of useful content right into the search results, for example.
Next, here are some ways you can encourage sharing on your clients’ sites:
- Add social sharing buttons.
- Add tweetable text with a retweet button.
- Add a Facebook page to bring a human face to your company.
- Add some vivid images that people will share on Pinterest.
- Add a call to action at the end asking visitors to alert their friends about special offers or unique services you offer.
- Add a company blog with regular posting of helpful articles. Visitors will share these if they’re of genuine value.
Social signals have long been effective traffic generators. As visitors share links with their peers, sites gain new targeted visitors interested in the products and services offered. Now social metrics also influence ranking. Google uses such factors as Facebook likes, Tweets, +1 recommendations, and so on as criteria in determining site quality.
Today’s young people are growing up with social media, and spend more time on social sites than on search engines. This trend is likely to continue, and remember, these are the consumers the future.
In the coming years, websites without a solid social strategy in place will struggle to rank and attract visitors. That’s why Australian SEOs should be working now to make their clients’ site as social active as possible.