SEO tactics use to be about consumer behavior manipulation. Not anymore. Google has created an environment that won’t tolerate manipulative SEO tricks and will punish websites that participate in such activities. They want users to be able to trust local search and are now assigning a trustworthiness factor to all websites.
And then there is Google+. It is not just another social media platform. It is THE platform that Google relies on when it comes to assigning trust to a website.
So, why is trust such a huge issue? Because trust is currency for Google. The bulk of Google’s revenue comes from advertising, up to $50 million annually. This means that Google needs users to come back time and time again in order to display those ads and continue to reap the financial benefits of advertising. And they will keep coming back, so long as they trust in the information that Google is giving them. And the only way Google can do this is to ensure that the websites they return in their search results are trustworthy.
This means that SEO is no longer just a list of things that all website owners have to do to get to the top of Google. SEO has evolved into true marketing, which includes the use of social media and PR.
Where Are You Investing Your Marketing Budget?
According to Google, the largest majority of local searches, up to 97% of them, are being done on mobile technology. If a customer can’t find you when they need you, they will look elsewhere. This means being mobile-friendly is a must. It also means that optimizing for your local area is vital.
Google Knows Where Your Customers Are
Social signals are also starting to make a bigger splash when it comes to website rankings. What people want have much more significance than websites that link back to your website. This is a huge shift in the way Google assigns importance to websites for search results. What’s important here is that backlinks are STILL important, just not as important as what actual people want.
So, what does all of this mean for your business and website positioning? It means that while SEO in general remains much the same, local SEO is of greater importance and are influenced by two major factors:
- The citations your business has received
- The number of reviews your business has, both good and bad.
Google places the highest weighting on the social signals your business is getting, meaning that you need positive reviews from real people. This menas that encouraging your satisfied customers to post stellar reviews about your business is THE most important thing you can do for your local SEO efforts.
How Social Media Impacts SEO
Overlooking social media is one of the worst things you can do for your business. It has the potential to tarnish your brand and reputation and hurt your ability to make sales. Including social media in your SEO strategy can:
1. Multiply your SEO impact. Social media as the ability to go viral. This means that your business can circle the globe in milliseconds, which has the potential to strengthen your brand.
2. Drive offline sales. Many users do their homework online before they head out to the store. If people are talking about you in social circles, there is a much higher chance that they will show up on your doorstep to buy.
3. Create long-lasting synergy. The impact of your success on social media has the ability to create long lasting positive perceptions of your business. This is great for your reputation and ongoing sales.
Takeaways for Social Media Marketers
So what should you be doing from a social standpoint?
1. Interact with customers and build trust by offering quality products and services.
2. Focus on developing a fan base who are willing to spread the word about your company.
3. Create truly compelling social media content.
4. Encourage people to endorse you. This will land you both links and social signals.
5. Go viral. Encourage people to share to get the word out. Get many shares on social media. Make news about your brand spread — fast.