Why is social media so important to local SEO efforts?

Social-Media-300x240There are some conflicting signals coming from search engines like Google and Bing regarding the place that social media has in their search results. Everything from “yes, it plays a part” to “no, it doesn’t have a role” has been heard over the last few years. However, the role that social media plays with regard to the consumer and the Internet user has increasingly become apparent. It is really no longer realistic to think that social media doesn’t factor into search engine results – and therefore in Search Engine Optimization, or SEO.

There are actually a number of ways that social media fits into the SEO picture. Probably the first clue is with page links where you can “like” the page. It is sort of free advertising for those pages because the more individuals “like” a page and their friends see that those “likes”, the more additional “like” votes they are probably going to get. The more votes they get, the higher their credibility score rises. These types of social signals continue to get stronger and get more play when it comes to search results as they get “crawled” by the search engines like most other data.

Getting “shares” and “re-tweets” on social media is another element that feeds into SEO as the more people who see your website and brand, the better. Of course, having the Facebook account isn’t the only piece of this puzzle – you need to incorporate the other social media outlets as well like Google+ and Twitter – they all are symbiotic when it comes to boosting your own credibility. And boosting credibility is one stellar way of getting to the top of the ranking results as you get the lion’s share of the keyword and keyphrase traffic. Crawling the highest ranked shares and re-tweets help search engines like Google produce search results on content quicker.

Linkbacks are another way to rise in rankings for SEO. This has to do with how many times your website link gets used in other website links. The more the merrier, but unlike a few years ago when this effect could be manipulated with stuffing keywords and the like, now social signals plays a role. How many Tweets, Facebook posts or Google+1s you get count for linkbacks in a much lest manipulative way.

This activity in turn boosts your credibility, and like mentioned above, credibility makes you rise in the regular SEO rankings. When Google and the other search engines can recognize that you are a credible content source, they are going to give your website and links more weight in a search result. You get the three “Rs” treatment in that how your content resonates, what its reach is, and what its relevance is to the search all count in reaching the top of the search results listings.

And when you are considering all these factors of social media as it relates to SEO, ask yourself if the content you are providing on all channels is relevant, current, appropriate, and well done. If you answer no on any level, spend some time filling in the gaps. Content is the number one element that search engines look at, so make yours the best it can be for your website and all your social media outlets.