About six months ago I published an article Are Likes, Citations, and Mentions the New Links? in which I prophesied that links were being replaced with social signals and we had all better beware. In the meantime, it has come to fruition. Now, while we have lots of resources and had done quite a bit in this area, but it simply has not been enough…until now.
If you have been talking with me lately, you may know, having people “engage” with your content, especially via the main SOCIAL MEDIA sites, is something search engines are now ACTIVELY LOOKING FOR!
It’s a very important YARD STICK regarding how they (the search engines) rank rate your web pages.
It tells them that if people are engaging on your web pages, your content is VALUABLE and they
will then SEND you WEB TRAFFIC!
Google and all the search engines want social proof from your website and if in your category or industry, your competitors are more “social” than you, it means you are not having a large enough conversation in the marketplace to matter.
Now, and ever increasing in the future, traffic generation will be difficult if you do not embrace the online social engagement rules that search engines are looking for.
When visitors hit your website you must make it dead easy for them to share your content via the right social channels. This is what is becoming known as “social signals”. Some of these signals are “likes, shares or comments” on Facebook or a YouTube like or comment.
Twitter is the heavy hitter in the bunch and requires more discussion than I can detail here. Take a look at the latest findings from Search Metrics, a top analytics company whose research has been honored in the past “as good as it gets”.
For now note that a recent test has lifted social engagement with the tested site 3700% with a simple social widget and the exact placement. That is no typo! Nothing else changed. This is an easy to implement feature that we believe all website must adopt. Further testing and refinement on your website is encouraged but that is a heck of a starting point.
To drive this point home, take a look at the graph below and you will discover that social engagement now accounts for 4 times as much ranking power as good old fashion backlinks. We will not be abandoning our link building campaigns just yet as it’s the second most powerful ranking factor still.
So what can you do to increase the social signals on your website? This will be the topic of our next conversation…stay tuned…it’s not what you think.