ot so long ago, the idiomatic phrase “walking encyclopedia” was reserved for rare human beings with above average memory skills and patience to continuously deposit new information into their brains.
In 1997, IBM’s computer Deep Blue beat chess champion – Garry Kasparov, changing the world’s perspective on machines and their vast power.
Today, there’s only one walking encyclopedia even humans understandably bow down to – the Internet.
Google, the world’s top search engine, is instrumental—if not the instrument—to the rapid flow of information.
In its website, Google shares its goal: “to get to you to the answer you’re looking for faster, creating a nearly seamless connection between you and the knowledge you seek.”
A set of keywords can return billions of suggested pages in seconds, ranked based on certain metrics such as relevancy, page visits, etc. This power has evolved throughout the years with Google introducing algorithmic changes as often as it can.
For brands and organizations, the challenge lies on getting noticed amid a universe of web pages, articles and videos freely accessible on the Internet. How can you maximize social media and SEO (search engine optimization) to turn clicks into profits? How can you boost your bottom line? Let’s briefly explore the social media and SEO connectivity, with Google’s power to influence information generation in the background.
Changing SEO trends
For neophytes, the concept of search engine algorithms can be overwhelming. Working with an SEO company is preferred by most brands, some even put up a division and hire talent for this purpose.
SEO is “a methodology of strategies, techniques and tactics used to increase the amount of visitors to a website by obtaining a high-ranking placement in the search results page of a search engine.”
According to Google, it uses more than 200 “clues”, such as keywords and freshness of content, to return the best results to users.
For 2016, experts say new SEO trends focus on keyword intent and search user needs. Long tail keywords, or those that are highly specific, are also preferred over more common keywords. Longer entries return a more specific result.
Facebook Likes and Twitter Followers are Out
The 2013 findings of Econsultancy showed that 74% of companies reported that social media is either somewhat or highly integrated into their SEO strategy. The following year, however, Google announced via a video that it doesn’t use social signs such as Facebook likes in its search rankings. The message was interesting given that just a couple of years ago; the search engine claimed that social signals were a factor in ranking web pages.
With this new development in mind, how do we proceed? Is social media management still relevant?
Social is the New SEO
SEO expert Neil Patel made a compelling argument related to Google’s recent stance on social signals. “Social is the new SEO because social networks themselves function as powerful and widely-used search engine in their own right,” he wrote. The number of global social media users is expected to reach 2.95 billion by 2020, with Facebook owning about 50% of the market share.
Today, a consumer typically checks a brand’s Facebook or Instagram account for a quick research before buying merchandise. Social media empowers consumers to interact with a business in ways not possible before. Will social media and its relationship with SEO continue to be relevant to brand building and positioning?
Digital marketing expert Chloe Mason Gray said: “The web is all about building relationships, fostering audiences, expressing identity and sharing ideas—it’s inherently social, and there’s no reason that SEO best practices would go against the grain, especially since the rules that govern SEO are ultimately meant to make the web a more enjoyable and useful place.”
Content is (still) King
Google’s Matt Cutts implied that while the search engine leader may no longer be using social signals, it does crawl SOME social pages and MAY return some of these results.
According to Neil Patel, Google crawls and returns some private accounts in Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn if the privacy settings allow public viewing. “Companies with robust and optimized social accounts can and will gain greater search benefits from their social media accounts in Google SERPs,” the SEO expert wrote.
This fact opens up discussions on the importance of content. A valuable and well-curated library of materials may just be the most powerful tool in connecting social media and SEO.
Creating High-Quality Content
How to bring and maintain your web pages among the top three Google searches is a continuing challenge simply because search engine algorithms, including those of Bing and Yahoo, change—metrics are dropped and new ones are adopted. If there’s one trend that’s likely to stay, it’s high-quality content.
Forbes listed down 12 things every social media management agency and digital marketer should know in creating high-quality content:
1 – Go for longer, preferably 1000+ word content. Format your content for mobile users using long-tail keywords
2 – Add aesthetically pleasing and relevant images or other forms of media
3 – Maintain trustworthiness by observing proper grammar and spelling
4 – Avoid poor content formatting. Observe appropriate use of bold and italics, concise sentences and paragraphs, bullet points, white space and headers.
5 – Strive for appropriate readability score to make sure your content matches your target audience
6 – Produce content by writers with the necessary level of expertise
7 – Boost your authors’ credibility and reputation by encouraging them to write more high-quality content and get these published in trusted publishers
8 – Integrate your content with social media channels. Higher amounts of social shares = higher search engine rankings
9 – Place good internal and external links
10 – Ensure all links are of quality
11 – Filter comments for spams and link-filled posts
12 – Ask yourself: does your content provide value?
As the saying goes, “nothing is certain but death and taxes”. A few years back, SEO trends were all about amassing likes, shares and followers. This year, it’s more of creating visually appealing content that millions of mobile users would appreciate. It’s imperative to stay updated on these trends to ensure that your SEO and social media management efforts always serve their purpose.