Social media plays a role in determining how visible your brand is on search engines.
You might have heard of search engine optimisation (SEO). Simply put, SEO is about making sure your website appears higher in search results, meaning a higher likelihood that people will visit your website.
Social media has added an entirely new dimension to SEO: social search.
In an effort to provide more meaningful and relevant results, search engines are using social search to determine results. There are essentially two kinds of social search: friend-influenced and collective.
1. Friend-influenced social search is when a search engine like Google provides results for a search based on a user’s social circle. For example, you might search for “mojito recipes” on Google. If you have a Google profile and are logged in, you might see results that your social contacts have favoured or created. Perhaps Victor, a social contact of yours on Gmail, wrote a blog post about mojitos. This blog post is likely to appear in the search results with a link to Victor’s profile beneath it.
On Google, social contacts include Gmail contacts and public friends on sites like Twitter, etc. However, you can control these connections. Read more about this.
Other search engines will include other social influencing factors. For instance, Bing’s results are influenced by your Facebook friends’ likes.
2. Collective social search is when search engines use trends on social networking platforms to deliver the most relevant and meaningful results to users. This also includes real-time search results. Twitter is a prime example: you can search on the Twitter platform itself or use search tools which scour for mentions on Twitter, such as Monitter. By searching these platforms, you will find mentions of your search term as they appear on the Twitter platform.
So what does this mean for your brand?
• Be present on social media.
• Ensure all your content is optimised for SEO.
• Create content that people will want to share.
• Make it easy for people to share this content by including social media sharing buttons, called chiclets, on your website.
• Know what people are saying about you. Use some social monitoring tools to do this. Here are a few ideas of free tools.
• Conduct social searches for your brand, and if you’re not performing well, consider how you can make your content more sharable. Read this blog post for a few more tips.
Ultimately, social search is changing the SEO landscape and new developments are being implemented all the time. It’s vital to stay informed of these changes so that you can consistently achieve good rankings on search engine results pages.
Keryn Brews is a research writer for Quirk Education. Interested in learning more about how SEO can improve your digital marketing efforts? Sign-up for Quirk Education’s Search Engine Optimisation Course, Starting on 21 November. Visit: www.quirk.biz or tel: 021 462 7353.