We regularly see our local search engine marketing clients rank faster with social media as part of a new website launch plan versus not using it. However, when Google confirmed in December of 2010 that they are trying to find ways to look at the reputation of the author, or creator, of FaceBook and Twitter pages, it opens up an opportunity for businesses to make sure they’re utilizing the right ‘signals’ on their social media sites; the signals Google picks up on when ranking for search engine results.
At this point, the people at Google have been looking at how to incorporate the quality of the author, content, and so on, into ranking, and so far, it’s primarily used in real-time searches in examples where live-streaming on a page, or individual Tweets show up. At the same time, the Company is trying to determine if it makes sense to use this ‘signal’ on a broader scale when it comes to web search rankings.
Google shared in a December report that content quality, etc., is used relatively lightly at this point, but it could change over time depending on how useful it is and how robust it ends up being. Regardless, we know social media does impact rankings to some degree, so we encourage our clients to include relevant signals on their social media pages. Relevant comments, interactions, and new content updating are all important signals to use. Most importantly, you can’t simply launch a fan page and leave it alone. If this is your approach, it will not influence or help your rankings. You need to have a social media page that’s interactive with relevant content and material as part of your local search engine marketing campaign.
Also, it’s important to keep in mind that if Google can’t see or crawl your page, it means they can’t assign a page rank to it, which in turn means it won’t impact your rankings. But, if they are privy to the data, then they can use it for ranking criteria. In other words, have an open, non-private page that doesn’t forbid Google to obtain and crawl it to retrieve input and data it needs to rank you.
One word of caution is to be sure you truly have relevant content and followers. Don’t go out and get a ton of followers thinking it will help your rankings. It’s most important to target quality, relevant followers if you really want it to have a ranking impact. Don’t waste your time with local search marketing by simply getting ‘place holders’ that will do very little for your social media site or Google rankings. Use your energy in targeting fans and followers that will add value to your site and rankings instead.
Social media is growing and changing, and Google’s view of social media and its impact on ranking is changing with it. With the trend we’re seeing, social media sites such as Twitter and FaceBook are sure to impact rankings more and more over time, so it’s wise for businesses to stay ahead of the curve with their local search engine marketing approach and make sure their social media sites are current and have relevant fans, followers and information with consistent updates.