Local SEO used to be a game of quantity. It was about how many times a site could stuff geo-targeted keywords in a page or post and how many backlinks you could achieve.
Search engines, led by Google of course, have become a lot smarter over the years and now leverage data and signals to determine the quality of content, pages and backlinks. This has always been Google’s goal – to assess the quality of webpages and to use that information to serve the best results to its users.
At SOCi, we realize the power of social media as a search engine ranking factor and understand that it has now become a crucial part of a complete local SEO strategy that businesses need to be leveraging.
Below we cover why social is now a critical part of your overall local SEO strategy and provide some tips on how to maximize the SEO value of your social media channels.
Many social networks, such as Facebook and Google+, provide for category based pages – this means that you can setup your social page as a local business and then choose a business category and sub-category.
In the past, local businesses would try for hundreds of citations on directories nobody has ever heard of, let alone used. Today it is critical to get quality directory listings and there are no higher quality directories than social networks – as they have immense traffic and domain authority.
For businesses to utilize the power of today’s local social pages, it is important that they list consistent information on all social networks – everything from the format of the address and phone number (dashes versus parenthesis) to the business category and description.
This helps Google get a consistent profile of your business, leading Google to trust the information (as it’s validated across several social sites) and, ultimately, ranking your business higher in local search and map results!
Google’s head of search, Matt Cutts, recently announced that Google does not use Facebook or Twitter social signals as a ranking factor. So, does this mean social signals have nothing to do with your local search rank? NO!
What is a social signal? Each time you Like, Comment, Share, Retweet, +1, etc. you are sending a social signal. Simply put, social signals are produced by an individual’s online actions and activity and are viewed as an endorsement of your content.
Cutts has said that Google doesn’t use signals from Facebook or Twitter – and his reason is that Google is blocked from seeing that data. That issue doesn’t exist when it comes to Google+.
Cutts also purposely omitted Google+ from his announcement hinting that +1’s and activity on a business’ Google+ page is probably factored in to local search results on Google.
According to Searchmetrics, the quality and quantity of backlinks are still a huge ranking factor for search engine results.
By utilizing your social channels as part of your content distribution strategy, you can gain links – and very powerful ones.
Social sharing can help increase the awareness of a brand and it’s website content. If a content creator or major publication comes across your post, they can decide if it’s worth citing. If they link back to your site or content, your rankings increase.
As importantly, this also happens if the social media user ‘Shares’ your content on social networks. Each share generates a new post ID, which is a unique piece of content, as viewed by Google, that has a link pointing back to your domain – this means you can achieve dozens or hundreds of quality backlinks from a single piece of content on social media networks.
Active social media channels drive high quality traffic to your site, which is another key factor in search engine ranking. Top traffic driving pieces of content that is shared on social media are videos, infographics, and articles.
Through social traffic, you can easily improve different site metrics such as bounce rate, pages per visit and time on site to influence search results and ranking.
SOCi is the next generation social media marketing and management PaaS (platform-as-a-service).
With its proprietary Content Discovery Engine and Instant Insight scoring algorithms, SOCi empowers digital and local service providers with a content-driven social platform, built specifically for scalable, efficient client management. Have a question? We love to help! http://www.meetsoci.com/contact