How do social networking sites impact search engine results?
I noticed recently when ‘Google-ing’ the name of my organization that some of the highest search engine results were social networking profiles like our facebook page and twitter account. In a previous article, "Search Engine Results, Advertising, and SEO", we covered the importance of making sure you own prime real estate in search results, so there’s clearly benefit in using external resources like these. We often describe search results as a game of black-jack, and I think I touched on this concept in that previous article as well, but let me describe the idea a little more in depth.
Hypothetically, if you were to play one hand on a table at Atlantic City you would have ‘x’ percent chance of winning that hand. If you were to play every hand you could, your opportunity for winning one of those hands becomes exponentially better than if you were only to have played just one. Having a centralized, digital home with your own website and investing (financially, time, effort, etc.) into making sure it’s the first listing in search results is great! The only problem is that the second (or third or forth) listing could be for a competitor, creating a situation where the investment of time, effort, and money may be completely futile.
Patrick Ambron co-founder and CEO of BrandYourself.com supports this idea perfectly in an article located at SocialMediaToday.
“If your social media profiles aren’t showing up, and instead your search results are filled with irrelevant or negative results (or worse, results referring to other people), you are losing a huge opportunity.”
Why do social media sites show up first in search results?
Actively maintained profiles on social media websites are presumed to contain more accurate and up-to-date information. The popularity of the social networking site will play a role too being that “Googlers” will feel safer and will be more familiar with a trusted site that they frequent. Your profile isn’t going to display properly, if at all, if you haven’t optimized the page properly though. Be sure to completely fill the profile with any/all fields available. A more copious profile loaded with keyword rich content will be perceived as a credible, relevant source. Also, back-links to profiles on other networks, your website, etc. will greatly help to prove relevancy.
What else can I do to utilize social media for improving my search results?
The terms social networking and social media seem to be interchangeable. I think the original intention of social networking identified more closely with instant messenger programs where people were given the ability to communicate ideas electronically. As technology improved, the concept of networking expanded to provide end-users the ability to transfer ideas by sharing pictures, videos, and more. All social media websites are community driven (otherwise they wouldn’t be social), but there are off-shoots of the concept that cater specifically to a certain type of media or to a niche.
Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, and other similar sites bring the idea of sharing all forms of media between account holders under one roof. Sites like Youtube and Photobucket target users interested in sharing a specific type of media which are sometimes harder to utilize than other resources. Creating appropriate content worth uploading on a site that provides the sharing of videos may require an amount of creativity (ie: plumbers don’t frequently create vlogs). Using blogs like Blogger and blog.com are an excellent way to provide keyword-rich content and embedded back-links. By providing links to your site and content from external resources, you create the appearance that the information is being viewed and cited outside of your own site which will help to increase percieved relevancy (by the search engine "bots") as well.
There are an ever-growing number of resources out there and it is a lot of work trying to use them all to your advantage. If you’re looking for more social media sites to utilize, knowem.com can show you what is a available with the name you use and what sites already have an account with your name (hopefully by you). All things considered, play as many hands of blackjack as you can, because you won’t cash in unless you do.
-Dan Kemper (E. Coastal Group LLC / www.ecoastalgroup.com)