Finding the time, and the balance, to achieve results with your search engine optimization are difficult tasks. As a small business owner, your time is spent running your business, not combing blogs and testing theories around SEO. You’ve covered the basics, written some good content, incorporated the words your guests and customers are searching for, and have some decent links coming into your website and some healthy local citations going on. Unfortunately you’re not seeing the needle move with regards to traffic and rankings – so what’s missing?
Your kryptonite might just be social media, or more accurately, your lack of it. Although not a prominent, full-fledged ranking factor – social media signals are basically popularity votes – and Google likes websites that users like. It makes sense that a popular website has lots of social shares, and ranks well for many searches.
In a recent study by Ascend2, brought to my attention by Matt McGee over at SearchEngineLand.com, they contend that 50% of companies who are struggling with SEO, are not integrating social media into their mix. Can you draw a correlation there, absolutely! Causation? Maybe.
In the Ascend2 study, 38% of those doing very well with SEO were also extensively integrating Social Media. A full 50% of those doing poorly at SEO were not integrating Social Media at all.
The impact of Social Media on your SEO is more than just “Likes” “Retweets” and “Plus Ones.” It’s the share, the potential for virality, and the tone of your online presence that can help.
Being active on Google+ and connecting the authorship of your own website to your Google+ profile can help Google verify the content and who wrote it. It also allows a snippet with your photo next to it to appear in the search results. This, in turn, can increase the clicks on your listings. The best results come from active accounts. Setting up a Google+ account and never touching it again will result in diminished return – don’t set it and forget it!
Facebook and Twitter have the potential for virality and traffic that doesn’t come from simply publishing a new page or blog post. Think about it in terms of your store – you start carrying a popular new brand/line of product – but you don’t tell anyone, and you stick it in the back of the store. Who is going to know? How are they going to find out? How are they going to tell other people? Social Media is the bullhorn for your online marketing, getting the word out is good for business. People talking about your business link to your website, share your listings in social media, recommend your products via reviews and tell other people about it in forums and online discussions. All of these activities can be good for rankings.
The bottom line, if you feel you’re doing the basics correctly, but seeing little movement – try a social media campaign. Set up a Facebook page for your business and tell your customers where to find it. Add like and share buttons to your website and be sure they work correctly. Place a sign in your front window or on your cash register asking your guests to like or recommend your business on Facebook. If you see success from these activities, move on to social outlets that make sense. I recommend most business to consumer sites do Facebook first, then try Google+, Twitter, and Pinterest if they all make sense for your audience.