In the old days it was enough to create a website in html, write an article or 2 and throw a .jpg photo on it for good measure. Then, when the search engine business began to take off, people became aware of the importance of linking a website. In the post-2010 climate, it’s all about social signals, but what are they and how can we get them?
Social signals are special types of links from social media accounts. Social media is a buzz-term used to describe social networks, the most famous being facebook, twitter and google + (or google plus). These websites are social websites, because they allow users to dictate content. Instead of posting articles and images themselves, the social networks let people share their own text, images, video and links. Sharing is a key term in the world of social media, and for your website to become and remain popular online, you need to get it shared.
Do I need to start some social media accounts then? Actually, no. Social media marketing is different to building social signals.
Social media marketing is all about:
- Connecting with customers
- Increasing brand awareness
- Advertising products/services
This type of marketing is great for the above, but it will do little for your search engine ranking position. Why? Because each social media site is self-contained – yes, you might have 1000 fans on facebook and 2000 twitter followers, but nobody is sharing links. A shared link on a social network is a social signal.
Now we know what social signals are, how do we get them?
Firstly, you must understand the nature of social networks. What content gets shared, what content gets people talking. Why would anyone want to share a link to your website? The answers to these questions vary depending on your business type, but here are some ideas to get you started:
- free download
Another way to get fantastic social signals to your site is to integrate social sharing functionality right into the code. Take a look at our homepage; you will see a social sharing bar. When a visitor comes onto our website, they can click a social share button and post a link to facebook, twitter, LinedIn or google +. Each time a visitor shares our website, we get a social signal. The more social signals we get, the more popular our website according to social metrics. Adding the social share buttons directly cuts out the middleman and makes it even easier for people to spread the word about your site content.
Research has shown that social signals have a major impact on SERP (search engine ranking position) and this trend looks set to increase in the coming years, so it’s worth investing some time into optimising your site socially. Here’s what google’s Matt Cutts has to say about social signals and search engine ranking:
So, to summarise,
Social signals are links to your website from social media networks
The more social signals your site has, the better it will perform on search engines
Increase your social signals by creating useful content that people will want to share
Optimise your website for social signals by integrating social share buttons