Social Media is a tactic for SEO. They are complementary like peanut butter and jelly. At the very least, social media provides a great opportunity for additional inbound links and traffic. Social media, in all of its forms, creates an increase in brand exposure and exponential link-backs to your content (website, blog, etc.) resulting in higher search engine rankings, and additional rankings for your site since Google and Bing display Facebook and Twitter results.
In addition, there has been a steady trend towards brands incorporating user-generated content (UGC) and social syndication. Social syndication is the act of leveraging UGC from your website or blog to publish on Facebook and other social media sites. This creates an increase in brand exposure and exponential link-backs to your content resulting in higher search engine rankings and ultimately, an increase in sales. The user-generated content can be as simple as a Facebook “Like” all the way to rating systems and consumer reviews that are shared across the social net.
CEO’s are becoming more aware of the powerful benefits of user-generated content and social media on SEO; and its use has been on the rise for several years. There were nearly 116 million US user-generated content consumers in 2008, along with 82.5 million content creators. Both numbers are set to climb significantly by 2013.
The Social Sales Factor
In a previous blog post, I reviewed how brands that implement consumer reviews and ratings on their websites are finding that shoppers who interact with reviews show higher intent to purchase, conversion, and revenue per visitor than shoppers who did not interact with UGC or reviews…up to 98% higher.
Sites that use social syndication methods can enjoy a significant increase in traffic and ultimately, sales.
Facebook’s Social Plugins providing a myriad of ways to create social syndication. One of the most popular is Facebook’s Like button. The Like button lets a user share your content with their friends on Facebook. When the user clicks the Like button on a site, a story appears in the user’s friends’ News Feed with a link back to your website. This Like button is a must for e-tail sites, service businesses and has a definite place in blogs…and more! The generated Facebok post not only provides the opportunity for others to click on the link but to “Like” or “Reshare” it —right from Facebook. With the average Facebook user having 130+ friends, you can begin to imagine the exponential traffic possibilities and therefore, exponential link backs which result in higher Search Engine Results Page (SERP) rankings to your site.
A newer plugin, Facebook Comments is quickly gaining ground. Facebook comments allows for comment synching between the website/blogpost and Facebook. If a user leaves the “Post to Facebook” box checked when she posts a comment on your site, a story appears on her friends’ News Feed indicating that she’s made a comment on your website, which will also link back to your site. Friends and people who like the Page can then respond to the discussion by liking or replying to the comment directly in the News Feed on Facebook or in the Comments Box on your site. Threads stay synced across Facebook and on the Comments Box on your site regardless of where the comment was made.
In fact, it was found that review readers convert 178% more often than those who ignore reviews. (Bazaarvoice)
In the U.S., 80% of product ratings are 4 or 5 stars out of 5. A ComScore study revealed that consumers are willing to pay 20%-99% more for a 5-star product than a 4-star rated product. Shoppers who read reviews were almost three times as likely to convert to buyers than those who did not engage with reviews. A high product rating will increase likelihood of purchase for 55% of consumers. (eConsultancy)
Facebook, blogs, Twitter and customer reviews are considered the most effective tactics for mobilizing consumers to talk up and share opinions and products online.
The Social SEO Factor
“The way consumer and B2B buyers discover, consume and share information has been influenced significantly by search and social technologies”, writes Lee Odden. He goes on to portray the social/SEO cycle:
With the line blurring between social media and search engine optimization, it’s easy to understand how content sharing and social syndication can play a significant role in creating additional back links to your site…all adding to your SEO efforts.