Now that we’ve had our lovefest on the virtues of email, let’s look at the new kid on the search block — social media and social bookmarking. There’s a sharp dividing line between SEOs who believe social doesn’t count toward search relevance and those who do. The main argument for detractors of social SEO say that major search engines do not officially recognize it as a direct ranking factor. This is a misleading line of logic. Search engines also don’t espouse that the sky is blue. The major engines do not announce everything they consider when calculating results. The cloak-and-dagger element makes it a little more fun. No search engine will ever release details of the inner workings of core super-warrior stuff. Why would the fact that engines don’t officially acknowledge social media matter?
Social sends traffic and often gets indexed, so — recognized or not — it directly impacts search. It’s a classic feedback loop. I’m a go-getter type who comes from a place of yes when trying new things, so I say yes — let’s assume it matters! Social media also brings traffic to a website. What brings the traffic brings the thunder, then the rain. Social is an ever-changing element that delivers relevant experiences. We should expect to see search within social start to matter more and more. After many years of studying numerous companies’ analytics, I have noticed that when social traffic goes up, organic search generally does as well.
Healthy social traffic certainly doesn’t hurt SEO efforts. Social media and social aggregators provide a lightning-fast number of natural back links and traffic. Social media services like Twitter and LinkedIn are currently being indexed by most major search engines. Aggregators like Reddit or Product Hunt will blow your traffic numbers out of the water.
There are umpteen factors colliding in the search results you see, including location, device used, sessions you’re logged into, if you are walking while searching on a phone or standing still, and so on. Location is one of the most financially valuable metrics used in mobile advertising. Therefore, location-based marketers should embrace social for mobile on paid and organic fronts.
Thought and care should be given to social when formulating a search-program strategy. For example, right now tweets are getting indexed. Search Google, and you will see tweets in the results. Next year, they could formally partner or do a revenue share if they’re not secretly doing it already. If I’m your SEO, then I’m going to consider anything that builds my relevance, territory, and magnification of signals. If you add all the data together, it’s hard to ignore social’s impact on traffic.