With the explosion of Social Media on the online landscape, it has thrown up a whole new array of elements that are affecting search engine rankings.
The landscape of Google is ever changing with several adjustments being made to their search algorithm every week. Always, the sole motivation of this is so Google can deliver the highest quality results to its users. A lot of companies have placed a high emphasis on attaining a well-designed website and have assigned budgets to achieve this, but many fail to plan for what is, without doubt, an equal part of any successful online marketing strategy. As important as having a well-designed website, ensuring it can be easily found on search engines such as Google, is equally important. In the early days, optimising a website for search engine results was a more straightforward task. As Martyn Wilson wrote recently on usefulsocialmedia.com,
“Earlier search engines looked for information such as links and keywords describing the site and its content. This meant that unscrupulous website owners could, and did, manipulate search results, and one of Google’s strengths, right from the start, was to develop a more complex process of site analysis, which led to a systematic and scientific approach to SEO.”
Businesses who jump on social networking can take advantage of the opportunities it presents. Equally so, those businesses who are not moving on the Social Media trend will find themselves at a distinct disadvantage in their efforts to maintain high rankings on Search Engines such as Google. Martyn Wilson continues in his article,
“As a result, in recent years a social-media presence has become as much a part of online marketing as having a dedicated website. Facebook, Twitter – and increasingly – Google+ and LinkedIn buttons are an essential component of business websites and corporate email signatures.
In addition, as Martin Petts of social marketing consultants ‘Social Stamp’ says, “There can be more links from content about your product, service or company on social media that can lead back to your site making it look more important in the eyes of the search engine.”
Businesses of all sizes need to engage in Social Media in a full and tactical way. Simply having a Facebook Page, a Google+ page or a LinkedIn company page sitting there is not enough. It needs to be utilised with regular posts and customer engagement/conversation. This is not something to be feared though, and it certainly does not need to be complicated. It merely needs to be properly planned for and the appropriate resources (relevant staff and targeted content) directed to the task. The key to an effective use of social media is to keep it regular, consistent and relevant to the customer needs.
The growing importance of social media use by businesses is happening at a rapid pace and the impact this will have on the online visibility of websites will be significant. Google has started to include content from business Google+ pages in search results, and ShopTab’s Kevin Gralen thinks that over time “the social engagement around an organization and their content will become a bigger component of the search algorithm since it can be a good indicator of quality.”
Google is the “Yellow Pages” in today’s world. Remember, back in the day, a business pretty much didn’t exist without a listing in the Yellow Pages. What is your business doing to ensure your website and other digital properties are visible to search engines? What action has your business taken to ensure it appears as high as possible in the Search Engine results pages for the search keywords being used by your target market? Is your business taking advantage of Social Media to help not only engage with your target market but also boost your rankings on Google? As proven over and over again with our digital evolution, it pays to get in early and address these issues seriously.