The Google algorithm updates over the past few years have had a dramatic impact on how companies attract visitors and internet traffic to their pages. Traditionally, organizations and SEO consultants would set links out in the greater internet world that would point back to the client site using a variety of well-chosen anchor text terms.
Over the years, though it became possible for companies to buy links or engage in practices of acquiring these links that were based not on the value of the content, but on other factors. The search engine providers decided early in 2012 that they had seen enough of these practices and have endeavored to come up with a better way of identifying good content and rewarding the websites that contained it. This resulted in some major changes to search results throughout the year.
While “natural” link building in this traditional form (where a content provider simply asks for a link is rewarded with a link for providing good content) is still important. Another method though has emerged that seems poised to be a very effective link building strategy for 2013.
Social Media Engagement
Social media interaction has emerged as an important measure of an organization’s level of engagement in the internet community. As Google and the other search engines do not necessarily want to refer readers to pages and environments that haven’t been updated, aren’t well maintained or are just posted up as a stagnant commercial billboard, social engagement has turned out to be a good measure of an organization’s commitment to providing information. Simply put, the more engaged an organization is on social media, the more likely they are to have more frequently updated (if not better) content.
Actually measuring an organization’s level of social media interaction is then a matter of quantifying the activity taking place on social platforms. Usually this takes the form of ‘likes’ in the case of Facebook, or on Google+ where the number of earned followers and ‘plusses’ to specific content provide the data. As Google controls the algorithm to the most widely used search engine in the world, access this data currently exists and according to early research, Google has built this into their search models.
Google+ is a simple platform somewhat similar to Facebook. A user follows businesses, individuals and companies, comments on interesting points and posts links to good content. Readers review the content provided by others that it has on its ‘follow’ list, comments on the material and posts links to its own content. If the text and material posted has value and other readers see it, readers can ‘plus’ it or endorse it online.
Since the environment is a Google, property, Google sees all of this activity. The more positive feedback a content provider receives, the more confidence Google in particular has in the value of the material presented. Sites with more valuable material and higher levels of Google+ engagement are then frequently rewarded with higher search engine results placements.
Increasing numbers of followers on a Google+ business page seems to cause the business page to improve somewhat on the search engine results. In our research here, there is an improvement in SERP placement for every 100 or so followers attracted to an organization’s Google+ business page. Of course there would seem to be other metrics, such as relevancy of the followers to the business, that are built into the model, but the essential result seems to be that attracting followers results in better search engine placement.
The real challenge to building a Google+ following is the level of interaction required to attract followers. Great content, good observations, wit and humor all seem to play a part in building a strong community on this social platform. However, great and compelling content is necessary to attract and retain readers anyway, so most organizations are already making an investment in creating this type of content. Engaging in Social Interactions on Google+ requires an investment of time to be successful, but doesn’t need to run up the company’s FTE count.
Future posts will provide ideas on managing a social media presence and integrating it a link-building and SEO effort. Check back frequently for new posts and updates. Future article topics will include ‘how tos’ and suggestions on attracting followers, generating good and compelling content and ways to incorporate Google+ into a company’s web environment. For more immediate information, please visit the SEO Consultants in Denver website.
Matthew Stone is an accomplished SEO expert, digital marketer and is experienced in Social Media Management. Since 2008, Matthew has helped clients attract build online relationships, expand sales and increase revenues. He also works in Denver Public Relations with GroundFloor Media.
You can find him on Google+