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Social Media and Search Engine Optimization

We’ve been working on search engine optimization all week, going back to the basics on the foundation of what the search engines use to rank websites. Monday I introduced the concept of relevancy and yesterday we went into links and how the different types of links impact a sites search engine ranking.

Today we are going to discuss how the search engines use social media to determine the relevancy of a site based on links from their social media properties. This is a concept that many small business owners either are not aware of or do not completely understand.  Search engine optimization has been around for a long time so most business owners are at least aware of the importance of showing up on page one of Google. Business owners are not necessarily aware of how this happens or how links play into this ranking so the importance of social media and the linking opportunities that are available can be lost.

Yesterday’s post covered the three types of links: internal; external outbound and external inbound. By far the most powerful of these three in terms of search engine optimization would be external inbound from an authority site. Taping into our plastic surgeon example again, links from grandma’s knitting blog (no matter how popular or much traffic it gets), are not going to help the plastic surgeon’s search engine ranking because knitting is not relevant to getting a face lift.

However, if there are new links coming from an authority site like Facebook which is in the top ten globally for most traffic with almost one billion users, and these are links coming from a page about plastic surgery, then those links will improve your search engine optimization. If our plastic surgeon had a channel on YouTube where his very happy customers provided video testimonials of the great results he provided, and then each testimonial had a link back to the page discussing, for example, the face lift procedure or whatever specific procedure they had done, then Google will see that as an external inbound link from an authority site and will give you “credit” for this quality link in the calculation of your page rank.

As you build these links over time, the more links you have the better for your search engine optimization. The videos are providing useful, free, relevant information for people searching for “face lift” online. So the videos themselves are useful and then the links are also providing fuel for the search engines to rank the website.

There are similar benefits from all the social media properties. When a small business owner Tweets and posts a link back to a page on the site, or Tweets a link to their latest video testimonial that helps. Writing a blog post and sharing it on LinkedIn (like I will do with this post and every post on this blog) with a link back to this page provides an SEO boost as well. I will also post the link to this post on my Facebook page (which you should join) so that provides an outbound link and an inbound link.

By now the importance of social media links should be at least a little more clear. The more authority links coming into your site over a long period of time the better for your search engine optimization. Tomorrow’s post will cover a topic I touched on today, blogging. Many so called experts out there have moved away from blogging as an important SEO tool but I will discuss why it is still alive and still just as relevant as ever not just for search engine optimization but in helping grow your business and position you as an authority in your field.

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