LCI Blog: How Social Media Engagement Improves SEO Results

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By: Matt Stone, a digital marketing and Web management blogger, from our PRGN affiliate, GroundFloor Media in Denver, Colorado.

 

What is the real value of social media engagement? Social media pioneers continue to develop effective new strategies for social media platforms that improve the way organizations communicate,transfer and manage relationships.  There are a couple of well-established benefits to social media engagement including brand building, direct promotion and customer service roles. A well-managed social media presence can deliver great value in these areas. But… can social media activity improve search engine results?

We’ve believed for some time that success in attracting additional visitors and reader attention is achieved by integrating best seo hamiltonNew Picture (3) media outreach. Proving that social activity improves SEO has been difficult, but now some new studies show why this appears to be true.

Social Media and SEO

Ascend2 released a study this past week showing that organizations that were the most successful in SEO or in attracting visitors from search engine referrals also made a significant commitment to engagement on social media. The study did not confirm exactly why the company websites ranked higher, just that there appeared to be a correlation between organizations where social media investments were made and where good SEO results were achieved.

Among Ascend2s’ key findings:

38% of companies with a Superior (SEO) Strategy extensively integrate social media with SEO while only 2% of those with an Inferior Strategy do so. Fully half (50%) of those companies with an Inferior Strategy do not integrate social media and SEO at all.

Promoting a brand or piece of content using social media is nothing new. When readers find interesting content on Facebook, Twitter or Google+ they are more likely to seek additional information from the sponsor’s Website. This of course increases Website traffic, but does this also improve search engine placement?

The Connection with User Satisfaction

Organizations that commit significant time and resources to social media engagement also tend to pay close attention to the user experience that their Website provides. In addition to their social media commitment, many of these organizations also appear to provide a positive user experience on the organization’s Website.

Cyrus Shepard, writing in the MOZ blog last week outlined that search engines monitor Website visitor behavior to understand whether or not users found particular sites or pages valuable. If readers stayed engaged on a particular page, consumed the content and visited other pages within the site, the search engines were likely to judge that the content was valuable and that the user was satisfied with the experience. The search engines then rewarded those Websites that provided a good user experience with better search engine rankings.

Connecting the Dots Between Social Media and Search Rankings

Readers attracted through energetic social media outreach, usually enter the sponsor’s Website on well-developed pages that deliver good content and value.  These readers then exhibit the behaviors of satisfied content consumers – all of which the search engines monitor.

As the foremost “Big Data” collectors, the search engines compile this information and apply it to their search algorithms. As the search engine’s main objective is to provide the most meaningful results for each search request, they continually seek to provide better responses to user search requests. As the search engines read that users are spending significant time on a site that has been referred through social media channels, they are more likely to upgrade that site’s search engine results placement.

The Coordinated Approach

Social media engagement can attract readers and website visitors, sometimes in very significant numbers. Other outreach methodologies can have a similar impact. Press release and blog postings are but a couple additional tools an organization has to attract new readers.  In the end, though, the SEO value of social media and these other outreach methods are dependent on the ability of the Website and content to deliver a great user experience. If social media outreach delivers visitors and the Website provides the information and value they are seeking, the entire effort can improve search engine rankings.

What are your thoughts about the value of social media engagement? Please leave comments below or email us at: [email protected] or [email protected]. (This blog originally appeared at http://groundfloormedia.com/blog/2013/07/how-social-media-improves-seo-results/)

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4 Comments

  1. Sean Dowdall Reply

    Matt,

    Totally agree that there has to be thinking and design (coordinated approach) about the end-to-end customer experience. So much of what I see in social media does not connect well with the next step or call to action – particularly the website where one should find deeper information and functionality. I know some social media channels are trying to do that – I have yet to see a good example.

    Sean

  2. David Landis Reply

    Matt – many thanks for a great post. All of us at Landis Communications Inc. (LCI) appreciate the insights from our PR partners in Denver at GroundFloor Media. We’ve worked hard on our SEO here at LCI (not that we’re perfect), and we estimate that 90% of our new business leads come through a Google search as a result. We’re SEO believers and social media engagement is a key ingredient. Cheers, David

    • Matt Reply

      Thanks David and everyone at LCI!

      Very happy to contribute here and glad that folks found the content valuable. We are working on some other case studies that will show more about the direct connection between social media outreach and SEO and search traffic, so we’ll keep you all in the loop.

      Thanks again for posting this!
      MAS

  3. Gretchen Krueger Reply

    Matt,
    Thank you for sharing this data. I will be forwarding your blog directly to my clients as a reminder of the importance of a robust social media plan.
    Sincerely,
    Gretchen