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Social Media "Likes" Surpassing Links for Driving Search Engine Traffic

By Axia Public Relations

Long ago, savvy webmasters learned that more backlinks connected to a website correlated to a higher listing on natural search engine results pages.

But Google and other large search providers have begun to incorporate social media into the prioritizing of search engine results. Accordingly, companies are scrambling to improve and increase their social media presence.

Earlier this year, Google’s Penguin update rolled out. At that time, Google executives announced that their longstanding policy of ranking backlinks as part of the search algorithm had changed. Part of this shift came about because Google wanted to reduce some of the backlink manipulation that had been deployed by link building service providers. Another leading search player, Bing, has followed Google’s lead.

Search companies want to acknowledge the growing importance of social signals. Industry experts such as Danny Sullivan from Search Engine Land notes that major search providers are increasingly taking peoples’ opinions into account by considering Facebook ‘Likes’, Twitter ‘Shares’, and Google ‘+1’ as their algorithms assign list rankings. Many call this the democratization of the search process. And, this activity on the part of consumers as they interact with companies online has been labeled social signaling.

As a result, companies must track how well their social media is performing. Specifically, they must determine how often their content is shared by followers. Improving the share volume means their audience size increases and over time, their rankings in search engines will improve. To make this happen efficiently, Daniel Tan, on his Social Metrics Pro site, encourages companies to integrate their social networks into one interface to save time. In addition, companies must focus on the quality of their content and begin to adjust what they post in order to attract more attention as they drive up their position on the search results page.

June 12 2012 | Kathy Crosett

[Sources: Tan, Daniel. Social Signals Explained. Socialmetricspro.com. 2012. Web. 12 Jun. 2012]

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Topics: public relations, SEO, shared media

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