| This 39 message thread spans 2 pages: 39 (  2 ) > > || |
|Is A Social Media Profile Now Essential For Ranking Well in Google?|
It seems that almost every time an expert speaks on the subject of successful SEO, or conversely why a site might have SEO problems, the message always seems to include a bit about the importance of establishing a social media profile.
While social media chatter is a natural extension for many categories of sites, it (IMO) makes no sense at all with many other categories, particularly sites which are very content intensive and encyclopedic... even if they do have an ecommerce segment. Their purpose is to deliver information and not provide a platform for social interaction.
Despite that distinction, is the current reality that sites of any type need a social media profile to have a realistic chance at decent rankings?
If I may...
I think we need to begin by breaking it down by categories of Local, Regional, National or International. It does make a difference. So, for anyone posting please give us an idea of what your geographic range is.
Before I would not have been qualified to have an opinion for this subject because of zero social media use. However, in recent months I have been experimenting with Twitter for a client. I've been given free-reign and trust to help her promote her business because she is a long-time friend and I know her business well. I've also only taken on the task because her business is actually a social activity so Twitter is a natural extension for promotion. However for many other sites I have control over they wouldn't benefit from the hype of "social marketing", I mean "social media".
I have noticed some interesting habits of the Twitterverse, some good and some bad, like everything else in life.
Just not tonight. I'm tired. My pendulum wants to stop swinging so I can go plug my spine in for a recharge :)
I'll drop in with a cuppa java in the morning.
@ austtr I do lots of social media for both clients and for my own websites and I think you are approaching it from the wrong angle.
Social is best used to Google proof yourself. You shouldn't be thinking of social as a way to boost your rankings but to diversify away from your search engine rankings.
I have a few clients who no longer care about Google at all yet 3 years ago all their traffic came from Google.
You mention big encyclopaedic as not really needing Social media when actually those sorts of sites have most to gain from Social.
I have on client that runs a massive science based facts site. He was extremely successful although he mainly monetized with adsense, which worried him somewhat.
We had a brainstorming session at his local pub and we decided he should embark on a Social strategy starting with twitter and FB.
Anyway 2 years later he now has new monetization methods and fully half of his income comes from his social accounts. He basically just offers quick facts in his twitter and bit longer stories and images in his FB feed. Every 6 or 7 posts he sends and affiliate link and generates extra money from it.
I will say that in the meantime his adsense revenue has suffered somewhat, which is probably party due to how fervently he embraced social. After a shaky start which nearly saw him give up on social he now loves it and outsources most of the site related stuff but handles social himself.
The thing people need to understand about doing social correctly is that you need to think of it as a separate entity from your site. You build them up to Google proof your monetization efforts.
Any big site encyclopaedic or not is in the perfect position to leverage their current traffic to build big stand alone social media accounts that might very well save the webmaster heart ache when Google decides that your niche need to have full above the fold adwords and knowledge graph experience.
let's face it one day we will all be facing this situation.
|is the current reality that sites of any type need a social media profile to have a realistic chance at decent rankings |
@ marktraphagen has some interesting posts, which I'd lock into:
|Would I "invest strongly in g+1?" No not at all. But I would (and have) invest heavily in Google+. |
But indirectly, social used well can build relationships that can help with links, content, and PR - plus a heap more. Don't forget email either. I'm sure there's some smart strategies out there that merge platforms and tactics together, which will also adjust according to the market.
It's more sustainable if done well, and consequently can assist brand building. Which is what Google most wants these days for sites to rank. It can show Google the real value of your relationships. And I think that sends the right signals.
I understand the points made about using social media to create a new traffic source, new opportunities.. etc etc
The question in the OP is whether, in the current climate, a site needs to to have a social profile before Google considers it a serious site worthy to be considered for a top ranking.
And conversely, can a site without a social profile send a strong enough authority signal to get decent rankings?
|The question in the OP is whether, in the current climate, a site needs to to have a social profile before Google considers it a serious site worthy to be considered for a top ranking. |
Oh. This isn't a discussion about social media it's another discussion about google signal nonsense. They wouldn't know how to spot a real signal even if it fell out of the sky into their yard.
I misinterpreted the emphasis of the OP (it happens).
What's your definition of "social profile"? 4 or 5 links out from icons on your website to social sites?
There are no signals in social. There are only popular echoes in empty canyons. Google cannot measure something that doesn't exist.
It's an environment of loud silence, meaning thought provoking useful info that inspires people into action is buried and difficult to find even for a motivated human. The likelihood of a computer algorithm digging it up...you have a better chance of being hit by lightning. But through that silent noise there are ways to work it to one's advantage. However if you're simply looking for a thoughtless effortless autopilot approach via popularity of Likes and Retweets with no effort forget about Twitter, and probably other forms of social too.
I'll go crawl back under my rock.
In the current climate? No.
However, I believe that by restricting one's self to the current climate, you're already falling three steps behind.
Also, "social" doesn't necessarily mean just Twitter or Facebook. I have B2B clients killing it in LinkedIn with NO particular presence on Twitter, Facebook or even Google+ (though I'm trying to change the last)
Social is going where your target demographic is. Wherever that is.
I don't know what you mean by "social profile". I'm not a member of facebook, G+, twitter, linkedin or etc, and don't have any "like buttons" on any of my sites. Somehow they get some traffic from facebook, ocassionally a big flurry, but mostly at a low level. I thought social media "buzz" is supposed to happen naturally.
I think it would be very tedious and time-consuming for me to personally try to build up connections on these types of sites, and it's just not worth it to me. A person only has so much time, and I much prefer to spend mine researching and writing. But everyone is in a different situation, and I can see how others would be interested. In fact I think that the big success of some social media sites is good for the web, because it's an area that Google doesn't control, and so makes them less dominant. As for the effect of social media activity on Google's search results, I wonder if they will ever figure out how to deal with something so big and complex.
Oh, no, netmeg you're talking marketing/business concepts rather than just SEO! We don't want to learn that stuff! ;)
|The question in the OP is whether, in the current climate, a site needs to to have a social profile before Google considers it a serious site worthy to be considered for a top ranking. |
How would the algo/bots know if you have a social media profile or not? For some, like Pinterest, Google is allowed to follow the inbound links like any other and, as far as I can tell, treats them like any other link. But FB, Twitter and some others make that impossible for Google so they really (unfortunately) don't know how popular you are with those userbases.
Are you speculating that the algo now looks for links to your SM profiles on your site? Because that's the only way they'd know if you have SM profiles or not. Then the algo would need to go to the profile and evaluate it for freshness and how many followers it has for the information to use useful (since anyone can set up a profile, serious or not). I have no idea if the algo can do this, but I can't see much ROI in it for Google. SM profiles can be gamed and manipulated too, so they'd have to get into this whole nightmare they've gotten into with links and trying to tell genuine interaction from fake ones and so on.
|Oh, no, netmeg you're talking marketing/business concepts rather than just SEO! We don't want to learn that stuff! ;) |
Google no doubt knows whether or not your content is being shared, whether you're sending traffic to social media sites, whether social media sites are sending traffic to you, and probably some level of engagement (particularly if you use a CMS or 3rd party commenting system, or some kind of forum)
Your social "profile" might not even be one you set up yourself; maybe you're just at the center of it.
For the food recipe market i see social media as very important. Not sure this drives the success but all the successful sites are heavily invested.So why opt out?
For small regional travel segment a lot less so.....but i do think for new websites trying to break in here the social issue could be really important
|brotherhood of LAN|
|How would the algo/bots know if you have a social media profile or not? |
Having Google assets on the page for starters (adsense/analytics), analytics on the referring page, analytics on any page you link out to. There's a ton of datapoints to mention that don't necessarily involve you having Google anywhere on a site.
To build on what netmeg said, "social" can mean forums, too. We have thousands of unsolicited inbound links from megasites' forums where moderators and members repeatedly link to our articles.
(Google Analytics includes one of those megasites under "Social/Network Referrals," so if you don't think forums are "social," argue with Google, not with me!)
|I thought social media "buzz" is supposed to happen naturally. |
Sure, maybe, once you're established. But people finding your stuff doesn't just happen. A new book author doesn't write his book and expect sudden calls from publishers. He has to pitch his work first. Maybe once he's Stephen King the media stands by to see what's up next, but not at first.
A lot of SEOs seems to take the "write it and they will come" mantra way too literally. You have to tell somebody about your work at first or nobody will know. Even established sites promote their latest stuff via social media. And if your goal is to stop caring about Google, this is even more true. It's all about promotion first and then, if people like your stuff, they will share it to their networks.
The "buzz should be natural" stuff is just a warning to stop webmasters from paying for shares, not saying they should never do it themselves.
I understand that here at WebmasterWorld and particularly in this sub forum people want to know what Google thinks about something.
however I still maintain that if your only concern about social is whether Google understands it/uses it to rank in search means that quite frankly don't bother with social.
Why? because by the time you understand the proper use/true value of social you will be left behind. If you are only building social activity because you think "in the future" Google will be using social as a signal to rank sites in their serps, then you have already lost.
There are smart people out there driving real social exchange and making money doing it and these people (and there are some in your niche) will rank ahead of you if Google finally does take into account social signals in the algo proper.
So you have to ask yourself, what is the future of SEO? If you believe that social is going to be a big thing in the future then you need to be working on it now and in a way that truly works and is natural. Google won't pick some arbitrary day in the future and say from this point on we will rank sites on the interaction we see from now on.
Google is already collecting the data, even if it is not using it. If and when they finally come to the point that they flick the switch you better hope that your social interaction is already very mature.
Anyway as you can see I am big believer in social and like I have said before it is more because it allows you to diversify your income streams and reduce your dependency on Google. Rather than any advantage you may gain in the SERPs although that day may be coming.
Some great responses here. Very much enjoy reading them.
There's a timely and important thread opened by Robert Charlton over here :
Google Authorship deemphasizing markup, moving to entity extraction [webmasterworld.com...]
|Google cannot measure something that doesn't exist. |
@SevenCubed - exactly, but....
Key excerpts for me in the referred to article are:
|- Google is unable to use Authorship as a ranking signal if important authors arenít participating. |
- Donít get me wrong. Google still supports Authorship markup and there are clear click-through rate benefits to having an Authorship snippet on a search result. Even if you donít believe me you should believe Google and the research theyíve done on social annotations in 2012 [static.googleusercontent.com...] and 2013 [www2013.org...] (PDF).
- Google knows users respond to Authorship.
- Authors are people are entities.
- Google+ is the knowledge graph of everyday people.
So when I referred to @ marktraphagen earlier ( #msg:4619460 ) , conjointly with this, the pattern of demonstrated emphasis and the need to invest is getting clearer.
Will you rank now - No
Will you rank later - most probably Google Plus will contribute strongly to Trust / Brand - so Yes ( so invest - it's not going away. Google's search engine life will depend on a large component of social profiling of content )
And as part of building profile in B to C and B to B you cannot ignore Facebook , LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter, Email , Forums and so on as part of the mix.
Arguably, links from authority sources are an important part of social, they should be considered as "social link referrals". The fact that people are moving to mobile and some websites may not be updated as much, in favour of other communication development methods means that Google will have to go where the traffic and activity is, + where the $$'s are.
The web is becoming a lot more effective across diverse channels - it's important to embrace it, if resources permit.
Diversification of communication methods and the development resource across this are key challenges and I think Google knows that it cannot handle the old style of ranking for much longer on a reliable basis.
And smaller players [ they may feel ] are consequently even more challenged. How do you keep across all of this - I'd say impossible, so pick the things you can do well with. Even large organizations will somewhat choke on this.
That's why Brand / Panda / Penguin and Hummingbird are a "fallback" strategic play of underpinning the future. They planned for this a while back. But who knows what the next 5 years will bring as Ben Gomes VP of Search said back in December [youtube.com...]
|Social is going where your target demographic is. Wherever that is. |
@netmeg - always good at "hitting the nail on the head".
So social is key IMO . Because you must connect with your audience. And Google must measure that at some point in it's rankings. If they can't, then they will fall back on brand as they currently do, IMO.
Don't forget Google is in a big and expensive race for audience, content and advertising $$'s. Being effective across all areas is a big challenge on all levels. The SERP's can only respond to that, not lead it.
|Is A Social Media Profile Now Essential For Ranking Well in Google? |
I sense the emergence of "behavior" - behavioral data - as the new marketing lucre.
Not social. Not where you hang or post a profile. Not where you comment. Not what you say . . even though, from one POV, "saying is doing" . . but saying AIN'T doing what you say. The real nitty gritty is doing.
What's the accumulated data on what really matters to you? Where your money goes . . and where it won't. How much do you actually have? What do you do with it? 'cause in the end it don't mean a thing if you don't buy their bling.
But that's just you and I . . and we're just one of the lemmings . . in most cases . . but now take this idea and extend it.
What's the data that what YOU DO (say, write, etc.) "changes behavior"? Call it what you will: influence, thought leadership, persuasion, etc.
Frack social media profile building. If you want the emerging equivalent of what, through the SERPs ages, has been referred to as "link juice", pagerank, etc. then ask yourself this: What's the evidence - the data - that you, your website, your videos, your app - changes or causes - not just facilitates - behavior?
Go build yourself a profile of changing or causing behavior of some economic value to someone.
Frack profile building - more social networking or social network presence - unless the key constituent of your profile building is the simultaneous creation of "stuff happens when Billy Bob is 'in the room'".
Remember the adage: What you say about yourself is advertising. What others say about you is marketing. Your "profile" is the change your bring to the market.
If you want some lovin' from G in the future . . if you want to be top mistress . . bring the action. Change or cause behavior of economic value to emerge. Have THAT "as your profile". Not another page about you in another social media site.
Build not a social media profile BUT a profile of changing or causing behavior of some economic value to someone.
Other than that and all you're doing is more . . bleh . . ugh . . "content (read: crapola) creation", more (self-interest based) networking, more laboring to be noticed or heard or to get attention for 15 minutes or seconds of fame, etc.
[edited by: Webwork at 4:30 pm (utc) on Oct 29, 2013]
Reading throughout this thread what I'm getting from it is there is an underlying theme of "better embark onto the boat now before it sets sail".
That's fine if one only looks at it from a limited perspective. If one steps back it shouldn't be too difficult to realize that in fact the boat is set to sail away from dependency on search rather than towards it. If some day down the road social "content" becomes measurable by then google will no longer be a factor. The playing field will have been levelled with no one entity being the gatekeeper of information flow.
It's important to recognize that there's a difference between seeing or hearing a signal versus understanding what is contained in that signal.
Analogies usually work better for me. Imagine if we could see invisible radio, television and mobile phone frequency transmission signals before our eyes. We'd know they are there and we'd know they were carrying streams of information that may or may not be of interest to us.
The only way of knowing for sure is by tuning in to each platform via their respective GUIs or devices. So as an example a television signal might be akin to Pinterest, radio to Twitter and mobile voice or text conversations about what is happening on the radio and television stations.
What is happening? Really. Not much. Just like there's 200 TV stations and almost nothing inspiring to watch and radio stations playing the same library of music over and over and over.
The "conversations" is all that has any value. Tap into the conversation (of old men sitting in a group in a park) and we'll be able to find the pulse of public sentiment. That kind of pulse cannot be found in the pop cultures of "social media" because those mediums are about instant gratification. They simply amplify and echo pop culture. Pop culture is an empty flow of the status quo, cozy but mostly brain dead.
Measure this with an algo and extract meaning from it: "idk why im tired 2day mayb need java, ad mee 2 bbm to tawk 2 me latr" Don't like that example? Go have a look at what's trending on Twitter right now worldwide, or any time. Would any of it inspire you to create a new thread on WW to discuss it?
That's the signal. Each social platform is only the medium. Having 7 icons linking from your website to "social goldmines" will only make us more brain dead than we already are.
Pull the plug. Get out for a walk, a bike ride, a jog, whatever. Create some balance in one's day. Have genuine interactions with warm living breathing people to regain one's own heartbeat and feel alive again.
Once balance is restored it becomes so much easier to see through the illusion "social media" and consumerism as a source of gratification. Then find a healthy balance and regain control of one's own destiny. We need to stop feeding the madness with data that then gets used against us. We aren't raising families anymore, we're raising consumers void of any sense of direction. That's why we are seeing the rapid disintegration of societies in highly developed countries. The lack of cooperation, corruption, greed, violence and madness is reaching a point of complete absurdity in some.
There is a balance point where many, but not all, small business owners can benefit from one or two social platforms but not all of them for the sake of "social profile". Find it, work it, and support our families from the extra income we can derive from it.
Just to drift a bit, I'm not anti-commerce. It's necessary but just needs to be a better balanced state. A shift away from the large corporate few hoarding all the wealth to a diaspora of artisans will rebalance our economies.
I want to continue in this thread to drill down even further into each "social media" but this is long enough for now. I'll post this, let it ferment, wait for further inspiration from others, then jump back in.
It's a beautiful sunny autumn day here. I have stale air in my bike tires and lungs. Time for a ride to Starbucks to replenish my veins with caffeine. My acidic level is dropping dangerously low this morning.
|Is A Social Media Profile Now Essential For Ranking Well in Google? |
Huh, what's a social profile and what's google? Define please.
Uh.. say what?
Am I in the Google SEO forum still?
|Am I in the Google SEO forum still? |
Of course u are netmeg. And our replies are elaborate on topic ways of saying no it's not necessary now, or ever, to feed google a social profile to rank (SEO). Sooner or later they will realize that too. The sooner the better for them (plex people) if they want to survive.
I really am outta here now, just finished up some important stuff, catch up with you folks later (that's a relative term for me -- sooner or later).
Huh a watch, what's that?
What if we change the perspective slightly? I'm sure I've seen statements (from MC?) about "user engagement" now being a signal that effects a site's ranking.
My understanding is that while a lot of user engagement signals come from site analysis (time on site, pages visited, bounce rate etc), there are also user engagement signals that come from social media activity (Google +, Facebook, Twitter etc etc)
If my understanding of this correct, doesn't that bring us to the point where creating a social media profile (ie.. activity, involvement) does have an impact on position in the SERP's?
Yea, possibly. Even probably. But not in any direct way that is measurable, I don't think.
Google always looks for patterns. It's what they do.
Don't see Google ever using social signals for ranking, unless they come from properties they own (G+, Youtube, etc.)
For example, anyone can paid-promote their posts on Facebook, don't see how Google would rush to use Facebook signals, when they could be so easily manipulated with your wallet.
|Don't see Google ever using social signals for ranking, unless they come from properties they own |
If Google doesn't make their assets work, there's a good chance that at sometime in the future they would acquire such a platform.
At this level of corporate play, you just can't rule out Google acquiring Facebook, LinkedIn , Twitter , etc etc - whoever. This is a race to the finish and what sometimes can't work organically for an organisation, can work through acquisition. There is fierce competition for content related to the advertising $, and social is mega.
Social profiling is a must have for all business' engaging online. Even if Google doesn't get it right in the interim, I believe they have no choice. The bottom line is it's where the advertising $$'s are that counts.
If you invest sensibly in social profiling it won't go wasted IMO. It may be more reliable in your marketing, than SEO, and you may even get a direct benefit at some point. Certainly indirect benefits can occur to assist ranking as mentioned above.
Strategy is not always about immediate benefits like ranking. Folks have to think a bit beyond that in laying foundations for the next generation of search / social.
FWIW - I tried to raise some discussions over here : [webmasterworld.com...] on LinkedIn [webmasterworld.com...] and Facebook [webmasterworld.com...] . If SEO's and webmasters are going to bridge the gap and broaden their skill base from old to knew, contributing and participating to those sections can only do good.
Really, at the very least these present link building opportunities at the most basic of levels for B to B relationship building and perhaps B to C. There's an indirect example of social profiling playing in to some degree, because the smell of the quality of the relationships. Heck - you can then take it to GooglePlus
Needs much more creative input and discussion from the community. Take this as an appeal for help to build up that repository of knowledge here on WebmasterWorld :)
|If you invest sensibly in social profiling it won't go wasted IMO |
Whitey succinctly says what I was trying to say all along. Heading into social now is not a waste of time and the bad thing about it is also the good thing about it.
The bad thing is that there are many players (costs more in time and money to maintain multiple accounts)however this is also a good thing because it insulates you a little from the shock of one mega corporation banning you, changing it's underlying elements (similar to the scary Google updates) or heaven forbid going out of business.
Whether you are a believer or not in social doesn't really matter, it is what Google thinks that matters. Everything Google does now has a G+ element. It is basically a badly kept secret in the Googleplex that if you haven't got a Google+ element to your project then expect it to die a slowly of resource starvation.
YouTube commenting has a G+ element now, Gmail also and so does almost anything to do with Android. Your adsense/adwords account are linked to your g+ account through your gmail/G apps accounts. Google believes social is the future.
One day all that collected information is going to be used by them, they never collect data just for the sake of collection they collect it to use.
|One day all that collected information is going to be used by them |
|Google's Cutts: Links Still More Powerful Than Social Signals [youtube.com...] |
Matt Cutts says links are still, for the foreseeable future, going to be a more powerful signal for search rankings than social signals.
Sure, for now. But be a step ahead. Make sure it's used by you to improve the relationship you have with your customer for a better experience. Put your customer first and ( indirectly ) rankings will follow.
Because it's been easy, many siteowners / webmasters and SEO's have not bothered to connect with their customers. People didn't count, only the numbers and $$'s did. Now the search numbers and $$'s have dropped through the floor over the last few years, there is an opportunity to harvest those leads and turn it around with signals leading to more traffic. ( Do we need to revisit what signals Google is picking up on - it's been mentioned 100's of times here on WebmasterWorld ). Focusing on social, harvested from SERP leads, that turn back around could be a good avenue. People need relationships that deliver value. Google is not good at that. But you could be if you really get to know your users well.
Somehow people power always wins through :)
|Strategy is not always about immediate benefits like ranking. |
The title of the thread is "Is a social media profile now essential for ranking well in Google?"...
What you are talking about is marketing, not SEO. For a reason unknown to me, people keep trying to bring non-SEO marketing to the SEO forum...SEO may be part of your marketing strategy, but not every marketing channel is SEO.
You know what brings more traffic than a Facebook profile? A billion spam emails. That doesn't mean email spamming has anything to do with your Google ranking.
I'd be more than happy to discuss social media marketing, just don't think such discussions belong in the SEO forum, until there is firm evidence that social has any effect on ranking in Google Search.
This is a great question. One clients ask us more and more.
Does running active, engaging social media campaigns actually impact organic search? Forget marketing, that's a whole other angle and question.
Lets pretend for a second that it could influence organic...
How would you control it, shape it, actually use it for one of your clients?
We all know what SEO clients want, they want to rank for Keyword A, and you're not going to be able to convince all of your clients to not focus on specific rankings, and to look at the holistic picture, most clients will still focus on specific keyword rankings, and if you're not able to deliver, your campaign won't last long, that's the reality.
And from another angle, even if there were some impact, is there a positive ROI? Running good social campaigns isn't cheap. Tons of content creation, planning, internal support, etc... At the end of the day, is it even worth doing (again, from an impact to SEO perspective)?
To find out for ourselves, we started testing with about 10 of our clients back in Oct/Nov last year. So far, it's done nothing on the organic side. And we're using a variety of post frequencies, leveraging content sections and blogs on the client sites, posting short and long posts, wide variety of anchor text variations, properly optimized copy, linking to the right pages, internal and external - so far nada.
So does anyone have any hard data they can share? Love to see what other SEO's are seeing.
|To find out for ourselves, we started testing with about 10 of our clients back in Oct/Nov last year. |
I'm not sure I understand your concept.
"Started testing" implies you didn't know what you were doing or what the outcomes would be, yet you are charging other business owners to be your guinea pig? Were those people well aware of that before you began experimenting?
And, to "find out for ourselves"...what does that mean? It comes across to me as you are learning on someone elses's dime?
I'm assuming that, based on your forum nic that you are in the marketing business. What am I possibly misunderstanding here? It must be me, sorry I just have to ask.
Going back to the question at hand, no, there is no hard evidence I know of that having a social media profile will by itself raise your rankings. However, as a form of content and brand promotion, social media is an indirect factor by getting your sites and content out to more people. If people like what they see, they might link it on their sites.
So, in this way, it's like link building, but unlike the link building that most people here probably started out with, you have no control over anchor text or link position (and, let's be honest, you have less control over that nowadays with regular link building).
Its ability to more easily build relationships can also help you find opportunities to share your content on other sites or other people's content on yours (guest posting, etc).
The one exception to all this might be Google Plus. It's still much like the others, but there is some evidence that it can get your content crawled faster because it's Google. So it's the one network that's a little closer to the ability to rank, but it's still not a direct thing.
So I'd say in this brave new era where all the old methods are either dying or being monitored, social media is an indirect way to rank, but no, it's not absolutely essential.
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