Why Social Media May Not Earn SEO Benefit

 

Flawsome.jpg Whoever thought that social media is the sole solution for a failing SEO campaign is bound to face more disappointments. Although social media is highly recommended and lauded by SEOs and marketing experts, it is not an SEO tool that will immediately function with just one click, producing concrete results a few seconds later. The benefits that some websites have indeed experienced did not appear overnight.

Although the majority will still say that social media is useful for SEO, and for sure you yourself believe it to be true, it is important to recognize and acknowledge the flaws of social media so that you and your SEO company can do something to circumvent them.

Flaws in Twitter

Social marketing experts favor Twitter because it seems to be the most effective in influencing the SERPs and getting a newly published page indexed by Google.  This is true to, as proven in so many experiments. However, there is a clincher: In most of the experiments conducted to test Twitter’s influence in Google SERPs (including one conducted by the SEO giant SEOMOZ) the tester requested people to retweet a link for an experiment. People complied and within hours, the links have been retweeted hundreds of times. Within hours as well, the links were later found on the first or second spot in the SERPs.

This tells us two things: one, Twitter can do your website a lot of good, and two, you need to have the cooperation of your Twitter contacts and the public in general.

There’s actually a third lesson here too: Twitter activity is only significant if Google uses its direct, real-time data. When Google turned off the Twitter Firehose in 2011, the massive amount of activities that went on there went largely unnoticed by the search engine.

So, how do you deal with this flaw? The first thing obviously is to use Twitter more as an engagement tool than an SEO one. Second, when you compose a tweet, leave enough space for Re-tweeting.

Flaws in Facebook

Considering that Facebook has the most number of members, you’d think that it will have a wealth of information sitting in its archives waiting for users to have access to them. It’s actually false on the first, and a “we’ll see” on the second.

The content posted in Facebook is very limited; you’d be hard-pressed to find valuable information from its users. Actually, at present it’s quite impossible to search for valuable content in Facebook. The search bar on top will only conduct search matches for user accounts, not content posted on timelines and shared among users.

Besides, active users socialize in this website. That includes companies, websites, and blogs that have Facebook accounts. If ever they do post significant content, they can only do so by posting links to articles and web pages outside of Facebook. The site is also riddled with privacy settings, and they can meddle with your search queries.

The most you can benefit from Facebook search is if the search is an exact match with your account name or your About page.

Facebook intends to level-up its search feature and is set to introduce its Graph Search (which is powered by its partner, Bing). The Graph Search will not function like a regular search engine like Google. Rather, it will consider social signals in generating search results.

It will only post results that are popular within your community and the groups that you belong to. Many recognize this as similar to what Google+ was first meant to do: incorporate social signals into your search results by virtue of the +1 function.

Zuckerberg.jpgThe Graph Search is yet to be launched though, and while that may be an improvement for an SEO-minded Facebook user, the totality of its benefits are yet to be seen.

Flaws in Google+

As mentioned above, Google+ is the social arm of the search engine. It is supposed to be the provider of social signals so that Google will be able to present users with more personalized results. There are two problems here though:

First, there are too few Google+ users compared to the numbers present in Facebook and Twitter. It needs to grow more in order to be a reliable measure for social signals for websites vying to rank first in the SERPs.

Second, the social integration of search results will only work if the user has a Google account, and if he/she is currently logged in to it when he conducts his search. While there are advantages in getting personalized searches, many users still prefer to see actual, organic search results.

Having said that, with Google giving weight to authorship by displaying pictures of authors next to their post (if they have set up rel=author), and talk about author rank becoming a crucial ranking factor in 2013, it looks like Google+ may become more powerful as an SEO tool.

So, if you have a blog on the web, it will be a prudent move to set up your authorship profile to make the most of Google+.

 

About The Author

Emma-Julie Fox writes for Pitstop Media Inc, a Vancouver company that provides SEO services to businesses across North America.

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14 comments
JonFMoss
JonFMoss

Seems to me not much "solo" stuff works. Better to employ a concert approach to make better marketing music. Noise versus melody. The semantic web and all that jazz. Ya know?

susansilver
susansilver

I think SEO and SMO work in tandem. They amplify each other and now that they are combined ... well those who have been doing social media work are going to benefit. 

 

We often think of SEO in terms of tactics, but it is an engagement tool as well.  In all honesty, search results are a conversation. We are inviting searchers into our homes (blogs) to sit a spell and get informed. I try to apply the same best practices to SEO and Social Media work which I find helps to reinforce their connection. 

 

Soulati | Hybrid PR
Soulati | Hybrid PR moderator

Thanks, @Mark_Harai for being here today. Thanks, too, Emma for writing a great post. Really helped me as this flu-ridden brain isn't writing these days.

EmmaPSM
EmmaPSM

Mark, you are totally right; the best is to implement both of them at the same time. Social will allow a better connection with your audience, while SEO will help with organic growth in the long rung. Thanks for commenting.

Mark_Harai
Mark_Harai

Hi Emma, Julie - I think the best course of action is to implement a plan for both... They can produce better results working together than alone.

 

 

 

 

EmmaPSM
EmmaPSM

 @JonFMoss Jon, thatnk for your beautiful comment. I like the term "marketing music". It makes me feel like an artist :)

EmmaPSM
EmmaPSM

 @susansilver They are both avenues for driving people to websites, probably SEO more than SMO. Probably businesses to consumer will see more from SMO than business to business, but yes, both should work in tandem.

EmmaPSM
EmmaPSM

You're welcome, Soulati. I hope the readers like the piece. About the flu, MOG, I'm getting one too. Already on Tylenol for flu...

Mark_Harai
Mark_Harai

 @EmmaPSM In addition, social media is great for establishing an effective social footprint that legitimizes who you are, what you do and how well you do it, which helps convert paying customers who found you doing a search for a problem you help them solve through search - SEO.

 

There are two distinct advantage each provides, in my mind anyhow ; )

susansilver
susansilver

 @Soulati | B2B Social Media Marketing a) I was actually a  weekly featured writer for about a year. But that title doesn't really exist now that they have so many auhors that are writing for the website.

 

b) I write for them a lot and send posts in early. What was published this week was probably written a month ago.  I have slowed down on this front, but I do my best to make sure I submit something to them every two weeks.