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.
The 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.