How Social Media Helps SEO and E-Commerce

Search-engine optimization is constantly changing, and strategies that helped websites gain rankings last year could be no help at all this year. One factor that is consistently gaining importance is social media.

A recent study conducted by Searchmetrics looked at how high-ranking websites utilize ranking factors differently than pages placed further back in the Google search results. Then, it compared how those factors ranked in 2012 to how they rank now.

Social Media Impacts SEO

One key finding of the study was that social media is continuing to grow and have even more of an impact on SEO. Compared to last year, social signals are playing a bigger role in ranking websites. Overall, websites that have a good social media presence tend have a good handle on online marketing and SEO and, therefore, rank higher. However, it’s important to note that just having a social presence doesn’t guarantee higher rankings. Brands need to share quality content that their followers will appreciate and share with their own networks.

There are 3 main ways social media influences a site’s SEO value:

  1. Social Signals – These are ‘likes,’ +1′s, tweets, pins, shares, etc. that people attribute to a page. The more social signals a page gets, the more its overall SEO value increases.
  2. Citations or “Mentions” – These are any references to a business’s name, address, or phone number on external websites, including social networks. Citations make a website appear more credible and legitimate to search engines, which means a greater likelihood of ranking higher.
  3. Backlinks – These are links found on other domains (e.g., a Pinterest profile) that direct back to the website. Creating a presence on social media sites is a natural way to earn backlinks.

So, how can e-commerce sites take advantage of the power of social media?

Social Media and E-commerce

In order to get the most out of e-commerce sites, companies and organizations need to use social media strategies to gain the attention of customers and new visitors. Search Engine Journal recently published an article with some good social media best practices for e-commerce brands. Just to give an idea of where to start, here are 3 of the top social media sites for e-commerce:

  1. Pinterest — E-commerce brands can target their niche audiences on Pinterest by pinning images related to their industry and the products they offer. There are also SEO benefits to be gained from this social network. Pinterest profiles rank well in Google and other search engines in addition to providing many backlinks to your website.
  2. Twitter — Twitter has one of the most widespread populations of users and, for SEO, tweets and re-tweets are some of the most powerful of social signals. When the content you share is well liked by your Twitter audience and their followers, your ranking potential can increase.
  3. Google+ — Although Google+ is a relatively new social platform that many brands have yet to utilize, it offers great potential for SEO. Since it’s Google’s own network, the more popular your brand on Google+, the higher you’re likely to rank.

Social media’s impact on SEO and e-commerce sites has been constantly growing and shows no sign of slowing down. The good news is a social media strategy is relatively easy to implement and provides a huge payoff when done right.

Additional sources:

Study summary and infographic – http://socialmediatoday.com/brianna5mith/1581901/search-ranking-factors-rank-correlation-2013-infographic

http://www.cpcstrategy.com/blog/2013/07/top-3-social-media-sites-for-ecommerce-seo/

http://www.searchenginejournal.com/stand-out-from-tough-competition-through-effective-social-media-ecommerce-strategies/64095/

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Prepare for the August 2014 shopping search transition with Google Shopping and data feed optimization:

Guide: The New Google Shopping

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