Search Engine Ranking- The Value of Social and Search

The role of search and socialWe’ve talked a lot about Google+ the past few weeks. So much so, you’re probably wondering if I’m getting a kickback! No, that’s not the case. It’s really simple, actually. Combining social and search is a powerful combination.

The days of static websites dictating Search Engine Results Page (SERP) ranking is over. You might even think that setting up a Pinterest or Facebook Page gets you in the game, but it doesn’t. Activity plays a huge role in the business of discoverability.

Even Google’s Chairman, Eric Schmidt, recently admitted in a Bloomberg TV interview discussed in PC Magazine, that they missed the boat on social media. In the interview he said, “At Google, the biggest mistake that I made was not anticipating the rise of a social networking phenomenon … Not a mistake we’re going to make again.”

So, what does all this mean? If the biggest and most powerful search engine realizes they blew it, you can sure bet that they are taking steps to rectify the situation. As a marketing author or publisher, it’s up to you to make sure you are on the right side of that curve. It’s time to make the commitment to be a part of this process and not wait for everyone else to do it first.

Google is passionate about search. They want to bring you better results, give you a better experience through its platforms. Here’s a real time example. Back in 2012, the top six correlation factors in Google Search were:

  1. Facebook Shares
  2. Number of Backlinks
  3. Facebook Total
  4. Facebook Comments
  5. Facebook Likes
  6. Tweets

Now look at the same stats for 2013:

  1. Google+
  2. Facebook Shares
  3. Number of Backlinks
  4. Facebook Total
  5. Facebook Comments
  6. Facebook Likes
  7. Pinterest
  8. Tweets

    Search and Social
    Reported by SearchMetrics

Wow, social media has taken over as some of the primary factors of search and relevance. Just a couple of years ago it was all about meta data, tags, and keywords in your content. Now it’s about social— while Google uses its data the most, Facebook is no slouch either. While we’ve talked about Google+ the past couple of weeks, let’s not forget the importance of your overall social media strategy. Just keep in mind what Eric Schmidt said earlier. They won’t make the same mistake again. Google+ was a non-factor two years ago and now it is the primary rank factor correlation coefficient. Imagine how things are going to shift in 2014.

What does it mean for us? Put simply, frequently shared content correlates with good ranking. Having said that, quality matters—number of internal links, word count, external links—all contribute to the “Robots” identifying quality content.

As important as social is, backlinks remain very influential. You can find a previous post on link building here. Sitting in the top three factors, the quality and number of backlinks to your blog or website is critical for SEO metrics.

As you can see, it’s not all about Google+. Facebook is still a legitimate player when it comes to search and discoverability. However, the word on the street is that Facebook is hemorrhaging users. Perhaps in an effort to stem the grumbling about Facebook and its ineffectiveness as a platform, Facebook recently announced that they are cleaning up Spam in the News Feed.

Facebook is making changes to a few “techniques” identified as “Spammy.” Like-baiting, asking readers to like or share, is one of the main areas under attack. Facebook states they will be making improvements to detect and prevent these types of stories from appearing in the News Feed.

We’ve seen a lot of FB users sending the same post or announcement over and over recently. Facebook will crack down on this as well. It won’t end the practice, but it might prevent you from seeing so much of it.

The third thing that FB is cracking down on is bogus links. You know the type, users click on a link expecting one thing (cute puppies) and get something entirely different (buy my book.)

In summary, we are at the infancy of social and search. Google will continue to tweak and implant itself as the ultimate player in the online world. The other platforms will have to change how they do things to stay relevant. Let’s hope that it’s a win-win for everyone. In the end, quality, shareable content is still King!

Author: Jim Devitt

Jim Devitt’s debut YA novel, The Card, hit #1 in three separate categories on the Kindle Bestseller list in early January and was a finalist in the Guys Can Read Indie Author Contest this past summer. Devitt currently lives in Miami, FL with his wife Melissa and their children. Learn more about Jim at his blog and his Amazon author page.

11 thoughts on “Search Engine Ranking- The Value of Social and Search”

  1. It’s always interesting to see where the twists and turns of technology use take us–and to guess on where we’re going next. Glad you’re keeping us on top of it all, Jim!

  2. Gee, I can’t imagine why Google would weight G+ traffic higher than Facebook…. 😉 I do think G+ will become a bigger social media player in months to come. I don’t have any data to back that up, though — just a gut feeling that folks are getting fed up with Facebook.

    1. Actually the data is there, gradually, we’re seeing a trend toward G+. However, in the world of the giant social networks, things change quickly. Zuckerberg just invested in a total immersion virtual reality device company so you’ll be able to sit in the same room as your friends on Facebook while ads float by your head.

  3. SEO has been a wild ride for years.
    Thing is though, for fiction writers…. it just doesn’t matter much. You probably aren’t seeing your web page as your primary “send to”… instead of your amazon buy page3 or author page. And novels just don’t drive tags and keywords like non-fiction does. All those stunts you read about, naming books according to keyword analysis and all that, might be a good idea if you have a how to book… but it’s hard to think of keywords that will rank you high for a novel. Try it… what are the keywords for your novel on amazon, for instance. Now can you imagine being in top ranks for “romance” or “civil war” or whatever above all the thousands of other novels with those tags… AND the huge SEO clout of major publishers?
    That’s good news, actually. It means you don’t have to drive yourself nuts over.
    Ask yourself if what you’re doing to get readers involves a lot of “people browsing Google for books to read seeing my title on the first page” and how much involves “if they click on this link, they’ll go to where they can buy my book”?
    More good news is that the one hot SEO trick that’s maintained power through all the shitts and pandas and all that is backlinks. Having a lot of links to your book is the best SEO you can have… good news because placing links doesn’t even rely on SEO. They’re links, they’re for real and that won’t ever change.

    1. Great points, Lin. And you are right about the links, it still remains relevant and powerful.

  4. Not sure if this will help me in the long run, or anyone else for that matter, but I have a lot of search engine traffic to my blog thanks to some of my how-to posts. At least some of that traffic then goes on to see what else I’ve done.

    Non-fiction to fiction is a huge step, and I haven’t seen any great sales as a result, but it seems I am building a brand of sorts, and the product is my /name/. In a year or ten, that brand may kickstart some interest in my fiction. Or it might not. For the moment, though, my how-to posts are the ‘freebies’ bringing people to my blog, and I’m grateful.

    One thing that does concern me is the rise of Google+. I have it, but like Facebook, hardly ever use it. I’m guessing this is a mistake. 🙁

  5. AC, everyone has there own methods and plan for their “business”. What works for one person may be completely out of the comfort zone for others. The beauty of G+ is the simple fact that just by posting to the platform, it helps others find you. If you already got good search traffic to your blog, you’re half way there.

    On the other side of the coin, and we hear this all the time, if we spent more time writing and less time on all these platforms, everything would take care of itself.

    Keep doing what you’re doing and building. It’s a marathon, not a sprint, and you’re doing a great job.

  6. As has been said already, thanks for making this understandable. I did a “Wow” when I finished reading. Great information, now I guess I should participate in Google + as well as Facebook and Twitter.

Comments are closed.