How to Use Social Media to Boost SEO

In his Entrepreneur post “Good Social Media Boosts SEO,” Larry Alton admits that we do not know how social media affects SEO because we don’t know how much emphasis Google places on social interactions and signals. Alton writes,

“Here’s what we do know: Google pays attention to social interactions such as likes, retweets, shares, and even +1’s.”


I like his analogy that Google is an “independent filing system” for a continually ” expanding library of virtual content” online. He argues that Twitter gets our content indexed more quickly and social search measures performance.

More importantly, all social networks are indirect link-building mechanisms. The more your content is shared across social media, the more likely a content creator will find it and decide to link to it.

Targeting the Right Audience

Just getting content shared is not enough; the point is to get content to your target audience. Targeting the right audience is just as important in social media as it is in SEO. Start with this tip from Capital Merchant’s “Tips to Improve Your Social Media”:

The most important thing is to define your audience. Think of your ideal customers and write down any and all information you can think of about them. Be specific with regard to gender, race, age, and profession. The more info you can think of, the better. Now expand it a bit — you want to have three to four different target audiences that will get your messaging at different times, letting you cast a wider net and still be able to figure out what messaging resonates with what customer.


Nothing is more important than reaching potential customers and clients, rather than wasting marketing money on people who aren’t interested in what you have to offer. It is not just a matter of getting impressions. The point is to get interactions: favorites, retweets, reshares, likes, +1s, stumbles, and especially clicks.

Those interactions are likely to also be important to SEO value. Mentions on social media improve brand recognition, increasing clicks during searches. The tighter your focus on the correct audience, the stronger your results will be.

SEO Specific Social Media Strategies

In his Forbes post “6 Social Media Practices That Boost SEO,” Jayson DeMers argues there are six social media strategies that definitely improve SEO. His first strategy relates to growing the number and quality of your followers.

Our social media profiles have their own trust flow and page authority, which is affected by the quality of sites linking to them. This is easily seen by comparing Twitter accounts for writers who contribute on major sites to non-writers.

Look at @Kikolani, @GrowMap or @SEOsmarty and compare them to the average Twitter account. This holds true on all social networks. They are authority sites, and although the links are typically nofollowed, they are still considered valuable as indicators of trust.

According to “How Valuable Is That Link?,” a post gleaned from a forum discussion with SEOchat member PhilipSEO:

“Some observers think that a nofollow link from a trusted site still passes along some kind of SEO value, even if it doesn’t pass any link juice. Phil states that ‘Many have reported and speculated, for example, that nofollow links from Wikipedia and similar high-trust sites can provide a great boost to rankings in spite of nofollow.’”


It seems safe to assume that social media accounts can develop higher trust rankings dependent upon where the links originate. This could include which other authority sites mention them or reshare their content. If those links are dofollow, the Page Authority (PA) of those social media profiles will be higher.

How to Use Social Media to Boost SEO

Does it then follow that shares from higher trust and PA social media accounts are more valuable for SEO purposes than shares from ordinary accounts? I would say, yes. It is possible to use social media to boost SEO.

SEOGenius Director Bruce Smeaton drills down even further:

“I think the key is in understanding what ‘more valuable for SEO purposes’ really means.” It stands to reason that a highly trusted social channel is, by default, going to generate more shares than a social media property with lower authority. And by doing so, the likelihood of these shares turning into links increases accordingly. This in turn results in higher traffic volumes being directed to your site… and this is where the magic starts. No, it doesn’t matter whether the links are “follow” or “nofollow.” What really counts here is that the traffic generated indirectly via social media interaction must impact positively on your site’s perceived value and authority. To quote the words of Search Engine Journal’s Dario Zadro, “What is more likely happening is that Google is recognizing these social signals as ‘brand signals,’ which they love.”


If higher trust and PA matter, it is highly likely that relevance does as well. There are tools like Klout and Kred that measure influence. Kred is of particular interest because it measures influence by topic.

No doubt Google algorithms can measure what is most relevant to any particular social media account. By identifying which social media users are most influential on any particular topic, they are also most likely to be valuable for SEO purposes.

SEOs need to be thinking about how identifying and using influencers will impact their SEO rankings. Those who do not will be wondering why competitors are outranking them without having any idea why.

7 Cool New Social Media Networks, Apps & Tools to Check Out in 2016

The New Year is fast approaching and it’s the best time to try something new. I know the feeling: You are likely to have found your comfortable spot right now… You have platforms you enjoy, tools you find useful and apps you chose to download to your phone.

However social media world is changing fast: You are either keeping up or quickly become irrelevant. Here’s the inspiration for you: new social media tools to check out in 2016.

New Social Media Platforms

Blab

This is a social media network for video chatters. If you tried Periscope and joined at least one Google Hangout on Air, let me put it simply for you: Blab is right in the middle between the two.

Blab

Join and set up group video interview, meet new people and connect to influencer sin real time!

Yik Yak

You have probably seen screenshots of Yik Yak all over the web lately. It is a platform that is all about local sharing on a social wave. You download the app, narrow your location via GPS, and communicate with anonymous people in your area.

It is still growing, so some cities are pretty dead. But larger urban areas have exploded in activity, and you can find plenty of conversations, or start your own.

Ello

Are you a creator who wants to connect, be inspired by, and be an inspiration to other creators? Then Ello is for you. Upload your content, edit it, share it. Then go and look at what others are creating.

This is a great social network that will give you one on one interaction with others that share your passion. So download the app and say ‘Ello!’

Now, if you have problem getting used to new social media networks, First Site Guide has an excellent write-up called "How I Learned to Love Twitter!" that tells a story many of us are so well aware of: How we first join a social media community and feel helpless and lost and how to ultimately overcome that!

Social Media Dashboards

Cyfe

Cyfe is your only way to make sense of the buzzing social media world: Archive social media streams and search results, monitor social media statistics and set up reputation management dashboards. Cyfe has something for everything.

Cyfe social media dashboard

Plus, Cyfe supports an insane amount of social media networks you can track: Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Facebook for Business, Google Plus, Youtube, Vine, you name it!

Social Media Mobile Apps

Social apps aren’t all about Facebook and Twitter anymore, or chatting applications. Whole networks have been created that you may have never heard of, with specialized services you will love. These are some excellent newer ones that have gained a ton of traction this year, and are continuing to grow. You gotta check them out!

Kleek

Facebook’s friend feed and its algorithm are an annoyance for most users at this point. Kleek integrates with the social network to give you more control. It works by connecting to your account and letting you create your “cliques”.

Only the people you want will show on your mobile feed. It will also alert you to special events, such as birthdays or invites from those people. Super simple, but helpful. Think of it as making Facebook yours, without having to create secret groups and flick between feeds.

Storehouse

This is a really simple, basic app that will change how you view, collect, curate and share media forever. Take your chosen photos and videos and create a story that you can tell to anyone you choose.

Everyone knows that a lot of social interaction online these days is visual storytelling. This takes it to the next level, all from one small and easy to use application.

shots :)

Yes, that is the real name of the app, smiley face and all. The concept is just as silly: this is an app that not only allows you to take selfies, it demands it.

You take the shot, you edit the shot, you share the shot. It is the best way for you and your friends to indulge in some harmless, fun vanity. Take photos or videos. Upload with descriptions and send to anyone you like.

You probably don’t need even more time wasting apps to catch your attention. But admit it, at least a few of the social media startups on this list have you curious. It’s OK, we won’t tell anyone if you want to go and take a peek. We are just as addicted ourselves.

Do you have a social media app that you think belongs on this list? Let us know in the comments!

So What’s the Future of Google Plus?

Since day one Google Plus has been under heavy attacks: Many people were fast to predict it to be dead… And who would blame them: Google is notorious for closing up awesome projects and many things (Google dropping Authorship, Vic Gundotra leaving, lots of instances of Google Plus employees calling the project a failure, etc…) seemed to be proving Google Plus is there for not too long…

But is it really a failure? Is it really ever going away?

With that question I reached out to the actual Google Plus users… Let’s see what they have to say!

What’s your prediction: What will eventually happen to Google Plus and WHEN will it happen (months? a year? 10 years?)

Jon Wade (Blogger)

How often do you use Google Plus? I use it daily. I will miss it if it goes away because Google is the most professional social platform in the tech / Internet. Discussions are far more civilized and mature than elsewhere. But, I don’t think it will go away in a hurry!

What do you think is the future of Google Plus

I assume that Google plan to demerge some of their core areas to improve usability and engagement. Few people liked the integration of Youtube and G+ and while many photographers used G+, Picasaweb provided a better platform in many ways. 

Google will keep Google+, but maybe it will be more geared to networking, hangouts, chat and news sharing. I cannot see it ever going away because Google use it for so many core services now.

Steve “berto” Bertolacci (The Beard of SEO)

How often do you use Google Plus? Yes, I use G+ for both personal and work related things. And yes, I would miss it if it weren’t there. G+ fits a niche that doesn’t exist on most other social sites.

What do you think is the future of Google Plus?

My prediction is that G+ will go through another re-branding, but will by and large remain the same. Streams are the new Circles — #amazeballs. One of the needs that G+ fit was the ability to segment a social site based off your own personal interests as you define.

So rather than have every connection all jumbled together, you can watch and interact with each Stream individually or as a whole. This need has not really been done better in any  other social site, so there’s still a need to keep supporting it.

So in terms of re-branding, I’m betting it will happen this summer if not sooner.

The real question is what will happen to Twitter.

Cormac Reynolds

How often do you use Google Plus? I’m a semi-active Google+ user. It’s was a fine platform in a lot of ways but just lacked the x-factor – an identity. It was a sum of a number of other social media site’s parts. When I think of social media sites this is what I associate:

  • Facebook – the big one I use everyday
  • Twitter – the short, trending one for news and up to the second opinions
  • Instagram – the retro, cool picture one
  • Pinterest – the one with lots of wedding dresses and soft furnishings
  • Google+ – the one that’s a bit of all of these that Google (or the SEO communities paranoia) made SEOs obliged to use

I think it speaks volumes why it never took off. Then again the last social network I truly loved was Bebo.

So, in a few words, no I don’t really care!

What do you think is the future of Google Plus?

I’d say about a year we’ll see a further fragmentation and then a disintegration in the most part. Google may split its stronger/ useful parts into new services or use them in different ways. I did a MBU interview on Google Authorship and its future – general consensus was it’s probably dead too. It was a big part of G+ for a lot of us in this industry I’d imagine. All change so!

Erik Emanuelli (No Passive Income)

How often do you use Google Plus? I’m not a Google+ addicted, as I post updates in my profile just once every week.

Surely I will not miss it if it’s going to be removed.

My favorite social media channel for marketing still remains Twitter.

What do you think is the future of Google Plus?

When Google Authorship was killed, I found it an injustice to users. After all, it is known that Big G has reached an extreme power and their commercial purpose is known to many.

Regarding the Google + social platform, I don’t think is going to close, but surely there will be some major improvements.

Whether will be the future of Google+, a lesson learned is not putting all your digital marketing eggs in one basket.

Relying “just” on Google (its services or traffic) is a bad move, we should become “independent” and  include “all things about Google” only as a part of our whole business strategy.

Jason Quey (Gamification Marketer)

How often do you use Google Plus? I currently use G+ about once a week, but I see a lot of potential value in it. The two biggest upsides to it is segmenting your users and creating/joining a community that can also let the users know about what’s happening in their inbox.

There’s also some value in having your search results pop up with your name and picture to those you’ve connected with too.

What do you think is the future of Google Plus?

Personally, I don’t see Google+ really going away. Although Google has been detaching itself from the project, there is a large enough user base that someone will finally find the right use for it.

I’ve noticed a lot of teens have started to gravitate toward using G+ over Facebook, perhaps because they enjoy the exclusivity away from their parents prying eyes, but without the debauchery of SnapChat.

Todd Mumford (Founder & CEO of Riverbed Marketing)

How often do you use Google Plus? I see Google+ more as a necessary place that you should have a presence on, so long as it’s live. It’s Google’s owned social entity and this fact should not be ignored. Despite the lack of participants it could still be a disadvantage to not be there. I’ll make sure we have a presence there so long as it’s available, but I would not miss it if it was canned tomorrow.

What do you think is the future of Google Plus?

Google + never received the kind of traction, nor attracted the audience it was intended to capture. This was mostly because it wasn’t innovative or disruptive enough and other social media networks like Facebook have a deep and meaningful market share. My feeling is that Google + will be a distant memory, probably by 2016.

Social communities are building at the experience level now, independent of specific networks. Facebook is likely the last to market for large scale social startups. The new trend is social experiences, on the toes of the “Internet of Things”. Social networks will ultimately be a thing of the past as “social networks” are absorbed into “social experiences” and baked into the product, service and living level.

David Leonhardt (President, THGM Writers)

How often do you use Google Plus? I love Google Plus and I use it more than any other social network.  I have over 40,000 followers, and I have put a lot of effort into building those connections.  I would miss it terribly if it was closed down.

What do you think is the future of Google Plus?

I am not totally sure what the implications of splitting the social network from the photo galleries could be. Perhaps Google wants to do something more with the photo galleries. Google Plus is much bigger than predecessors like Google Buzz, so I am wagering that they won’t close it down.  With Communities, Circles and Hangouts, it is also a richer experience that FaceBook and LinkedIn don’t match.  My money (and time and effort) is on Google Plus remaining for the long haul.

Brian Lang (Small Business Ideas Blog)

How often do you use Google Plus? I’d say I’m a semi-active G+ user. I would miss it if it went away as it does provide another platform to connect with others. 

What do you think is the future of Google Plus?

I don’t think Google will completely kill of Google Plus. This isn’t the first time Google’s tried to create a social network, so it clearly sees value in that. And they already have a sizable group of active Google Plus users.

Instead, I think Google will morph it into something else that aligns with its own goals. I would guess that they would make changes so that they can incorporate ads easier. But more importantly, they will also make changes to try to attract new users. 

It’s hard to say when these changes will occur, but considering the recent announcement from Bradley Horowitz, I think something will happen sooner rather than later. 

Don Sturgill (Writer, Dreamer, Believer)

How often do you use Google Plus?

I had big hopes for Google+… I bought into the hype about it being the hub of Google, the importance of authorship, how any writer not on G+ was headed towards obscurity. 

We now know it was all hogwash.

It’s just like the “Don’t be evil” motto. At one time, it was believable. Before long, it became obvious Google is committed to no one but Google.

Another dream burst.

What do you think is the future of Google Plus?

The future of G+? It will continue to mean less and less. Devotees will move elsewhere. And — if Google keeps showing its monster face — the whole deck of cards will tumble behind it.

This year… Google+ becomes the home of Google fanboys and girls. Everyone else moves to Ann Smarty’s new social media platform: Don’t be evil (really) :)

Here’s the rock and hard place: Entreprenuers start off with visions of saving the world. Successful startups end up being either sold off to the highest bidder or taken over by corporate cogs.

All you have left is the once-trusted brand name. But the core becomes rotten. Such is life…

Peter Lunn (Digital Marketer, Cracking Media UK)

How often do you use Google Plus? Yes, I am and have been so for the last 18 months. For me Google+ is the closest social networking experience to offline face-to-face networking. There is a depth and breadth to relationships and engagement that I have not seen before on any other social networking platform

What do you think is the future of Google Plus?

Despite the continual flow of incorrect and misplaced assumptions by the press on the demise of Google+, I do think Google need to work harder at marketing Google+ and working with the many committed and active users to make it work better for a broader audience.

An example is that they re-branded Google Places nearly a year ago to bring Google+ more front and center into Google My Business. But nearly a year on, adoption by business is slow, because most businesses don’t know about it! There’s an initiative for Google My Business in the USA called GYBO, but nowhere else. So in the vacuum of information, the press fills the void with Google+ is dying/dead articles – and people believe them because they don’t know any better.

I don’t think we will see decoupling of the products in the way it’s been suggested, but Google will need to do a better job of bringing businesses and people into the “Google+ experience” through marketing the different Google+ products better. When will this be? Of course I don’t know, but I think unless they do so in the next 12-18 months then it may be that Google+ as we know could well be unrecoverable.

Greg Coopers (Helping small and medium sized businesses use LinkedIn to grow)

How often do you use Google Plus? I am an active G+ user. I have used G+ to build a strong international network and build my personal brand. I don’t believe that G+ will go away it is part of the fabric of what Google do linking together all the key properties. It may however be re-branded and the Google+ name could disappear.

What do you think is the future of Google Plus?

It would make no sense for Google to “desocialise” it’s properties so although Google+ will like other platforms evolve I think it is here to stay in one form or another. In my experience in the UK there is an upsurge of interest in Google+ from the business community who appreciate both the search and local marketing benefits.

Ivan Widjaya

How often do you use Google Plus? I’m basically using G+ for broadcasting my blogs’ recent updates.  So I don’t think I will miss it.  I was one of the first movers and gained some following – easily, so…

There are some benefits of getting into G+, but it’s not as significant as before. IMHO, I think Google made a mistake by adding G+ as a perk for SERPs.  There are marketers who joined G+ for the wrong reason (read: for SEO) The perk has been pulled out, and what’s left now is plenty dead, fake accounts. Not good.

What do you think is the future of Google Plus?

I am a follower of Gary Vaynerchuk.  He’s a social media all-around guy, and when he talks about social media, I listen. Carefully.

He said that by 2020, there are two major social media sites that will be shutdown: Google+ and Tumblr (I’ve written about this on one of my posts)

GV says that the main reason for the extinction is that both are owned by big corporations, and big corp politics don’t suit social media platforms.  So, in my opinion, Google Plus will disappear – just like any other social media platforms before it: Mixx, BusinessWeek’s BX, Chime.in, and so on.

To note why I trust GV: He said it on late 2014, and it’s happening right now. So… I think I will have to agree with GV: Google+ will be gone in 5 years time.

Denisa-Alexandra Cinca (MyBloggingThing)

How often do you use Google Plus? Yes I am an active Google+ user, usually I share my blog posts on my Google+ profile and in a few communities. If it goes away, yes I think I will definitively miss it.

What do you think is the future of Google Plus?

I don’t think that Google Plus will ever go away, it’s just my opinion as I don’t see it happening in the near future. I think Google+ will continue to evolve in the future but I’m not sure how things will be in the next years, will just have to wait and see.

Jan Kearney (Local Search Consultant)

How often do you use Google Plus? On a personal level, I’m not the most active G+ user.  Of all the “social” sites it is my favorite and I pop in most days to scan communities and comment.  

On a business level, Google Places is now Google My Business and an integral part of G+.  My days are spent grappling the Google and I’m often logged in clients GMB accounts rather than my own!

Will I miss it if G+ goes away?  Of course I will, but I don’t think G+ is going anywhere any time soon.

What do you think is the future of Google Plus?

I’m in the Google+ is Google camp.  I really don’t think G+ will go away.  

People have said G+ is dying since 2011, I think it’s because they view it purely as a social platform something like Facebook.  That thinking quickly leads to disappointment because people tend not to live their lives out on G+.  Public feeds aren’t as cluttered with passive aggressive updates, checkins and pointless statuses saying how people feel today.  There’s still cats though…

For the average person on the street (like many people I work with) the silence is deafening.  They’ll post a few updates and wander off back to Facebook without exploring the idea of posting to specific circles or joining communities – the more social part of G+

Yet G+ is still working away in the background via the services they use everyday – Gmail, YouTube, Maps, Chrome and more.  Silently collecting data, Google really doesn’t care if you are social or not!

No, I don’t think G+ will go away.  No doubt it will continue to evolve and change.  I would expect a re-brand and relaunch of the social aspect of G+ at some point over the next year or so.

Craig Fifield

How often do you use Google Plus? Google+ is the only platform I enjoy and use with any regularity.. so yeah, I’ll be a little pissy if they shutter it.

What do you think is the future of Google Plus?

The data that Google gains from having their own social layer is something they’ve wanted for many years in order to keep up with Facebook and the other networks.

Google+, although smaller than the other networks, provides that value and it is a well designed platform that people truly enjoy using. G+ may not be the Facebook killer many were predicting, but unless there’s a cost to running it that I don’t see, G+ is here to stay.