Robbie Williams is an SEO Consultant at Slingshot, and wrote this guest post in exchange for a guest post I wrote for their website.
What grabs a social media guru’s attention faster than mentioning the term “social media guru?”
The answer: Providing data-driven ROI statistics for their industry and, better yet, doing it in conjunction with SEO.
Worked, didn’t it?
Now that I have your attention, I want you to dabble in my thoughts for a moment.
I’ve often pondered how a social media practitioner would address the topic of “Search and Social” as they are the two dominating powers on the Internet. Now I know. They turn to the SEO professionals to address it.
As we all know, the Google algo is one of mankind’s best kept secrets. So I’m not going to come out and tell you that I know anything in my industry to be a 100% fact — aside from what Google tells us directly (which often keeps me up at night). However, I can back up my opinions and observations with the experience of day-in, day-out SEO practice, where dealing with rankings for an array of keywords is my entire world.
Within this digital domain, I’ve had first-hand experience with the algorithm and how it responds to certain human signals; e.g., social signals. However, (drumroll please….) social signals alone have yet to produce an identifiable, data-proven effect on rankings in the majority of SERPs. So yes, given the access to the data streams of Twitter and Facebook, there has been a trace amount of evidence where social media has had a noticeable effect on rankings in certain keyword search queries.
Now, back to proving ROI for social media with search. We all know how powerful social media has become and it’s not unreasonable to think that Google doesn’t realize it too. As a matter of fact, it has attempted to gain access to the Twitter and Facebook “fire hoses” (the full feed of information behind their massive firewalls) but to no avail … yet. As soon as this happens, you better believe that social media is going to have a significant effect on rankings, and it’s only a matter of time.
***Disclaimer: As an SEO professional, I am required to mention the discussion Correlation vs. Causation when discussing this topic. So here it goes: a page/brand/keyword will typically have social cues surrounding it because it’s a good page/brand/keyword and it will rank accordingly because of this. The reverse is not true, a page/brand/keyword will not rank only because it has social. In the world of SEO, it’s never that simple.***
Imagine a graph illustrating the respective positions of traffic-driving, conversion-producing keywords in individual SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). Now overlay it with another graph of social media activity that’s been strategically produced around the same SEO keywords.
What do you see? Positive correlation (not necessarily causation). Additionally, imagine a Google Analytics graph showing increased conversion, increased on-page time and click-through rates, as well as a decrease in user bounce rates for those same keywords and their associated pages, overlaid on top. (I’m drooling at the thought of this, I don’t know about you…)
Boom. professional search engine optimization company. Aside from work, he loves being outside; running, mountain biking, adventure racing, etc. Robbie’s current motto: If you keep life full, you never have time to worry about tomorrow.