What is black and white and read all over? No, it’s not a newspaper. I’m referring to Google’s latest updates. That’s right the panda and penguin updates. As you may have noticed, these updates have created quite a stir with many webmasters and site owners. Articles are plastered all over the internet stating how these updates caused their sites to drop in search rankings, how to survive the updates, how to prevent your site from tanking in future updates, etc.
Time and time again I read how important it is after these updates to have high quality unique content on your website, and sites with duplicate recycled content are getting penalized in the search rankings. I couldn’t agree more but the question is: How can Google tell the difference between high quality content and low quality content. Sure, the high quality content will usually have more backlinks pointed to it but even that can be altered simply by purchasing backlinks or using spam bots to spam blog comments.
If you think about it, what do you do immediately after reading a blog post or article that really impressed you? If you are like me you would click the Facebook “Like” button or share with your Facebook and Twitter followers. That’s right, Google is using our social likes and shares as a method to determine high quality content. And why shouldn’t they? Google is all about delivering search accuracy and what a better way to do that than let the public determine the quality level of the content in question.
Because of this it is now more important than ever before to have a strong online social presence. Gone are the days where only on-page optimization, article marketing and commenting on other blogs and forums will get you a high Google ranking. Are these methods still important? Absolutely; but they should no longer be your only focus.
Seonitro.com recently published an article outlining case studies of search rankings after the latest Google updates. These particular case studies showed how several sites dropped from a high rank to a virtually unranked position for their keywords. These sites had a decent number backlinks but can you guess what was missing? You got it, a good social presence. In other words they each had very few Facebook likes and the number of times the sites were shared on Facebook, Twitter and Google + was minimal to say the least.
Searchmetrics.com also recently completed a study to determine which factors contribute the greatest for high search engine rankings post Panda and Penguin updates. Their results are interesting to say the least.
As you can see from their graph, 5 of the top 6 ranking factors have to do with social media and 4 out of those 5 are Facebook related.
So what exactly does all of this mean for you?
- Make sure there are easy ways for people to share your content. This can easily be done by installing social media plugins like Sociable, Sharebar or Shareaholic to your WordPress blog.
- Write high quality original content that people will want to read. If people like your content, then they will be compelled to share it to their social networks.
- Aim to generate a lot of comments both on your blog and on Facebook. The best way to do this is to write about something controversial with a call to action urging people to leave a comment. Just be careful not to offend anyone.
- Take time to respond to comments and questions on your social media sites. You want to make sure you present yourself as an authority and gain the respect of your followers. People don’t like to be left hanging.
- Work to constantly update your Facebook and Twitter statuses with fresh new content several times a day. This can really chew up the clock so you may want to consider hiring a virtual assistant or use software such as Hootsuite or SocialOomph to automate this task.
So as you can see, having a strong social presence online is more important than ever. If you have been neglecting your social media followers and not updating your status on a regular basis then you may be unknowingly hurting your search rankings as well.
I would love to hear your thoughts about this matter so please leave a comment if you have something to contribute.