As more people continue to join social networks and connect with their favourite businesses, social media has become an integral part of the digital marketing plan. Just as a brand’s social profiles are important to customer service and increasing brand awareness, social media also plays an important role in the Search Engine Optimization of a business’s website.

So, how do your social media profiles affect SEO? Let’s break it down for the big four social networks.

Google+

Google+ is one of the newest social networks on the scene and it is also one of the fastest growing. This is due in large part to the profiles being automatically created for all Gmail Accounts. The impact Google+ has on your search rankings is tremendous and it’s no coincidence that this is because it’s a Google product.

Adding your URL to your business page is an automatic backlink from a reputable website. This link is a Follow link, which means that some of the online authority that Google+ has gets passed on to your site. The Followed link is what separates it from Twitter and Facebook that only allow NoFollow Links from their sites. You can learn more about Follow and NoFollow from this blog post.

Another great aspect of Google+ is the use of the Google reviews. These reviews appear on your profile and instantly add credibility to your business in the eyes to both customers and the search robots. Google puts a lot of stock in reviews from third party sites as well as on its own properties. These reviews show up on your Google+ page as well as on your Google Places page, so when customers search for your business they can read what others are saying about your business.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is very different to other social networks due to its onus on being a professional and work based network. The various industry groups and the ability to have a business page give you a way to showcase your USP to others in your industry. How LinkedIn can help with your SEO is through sharing your content with highly targeted groups. The number of groups on any given industry is limitless and this referral traffic is essential to your SEO strategy and building authority in your industry.

Facebook

Out of all the social networks, Facebook has the largest active user base and this provides the opportunity to reach both a large number of both customers and future customers. One independent study found that the total number of likes, people talking about this, and people who have been here, all have an impact on the search results, as these numbers appear in the meta descriptions in the SERP’s. Another reason to grow your Facebook fan-base is when similarly named brands are competing to rank, the highest ratio of those three numbers plus authority will deliver the highest spots.

Another thing to consider is spam. How likely are you to spam your friends with crappy content? Our guess is not very. With Google’s War on Spam, despite all of the links to your website being NoFollow on Facebook, Google still values these links and uses these links for page discovery. What this means is that sharing new content from your site on Facebook will help to increase the speed in which your page is indexed in the search engines. As more people are referred to your site through Facebook posts, the more authority your site will gain, which is a significant SERP ranking factor.

Twitter

The micro-blogging site has steadily increased in popularity since it went live in 2009. Writing in 140 characters has become a common practice for many, but how does Twitter affect your company’s SEO efforts? Unlike Facebook, who limits the organic reach of posts to fans, Twitter still offers the ability to reach all of your followers with a single Tweet. This increases the opportunity for quality traffic to reach your website.

Another aspect to consider when leveraging Twitter for SEO, is the opportunity for backlinks through tweets and retweets. Again, these links are NoFollow, but they add credibility to your brand and increase site traffic. This also gives visitors an easy avenue to explore and share the rest of your content. As your authority grows through your followers, retweets, and favourites, so too does your stock with Search Engines. To put it simply, the more people referred to your site through tweets and retweets, the greater value search engines will place on your brand.

Social Media for SEO

As the line between business and social continues to get blurred, the increased value of peer reviews, the importance of brand image, and the growth of instant customer service, have made social media integral to the success of your business. The influx of users joining these social websites is precisely why social media needs to be integrated into your Search Engine Optimization Strategy.

Want to integrate social media into your SEO strategy and need a hand? We don’t bite. Say hello to Method and Metric.