Everybody wants their web page to be at the top of Google's search engine rankings. It’s an endless struggle to find the right balance of content and keywords that still make the page reader friendly and relatable. But there are some ways to help boost your search engine optimization (SEO) and move you up on Google’s short list.
Obviously, content is key when it comes to making a web page. And until recently, much about content management centered on cramming as many keywords into the text as possible. But the popularity of social media has caused even Google to rethink its approach crawling the web. Algorithms have been modified to factor in spikes in social media presence as an indicator of credibility in addition to popularity.
However, Matt Cutts of Google has noted that Google will not allow social actions to be a direct factor in web crawling results. He states that social signals are more likely to be correlation rather than causation of rankings. In other words, spikes in social activity probably indicate that something good is already going on with a company that people want to find out about.
He points out that Google has indeed tried to incorporate social media trends into its data, but that it becomes too unreliable risky with how easily the content can change depending on who is connected to whom and what statuses may suddenly change on the day after Google would get its results. There have even been times when Google was blocked from crawling certain content, which is another factor that Google considers when deciding which sources to index.
Even so, there is no denying that social media can and will influence a page’s SEO ranking at least over time. A particular influence on that can be which social media device is active. Twitter, for example, can get the word out quickly. And Google will take into account how many retweets a post gets, how many unique individuals did the retweeting, and the time frame between the original post and the retweets.
The faster a post gets indexed by Google, the faster and higher it will show up in a search list. Linkbacks are also part of this game. As posts are shared and reshared, they are also likely to get a direct link back from the shared post to the original web page, thus inviting bringing more traffic to the site.
Google also favors its own Google+, which is for obvious reasons. However, every little bit of activity on a Google+ account brings attention. Spending even a few minutes a day updating content or sharing a review may be enough to keep attention on you.
Also, you may be connected to another individual who places a +1 or reviews a business or topic in your search profile, and that will boost you as well because of your connection there.
Branding and individual profile identities are becoming more significant for Google indexing, and there are plans over the next 10 years for this to be one of the top ranking factors. The more expert or known a person is on a topic, the higher their ranking will be. At some point, as Cutts says, it may be very difficult but also necessary for an article to be posted anonymously. Perhaps better approach then solely SEO is web presence optimization.
Social media is here to stay, and there is no way around it. Any successful website is going to have to embrace it and utilize it. And rather than be directed by social media trends, it is more effective to set the trends that will affect SEO and social media and direct it back to you.