In the early days of search engines, going through the first page of search results doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be getting the actual information you need. You need to dig through pages and pages of websites that are totally irrelevant to what you need. Things have change since then, and you’ll rarely go beyond the second page of search results before you find what you are looking for.
The integration of social media signals to search algorithms is changing how search engines are performing. Studies show at least 58% of consumers go to search engines to search for something online, while 40% would then seek further decision-making help through their friends or colleagues at social media. All-in-all, about 48% of consumers are using some forms of combining social media with search to help them in their purchasing decisions.
The infographic (click to zoom):
These, and other reasons presented in the next sections, tell how practical it is for business owners and digital marketers to combine search and social. It is only logical to combine proven strategies of Search Engine Optimization with the enhanced and continuously evolving marketing strengths of social media.
1. Because Social Signals Can Have an Impact to Your Search Ranking
Major search engines like Google and Bing are actively moving towards making search more social. Changes in algorithms made social signals very influential factors that determine who gets to be on top of search rankings. It would be like giving due credit to sites who garnered the most votes – in terms of social proof and engagement. Search engines like Google may reward websites that are relevant and provide valuable insights and information to search users, and they can do so by measuring social signals as proven by the 2 studies of Quicksprout and Search Metrics.
2. Because Social Search is All about Relevance and Authenticity
The key to success in Digital Marketing is to connect with your targeted audiences at a deeper and more personal level where trust in your brand, products and services are developed. What better way to develop this level of trust and interaction than social media. Social search goes beyond the mere limitations of keywords and links that is basically the central focus of traditional SEO. It takes into account the relevance, authenticity and value of a particular site and its content and match this with targeted audiences – real human beings – who will actually read, and in the process generate appropriate social signals that will boost your search rankings.
3. Because Social Media Has Already Integrated Search
Social networks have incorporated search elements into their systems. Social networks like YouTube, the 2nd most popular search engine, provide business owners and digital marketers with the opportunity to fully optimize their content in these social pages for search. Product reviews, infomercials and instructional videos can boost your branding on video sharing sites like YouTube and Vimeo by making use of SEO-powered content for your titles, categories, and video descriptions.
4. Because Combined Search and Social Delivers Twice the Results
Combining the power of social media with search engine optimization will naturally deliver twice the results as logic would dictate. But this is not only based on assumptions as studies actually show that companies using a combined search and social approach in marketing gets twice the results in terms of conversion rates and revenues per click. What this tell business owners is that combining the marketing strengths of search engine optimization and social media marketing will deliver better and more profitable results that focusing on each channel alone or separately.
5. Because Combined Search and Social Delivers More Exposure for Your Brand
There are 1.28 billion monthly active users in Facebook, 540 million monthly active users in Google+, 255 million monthly active users in Twitter, 200 million monthly active users in Instagram, 187 million monthly active users in LinkedIn, 40 million monthly active users in Pinterest, and over 1 billion users at YouTube. These figures clearly show the immense opportunity for exposure for your brand through social networks. With Google and other major search engines going for social search and giving more importance to social signals, you can combine the inherent powers and reach of social media with search engine optimization to rank high in organic search results. The more exposure you get, the more people can get to trust your brand – resulting in even more targeted traffic and more importantly, conversions.
6. Because Combined Search and Social Lets You Target Specific Demographic Groups
One of the strengths in social media is that you can easily distinguish certain groups from a particular category or demographic and target them for marketing. Take Facebook for example – 72% of online adults visit this social network at least once every month. Facebook however caters to a wide and divers mix of demographics, although you can specifically connect with people from a specific demographic as well as similarities in interests and other categories by joining specific pages or groups within the network.
If you are targeting specific groups according to a specific profile like age or sex, you can connect with them through other social networks. Pinterest for example is basically driven by images, but studies show that it is an ideal platform for female-centric product marketing. If you are targeting other business owners and professionals, LinkedIn would be the most appropriate platform to market on. Focusing and optimizing your website and content to these specific social demographics can get you strategic placements in search results in these areas.
7. Because Combined Search and Social Connects You with Mobile Search Users
The rise of smartphones and other mobile devices is creating a signification impact on the social media landscape. 78% of Twitter’s active users and 41% of LinkedIn visits are on Mobile. There is an average of 44K daily mobile job applications made in LinkedIn. There is an average of 1 billion mobile video views on YouTube each day, taking up 40% of this site’s daily traffic. The number of mobile social networking users continue to grow, with consumers accessing the Internet on multiple mobile devices with different types of screens. It is but logical that digital marketers go for a combined search and social approach while taking mobile internet into full consideration.
8. Because Combined Search and Social Delivers Better Promotion of Your Content
With search engines crawling social pages and taking into account all the engagements and social signals going on in these pages, it present a better opportunity for you to promote your content outside of your main website. But not just any other types of content. It should be high quality content that targeted audiences will actually read and get excited about. Don’t just post something because you think it’s cute. Add more meaning to your content and put more of your energy towards this content – and you’ll be rewarded with social signals that will boost the promotion and popularity of your brand.
9. Because Combined Search and Social Establishes Your Identity and Ownership
Content identity and authorship are very important factors for ranking in social search. Digital marketers should strive to have their content marked and verified for authorship. You can learn how to do this through Google’s own authorship page but the key thing here is to already plan your content creation with these in mind.
10. Because Combined Search and Social Delivers Great Customer Service
77% of respondents from a Nielsen study and 81% of respondents from a Market Force study follow the lead of friends they trust and have relationships with at social media. This is logical since people are basically social creatures, whether online or off. This presents a good opportunity for using social search to deliver great customer service for your targeted audiences, most especially if 48% are already using both search and social in their buying decision process. Great customer services is in fact social and this will definitely impact your bottom line.
Search algorithms are still programs that require values and metrics to use as basis for ranking and this still holds true in the new world of the semantic web and social search. With the human element and engagement factors in social media, it is but logical to rank a particular site based on how popular it is among online users – measured by the quality and quantity of social signals it generated.
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