Did you know this blog post you’re reading right now (and thanks, by the way) will help boost our search traffic simply by existing? It’s true. But you know what’ll help us even more? If you click on that little green “retweet” button you see on your right.
Go on. Click it. We’ll wait.
But wait — since when does Twitter impact search rankings?
Search marketing experts will tell you that the quality of your inbound links is one of the most important ways to get picked up by search engines for important keyword phrases. Historically, that meant getting a link from a prominent online publication or blog.
But what does one make of the big shift to social media? People used to create links to interesting content on their blogs. However, as casual blogging wanes, more people are linking, instead, to content from Facebook and Twitter.
This blog post you are reading right now is a great case in point. If it’s like other posts on this blog, it will get a decent amount of traffic from retweets and “likes” on Facebook. But do those Twitter links give the post any “Google juice?” In other words, does Google use links from social media as a signal of value?
Until relatively recently, the answer was no. But recently, Google acknowledged that they do now use inbound links from social media sites as a way to determine the value of a web page. Interestingly, Google is working to figure out that “value” of the person doing the tweeting, much as they currently use the importance of the linking web page to help determine how much weight to give a link.
SEOMoz has an interesting (though inadvertent) case study showing the effect of retweets on search result placement.
So what does this mean for you? If you are in charge of search engine optimization for your website, then quite a lot. It means that tactics are shifting and your social media presence will increasingly matter.
The biggest takeaway is that you can’t put all of your online marketing eggs in a single basket. Yes, keep investing in on-page optimization. Figure out your inbound link strategy. These are extremely important for proper search engine optimization.
But, if you want to excel at SEO, you’re also going to need to start spending more time growing your social media presence.