There continues to be lively debate about the degree to which social media influences search rankings. There is little doubt, however, that Google’s organic search ranking algorithm includes social signals among its 200+ ranking variables. Whether or not links to pages from social networks do improve search rankings, there are other SEO benefits gained by increasing your social footprint. In the case of local SEO, a business benefits by controlling first-page search results for both commercial searches (ex. ‘north vancouver chiropractor’) and branded searches (ex. ‘north shore wellness centre’).
In a competitive environment, achieving even one first-page ranking for a valuable commercial keyword can be costly and time-consuming. In contrast, blanketing the entire first page of search results for a branded keyword is usually much easier. If a prospective client were to search for information on Karpos Media (a branded search), she would come across an entire page of results we control.
Instead of finding irrelevant or spammy links, the searcher is provided with a diverse array of content we’ve created. This allows us to better manage our reputation while making it easier for our current and future clients to contact us or learn more about our company.
How do I get results like these?
Admittedly, it will take some time to register and setup company profiles on each social network. For this reason, it’s especially important to determine which social properties are most useful, relevant and authoritative. Consider which networks your customers are using and how they would prefer to communicate with you. If you already have a Facebook page, ensure that it is properly optimized with a vanity URL that matches your company name.
Don’t forget about that ‘other’ social network
Even if you don’t plan to use Google+ to interact with your customers, it’s still a good idea to first setup a personal account, and then create a business page for your company. If you have a brick and mortar local business, you should claim your Google+ Local listing and make sure to validate it. This will give you a tremendous rankings boost in local search results. You can add information about your location, hours of business, products and services as well as upload photos and videos. Customers can also leave detailed reviews about your business for others to see. For more information on claiming and validating your Google+ Local listing, take a look at this information provided by Google.
If you have any video content, you can create your own channel on YouTube. YouTube video results typically rank higher than other Google search results and have a much higher click-through rate. The added benefit is that your videos will also show up in YouTube search results which are less competitive for business marketing.
In addition to Google, Facebook and YouTube, you can also consider promoting and protecting your brand by snapping up property on Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Foursquare, Instagram and any other social network that has a large user base and strong domain authority. You don’t need to maintain these accounts on a regular basis, but it’s a good idea to login to them, follow people, post and comment every once in a while to keep them active. For profiles that aren’t ranking, you can ramp up your activity to increase the number of links to your social profiles.
To get started, you can use a service like Know ‘em, which allows you to check your brand availability on over 500 social networks simultaneously. If you’d like an easier way to manage your social profiles from a central console, you can use a social media management tool like Hootsuite or Buffer. Monitoring the performance of each profile will help you determine where your resources are best spent.