Monday, June 16, 2014

Search Engine Ranking - The Power of Social and Search

Search Engine Ranking: The power of social and search
Combining social and search is a powerful combination. 

The days of static websites dictating Search Engine Results Page (SERP) ranking is over. You might even think that setting up a Pinterest or Facebook Page gets you in the game, but it doesn’t. Activity plays a huge role in the business of discoverability. 

Even Google’s Chairman, Eric Schmidt recently admitted in a Bloomberg TV interview discussed in PC Magazine, that they missed the boat on social media. In the interview he said, “At Google, the biggest mistake that I made was not anticipating the rise of a social networking phenomenon … Not a mistake we’re going to make again.”  

So, what does all this mean? If the biggest and most powerful search engine realizes they blew it, you can sure bet that they are taking steps to rectify the situation. As a marketing author or publisher, it’s up to you to make sure you are on the right side of that curve. It’s time to make the commitment to be a part of this process and not wait for everyone else to do it first. 

Google is passionate about search. They want to bring you better results, give you a better experience through its platforms. Here’s a real time example. Back in 2012, the top six correlation factors in Google Search were: 

  •       Facebook Shares 
  •       Number of Backlinks
  •     Facebook Total
  •    Facebook Comments
  •    Facebook Likes
  •    Tweets
Now look at the same stats for 2013:

  • Google+
  • Facebook Shares
  • Number of Backlinks
  • Facebook Total
  • Facebook Comments
  • Facebook Likes
  • Pinterest
  • Tweets
Wow, social media has taken over as some of the primary factors of search and relevance. Just a couple of years ago it was all about meta data, tags and keywords in your content. Now it’s about social, while Google uses its data the most, Facebook is no slouch either. While we’ve talked about Google+  in the past, let’s not forget the importance of your overall social media strategy. Just keep in mind what Eric Schmidt said earlier. They won’t make the same mistake again. Google+ was a non-factor two years ago and now it is the primary rank factor correlation coefficient. Imagine how things are going to shift in 2014. 

What does it mean for us? Put simply, frequently shared content correlates with good ranking. Having said that, quality matters—number of internal links, word count, external links—all contribute to the “Robots” identifying quality content. 

As important as social is, backlinks remain very influential. You can find a previous post on link building here. Sitting in the top three factors, the quality and number of backlinks to your blog or website is critical for SEO metrics.                

As you can see, it’s not all about Google+. Facebook is still a legitimate player when it comes to search and discoverability. However, the word on the street is that Facebook is hemorrhaging users. Perhaps in an effort to stem the grumbling about Facebook and its ineffectiveness as a platform, Facebook recently announced that they are cleaning up Spam in the News Feed. 

Facebook is making changes to a few “techniques” identified as “Spammy.” Like-baiting, asking readers to like or share, is one of the main areas under attack. Facebook states they will be making improvements to detect and prevent these types of stories from appearing in the News Feed. 

We’ve seen a lot of FB users sending the same post or announcement over and over recently. Facebook will crack down on this as well. It won’t end the practice, but it might prevent you from seeing so much of it. 

The third thing that FB is cracking down on is bogus links. You know the type, users click on a link expecting one thing (cute puppies) and get something entirely different (buy my book.)

In summary, we are at the infancy of social and search. Google will continue to tweak and implant itself as the ultimate player in the online world. The other platforms will have to change how they do things to stay relevant. Let’s hope that it’s a win-win for everyone. In the end, quality, shareable content is still King!


  1. Great article, Jim. I surely hope FB cleans up its act. I find myself spending less and less time there and feel pretty darn good about it :-) Interesting how G+ leaped to the front of the line once they realized their mistake.

    1. I've been doing the same. Sure, I'm still there, but my time is less and less. Thanks for commenting!

  2. Thanks Jim - this is important to know in order to stay current and relevant, if that's even possible, ha ha

    1. Thanks, Elisabeth. It's pretty tough to stay current and relevant as they are changing the rules all the time. Thanks for your thoughts.