Social media engagement can benefit Canadian businesses in a myriad of ways.  We have the highest social media network penetration in the World, with 82% of Canadians using a social network. 55% of online Canadians (19,000,000+) are active on Facebook, 46% have a Twitter account, 45% have a Google+ account, 30% have a LinkedIn account and 26% have a Pinterest account.

I’ve been doing a lot of focused research into the impact of social media on search engine ranking over the past couple of years. The metrics of social media accounts I manage make up one arm of this research, while the rest is made up of case studies and published expert analysis. This has resulted in insight that goes well beyond a simple yes or no answer to the question, “Does social media impact search ranking?”

Matt Cutts recently went on record (in his usual vague form) saying social media doesn’t significantly impact Google search results in a direct way. Most of us had already figured that out. The important take-away from his announcement was between the lines: Don’t try to game the system by purchasing page followers, etc., because it won’t work. That’s always good advice.

There are, however, indirect ways that search engines appear to use social media as an indicator of quality content. If you start with quality content you’re already in any search engine’s good books. When you post that great content on social media and it results in engagement (“Likes”, comments, shares/retweets), it may be identified as that much better. When it comes to Google ranking, that is especially true of Google’s own social media network, Google+, probably because the data is fully available to them.

Mr. Cutts also eluded to social signals becoming even more important as they find ways to work with it, such as reputable authorship. Authorship already carries weight with Google’s quality analysis, to a point that having a reputable writer produce your content may come with a considerable boost. It’s not the author specifically that improves ranking, it’s her reputation for producing top quality content.

While we’re on the topic, let’s squash the rumour that search engines don’t count social media interaction (comments, shares, etc.) from business pages. There is absolutely no evidence that this is the case and in fact, the opposite has been demonstrated. If your Facebook post receives a comment from someone logged in under their business page, for example, it carries every bit as much weight as if someone comments using their personal account. Search engines do not differentiate between the two.

The rumour may have been inspired by Facebook not counting page “Likes” from other business pages. There is also no indication that Facebook gives more weight to personal comments than those from business pages. I love engaging other business pages because when it shows up in their stream, the business I’m working for is exposed to many more people than it would be if it shows up in the stream of a private individual. As a bonus, the business is usually in a related niche so the exposure results in targeted marketing.

Expert Neil Patel recently published an animated infographic revealing the subtle ways social media signals can (and have) impacted search engine ranking. His case studies, observations and conclusions so closely match my own, I’ve included the infographic here.

Infographic Highlights

Search engine ranking may reflect the following factors:

  • The number of “tweets” via Twitter
  • The authority of the person or business doing the “tweeting” (most notably influencers/power users)
  • How many times the post is shared, liked or commented on in Facebook
  • The number of shares and +1’s the post receives on Google+
  • URL’s shared on social media on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday at 9AM, 12PM, 3PM or 6PM EST may enjoy more social engagement
  • Using an image in your social posts could increase engagement by upwards of 200%
  • Asking a question can increase social interaction by 21%
  • Asking for votes can increase social interaction by 400%
  • You could see a 39% increase in social media engagement by running a contest
  • “How to” and “Top 10” list-type posts may experience 47% more engagement

Note:  If you’d like to work with other Canadian businesses to increase social media engagement, please consider joining the Canadian Business Social Media Engagement Co-Op.

How Social Media Engagement Impacts Search Ranking

Infographic courtesy of: Quick Sprout

Need some guidance? Here are a few exceptional resources to help you learn more about using social media for business success:

  • Free LinkedIn training is available at LinkedU: How to Create a Massive LinkedIn Referral Network with THE Most Influential Players in Your Market.
  • To really dig into Facebook marketing, check out Canadian social media queen, Mari Smith. She’s always on top of the latest social network marketing tactics and her courses can’t be beat.
  • The latest social sensation for businesses is Twitter’s Periscope for live streaming. Get ahead of your competition with the Periscope Profit Machine course.
  • Pinterest has surpassed search engines for traffic generation for many businesses, but it has to be done right for maximum benefits. You can check out a free video and/or take the Power of Pinning course to get started.
  • The book Likeable Social Media: How to Delight Your Customers, Create an Irresistible Brand, and Be Amazing on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, and More, was revised and expanded in 2015 and is perfect for social media novices.
  • Powerful tools like Wishpond (Canadian company) make it super easy to have social contests and offer coupons via social media. They have both free and paid options.

Comment on Canadians Internet BusinessWhat type of post results in the most engagement for you? Please share your experience in the comments below.

Source: Canadian Digital, Social and Mobile Statistics on a Global Scale 2014

✔ You may also be interested in reading:
Canadians Have a Huge Influence on Fellow Consumers (Statistics)
Top Reasons Canadians Share Content on Social Media
7 Ways to Reach More of the 19 Million Canadian Facebook Users
Canadian Consumers Seeking Small Businesses Online (Statistics)
Top Canadian Business Groups on LinkedIn

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4 Responses to "How Social Media Engagement Impacts Search Ranking ©"

  1. L. Bibeault  February 13, 2014

    Merci! Now that’s a useful article! Bravo!

    Reply
  2. Dennis G.  February 6, 2014

    When it comes to social media in Canada its still a secret weapon. Many Canadian businesses aren’t using it right and that means I get the jump on them. It’s crazy how many people still deny it works but that’s fine with me.

    Reply
  3. Johnson  February 5, 2014

    Lots here I didn’t know (or didnt know for sure) thank you. I love networking with other businesses on social too, they’re in a position to help my business when I help theirs.

    Reply
  4. Natalia Cooper  February 4, 2014

    I agree! Whenever we get alot of response to any post it pushes the page up AND the post shows up in results too. How much it pushes absolutely coincides with the quality of the post.

    Reply

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