Canadian's Internet Business

How Social Media Engagement Impacts Search Ranking ©

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:

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.

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:

What 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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