Today I just wanted to write about something which is pretty important, social engagement and seo. What I am referring to is how search engines give credit to and value the way your profiles on social media, your website, your facebook page, your tweets, etc, are received by other people. The value of your content and the way people interact with your content has changed so much in the past 3 years it is amazing, so I just wanted to share my personal experience and current assessment of this issue with you. Hopefully it gives you some ideas and encourages you to put effort into things that work for you. Also at the end is a social experiment, the results of which I will share with all those who could benefit from them.
Some of you know that I do marketing and seo for a select few clients in a variety of industries. A couple small businesses, some non-profits, and a couple pretty big companies rely upon me to keep their online presence relevant, engaging, and ranking high in Google search. When I was a more active and busy REALTOR I prided myself in maintaining the #1 ranked Lethbridge Real Estate website for several years. My website was rather crude, lacked any decent design, failed to close leads like a squeeze page should, and yet it generated phone calls and clients on a regular and weekly basis. I sold many houses to people I met because of my #1 ranked real estate website a decade ago (and because ActiveRain blogs used to have awesome SEO back a couple owners ago).
Most of my current marketing clients currently rank #1 for very competitive terms in tough markets, so I do kinda know what I am talking about and consider myself a pretty "White hat" marketer 90% of the time. (the other 10% of my time I spend experimenting and working on sites in the google sandbox i guess, which really is where all the learning happens)
For a long time Google didn't treat Facebook and Twitter and other social interactive platforms with the greatest of respect, slowly each of these platforms has gained some credibility and have began to earn some SEO linkjuice credit. Not all of them are treated equally, and not all activity is treated equally, and much of it seems to be still considered worthless in Google's algorithm, but some stuff works. So lets talk about that. Lets talk about LINK JUICE!
Google likes it when your content is engaged with by others in your industry, when it is shared and interacted with by people in your city, and when it is bookmarked or tagged by others to relevant categories. So for example, if another Real Estate professional LIKEs your listing posted on Facebook, Google likes to see that and its good for your rankings. If you make a blog post and others SHARE it, whether it is here on Activerain, on a wordpress blog, or even on Facebook or Twitter, Google also likes to see that. If other industry friends find your posting interesting and bookmarks it, adds it to a favorites or bookmarking website or a tagging website, Google also loves that. If people in your city enjoy and interact with your pages, mmmm Google love.
The 1st and most important factor is the social interaction, that your content is LIKED or SHARED, but the 2nd and equally if not more important factor that I have discovered is WHOM the individual interacting with your content is, and their other interactions. So if your cousin from Thailand who owns a beachbar gets you 1000 likes on your post, it really is virtually worthless, and certainly worth less than if 1 credible established real estate professional Likes that same post using his professional account or some people from your same city tag or like it. Same goes for reblogging or other interactions. One share, reblog, or pin onto a pinterest board by a credible account that has mutiple interactions with other same industry content is worth much more than hundreds of interactions with spammy or uncredible social media accounts. Make sense?
In this day and age when you can buy 1000 likes or shares or views online for $5, it is no wonder that Google treats these interactions as worthless, because they are. The value of your LIKES, SHARES, REBLOGS, PINS, and RETWEETS is high, but mostly to those of us in the same industry.
So What To Do?
1. produce content that gets LIKED, SHARED, BOOKMARKED, RETWEETED, or PINNED.
(i know this is often fluffy content, but people seems to love opinion pieces more than they do statistics)
2. keep your social accounts relevant
(stay on topic with your likes, shares, bookmarks, and tweets. Avoid non-realestate content, seriously)
3. Interact with your industry peers
(yes even those out of your city. Friend them, like their stuff, share content, interact with them - this is was AR used to be so great at encouraging)
That is it. It is that simple. Do those things and you will see your social media accounts become more powerful sources of the elusive link juice seo power that we all want.
*Here is an experiment I am doing to show just how powerful this effect is. I would appreciate anyone who reads this blog post to play along. Heck, I would encourage you to BOOKMARK, REBLOG, and LIKE it even. I have bought a new domain, put a $99 websitebox site on it, and am going to see how short a time it takes to rank it high simply using basic DIY seo and high quality social interaction. (that's you!)
The new site is at http://www.robertmay.ca and it is intentionally nothing fancy. When you search for "Lethbridge Real Estate" it isnt even ranked in the top 1000 sites today (Oct 20/15). My goal will be to show that high quality social interactions can highly rank even a crappy site. If this works for this site, imagine what similar interactions could do to a good website like your own!
So here is how you can simply help
1. the best thing you could do would be to reblog this experiment or share it with other industry members who could benefit from or learn from watching if it is successful (or learn from it if it bombs too even). So please SHARE or REBLOG this.
2. Facebook friends, go Like this page: lethbridge realestate facebook page
3. Those on other social platforms can like or share it any other manner, and lets see what happens.
I will do a 30 day follow up post on Activerain, make sure to bookmark this so you can share in the entertainment of my success or embarassment. :)