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by Lenka Istvanova on 20th August 2013
As time goes by there is more and more evidence that social signals are becoming of greater important when it comes to achieving a higher position in SERPs. So how can you leverage Social Media to improve your rankings?
According to Searchmetric’s recent study of SEO ranking factors good activity on social media can earn you better rankings. In addition, the study showed that the higher the number of social signals from the below networks the better the position of your website in SERPs:
Even if you are sceptical of the correlation that the social shares directly improved the rankings there’s also the factor that getting more people to see the content also lead to more links and visibility.
Long story short it’s time to get ‘social’ and schedule time for your social media management into your daily diary. It’s essential to ensure that you have a good social presence online by having a high number of Likes, Tweets, Shares and +1′s.
To make it easier for you I have created the following list of super-useful social media tricks to help you boost your social signals with the long term goal of improving rankings.
The Searchmetrics study has proven that having a Google+ profile is really a no-brainer as +1 shares scored the highest correlation with good rankings in SERP. Your posts on Google+ are indexed with the ‘speed of light’ which, in some case, can be within minutes of the post being published.
Optimising your tagline, profile image and about section is the first thing you should do on Google+ before sharing anything. In addition, AJ Kohn’s test showed that having a keyword included within the Introduction is the most important signal for Google+ Search results.
Make sure you include your keyword, URL and location within the ‘About’ section:
When you share your post on Google+ the image in your snippet can make or break the clicks/ shares/ comments your post receives. Conversely, sharing a link which has no snippet image is really a waste of time. Before you hit the ‘Share’ button, hover over the image box and pick the image that is most appropriate for the content.
As AJ Kohn suggests you can always play it safe by including a square image (300×300);
Unlike other social networks, Google+ allows you to format your posts and make them more visible and scan-able for readers. If you write your status on Google+ with the following symbols on it you’ll see it changes the way the text is shown. Such formatted post are more engaging which in turn can result in more shares.
Here’s how I use this feature for more emphasis and to drive engagement:
Using asterisks to bold and underscores to italicise:
Using asterisks to bold and hyphens for strike through text:
Okay, so you’ve shared some interesting posts so now it’s time to cross-promote your post to further strengthen the social signals of it. Click on the arrow next to you post, select the option ‘Link to post’, copy and paste and share on other networks to raise awareness.
Don’t be a ‘link litter-er’ who uses Google+ just for sharing your blog posts/ links. If you find something interesting then share it, regardless of who wrote it. Use the comment section and leave your opinion. And don’t forget to tag people if you’re sharing their posts by using ‘+’ . They may follow you and re-share some of your posts in the future.
Last but not least, stay up to date with new tricks and tips on how to get the most of your Google+ profile by following the Google+ Tips and Tricks page. Guy Kawasaki is the man to know and follow when it comes to Google+; his book What the Plus! Google+ for the Rest of Us will show you how to master Google+
Here we go again! Include your main keyword and location in the bio. Also, check the setting tab and ensure the location is set correctly and your twitter profile is fully optimised for local search.
Choose your location:
Don’t forget the language and time zone settings. Switch the ‘Tweet location’ to on which will give your tweets the extra local signal.
Knowing when the majority of your followers and potential customers are online can increase the chance of your tweet being shared and/or re-tweeted. There are free as well as paid tools, which can help you determine the best time for you to tweet; these include:
Be sure to try these tools and collate the data together to determine the best strategy for you.
Frequency is the key when it comes to the number of clicks you receive via Twitter. Dan Zarrella found out that the less frequently you post a link within an hour the more clicks you earn. So slow down and pace yourself to a maximum of 3 tweets with a link per hour.
As the saying goes, if you don’t ask for it you will never get it. Don’t be afraid of asking people to retweet your post but ensure you type ‘Please ReTweet‘ rather than just ‘Please RT‘ or ‘RT‘.
Dan Zarrella’s research showed that tweets which include the following phrases are very powerful CTA’s on Twitter and lead to more actions:
Just remember not to do this with every post as it will annoy people.
Exclamation points in your tweets will give you more retweets however less clicks; so if you want people to click on the link within your tweet it’s better if you don’t use and exclamation point!
Place your link in about 25% of the way through the tweet as it can earn you more clicks. (source)
In term of relevancy of images Pinterest is a better visual search engine than Google. If you don’t believe me have a look at this post which illustrates how greatly Pinterest and Google’s image searches differ.
This ties up with the importance of naming and titling your image so it is easy for users to find and share it. Make sure the name and title include you main keyword and use a hashtag to highlight it in the pin description for better rankings.
For more Pinterest top tricks you can have a look at my latest blog post that features 21 Pinterest ideas, optimisation tips and free tools
Although Pinterest allows you to enter up to 500 characters into your Pin description you’re better off with 200 characters as these have been found to get more re-pins.
Dan Zarrella’s Pinterest research identified that taller images with a height of around 800 pixels receive more re-pins than smaller images.
Before trying any tricks spend some time on optimising your ‘About’ section as people won’t like your page if it looks empty. Write a compelling introduction; fill in all the information including your address and links to your website, blog or other social media profiles.
When it comes to engagement on social media, visual content wins over simple text updates with photos and videos driving the most engagements. Simply Measured Facebook research revealed that:
However you should make sure you either use creative commons images or images you own.
As highlighted above, if you want more likes get those images on your wall. Instead of sharing a simple text post with a link back to your blog/website try to turn it into a sharable image. If you don’t know how to do it; here are some tools that will help you do that:
Who knows maybe you will be lucky and your image will go viral.
Simples! Tell your fans what to do and they will be much more likely to engage. The following golden CTAs are the ones you should incorporate into your posts to get the required action from your followers:
However, don’t overdo it by asking fans to do something in every post you publish.
What about you and your social media presence? Do you use any special tricks to increase the number of likes, shares, +1′s and re-tweets? I would love to hear some of your tips and hints.
Magician from BigStock
Lenka has a wealth of experience in the creation and management of Social Media, SEO, PPC, and Email Marketing campaigns. She has a strong passion for all things Digital and Sport related; when she's not competing in marathons she can be found blogging about digital marketing in sport.