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In a web ruled by links it’s hard to imagine that there can be other external influences on a search engine ranking. Can social media citations play their part? You would be crazy to think otherwise.
Once a search engine looks at your content and backlinks what else can it search for? A brand’s popularity is the next logical step. One of the best ways to measure brand popularity is to monitor the number of social media mentions. SERPs are starting to display brand mentions and in particular ‘Tweets’ more regularly which shows search engines are giving authority to social citations.
Growing a Twitter account is an excellent way to interact with your target audience. It can also give search engines ‘popularity signals’ helping you rank in competitive search results. Retweets, brand mentions and authentic citations can only add value to your website’s external profile. Should you be proactive with your Twitter account to improve rankings? No, you should be proactive with your Twitter account to improve your followers – this activity will have positive knock-on effects.
Citations and reviews represent an important ranking factor for local search. The citations are displayed on Google Maps and a large number of reviews can influence your local ranking (and Place Page). Again, being proactive with your reviews can have a positive impact on your rankings. For example, a hotel should encourage or reward guests who leave a review on their Yelp profile. The impact of this citation will lead to good PR and improve their ‘popularity signals’.
Long Term vs Short Term
Although social media citations may influence rankings the effect would appear to be more short term than long term. For example, if a company has a large amount of ‘social activity’ at the time of ranking then this could benefit their search results. However, in comparison to a quality link the long term impact is minimal.
If citations are starting to influence search engine rankings you would be mad to not include social media in your overall strategy. Twitter and Facebook are an excellent way to interact with your primary audience and build up quality users. If you invest in social media the worst case scenario will be a quality list of followers. The best case scenario will show search engines that your brand is popular when jostling with competitors.
In today’s multichannel world, there are mountains of data which provide insights into how users have interacted with your business and their path to conversion (or non-conversion). It is important to understand performance with multichannel marketing, which can be achieved through attribution modelling. Attribution refers to assigning credit to something (a channel, touchpoint, etc.) for the role it played in the final conversion. An attribution model is a rule, or set of rules, that assigns this credit correctly to the right channel or touchpoint.
For a long time, Bing, the UK’s second-largest search engine, has been underappreciated and, in some instances, even ignored. Often regarded as the inferior search engine to market leader Google, Bing has historically struggled to appeal to many in the digital world. Most PPC analysts would give justified reasons for neglecting Bing for so long; these include the volume of traffic and the user experience just not matching up to Google. However, the validity of these assessments is now diminishing. Bing has grown and improved rapidly in the last couple of years; if you are not integrating it into your comprehensive digital marketing plan, you run the risk of missing out on a large portion of your chosen market and significant revenue.