Gary Hainsworth

Can Social Media Citations Improve Rankings?

30th Mar 2011 Social Media 1 minute to read

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.

Twitter

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.

Local Search

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.

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Gary Hainsworth

Senior Organic Data Specialist

Having worked in SEO for over a decade, Gary knows everything worth knowing about search engines and technical SEO. A talented search marketer, Gary has worked for several exciting brands during his career to date, including the likes of the V&A, Warburtons, the NHS and the Lake District National Park. In his personal life Gary has a passion for guitars – be that playing them, modifying them or building them! He relates strongly with the humble and kind hedgehog, who also happen to be as prickly as his musical taste; anything loud, fast and angry.

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