To keep up with marketing in today’s society, it’s hard to ignore the fact that social media matters. While we all may value it differently and use it for different reasons, social media marketing is almost everywhere you look—even on potato chip bags. As I looked at the back of my chip bag today with the intention of finding out exactly how many calories I shouldn’t be consuming, I instead noticed a little blue logo with “Like us on Facebook” next to it. I’ll admit that I laughed out loud, wondering why I would ever want to admit my guilty snack pleasure to my entire social circle. However, that little experience reminded me of something I had read earlier that day that made me rethink if I should be laughing at my potato chip bag Facebook logo.
Surprise! Social correlates with SEO
SEOmoz recently released the 2011 Search Engine Rankings Factors Study that analyzes data from more than 10,000 Google results and factors in the opinions of about 130 of the world’s top SEOs. While this study covers an array of in-depth information about ranking factors, one section that was particularly interesting to me was the Page Level Social Metrics Correlated Data. This graph shows a surprisingly high correlation between Facebook shares and summed activity in relation to ranking on search engines.
Page Level Social Metrics
While SEOmoz makes it very clear in their follow-up post that these results show correlation, not causation, it still does bring up an interesting point. According to this data, Facebook shares and overall visibility may be even more valuable than activity on Twitter, contradictory to the data of opinions from top SEOs.
Good content is the key; it’s always been the key
So why exactly is this trend happening with Google search results? While I don’t claim to have the exact answer, in my opinion, there seems to be a logical reason to what this data is showing. Think of it this way: what does it take for you to “share” something with all of your Facebook friends? For me at least, any link I share on Facebook is considered valuable enough that I want my friends to see it or read about it. This situation is a bit different than “liking” a page to follow it for information or good deals. But wouldn’t a Facebook share in essence be the same as tweeting that same information? Possibly so, but maybe Facebook shares are deemed more influential because there tends to be a lower volume of activity, placing more value on each individual share.
Because the Google algorithm is so complex, no one will probably ever know the exact reason for Facebook shares and activity outranking Twitter. While we may not know why, we can clearly see that it’s important.
So what are the takeaways from all of this?
- Don’t forget about Facebook—it’s valuable for both your direct and organic search volume. Keep your presence on Twitter, of course, but make sure you find a decent balance between the two.
- Take the time to make your content awesome. Whether it’s in the form of an article, blog post, deal, etc., if people like your content enough, they won’t hesitate to share it with their friends.