How Google uses social media to determine its search rankings

Back in 2008, we spoke about the shift we were seeing in SEO practices, and we explained how using the social media to get people to talk about you online is the way forward. Since then, we’ve seen countless examples of the power that the social media has to rally people around a company, or against it. Social networks like YouTube, Facebook and Twitter have brought publishing within your reach and made it possible to get tons of attention for a very low cost. You’ve surely heard of BlendTec’s Will it Blend campaign, on one end of the scale, and of the furor caused by the United Breaks Guitars video on the other.

Then, last June, we saw how Google’s new Caffeine Search made it more important than ever for you to take your social media marketing seriously. We insisted that you need to get active on the social networks because your posts, tweets, facebook updates and so on were becoming more and more important for SEO and Google was actually showing them in search results.

Well, last December, Google’s Matt Cutts gave some very interesting insight into how Google uses the social media in its search rankings. Watch the video below, where Matt responds to this SEO article’s discussion of the social signals that Google and Bing use in their metrics.
Matt Cutts explains that social media SEO is all about using social media to build your reputation online, and not just about the raw numbers of followers you rack up on your accounts. It looks like Google is much more interested in quality, rather than quantity.

Google wants to determine how important your company is, based on what is being said about you in the social media, and they are using this knowledge to influence your search rankings. Right now, this is happening primarily in the real-time search, but Matt makes no attempt to hide the fact that Google is seriously looking at expanding the use of these techniques into the general search as well.

So, what do you do about it? Now, more than ever, it is vital that you use and monitor the social media to cultivate a solid online reputation for your company. You need to establish a strong presence on the main social networks, attract a core following, and keep your finger on the pulse of what is being said about your company.

As we have said already, this task is no longer one that you can afford to assign to one or two of your staff and leave them to their own devices, to make a few posts whenever they feel like it. Your company needs to become more organised and more consistent with your social media strategy and the way you execute it.

Take a look at how we used the social media to market the Tenerife Ladies Open, last year. This is the kind of team effort you need to work with. Read through our post on starting a social media team and make a similar plan work for your company too.

In a nutshell, you need to:

  • Identify team members
  • Choose a leader
  • Decide on your social media strategy
  • Set concrete tasks for the individuals on your team
  • Evaluate your progress with regular meetings
  • Keep up the effort in the long run

If you are not doing this already, it is high time you get started. The truth is that doing social media the right way is easy when you break it down into smaller tasks. It also costs next to nothing, and your own staff can learn to do pretty much all the work as part of their daily routine.

So get working on your social media strategy today, and if you want to discuss it with us, just let us know.

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