I have used this space in the past to discuss common questions posed by our clients during reviews of their search marketing campaigns. As the questions continue to stream in, a few stick out as they become more common. With the recent roll-out of Google + and the buzz it created, more of our clients are reconsidering their investment of time and money into these communication channels. Previously, we discussed the value of social media marketing so I will focus on how these platforms can impact your search engine rankings.

Question: “Does my Facebook/Twitter/Yelp profile help my rankings?  How can I leverage them to increase my SERP?”

Your SERP (search engine results position) is influenced by many factors; primarily the attributes of your website and other sites that refer to you. However, the recent surge in both the use and relevance of these platforms has caused the major search engines to account for them in their strategy. That is not to say that the Facebook profile with the most “Likes” is going to rank higher, but rather who “Likes” them will have an effect on the results. 

We have known for some time that Google wants to personalize search results based on a user’s web history, but now they want your friends chiming in every time you click “Search.” Google Social Search “helps you discover relevant content from your social connections, a set of your online friends and contacts.” Even Bing got in the game with their social search notion. In a nutshell, the activity of social connections via Twitter, Facebook, and now Google+ can influence the types of results you see when conducting a search. 

This can affect a search marketing campaign in that an increasing number of people use Google, and those people are becoming more connected with those around them via Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ and the search engines are using these connections to influence the search results you and I see. 

To answer the question, the leveraging of these platforms to raise your rankings relies on the very people who may have already found and worked with you: your clients! As your clientele interact with your social media channels, this activity shows in their connections’ Newsfeeds, Timelines, and/or Streams. Whether or not they directly promote you, their activity (be it a mention, like, or +1) associates your business with their profile. Google & Bing have invested heavily in the development and integration of social channels with their search results, so it is safe to say that social media interaction can and will afford you the opportunity to rank better. 

The question is no longer “if” social media will impact search engine results, but rather when. As with any new search technology or trend, those first to embrace it often yield the greatest results. Get out there and engage your clients; their wall posts and likes may one day take you to the top of page 1!

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