Well the cat’s out of the bag. It’s no secret that search and social are now inextricably tied together and that Google is putting more emphasis on social signals than ever before. If you’re a savvy digital marketer, you’ve probably already heard about the significance of building a strong social campaign to complement your search efforts.  But for those that aren’t up to speed with Google’s latest updates and antics, follow along because we’re about to get into it all now.

How does Social Help Google Achieve a Better Search Experience?

Google wants to provide the most relevant, popular, and credible results to any search query, which makes a lot of sense when you think about it. If Google stops giving you what you want when you type in a search phrase, you will probably start looking for alternatives and then abandon them if you experience the same issue repeatedly. So Google is always updating its algorithm to determine which search results people are most likely to want to see when they’re searching. And that’s where social comes in.

Google ranks websites based on two factors: their relevance to a search term and their popularity. Since social media has become a mark for determining a brand’s popularity, social signals and by extension sharing has become an integral component of a fresh-faced search campaign.

As you might have guessed, some social networks have more influence over Google rankings than others. A study from SearchMetrics revealed that the 3 most influential social signals in order are Google +1’s (no surprise there), Facebook shares, and the number of back links.  While this means that Google + and Facebook are instrumental to your search efforts, it doesn’t mean you should abandon the other social networks. An active social presence all around can work wonders (and help you build social backlinks, which is the 3rd most valuable commodity in Google’s eyes).

Taking a More Holistic Approach 

If you’re ready to take your search campaign to the next level, then social is where you need to be, and you need to be there often. Opening an account and passively updating it isn’t enough anymore. Be methodical about how you merge the two together. Try to incorporate keywords (naturally, of course) into your social content and then get your links out there. Make sure you’re updating your content regularly so that you can share it, and hopefully others will share too! The first step to getting those Facebook shares is creating great content, and actually how to get people to share your content could be a whole other blog post. (Let me know in the comments if you want to see a post on how to get people to share your Facebook content.)

Google + is a Must – And YouTube Too!

So what’s all the fuss about Google +? Well, Google + is not only offering signals to Google about a brand’s social impact, but many of the Google + results will climb in the search results first. If you want to make a splash in search, it’s time to gear up with Google + and even create a few good videos for YouTube too. As many of you probably already know, Google owns YouTube, and video results are popping up all over the place in the search results. When you upload a video to YouTube, make sure to optimize it so that you can gain maximum impact.

If you’re not sure where to begin, talking to an SEO expert that understands the social dynamic can be helpful. Keeping pace with the ever-changing digital landscape can be challenging, which is why we’re here if you ever need any help creating a strategy. Our team has a combined 15+ years experience in search and social, and we’d be happy to share our insights with you.

What’s your take on how social is impacting search? Sound off in the comments!




Lauren Wilkison