What are they?
Social signals are simply the links that come from any social networking profile to your web page. If you were to click on the “pin it” button at the top of this post or the ‘share’ button at the end of the post to let your followers on Facebook know about this, you just gave us a “social signal”.
Two reasons why social signals are important:
1). When you come across a blog post and notice that a number of people have shared the content, it’s safe to assume that the content is generally worth reading
2). The two major search engines (Google and Bing) have been increasingly rewarding websites for their social signals. For over a year now, every time Google updates its search algorithm it seems to add more weighting to them
How about a little test?
- Pick a keyword relevant to your business or a particular blog post. and a corresponding landing page/blog post on your website.
- Make a note of the current search rankings.
- Pick 10-20 friends, family or colleagues and ask them to to ‘like’, ‘+1’, and ‘Tweet’ your content after you send an email asking them to.
- Every day, pick 1-2 of your contacts above and ask them to take the action above. By doing this social signals are being dripped over a consistent and longer period of time.
- Check your search rankings periodically – what results are you seeing?
So do Social Signals work for SEO or not?
The consensus is that everyone ‘seems’ to know they make a difference, but the proof is in the data. I was surprised at how much a difference they were actually making for our own website. Seeing the ranking results from just 20-30 social signals for highly competitive keywords was pretty telling.
We will definitely be doing more testing to refine the results and though a conclusion may be premature, the results to date have been pretty interesting.