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More Facebook Shares Mean Higher Search Ranking, Say Searchmetrics
After a week in which Facebook has basically had its last rites read out a couple of times due to reports of decreased user engagement and a crashing share price, it may warm Mark Zuckerberg’s California cockles to find out that the amount of shares a site or page receives on Facebook has a strong correlation with its Google ranking, according to a new report by Searchmetrics.
In fact, the report (available for one shiny tweet from Searchmetrics, or via a very comprehensive breakdown from eConsultancy) not only illustrated a strong correlation between shares and ranking; it actually found that comments and likes were also important, with Facebook taking up four of the top five slots on the correlation charts (our old friend ‘number of backlinks’ breaking up the FB party).
We don’t want to excite the Zuck too much however; the report is quick to state that correlation isn’t a solid result and that it could easily be that high ranking sites are benefiting from high shares as a result of their ranking, rather than the other way round. Also, Google+ was actually the highest ranking correlation factor, but was discounted by Searchmetrics due to the current number of users (translation: it’s not as big as Facebook or Twitter).
The report also reinforced a couple of ‘we already knew that’ link-building points – predominantly that link building is a game of balancing quality and quantity. The amount of links you have is important but so is building a naturalistic link structure, emphasised by the fact nofollow links actually had the same importance correlation as backlinks containing keywords.
There’s plenty more to the report and we’d encourage anyone with a bit of time to take a good look. We’re not going to get into some of the finer points (but if you’d like to and want to post your own thoughts below, be our guest) but rather focus on some of the pointers the report gives us.
The first is that, as we touched on in our earlier post about social search, social media should be a massive part of any SEO campaign, and if it isn’t already, then you should probably think about integrating it now. G+, Twitter and Facebook’s influence is only going to increase in the next couple of years, and you don’t want to be playing catch-up with competitors who’ve already nailed their social media presence and mopped up your potential followers/circlers/likers.
The second is that content is not just king anymore, it’s the master of the entire universe. With the Penguin update penalising low-quality links, gaining high-quality links from respectable sources is more important than ever. This can be incredibly difficult, but by investing time and effort into quality content, the pay-off can be massive.
The key to good content is tailoring anything you create around a potential audience rather than building it around scoring a link. You should find that a good piece of tailored content will get its audience linking to it, providing you with plenty of high-quality links from relevant sources.
The best way to get your content out there and send it viral is through social media. It’s likely those sites with high rankings and shares gained a lot of links through having their content passed around social networks and then having links posted on various blogs and websites.
At Fluid, we’ve been taking these factors into account for a while, and the results have been impressive. Our Facebook campaign with American Soda, for example, has over 17,000 likes and an active community on the page. This campaign has also shown that content and social media is a two-way street – whilst we use the page to post up relevant content, people who have posted on our page have also influenced content on the blog, this post here being an example.
Another example of the quality content we’ve been producing is our recent infographic for Cartridge World on how much it would cost to print the Internet, which has generated quite a lot of interest. Whilst the infographic took time to research and produce, the links it generates are worth far more than any that could be gained from quick-fix link building tactics.