Testing the Impact of Your Social Media Posting on Search Engine Results
The integration of social network posts and profiles within the search engine results pages, such as Bing’s recent social sidebar addition and the advent of Google+, has deepened the relationship between these two areas. Just last week Bing started to include Foursquare tips in its functionality and Google began experimenting with share links that allow search users to share a website to their Google+ account directly from the search results.
Moreover, since the primary search engine players revealed a year or so ago that they do take social media signals into account when determining what to serve in the ranking pages, social search has been a buzzword across the disciplines. Therefore, social media marketers have a responsibility to be better equipped to handle a more integrated approach; they must ensure they are applying their knowledge and delivering on the correct strategies. In December 2011, Econsultancy’s third Quarterly Digital Intelligence Briefing revealed that 25 per cent of company marketers regarded social signals as being ‘very important’ but when asked how important they would be in three years, this figure increased to 57 per cent.
Nevertheless, it is one thing knowing that social signals are important, but it is quite another to understand how your brand’s social network activity is directly impacting the visibility of the social profile or company website in search engine results pages. Here are a few ways in which you or your social media agency can start investigations in order to come to conclusions bespoke to your business.
When linking to your website in a post, trial -
- The use of different generic keyword terms
- The use of branded terms, such as the company name and products
- Linking to different pages, for example, the home page and ones deeper in the folder structure
Monitor the number of -
- Likes, comments and shares on Facebook
- Retweets, replies and favourites on Twitter
- +1s, comments and reshares on Google+
When linking to your website, by using a tracking code in the URL you can examine the following in Google Analytics –
- Clicks through to the site, or visitors
- Bounce rate
- Path to a conversion or to other pages
For any keywords used in a post, observe the website’s rankings in the global and local search engine results pages as well as the ranking of the social profile itself –
- Before the start of any activity to obtain a benchmark
- Immediately prior the post
- In half hour or hourly intervals after posting
- The days following
Once you have collected the data, and of course there may be a number of other metrics that you have access to and are interested in analysing, you will need to map the relationships between each. There are various ways of doing this but I would suggest using a simple spreadsheet format, such as excel and make use of the graph and chart options. From here you should be able to see what influence your social media accounts are having on your organic search engine rankings, and I look forward to you being able to share some of the results on Social Media Today.
Keredy is an Account Director at Punch Communications. She has a wide range of PR, communications and events coordination experience, including social media and SEO activity. Her work in the public and private sectors has included media relations and campaign management as well as being responsible for internal communications and web content. Her undergraduate degree focused on Literature and ...
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