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Is social media all that? Will it increase my rankings?

There’s no denying that social media has been the big story over the last few years. Everyone’s at it, there are millions of people using Facebook and Twitter and not a day goes by without it being mentioned in the news, usually because someone’s being sued by someone else for saying they smell bad or something.

But being in the SEO game, should we be taking it seriously as a method of selling? Will it affect ranking of our websites?

So many people tell us that Facebook is the new place to, well, do everything including sell your products or services that you’d think it’s the new gold rush but really, I’ve yet to see any evidence that having a Facebook page will make you millions, unless you’re already a well-known brand. You see, big brands really can afford to take the time to build their on-line presence and push Facebook to their fans, chat with them and pretty much engage with them, but does this work with everyone?

Of course not.

If you’re a restaurant owner then maybe you can get some engagement when people come to your place, eat your stuff and then say how great it is (or not). They can promote this to their friends easily enough and they can in turn visit your restaurant etc.etc.

But these are the exceptions to the rule. Facebook, as a social network, works well for social occasions. An aluminium extrusion company is going to have a hard time building a Facebook presence and engaging with their ‘fans’. C’mon, you going to get very excited when a manufacturing company announces a new smaller hole in a tube? No, of course you’re not.

This also means it won’t help your SEO efforts either. Unless you’re huge on social media with millions of fans, you’re going to have a hard time getting Google to notice you’re doing anything special.

Getting technical for a second – think on this. Facebook and Google aren’t the best of friends. Really, they can’t stand each other and so it’s unlikely that Google takes much notice of links from Facebook. Likewise, Facebook uses Bing for its search so they’re not likely to be passing on any of the lovely link-love to Google any time soon. OK, they might pass stuff to Bing, but who uses that?

And the other social networks? There’s only really Twitter and again, you need to be getting a lot of distribution of your links through followers for it to have any effect.

Will this change?

It would be churlish of me to say that this is how it will always be. Google changes it’s mind on things more times than I change my underpants (really) so maybe one day social media will have a massive effect on our rankings, but at the moment, I’m not investing heavily in it.

About Andy Calloway

Head of SEO at Calloway Green, Andy has been writing for print and the web for over ten years. Some of it makes it into publication, some of it is stored in plexi-glass and sunk to the bottom of the sea.

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