Social Media sites like Digg, Reddit, Stumbleupon, and Delicious are highly authoritative sites which can dramatically improve search engine rankings if used properly. Any SEO specialist knows link building is essential to improving search engine visibility, but some clients have trouble accepting social media as a link building tactic.
In order to help show how effective social media really is with respect to rankings I’m going to use a sample article promoted by Best Rank, Inc. The article in question was promoted only on Reddit.com and succesfully hit the front page. If you’re forunate enough to achieve the front page of Reddit.com, you’ll know that your story gets pulled to Wired.com, Popurls.com, and many other mash-up sites across the web. Below I’ve provided an overview of the keyword rankings, back links, and traffic generated by our social media marketing efforts:
Page Title: Top iPhone Applications for Business Professionals
Reddit.com Title: Top iPhone Applications for Business Professionals
Original Promo Date: December 17th, 2008
Reddit Points : 19 Total, 87 up votes, 67 down votes
Yahoo Backlinks: 62
Search Engine Rankings Updated: February 4th, 2009
|best iphone apps for business||1||19||9|
|iphone applications for business||1||4||1|
|top iphone business apps||1||1||1|
|iphone apps for business||2||24||9|
|top business apps for iphone||2||1||1|
|top business iphone apps||2||3||1|
|iphone apps for it professionals||2||8||11|
|best iphone business applications||6||5||4|
|iphone business applications||7||3||1|
|top iphone applications||12||21||8|
Google Analytics Data
Time Frame: 12/16/2008 – 2/4/2009
Total Page Views: 7,117
Google Organic Views: 3,191
Google Unique Keywords: 1,514
Notice that we’re showing organic search traffic to a single page and not the entire site. Wow!
The above case study is a great example of how social media marketing helps organic SEO efforts, as also illustrated in the below picture:
In our example, we did have a large traffic spike just like this picture and we also have a new, steady stream of traffic we never had before. Pretty cool!
What have we learned?
After analyzing the keyword ranking data and Google analytics metrics here are my thoughts:
- Social media links are effective when targeting mid to long tail keywords. If your goal is to rank for highly competitive keywords then a more precise, anchor text controlled link building strategy is recommended to compliment your social media marketing efforts.
- Google appears to trust social media networks as a source for quality back links and appears to transfer link equity, even if most social sites nofollow their links. It’s also important to note that the residual back links created by other, interested webmasters, will also help rankings.
- In most cases, social media marketing can help create a steady stream of organic traffic and fixed, longer tailed rankings (search engine rankings and organic traffic have been consistent since the 1st week of promotion). Refer to the Google analytics screenshot above for evidence on the consistency of organic traffic from Google.