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Until recently, social media was just an online playground for teenagers and attention seekers, but smart business owners now realize the incredible potential it has. Most company owners understand the power of instant feedback, and how sites like Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Yelp, and Foursquare can provide it. However, feedback is not the only benefit such outreach offers, as it can provide excellent SEO benefits as well, making it much easier to attract new customers and boost a company’s spot in the all-important search engine rankings. In effect, it’s much like a giant digital snowball that can provide impressive returns once it gets going, but it does take effort to get it started.

Specifically, what benefits can social media offer a business?

The more information a business has, the more likely they will make the right decisions going forward. Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and other such platforms give a business owner a look into the minds of their customers, and this insight can be a major advantage. Not only does it produce immediate feedback that a business can parse through, it can help a company decide which of its products are especially popular (or unpopular) and determine how to allocate future resources. It also gives the business a chance to interact with its customers and assuage any concerns or complaints. This last point is something that companies often underestimate, but businesses have improved their fortunes greatly by just appearing friendly and open minded to criticism.

The lesser known, but perhaps more important, benefit social media produces is SEO. Multiple studies have been performed on the efficacy of ranking high in search engines, and the research is clear. The better a company’s search engine ranking, the better its future performance, with generally no exceptions. In fact, the overwhelming number of clicks are given to the top three results in Google, so rankings should be given top priority.

How does social media help with SEO?

A strong presence on search engines is built with relevance. The more people that are talking about a company, the better its rankings. Twitter, Google+ and the like are built around creating this relevance, and they can help out in several ways, including:

  • Strengthening link building – Link building is the foundation of SEO, and creating strong links is like building reliable roads to the company’s physical address. Now, link building is primarily done through shares on Facebook, Twitter, and other sites, as it signals to Google what sites are reliable and likely to be visited.
  • Speeding up indexing – Google has to “index” a site regularly to verify that it still provides relevant information and up its rankings. Active outreach has shown to cut indexing time significantly, ensuring Google responds quickly to any changes or additions to the site.
  • Boosting keyword relevance – A business wants to be associated with a handful of relevant keywords, and dispersing these keywords among Facebook, Twitter and Google+ shares is one way Google recognizes such keyword creation.
  • Improving relevance in local searches – Small businesses don’t need to go global, they just need to be recognized in their own neighborhood. A company that is talked about on Yelp, Foursquare, and other sites that focus on area businesses will rank better when someone searches for area businesses.

A developed social media should be an essential part of a business’s online approach. When it is expertly put together, the return can be enormous and provide ongoing benefits for the foreseeable future.

 

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