Social Networking: What Can it REALLY Do For You?
Effective traffic generation can’t be achieved without finding and tapping into the best traffic resources for YOUR niche.
Can’t sell a burger to a vegetarian, in other words.
I recently received a question from one of my readers during a live Sunday Coffee with Ana broadcast:
Side note on my Sunday Coffe with Ana series: I didn’t think that anyone would notice that I didn’t have one yesterday – just needed a break – but I was wrong. YOU DID notice and took your time to let me know.
So….. Next Sunday, you and me and a good cup of coffee? 10 AM EST, on my Facebook fan page. It’s a date!
Back to the question:
“What is your top traffic source BESIDES social media?”
To answer this question, I didn’t have to look far: here’s a recent shot from my Google Analytics account showing my top referral traffic sources:
Out of the top five referral sources, only one of them is not a social media source – Google organic search.
One of my goals for this year is to move Google up that ladder and make it my #1 referral traffic source – very hands-off targeted traffic coming to my blog 24/7 no matter what. Every webmaster’s dream come true!
However, according to Danny Sullivan, the chief editor for SearchEngineLand.com, social media engagement just might be the key to better search engine rankings.
In practical terms, if you are working on getting better rankings for your site, social media can still help you get there.
Who You Are on Twitter Matters
Turns out that both Bing and Google have a way of calculating what can be referred to as “human authority” of a Twitter profile.
Mind you, they do it with Twitter only for now, not Facebook.
Here’s a Q&A session that Danny did with Google and Bing (isn’t it great to have someone who Google and Bing would actually respond to? Imagine you and me trying to ask those questions…).
1) If an article is retweeted or referenced much in Twitter, do you count that as a signal outside of finding any non-nofollowed links that may naturally result from it?
We do look at the social authority of a user. We look at how many people you follow, how many follow you, and this can add a little weight to a listing in regular search results. It carries much more weight in Bing Social Search, where tweets from more authoritative people will flow to the top when best match relevancy is used.
Yes, we do use it as a signal. It is used as a signal in our organic and news rankings. We also use it to enhance our news universal by marking how many people shared an article [NOTE: see the end of this article for more about that].
2) Do you try to calculate the authority of someone who tweets that might be assigned to their Twitter page. Do you try to “know,” if you will, who they are?
Yes. We do calculate the authority of someone who tweets. For known public figures or publishers, we do associate them with who they are. (For example, query for Danny Sullivan)
Yes we do compute and use author quality. We don’t know who anyone is in real life 🙂
3) Do you calculate whether a link should carry more weight depending on the person who tweets it?
Yes we do use this as a signal, especially in the “Top links” section [of Google Realtime Search]. Author authority is independent of PageRank, but it is currently only used in limited situations in ordinary web search.
4) Do you track links shared within Facebook, either through personal walls or fan pages?
Yes. We look at links shared that are marked as “Everyone,” and links shared from Facebook fan pages.
We treat links shared on Facebook fan pages the same as we treat tweeted links. We have no personal wall data from Facebook.
5) Do you try to calculate the authority of someone on Facebook, either say via their personal wall or their fan page.
We don’t do this on Facebook. On Facebook, we only get what’s public, only updates and things you’ve posted to everyone as viewable. We don’t get things only shared with friends, so we don’t know how authoritative you are on Facebook. There isn’t the whole convenient retweet mechanism we see on Twitter.
We do see valuable content shared by Facebook users, even though we only get what’s public. For example when Gary Coleman died we saw a video from Different Strokes, saying his favorite line “what ya talk’in ’bout Willis” gain popularity. It happened to be what a lot of people are sharing on the day he passed away.
Again, the treatment is the same as for Twitter. And we have no personal wall data from Facebook.
6) Do you calculate whether a link should carry more weight depending on the person who shared it on Facebook?
We can tell if something is of quality on Facbook by leveraging Twitter. If the same link is shared in both places, it’s more likely to be legitimate.
Same as question 5.
Pretty eye-opening, huh?
Danny also touched on this issue in our recent interview with him over at SERPd.com – http://www.serpd.com/show1/; highly recommend you take a look at it.
Are You an Authority User and How to Become One
You’ll find more on this right here, at Traffic Generation Cafe:
- Search Engine Ranking for Tweets: How to Get Ranked
So, going back to the original question I started this post with.
Are there other viable traffic sources besides social media? Undoubtedly.
However, taking a closer look at social media in general and Twitter specifically, improving your position there – your SocialRank if you will, could just get you the edge that you need with the search engines.
Here’s another great resource on how to build up your Twitter presence:
Image credit: http://www.mediaspin.com/