Social Signals, SEO and Crowd Marketing Explained

Internet marketing offers you nearly limitless ways to advertise your product and promote your content. Social media has expanded the possibilities even further with all kinds of exciting opportunities from paid ads, to starting your own FanPage, to having people promote your content.

At the end of the day, you’re just you and your website as every social media campaign is designed to bring people here. What can social media, and social signals, do to improve your website?

What are social signals?

Social signals are the flags raised by URLs that are important on social media websites based on how often they’re shared. More shares means more popular, means a higher ranking is deserved for that URL.

A common misconception of signal signals is to think that pages that share content who have higher likes or followers are more valuable. This is not the case as Matt Cutts explains in a Google chat video.

Matt Cutts stated that follower numbers don’t change Pagerank for a URL as the mighty google Machine can’t detect that information, or is blocked from it. All they can do with the GoogleBot is follow links and establish authority for those links. Generally, more links are better.

This to not make is to think that those who have more fans or followers will increase your chances of ranking higher. Not even the almighty Facebook ‘Like’ can raise or lower a page’s Google ranking.

Why are social signals important to your website’s SEO?

Social signals are important for two reasons:

  1. They help build links to your website
  2. The sharing of your links is basically free advertising

Having people on Google+, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube and anywhere else social links are shared, helps you company gain tremendous exposure. This is both through better SEO, and through better word of mouth, allowing you to pair better SEO with more conversions.

To summarize; having many followers/fans, Likes, comments, ReTweets, Favorites, and Pins is an important  part of building your personal or professional brand, but it is link sharing that has the potential to impact your SEO.

What exactly is crowd marketing?

The first time I began thinking about crowd marketing was after reading this article by Paul Bingham. He had used the phrase ‘Crowd Marketing’ in his heading, while his focus was more on crowdsourcing.

Crowdsourcing is a technique where you have your followers and fans create content for you that you can then use to market your products on your website or social media channels. A common example is a photo contest where you award prizes for ‘The Funnest Pics with Our Product In Them!’

While crowdsourcing is great, real crowd marketing is about using a crowd of people that has been gathered by someone else, and then having the person ‘in charge’ of that crowd market to them. I have found a few companies that use this technique, such as Viral Tactic and Both look at influencers as sort of like celebrities and have them help promote targeted content within their industry.

This technique is unlike a celebrity endorsement as crowd marketing speaks more directly with a target market. Why pay for a footballer to advertise your phones when you can use someone more closely associated with phones? A social media personality who talks about phones will have a crowd that is already interested in phones, having them tweet about your content may be more valuable than anything a footballer manages to namedrop after a match!

What can social signals and crowd marketing do?

All of this relates back to better SEO, higher conversions, and more word of mouth amongst relevant groups of people. Increasing your links as they’re shared over social media by the popular users not only creates links for the Googlebot to index, but it also stimulates word of mouth.

An effective crowd marketing campaign can:

  1. Spread your links and content across the web expand, giving you better SEO
  2. Increase your online word of mouth
  3. Find new fans for your targeted social media accounts
  4. More fans means more share potential for your content
  5. Help you experience much better ROI thanks to the targeted marketing tactics

As with everything online and in life, the more you put in, the more you get out. Don’t expect to go viral and rapidly shoot up the Google rankings thanks to 5 minutes of time invested, or 10 bucks thrown someone’s way. Don’t even expect it with 10 times that investment.

What you can bet on is gaining new followers, increasing your exposure and slowly having those links which point to your website in a way which please search engines, and in a way which has more people finding your content.

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