SEO has been an essential part of brands’ online marketing strategies in the race towards top rankings on Google search. However, a new research reveals that social media engagement connected to a website can leverage a sizable rise (or even fall) in Google rankings independently from any SEO initiatives.
About the research
Six websites were established. Each site focused on similar sized American cities and contained similar type of content and URL. During ten months the content of the websites was left alone while gradually integrating various social media channels to five of the sites – the 6th website operated as a control test and was kept clear of social media channels throughout the entire test period.
Social media channels tested:
- Business page followers
- Google+1 votes to the site
- Likes and Share
- Tweets and Retweets
The research not only aimed to reveal if any of the social media channels would influence the ranking on a Google search, but also if any of the channels ranked higher than others. The infographic says it all, really: Google services unquestionably created the best ranking results in the test. Not really that big a surprise all things considered. However, the negative ranking result of gaining 1000 Twitter followers seems off considering the assumed added user relevance to the website.
However, the most interesting finding in the test is neither the fact that Google services bring great ranking results nor that a certain amount of Twitter followers creates a fall in ranking. It is the fact that the control test-website with no added social media channels experienced a slight decrease in ranking. Point being that without adding any social media channels a site’s ranking is entirely dependent upon the SEO-efforts. To further elaborate, a successful SEO strategy should explore the opportunities hidden in the use of social media channels if wanting to secure a great Google ranking.