Want to rank better in Google? If you’re an individual, you could build your own site and hope it does well. But you might have more success by creating a page for yourself on a social media site like LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter.
Ranking On Google: The SEO Way
Success with SEO depends on a range of signals that search engines interpret, such as those covered on our Periodic Table Of SEO Ranking Factors. You could build a web site, then hope that site gains enough favorable signals to rise up in Google. But for individuals, tapping into social media sites allows you to rank better on the favorable work those sites have already done or gained with Google.
Ranking On Google: The Social Media Way
The infographic starts out with stats that back up facts already well known: lots of people search for other people on Google, and few searchers go past the first page of results that they get. So what shows up on the first page is important.
How Social Media Profiles Rank
The bottom part of the infographic is most interesting. It shows, on average, where personal profiles from various social media sites tend to rank in Google’s results.
For example, Facebook and Twitter are both in the #4 box, which means on average, they tend to rank fourth in Google (obviously, only one will be fourth in any particular search, not both, but we’re talking about the average placement here).
The surprise to me was that LinkedIn gets the highest of rankings. The list looks like this for major social media sites:
- LinkedIn: #3
- Facebook, Twitter: #4
- Google+: #7
Google+ was another surprise. Google’s taken a huge amount of flak that it seems to favor its own social network, Google+. If that’s the case, how come Google+ doesn’t rank higher, on average. It might be that this study didn’t reflect personalized results. It might also reflect that not a lot of people still have Google+ accounts.
Dominating The Page
The middle of the graphic covers the concept of “owning” or “dominating” the first page of search results, where every result is one that you control, something that those who are seeking to have a positive appearance in Google aim for.
This is again where social media profiles come in. The ones from major social media sites listed above are all easy to obtain. Once gained, they might help you rank better for your name and “push down” other results.
Some of the other social media profiles not listed (but on the infographic), those from more niche sites, can also help. Open a WordPress blog, a Tumblr blog, a Vimeo account, a YouTube profile or a Flickr account, and the study suggests there’s an excellent chance these will gain first page rankings, as well.
Remember, however, something really negative that gains widespread attention might stay in Google’s top results, no matter what you try. Just ask Rick Santorum. Getting your own social media profiles make sense for a variety of reasons, including helping your Google “reputation.” But they are no guarantee of making negative listings disappear.
In addition, working in a negative fashion to remove results you don’t like — such as through ill-advised legal threats — might actually help cement those negative results in Google, if they gain much attention.