The Social Search Revolution: 8 Social SEO Strategies To Start Using Right Now

Google’s searchbots have long relied on humans to endorse relevant and useful links. Recently, however, Google upped the human ante by introducing Google Social Search.

Google recognizes that one personal endorsement from someone we know easily outranks endorsements from 10,000 strangers. The same applies for a trusted authority: a blogging link shared by Darren Rowse or Brian Clark carries more weight than something a casual user shares.

So as a result, we have Google Social Search: meaning a site can jump from #30 to #3 in the SERPs just because someone in your Google+ circles shared the link. Getting an RT from The Huffington Post can jump your blog post from #8 to #1. It’s a brave new world of social SEO – and it’s one that no SEO can afford to ignore.

Leveling The Playing Field

Under traditional SEO practices, a modern startup would have no chance at ranking for highly competitive keywords. The other sites have been down in the trenches too long; it’d be nearly impossible to knock them off their SERP pedestal without years of campaigning.

Social SEO makes it easier for smaller fish to compete with the big guys. A tweet that receives a viral-size number of retweets can mean as much as a link from a top-ranking site; a +1 from a friend can send your site to the top of the social SERPs for that friend’s entire network.

Social media should already be a part of your business strategy. Now it’s time to harness the power of those social media accounts for your SEO strategy – or risk falling behind while your competitors cash in on their social chips.

Social Strategies To Start Employing Today

1.  Ramp Up Your Google+ Presence

It’s the most obvious one on the list, but it still needs to be said. Like it or not, Google has made it clear that G+ is here to stay – and it’s become too useful for an SEO not to take advantage it.

Though the network is still a lightweight compared to sites like Twitter and Facebook, Google+ is emerging as a champion heavyweight in search results.

As seen in the screenshot below, casual G+ posts are even showing up in search results:

Google+ results

Think Google+ search results are just limited to social search? Think again. Related Google+ users and pages show up in standard Web search, too:

Google+ non-social search results

From authorship to +1s to shares to circle numbers, Google is injecting social G+ results into nearly every Google Social search. Jumping to a first-page ranking solely because someone put you in a G+ circle? That’s a benefit no site can afford to ignore.

2.  Put A New Emphasis On Building Relationships & Increasing Followers

Everything you write or share can pop up in your followers’ search results – even if they’re not a member of the social site you shared the link on. The relationships we forge online now have a huge impact on our search results.

Every new follower you get may see your brand’s site in his or her SERPs in the future, so it’s in your best interest to ramp up your follower count. Host a giveaway (entrants must follow you on G+, for example), increase your outreach efforts, or give away an eBook exclusively for your followers.

3.  Start Posting Your Articles Immediately On Social Media

As Mitch Monsen of White Fire SEO pointed out, tweeting your content actually helps your content get indexed faster (especially vital if you’re posting time-sensitive material). Set your articles to automatically post on Google+, LinkedIn, etc. and you’ll get indexed even quicker.

4.  Focus On Shareable Content

Social shares have always worked in a SEO’s favor by granting us endorsements similar to direct inbound links. Now, shares have another benefit: if someone (even someone that doesn’t follow you on any social media sites) shares your content, the sharer’s entire network may see the post by searching for relevant material in Google Social Search.

Getting someone like, say, Newsweek to share your material? In addition to getting a nice boost in your rankings, you’ll also have access to that power user’s network.

5.  Add +1 Buttons To Anything & Everything

Have you noticed that Google’s even added +1 buttons to their ads? The +1 has turned into an Internet-wide Facebook like button.Don’t turn down the easy endorsement: slap the +1 button on your site wherever you can.

6.  Use “Rel=author” &  ”Rel=me” Tags To Link Your Work To Your Name

Darren Rowse Authorship in Google+

Searchers can now see thumbnails of the person who authored the article they’re about to read. If they liked what they read, they can simply return to the SERP and click “More by ________” to see the author’s entire catalogued body of work.

To clue Google in that you’re the author, you’ll need to use “rel=author” tags in your posts. Not sure how? Joost de Valk’s already written a comprehensive guide on the subject – and so has Google.

7.  Get On Pinterest 

PinterestI know it’s rapidly becoming a cliché to write about Pinterest, but the newest social site on the block has well-earned its praise due to its sheer SEO power.

This simple graphic from The Wall Street Journal nabbed the website nearly 1500 shares on Pinterest (and countless more traffic):

You probably already know Pinterest sends nearly as much referral traffic as Twitter (and more than YouTube, G+, and LinkedIn combined), but did you know Google now crawls pins and boards?

Optimize your pins for relevant search keywords; further optimize for Pinterest searches by hashtagging relevant keywords on each pin.

8.  Add  A “Pin It” & A StumbleUpon Button To Your Site

Take the shares anywhere you can get them. The aforementioned Pinterest has killer link traction, while the social bookmarking powerhouse StumbleUpon is second only to Facebook in terms of referral traffic.

Slap both “Pin It” and StumbleUpon buttons on your content right next to the Facebook, Twitter, and +1 buttons.

A Brief Word To The SEO Traditionalists

Am I suggesting social SEO practices are rapidly replacing traditional SEO methods?

Absolutely not.

Am I suggesting social SEO is better than traditional SEO?

Absolutely not.

Traditional SEO isn’t going anywhere any time soon. However, as social becomes increasingly integrated with search, it’s time to add social media as a permanent tool in our SEO arsenal.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

Related Topics: Channel: Social | Search & Social


About The Author: is the Senior SEO Manager for the agency, Red Door Interactive.

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  • Csilla Incze

    Great post Jordan. Indeed the stakes are higher where social media is concerned, now that Search Plus Your World entered the picture. But, I believe that this should not effect the way we “do” social marketing (except for the authorship markup part). What it does effect is how we do SEO, now that SM has a bigger part of the pie.

    Keep up the good work,
    Csilla Incze

  • James Hu

    Jordon, nice post! Makes sense…share, share, share and you will be rewarded. It’s almost like going back to elementary school and relearning the art of sharing! 

  • Jordan Kasteler

    @James – Yes, funny how those fundamentals come full circle. Thanks!

  • Jordan Kasteler

    @Csilla – You are correct. Thanks for your comment!

  • GrowTraffic

    This is so important, one of the things about the internet and being an seo is that people have really bought in to the myth of sitting back and letting the money roll in. It’s really turning out to be a re-education process to get them to start thinking of themselves in the social sphere – many of them don’t see the value of it and are resisting doing it!

  • Raj Kishan Ganta

    That was real great suggestions. As U rtly said traditional SEO is cummbersome but is there to stay. As per your suggestions Social SEO seems a bit easy and ideas. lInk post,
    positive thinking. lInk post

  • Usman Latif

    A really great post Jordan. This has become real important but I’ve been finding it difficult to make my clients understand the worth of Social SEO. They are reluctant at the moment to invest in social media. They know its worth but not in terms of SEO. Posts like yours help get them understand well about the things that are difficult to tell otherwise.

  • justinrfrench

    Thanks for sharing this Jordan- really powerful. I have been preaching this since 2009 and it finally seems to have gained mainstream with many businesses.  Many are still behind the curve.  If the businesses keep focusing on ROI of social media, they may get a wake up call over the next few years because they have just been slapped in their face with ROI (The return of ignoring) social business. Cheers

  • Ethical SEO

    This is a great piece of information and I’m really curious if in the future we will see a more social oriented search result from Google. There will always be new emerging social networks that make this very interesting and the quickly evolving tools to be used for SEO purposes as well. 

  • Jordan Kasteler

    Thanks Usman! It’s much easier to sell Social when it can also help SEO too :)

  • Jordan Kasteler

    No longer can you just sit back. It’s definitely a constant effort. Thanks @GrowTraffic:twitter 

  • Jordan Kasteler

    Thanks Raj!

  • Jordan Kasteler

    It takes years of preaching for people to finally get the picture. SEO was a tough sell years ago and now social media is :)

  • Jordan Kasteler

    I think Google is pushing that VERY hard right now.

  • joserico

    Thanks! great tools! 
    Jose Rico

  • Dotcom-Monitor

    Ah, mind the balance of enthusiasm and details….Keep in mind that adding all the social media buttons etc… can slow page speed load time. Sometimes significantly. Also Google+ is not visible for many international users coming to US websites….. 

  • Ali hendaoui

    Great info, thank you.

  • Ali hendaoui

    Great info, thank you.

  • Mark Traphagen

    Some great tips in this article, but the screen shot indicated does not show any “casual G+ posts.” It shows posts in the People and Pages on Google+ box, which only triggers for a select set of keywords, and only shows the very top users’ posts.

    However, your statement is true. I’m now at 11,000 followers on Google+ and climbing rapidly. Since late last year I’ve been able to see more and more of my regular, public G+ posts showing up highly ranked in search for longtail keywords. For an example of a post of mine from almost eight weeks ago that still ranks very high (currently #2) for a KW that has some search volume, search for “google+ page analytics” in a non-personalized Google search. 

    I now have tons of such posts showing up in Google search, many times outranking the original content I was sharing on G+. I’m trying to decide what factors are causing this for me: following on G+, the relative influence of followers, posting frequency, engagement, my AuthorRank from my use of rel=author on all my web content….or some mix of any or all of those.

  • Neale

    Seems like google is finally getting to a place where it’s very hard to stay on top with a “hands off approach” build it and forget it, is gone :-)

  • Jordan Kasteler

    Thank you!

  • Jordan Kasteler

    Very good point and something everyone should keep in mind!

  • Jordan Kasteler

    Yes, it definitely requires some resources and attention now.

  • AaronParrish

    Jordan, great article! You recommended in point #3 to “set your articles to automatically post on Google+…” Can you or anyone else tell me how to do that? Haven’t figured that one out yet.

  • Jordan Kasteler

    Congrats on your success. I think some of those big factors you’re looking at are definitely AuthorRank and follower quantity at this point. Expect the amount of factors and weight of each factor to evolve rapidly though.

  • Mark Traphagen

    I’ve been in search marketing for years. I know they will “evolve rapidly” ;-) They’d better, because right now it’s kind of wild west, and some crappy results are being served up.

    If you’re reading this today (20 March), try an incognito, logged out of Google search for “can google+ be fixed?” You should see a post from me at #1, where it’s been for a full day. At the moment I’m writing this, the rankings below that are all G+ posts: 

    #2 from Thomas Morflew
    #3 from Thomas Power
    #4 from Peter G McDermott

    Here’s the kicker: only the post by McDermott actually has content about “Can Google+ be Fixed?” The other three are all re-shares of his post, yet outrank his. So any search user clicking on them would have to click again on his post link within our posts to get to the actual content. 

    This is all very interesting, and I’m flattered that I’m able to outrank some users who have way more followers on G+ than I do, but in the interest of good search results, Google has some work to do on relevancy.

  • Mark Traphagen

    I don’t believe you can, except with HootSuite Pro, which partnered with Google and was given special access. There is no published incoming API yet.

  • Roger Mack

    Thanks for sharing such a great posts
    Check this : Top Social networking sites to increase blog traffic

  • Jordan Kasteler

    No problem. Thank you!

  • Jordan Kasteler

    I believe this is what I’m using

  • Mark Traphagen

    But that just finds Twitter friends on Google+. It doesn’t create Tweets to Google+

  • Gunjan Pandya

    This is a really good article about social SEO strategies… I am sure this strategies will definitely helpful to USA market… now one question raised in my mind that pinterest is also helpful to pin our services or products in European market. Is this strategy will be helpful to non English websites?

  • Sunny Mannan

    This is a good information.

  • Moumita Ghosh

    Excellent post Jordan….

  • Guest

    This statement made me really like this post: “Traditional SEO isn’t going anywhere any time soon. However, as social becomes increasingly integrated with search, it’s time to add social media as a permanent tool in our SEO arsenal.” I’m really glad you recognize that and had the wherewithal to point it out. So many “SEO bloggers” just publish so much BS about how social has replaced links and so on. They do it to boost their own traditional SEO efforts, that’s the funniest part. Anyways, nice post and great tie in at the end.

  • Tammy Emineth

    Google loves it’s own tools and we just can’t ignore or fight it. If we start using their tools, they will notice us more and more. GREAT article and insight. 

  • Gilad David Maayan

    Great post, thank you for the insights

  • Joe

    jordan  – is this seo for mass appeal, or is this more of a target marketing approach?

  • Rubix

    Nothing new here. This is the same stuff you hear regurgitated at every social media/seo/analytics event, and by every “wannabe expert” tweeter. If you weren’t aware of these things already, you need to find a new line of work. 

  • Sonny Lanorias

    Hey Jordan,

    Great post! Thanks for keeping us up to date of whats working now! Cool stuff. This was also what I predicted 3 years ago when I started blogging. Thanks again for sharing your great stuff.


  • KevinClark_devEdge

    I’ve seen people jump in search indexing and rank just by connecting their facebook page with their website. Blogging too, just for having one. Social, SEO, and Website Optimization are truly starting to work hand-in-hand now. Personally think it’s a good thing.

    Thanks for a well-written article.

  • Chris Edwards

    Jordan, great article. It is amazing where the social space has started to go. I work with my clients and try to get them to understand why they need to use social media, this article just helps me give them proof as to why they should. I have also found with my blog that the more I tweet, the better results I get from search engines, especially when others start retweeting my post. 

  • PassportVisas

    Thanks for the info. I was thinking G+ was not so important but since analyzing data recently(which I usually never do), I was surprised to see more impact from G+ than our Twitter page. We have been on Twitter for two years and G+ for two months and it’s clear that we should raise G+ priority over Twitter. Facebook is still king for us though.

  • Blake Waddill

    Good thinking, although, I don’t totally agree with having so many share options.  Especially for a site with smaller readership, having too many options may lead a user to skip sharing outright.  Maybe focusing on 2-3, and then selectively adding others for specific posts would make more sense?

  • Marc Scott

    I’ve been avoiding G+ because I just don’t feel like I have enough time for yet another social media account. After reading this, apparently I need to re-evaluate and make time. Great tips. Thank you.

  • Lenny

    I agree with them, GREAT POST! it give us more idea on how to handle our websites and Google which is always updating.

  • Archana Baktha have come 2 era of Humanising Search. Its a new site helping people search n learn new things daily…take a look.
    ******ur best source 2 gain traffic without SEO******

  • Sai Krishna

    Really I worked hard to get verified Google authorship, finally My CTR,Traffic increase and getting more conversions if compared to last month .

  • Sean Grey Hanson

    Well explained, I agree that social media is one of the greatest tools in driving a lot of web traffic to our sites. :)


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