Google and Twitter have recently reached an agreement, allowing Google to access all tweets in real-time. Tweets will now appear in the search results in Google as they are tweeted (which was the case before Google lost access in 2011). Watch this Daily Brown Bag to learn about the SEO benefits of utilizing social media (such as Twitter), and how real, valuable social media activity contributes to your overall authority. You’ll also gain insights on how local businesses have an advantage on social media, advice on social media engagement, and about the integration of social media, Tweets & other elements into our white label SEO program.

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Hello, and welcome to the Daily Brown Bag. Today we’re going to be talking about social signals and SEO. I’m Chad Hill, and I’m joined by Adam Stetzer.

Hey, good morning, Chad. Welcome to the Brown Bag. Social media and SEO has been a topic we’ve definitely talked about a great deal, Chad. Our SEO reseller community brings up social media and SEO often. When you’re shopping for a white label SEO solution, I’m sure social media is now part of the bundled package you’re looking to offer because everyone’s looking into that.

The news we’re covering today is that Twitter and Google have reached another agreement. This will allow Google access to all tweets in real-time, which means that tweets will now appear in the search results in Google as they are tweeted. If you’ll remember, this is how things were, but then they lost access. Now they’ve got it back. So that’s the news today, and that has many people asking, “What are the SEO benefits of using Twitter?” Folks in our SEO reseller program are out selling SEO packages, and I’m sure that’s a consistent question from customers: “I want to have my social media profiles filled up, but is that also going to help my rankings?” We want to talk a little bit about this today, Chad, about what they should expect to see and will this be a change? What are the best practices?

Advice About Social Media Engagement

Our advice on this is pretty much the same as it’s been for years. Our advice about social media is the same as all your other online tactics:

  • Your activity should always have your audience/customers in mind. It’s critical to think about your customers and what information they might need. And that’s a great guiding principle when you’re talking about trying to go after rankings or trying to have a great social media presence.

  • You want to be putting out quality content. It’s just so much easier to market high quality content, whether you’re just trying to get up there on the search or you want people to re-tweet it.

  • If you make a valuable contribution to the conversation, it will engage better with your audience.

  • It will also help you build relationships, both with your customers and audience - those who might be sharing your content and helping expand your reach into the industry.

The Benefits of Social Media on Your Rankings

Let’s get a little more specific, though. That’s sort of our generic prescription always. Does this help your ranking, Chad? What are our thoughts on that?

This is very interesting, Adam. I think the big question here is: How much did Google pay for this? Who’s in control of this deal? It would be very interesting to see if that comes out. Is there a big financial check written from Google to Twitter? Do they really think the Twitter data is very useful for their algorithm, or is this more of a way for Twitter to actually get some more audience? Who knows.

In terms of the question of social media and SEO, the complexity here is that people have said it many times -- Google has said this -- there’s no direct connection between a Tweet (at least at this point) and some sort of signal to improve your rankings.

Real, Valuable Social Media Activity Contributes To Your Overall Authority

The two-step is that when you are promoting your content and if it’s good enough that it picks up and spreads on Twitter and people are re-tweeting it, then it’s very likely good enough that people are going to be interesting also in linking to that content (more diverse, natural links) and mentioning it in information or blog posts or other content that people are putting out. It’s one of these typical things of how that lines up.

Social Media Brings More Attention To Your Brand & Website

The other big thing here is that social media and good social signals actually are very important to building your brand and contributing to your overall authority. The way that works is that, again, if you’re creating good content and it’s been spread and re-tweeted on Twitter, you’re building up an audience and a brand. We talked about this in some previous Brown Bags -- about the good signals it sends Google when there are branded signals in terms of people searching and clicking through on your website. Building a brand is very good. It’s a very important part of engagement, which is very much a part of some of the ranking factors that people are seeing.

The Local Business Has an Advantage On Social Media

I think the final one is that, for local businesses (and this is a big part of the SEO reseller community that we have -- most of our resellers work with local businesses and people looking to white label their services), Twitter and social media are also very good because they allow you to be hyper-local and target your local market. We spend a lot of time here because we work with a lot of local publications, trying to think about ways to take Twitter especially and use it, not only to source trends and news and a local market, but also to build an audience in a local market. We’ve run some really interesting experiments that allow us to better understand how to use Twitter to help promote the content that we’re creating in our SEO reseller programs so that it gets more traction and sends these secondary signals that ultimately help people improve their rankings.

It’s a little nuanced, Adam, but social and SEO definitely are linked. Of course, the biggest thing is that SEO has become more and more related to public relations. Social media is very much of a PR tool as well. There are a lot of overlaps and a few nuances we have to kind of think about, but very interesting development here.

What you’re saying is that, if you want just the very direct answer to: “If I Tweet a lot, does it affect my rankings in a very direct sense?” The answer is we think. From the data available is: no. If you then say, “Therefore, social will not help my SEO,” that’s very short-sighted, and it’s actually incorrect. If you were to survey 50 different SEO experts, they’d probably all say no, that’s a crazy idea. It absolutely does help. And it is more complicated than you want it to be, but -- as SEO has become more competitive and as Google has pushed us to higher and higher levels of quality for our content -- this is just the reality of the landscape in 2015. You really need to have a social strategy as part of your SEO strategy because it’s how you’re going to push out that high quality content.

Integration of Social Media, Tweets & Other Elements Into Our White Label SEO Program

The closing point that I’ll make is that that’s why we have started to integrate so much more social and tweets and other elements into our white label SEO program just as a default. Because we’re building very high quality content, and we want to get the maximum engagement and reach. We run our own accounts on Twitter and various different verticals. We’ve been monitoring very closely how they’re doing; across those Twitter accounts, we’re up to about 65,000 followers. There’s a lot of interaction, a lot of retweeting going on and a lot of sharing of that content. Again, because it’s excellent content. We make that available to people in our SEO reseller program for their customers. Our software also will automatically tweet out content to your end clients’ Twitter account, which is great. It makes their social profile look a little more lived-in, and it helps, again, push out that content to any followers that they have. That’s bundled in at no charge. I think more and more, you’ll see -- as you said, Chad -- the merger of SEO, social, and PR as the quality of content goes up and up and up, as it really should for any SEO reseller program.

That’s our coverage of the news today. Google and Twitter have once again reached an agreement, and we’ll now start to see tweets again in the Google search output. We hope you’ve enjoyed this coverage, and we ask you to subscribe because we’d love to see you back here tomorrow.