Once upon a time, there was a search engine kingdom called Google. It used a vast number of signals (reportedly 200) to determine where a website page would appear in its royal rankings. Everyone wanted to have their content appear first. They tried many tips and tricks, which were dubbed “search engine optimization” techniques or SEO.
The Kingdom of Google produced long organic scrolls with 10 returns at a time, parchment stretching as far as the eye could see, beyond the hills of the kingdom.
Along came social media lords and ladies with names such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and Instagram. How would these social newcomers affect the SEO kingdom? Would they appear in the royal rankings? Would the Google King look favorably upon them?
Social Signal Confusion
In 2010, Prince Matthew of Cutts stepped forward and proclaimed, “Yes, yes, the kingdom of Google will look favorably upon these socialites in the royal court. We will honor them and make them part of the royal algorithm. They will be a ‘social’ signal, a beacon lighting the way in the royal kingdom.”
In 2014, Prince Matthew raised his scepter again and decreed, “No, no. Social signals are not part of the royal Google algorithm.”
This left the royal court confused. On the one hand, they could see Google+ posts in the search engine returns. By 2017, they saw recent Tweets (on the first page of the scroll!) within minutes of posting whenever they searched by hashtags. On the other hand, well…, the Prince of Cutts had spoken.
The Dukes and Duchess of Optimism in the royal court exclaimed, “Indeed if you have great content and always include a link, people will click to your page and read your content. You will have more visitors and surely the algorithm will favor you.”
“Balderdash!” others shouted. “You can’t even include a link on Lord Insta!”
Others muttered in their goblets, “Peasants like and share good content, but they do not click-through.”
The Duchess of Reason maintained, “Use best practices. The fickle king may change his mind and all that social authority may spring forth.”
The Social SEO Moral of the Story
Create appropriate content that people care about. Include a link when you can. Post on relevant social channels. Share your and others’ content. Always use effective hashtags. Remember King Google loves Google+.