What are the SEO benefits of social media?


How does using social media benefit your efforts with SEO?

Back in 2008, Search Engine Watch published the article ‘Social Media and SEO – Friends with Benefits‘, and I’d highly recommend reading it back now for a stark reminder of how far the digital world has progressed in the last nine years.

Some of the key statistics and points featured in the article (although contemporary at the time) may seem somewhat archaic in 2017:

  • Facebook having 140 million active users (when they are now over 2 billion)
  • LinkedIn having 30 million users (less than 10% of their current user base)
  • Popularity of now defunct social platforms like Digg (which sold for just $500,000 back in 2012)
  • MySpace being mentioned in the same breath as Facebook, LinkedIn, Reddit and Twitter (ha!)
  • Use of ‘SEO friendly’ anchor text when linking from social profiles (ahem… ‘money keywords’)

Nobody could have guessed what social media would become in such a short amount of time. Nearly a decade later and Facebook is nothing short of a social media superpower, Instagram has grown from zero to over 700 million users in the space of just seven years, MySpace has fallen out of popularity into the depths of dated pop-culture references, and using ‘SEO friendly’ anchor text is a very dangerous game to play in light of Google’s almighty Penguin updates.

It’s safe to say that everything is very different now, and as the social media landscape changes so too does its relationship with search engines and SEO practices. But what exactly is this relationship in 2017?

Social media and SEO: It’s complicated

In the past, Google have made contradictory statements regarding the role of social media in their ranking algorithm. On the one hand, they have stated that social media pages are indexed in the same manner as other web pages, and that social links therefore count as links.

But on the other, they have stated that social metrics do not constitute direct ranking factors. Over at Microsoft, the guys behind Bing have said that they too consider the authority of social media profiles (e.g. Twitter profile metrics) and mentions across numerous social platforms in their search engine.

As per usual, Google keeps their cards close to their chest. Research from the likes of Neil Patel show what Matt Cutts referred to in 2014 as a correlation but not necessarily a causation.

All very confusing indeed.

Can we 100% say that social metrics have a direct impact on search engine rankings? Probably not. However, if we look at the potential of social media’s influence on search engine rankings the story is different.

My personal opinion is that we should not be worried about whether links from social media platforms are valued in the same way as a link from a high quality and highly relevant website. Instead we should look at the benefits of utilizing social media to help boost ranking signals that we know search engines care about.

We should also bear in mind the impact of social media on the landscape of the search engine results pages (SERPs).

Focusing on any one particular ‘SEO metric’ is as old school as MySpace. SEO has evolved into far more than just keywords and links. Great SEO acts as a core function to any holistic, integrated digital marketing campaign.

We should consign the days of marketing departments operating independently to the history books and focus on the often significant benefits of integrated campaigns. Having said that, there are a few SEO metric-specific boosters that social media can provide.

Link earning

The holy grail of any link-building campaign. Link earning has the power to gain multiple links from a single piece of content compared with the individual links gained from more one at a time traditional guest posting tactics.

It is link-building on steroids, but unless your website’s content has a large amount of visitors or subscribers your link earning potential is significantly reduced.

Enter stage left: social media.

The great thing about social media in 2017? Almost everyone you know will have a profile, most likely with hundreds of connections. This provides a platform through which promotion of content can not only be distributed instantly to hundreds of people, but the more people engage and interact with your content, the more people outside of your direct network see your content.

Viral. How I hate that word. It sets often unrealistic expectations. Viral to me means millions of views, akin to the hard to grasp concept of Gangnam Style’s frankly insane popularity and near 3 billion views on Youtube.

It’s great if your content does go viral, but you don’t need millions of views and tens of thousands of shares on social for social media to have an impact on search rankings. Quality over quantity, my dear.

If you have even tens or hundreds of people engage with your post and content via a platform such as LinkedIn you can bet that the quality of those engagements is pretty high. If done correctly, those views of your content on social media will result in other content creators citing your content in their articles. Your content has just earned links, which has a direct impact on search rankings.

Front of mind: Co-citation and co-occurrence

As a brief follow-on to link earning, your dissemination of content via social will provide touch points with your brand across multiple platforms. To use another word that falls into my dislike category, your brand remains ‘front of mind’.

In turn, this can lead to mentions across the web in what is likely to be highly relevant content, therefore increasing your co-citation and co-occurrence metrics.

Brand authority and CTR

Social can be utilised to build not only awareness but also brand authority. Sure people are more wary about fake information and news on social media compared with a few years ago but that does not mean that engaging in a well thought out, high quality social media campaign will not develop your brand in the eyes of the public.

Guess what? When they go to search for a product they may even search directly for your brand name or associated search terms which are directly related to your brand. Failing that, if your brand name is the one result that they know within the search results, it can increase your click-through rates from search.

Social media in search results

Social media profiles are delivered within the SERPs, along with tweets due to Twitter’s provision for Google to access their “firehose” of real-time tweets. As a result, your social media presence does have an impact on your SERP presence.

Admittedly, the majority of social links within the SERPs appear for branded search terms, but this should not be discounted. If we are in fact looking at marketing as a more holistic practice in the digital age, then we have to ensure that your branded search terms result in high click-through rates from search.

Ever been freaked out by a company or individual’s lack of social presence? This can be especially poignant for newer businesses or non-household names. In today’s society where follower numbers, likes and shares have a real impact on authority, the fact that social media results appear in branded searches should not be underestimated, not only in click-through rates from SERPs but also future conversions.

Will social metrics ever be a direct ranking factor?

From our research, it is clear that there are some pretty large problems associated with search engines using social metrics as a direct ranking factor. These include limited access for robots to crawl the platforms and therefore understand social authority, and the prevalence of fake profiles or ‘bought likes’ which are likely to be viewed in the same light as paid links.

In short, there is currently too much provision for manipulation of these metrics for search engines to bank on them. Will this change in the future?

Considering that Google and Facebook are two of the largest companies in the world, vying for the attention of us all, we don’t see them joining hands, opening their doors and singing Kumbaya around a campfire together any time soon.

Social media has its own benefits

Whether or not Google or Bing count social metrics as direct ranking factors is somewhat of a moot point. Social media and SEO should be working together, sharing content or utilizing engagement metrics as data for future content creation.

Lest we forget, businesses can benefit from revenue generated directly from social media regardless of its influence on search rankings. Social media campaigns should be focused primarily on generating their own success, with SEO considerations as a secondary (but still important) consideration.

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How to 3X AdWords Conversion Rates Without Touching AdWords


Over the last six months or so, one of my colleagues and I have been able to cut the cost of conversion by 2-3x, from over $325 per conversion to under $100. Here’s what that looked like:

rlsa cost per conversion

Pretty impressive, right? If you can cut your cost per conversion that much, you can drive way more conversions with the same advertising budget. So how did this happen?

What Happened?

It’s often extremely difficult to connect cause and effect in search marketing, because there are so many variables changing at the same time. However, this analysis was aided by the fact that I hadn’t made any changes to the campaign in question:

  • Did we change the landing page? No.
  • New bid strategy? Nope.
  • New ads? No. We ran the same ads over the entire time.

I had done nothing at all to the campaign over the period in question, as it was a smaller RLSA campaign that we didn’t bother focusing on because it wasn’t housing a ton of spend.

When I discovered CPAs had gone down so much, I needed to know what the heck was going. It’s not every day an untouched campaign goes bonkers like this!

The first thing I checked was to see if the CPCs were going down. That could play a huge role in lowering CPAs. But as you can see here, the CPC is steady from week to week, with the exception of August where I had to turn off the campaign for 3 weeks for budget reasons.

rlsa cost per click

It wasn’t that click prices were going down – it was that that the conversion rates were going way up. From the 2% range to the 7-8% range in recent months, as shown here:

adwords rlsa conversion rates

How Did Conversion Rates Triple So Quickly?

Here’s what was different: During the time period in question, the company ran Facebook ad campaigns targeting higher-funnel audiences corresponding to people who have the same interests and demographics as their buyer persona. The audience size was approximately 20 million people.

We bombarded this selected audience group with tons of different videos, ads, offers and content. On average people in the target audience saw the ads just over 10 times each between February and October of 2017, as shown here:

facebook ad campaigns reach

The Facebook ads generated clicks and conversions as you would expect from any pay-per-click advertising campaign.

But I believe the campaigns had an additional halo effect of creating a strong brand bias among the people who clicked through to the site, which profoundly impacted the RLSA campaigns, since they only target people who have previously visited your site.

Over the spring and summer months, we bought a ton of Facebook ads, bombarding their newsfeeds with ads (essentially manufacturing brand affinity), and the conversion rates for the RLSA campaign went up every month.

What we’re seeing here is that people with stronger brand affinity have higher conversion rates than people without any, because people tend to buy from the companies they have already heard of and begun to trust.

What does it all mean?

I’m a CRO skeptic. I think there’s a lot of the CRO bs out there that is just a bunch of smoke and mirrors.

Most of the time when people talk about conversion rate optimization they focus first on the obvious things like tweaking ad copy and landing pages or changing your bids – yes, these are all important things we must attend to, but they rarely yield sustainable 200-300% decreases in cost per conversion.

conversion rate optimization hacks

When it comes to increasing conversion rates and lowering CPA, the unicorn of all conversion rate optimization hacks is to create brand affinity among your target audience, for your business.

Quantifying the impact of brand affinity on direct response marketing is very difficult to measure, but this case study isolates a lot of the noise and illustrates the huge impact it can have on purchasing decisions.

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AdTech: MobFox Acquired for $14m by Matomy, Now $36m+ in Ad Spend Annually


In Episode #828, Nathan interviews Gil Klein from MobFox where he’s the managing director and a C-level executive at Matomy Media Group. Having joined the company in 2006, he’s been the member of the executive management team since 2014. He previously served as senior VP of media and senior VP of clients for this particular group. He holds an MBA in International Management from the College of Management in Israel.

Famous Five:

  • Favorite Book? – Good to Great
  • What CEO do you follow? – Brian O’Kelley
  • Favorite online tool? — LinkedIn
  • How many hours of sleep do you get?— 5.5
  • If you could let your 20-year old self, know one thing, what would it be? – Travel even more than you already have, experiment, take a lot of risks and spend as much time as you can with your family

Time Stamped Show Notes:

  • 01:57 – Nathan introduces Gil to the show
  • 02:30 – Matomy is a global performance company that holds a few entities
  • 02:44 – Gil personally runs and oversees MobFox, which is a mobile in-app audience SSP acquired by Matomy in 2014
    • 03:15 – The acquisition was for $12M in cash
  • 03:30 – Gil was with Matomy since 2006 and he helped the company grow
  • 04:00 – MobFox makes money when their clients make money
  • 04:17 – The tools of MobFox are usually for the developers and publishers focused on the in-app space
  • 04:48 – MobFox tries to contact the best demand partners in the space like YuMe, AppNexus and PocketMath
  • 05:50 – In 2015, MobFox generated $18M of the transaction volume
    • 06:10 – MobFox’s charges depend on the deals they have
  • 06:32 – MobFox usually keeps 17-20% of the transaction
  • 06:56 – MobFox has grown to 36%
  • 07:09 – Gil believes that MobFox is currently in a great space
  • 07:51 – In 2017, Gil’s goal is to stretch as much as he can
  • 08:21 – MobFox is currently working with 20-30K publishers, 4K are SDK-based
  • 09:13 – MobFox currently has 180 DSP (Demand Side Platforms)
    • 09:35 – A single DSP can have a thousand advertisers
    • 09:42 – “We connect to a programmatic player”
  • 10:00 – Current headcount of MobFox is 73-74
    • 10:11 – 50 are engineers and the rest in sales, retention, HR and finance
    • 10:26 – MobFox team is global
  • 11:29 – Gil can and will do anything to get new customers, like suddenly showing up with presents and asking for a meeting
    • 12:23 – “I try to listen to the customer”
  • 13:15 – The Famous Five

3 Key Points:

  1. Set numbers for your goals, but aim to SURPASS those numbers.
  2. Find the best partnerships that you can where you can mutually benefit each other.
  3. Don’t hesitate to TAKE risks!

Resources Mentioned:

  • Simplero – The easiest way to launch your own membership course like the big influencers do but at 1/10th the cost.
  • The Top Inbox – The site Nathan uses to schedule emails to be sent later, set reminders in inbox, track opens, and follow-up with email sequences
  • GetLatka – Database of all B2B SaaS companies who have been on my show including their revenue, CAC, churn, ARPU and more
  • Klipfolio – Track your business performance across all departments for FREE
  • Hotjar – Nathan uses Hotjar to track what you’re doing on this site. He gets a video of each user visit like where they clicked and scrolled to make the site a better experience
  • Acuity Scheduling – Nathan uses Acuity to schedule his podcast interviews and appointments
  • Host Gator– The site Nathan uses to buy his domain names and hosting for the cheapest price possible
  • Audible– Nathan uses Audible when he’s driving from Austin to San Antonio (1.5-hour drive) to listen to audio books
  • Show Notes provided by Mallard Creatives

The post AdTech: MobFox Acquired for $14m by Matomy, Now $36m+ in Ad Spend Annually appeared first on Nathan Latka.

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Google AdWords Introduces Ad Unit for In-Store Products by @MattGSouthern


Google has announced plans to introduce local display ads for highlighting in-store products and sales.

The post Google AdWords Introduces Ad Unit for In-Store Products by @MattGSouthern appeared first on Search Engine Journal.

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The Importance of Dreaming Big and Envisioning Success


What else are we here for if not to live our dreams?

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