If you follow search engine optimization at all, you’ve probably heard about Google’s increasing focus on social media signals and how they can affect SEO in a positive way. Is social media necessary to ranking highly on Google? Not at this point, but it will be interesting to see if that becomes the case in the future. Can social media help boost your rankings? It sure can. Should you make it an absolute priority on a tight budget? No way! Here are some reason why you don’t have to get stressed out over the fact you don’t have a strong social media presence:
- To be effective, it really takes a ton of time and hard work. And, I do mean a ton of time and hard work when I say that. Are 100 followers going to make a strong difference to your search engine rankings? Not likely. Would 1000? Maybe a little. How about 20,000? Now, that might make a difference. But, Google doesn’t care so much about your follower count as it does about the quality of those followers. Quality followers share your stuff. Did you know it’s possible for anyone to get 20,000 followers? It is – there are agencies that will happily help you get 20,000 spam followers from Bangladesh, Indonesia, and other obscure parts of the world. But, a high follower count does you no good if these people don’t care about what you say – which is usually the case when outside agencies make extravagant promises about follower counts. It takes several years of hard work, and a little luck, to get high follower counts.
- It’s hard to monetize social media. Professionals themselves are still trying to figure out how to make money on social media. The fact is that for most companies, it’s really difficult. What do you post to keep people interested and engaged on a regular basis? Will this lead to them making a purchase when you offer it in the future? It’s hard to say, really. To really do a social media strategy right, it takes a ton of time and dedication – at least several month’s worth. And, you have to track everything so you know what works and what doesn’t. If people aren’t sharing your stuff – it’s tough to figure out why and what action you need to take in order to encourage them to make the shares.
- Back-linking is still king. When it comes to boosting your rankings in a hurry, back-linking is still the foundation of any SEO strategy. It is losing some of its strength, but how else is Google going to determine how important your site and its content are in relation to others? Yes, social media are a factor, and yes, the quality of your site’s content is a factor. But neither of those tell Google which keywords you are ranking for, or how highly you should be ranked. Back-linking still remains supreme, although social media and content do provide a boost.
If you’re on a tight budget, a social media strategy just isn’t worth the time or effort – not for SEO reasons, and not for making sales. The only people who can guarantee returns from social media are either 1) really popular in the first place or 2) have a certain amount of luck on their side. If you have extra time and money to experiment with, go ahead and try out a social media strategy. Otherwise, leave it alone.