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SM & Your Eyecare Business: It’s Official! Google & Bing Confirm that Twitter/Facebook Influence SEO – Lesson 37

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It’s official – yesterday (Dec. 14, 2010) Bing and Google stated that sharing links through Twitter and Facebook directly affect search engine optimization (SEO). While this was assumed to happen, no one at any SEO company would state that the engines used information in this way.

When I started on Facebook in 2007, it was a closed network and provided no value in terms of helping my listings rise to the top of searches in my area for “optometrist” or any other eye care term. Things have now come full circle; today the social internet directly affects how your listing “floats” to the top of Google and Bing when people in your area search keywords and key phrases that deal with the products and services you offer. If you haven’t been tweeting or only use Facebook to talk to your friends, it is important that you start to think about the implications of this admission as far as your business marketing is concerned. This winter, my book “Searchial Marketing” will be published. Written for the layman, it describes how social media affects SEO and what you can do to market your business in the modern internet - mostly for free.

What Google and Bing are saying specifically is that when a link to an article is circulated, or in Twitter-talk retweeted, the search engines take note. Even more specifically, Google and Bing give preference to people with greater authority i.e. people who tweet, Facebook and use other social media tools repeatedly to discuss specific areas of content. These social media “influencers” are viewed by search engines as more relevant, and, as such, their content is given preference in the search, especially for those topics they are prolific in publishing about.

My previous blog, (see “The Conversation: Lesson 36”) discusses Klout – a method of gauging authority, and is a good place to monitor the results of your efforts towards becoming a more relevant participant in the social internet. Google specifically stated, and I quote “It [social authority] is used as a signal in our organic and news rankings. We also use it to enhance our news universal by marking how many people shared an article.”

Another surprising bit of information is that Google and Bing both admitted to computing calculating the authority of a user and tying that to the quality of the information they post. Both Bing and Google calculate whether a link should carry more weight depending on the person who tweets it as well. Google calls it “Author Authority” and Bing calls it “Social Authority.”

In Danny Sullivan’s interview with Google and Bing, “What Social Signals Do Google & Bing Really Count?”, he goes on to list important facts about how authority is used to “grade” content:
- Diversity of Sources – posting links solely from your blog or website isn’t nearly as valuable as posting links from across the internet.
- Timing – there is value in re-sharing old content; it’s not just new content that gives you authority.
- Surrounding Content – the content you provide in the tweet or post gives additional clues as to the relevance for any particular subject matter you are providing information on.
- Engagement Level – how many people share your information

This is a paradigm shift towards what is called “organic marketing” – as the internet evolves search engines are finding ways to pull up more relevant information for your query. This is beneficial for everyone, except the spammers, and I’m sure none of you are shedding a tear over their misfortune!

- Alan N. Glazier, OD, FAAO
Shady Grove Eye and Vision Care
Rockville, MD

Twitter Handle: @EyeInfo

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