Local SEO is evolving as a business strategy with tremendous potential because it helps search engines to provide information about entities that lie close to the person who is searching for the info. Localized optimizations promote business traction by enhancing businesses’ reach and availability to the user. Obviously, social media too is finding more relevance in local SEO as users, and businesses, are interested in what services are available close to them.
Social media is an influential driver of a website’s organic traffic. Even though social media does not directly help in the overall SEO rankings of a website, they drive exposure to the site through referrals. Considering that about one-third of the world’s population is using social media, it makes sense that social media is an active channel waiting to be tapped for business expansion.
Search engines do not index social media differently from actual website pages. Social media data is also considered somewhat cautiously by indexers because of the hazard of manipulations. However, ‘relevant’ social media pages are considered for indexing by spiders of significant search engines. Since ‘relevant’ is often translated as the number of hits or likes received by post on social media, posts with a significant amount of likes can find their way in the search results. This means that viral content can get quicker access to indexes of major search engines.
One crucial value addition of social media is that it is made of real people rather than bots that can artificially drive up traffic in sites. The involvement of people is what search engines look for to base their rankings. Therefore, as websites gather more social-media users, it cannot be overlooked by search engines.
Indexes pay significant attention to backlinks for ranking a website. Therefore, backlinks generated over a while increases the authoritativeness of a site, making it more relevant. A significant amount of content on the web is distributed via social media, and therefore it influences the level of ‘authority’ that a page accrues over time. Thus, a consistently active network of social media followers would expand the reach of the website to more places on the web. Consequently, search indexes would afford more credibility to such sites, boosting its rankings.
While there is no limitation on what can be discussed on social media, in most cases, it focuses on local subjects. The demand for local content has been growing as a recent study showed that 46 percent of all Google searches are for local results. This means that a local group on WhatsApp, for example, is more likely to discuss issues that immediately affect the community it addresses than say, the trade war between the US and China. This localization is what makes social media important for local SEO marketing.
Reviews, ratings, comments, and feedback on local businesses are more accurately available on social media and therefore hold much value for SEO engines when they rank a page. Businesses that respond to comments and reviews on social media also gain traction by being able to project a more responsive image of themselves. Search engine indexes keep track of heightened social activity because real people are the real concerns of search engine index managers.
The advent of mobile phones has played a significant role in linking social media with local SEO. Figures show that mobile phones generate 52 percent of all online traffic worldwide. Since social media exists mostly on mobile phones, the relevance of social media with regard to local SEOs is compellingly evident.
Companies can enhance their relevance on the web, and increase their local SEO rankings over time, by being proactive on social media. Firms that create a social media hub for employees are seen to have advanced quickly on the ranking scales. Similarly, creating a hub for customers also plays up the relevance of the firm in the digital world. Social media makes it easy for businesses to create a community that is ready to hear them, which is the first step in building an effective business.
A recent study by Deloitte showed that people first prefer to check out a business or service with those close to them before approaching the business directly. Even studies show that reviews have great potential in converting queries to actual business.
This means that local SEO rankings would depend much on how much activity a particular business is capable of generating on social media. For example, Google uses metrics such as relevance, distance, and prominence for local SEO rankings. All three factors are important considerations for a community discussing the business on social media. A recent study showed that in 93 percent of listing involving local intent, Google’s three-pack local results show up. Therefore, becoming local has become the key driver in the quest for going global, thanks to social media.
Businesses can integrate social media as a key local SEO driver. Combined with social media marketing, a marketing strategy can work as an effective tool to grow web traffic.