The way search engines operate is a subject of constant debate. Nobody seem to agree on the intricacies but everybody agrees that search engine ranking factors are a soup of different algorithms working in tandem looking at different aspects of a website and how they are related to other sites .
Since recently, most minds in the trade are in agreement that social factors such as Twitter and Facebook (among other things) are impacting the way a site is being ranked by search engines. In particularly Google is looking at social factors for ranking in a big way. Unlike other times, this claim is not vehemently rejected or hotly debated since most people understand that Google has some sort of agenda with the newly introduced Google+ platform.
There are a couple of things that you have to keep in mind when you try to go down the road on using social signals for rankings. First, social signals are still used to measure the social impact of a given website or a webpage. Search engine algorithms still reign high. However, getting a couple of hundred ‘likes’ for your website is going to be considered as a clear enough signal for search engines to consider your website seriously for rankings. Same goes for tweets and social bookmarks.
The beauty of social signals is that it’s hard to fake a social signal unless you are an uber social media junkie. Also, faking social signals is easy to monitor so it doesn’t make much sense for a business to do it. If more social signals are generated from the same set of people, that can mean only a few things like the following:
So unlike most other ranking elements, social signals are a better signal for search engines. But there are some barriers which stop social signals from being used widely at the time of this writing. For example, Bing is the preferred search engine for Facebook. Also, with Microsoft owning 1.6% equity of Facebook valued at $1.36 billion, Google may find it difficult to get full access to social elements usable for search ranking any time soon.
On the other hand, Twitter lets search engines use its data. But consider this. Twitter users produce 200 million tweets per day. Considering an average tweet being 110 characters long and an average word being 4.5 characters long, Twitter publishes around 44 million words every 13 minutes which is equivalent to the word count of all the 32 volumes of ‘The Encyclopedia Britannica’! In any sense of imagination, search engines don’t have the capacity to crawl, index and rank most of the Twitter data at this point.
So do you have to worry about the social signals for search engine rankings? To be honest, it may be a good time to start considering the potential benefits. If you do not have a Facebook fan page or a Twitter account for your business, we would encourage you to start building your networks. Once you get into it, you’ll notice that it is quite fun and interesting connecting to customers in a new way.
Seems far-fetched and think that we must be joking? Well, it is real and there are optimal times to post on sites like Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin. After some solid research, guys at Vitrue came up with some really interesting facts that can be helpful for small to medium size businesses that use social media for improving their business reach. There is a lot of information in their report. But let us break down the important elements that may help better position your social media efforts.
Days when the most number of viewers get on Facebook
Image courtesy: Vitrue
Most interactions happen towards midweek with the peak taking place on Wednesday.
Let’s have a look at the times in which most number of interactions happen on a weekly basis.
There are few peaks in Facebook interaction throughout a day. The peaks happen somewhere around 11.00AM, 3.00PM and 8.00PM EST and there are few factors that contribute to these peaks.
This is actually a fascinating breakdown of social media interaction in the United States. More information can be found here at Vitrue (Be warned, you have to part with your email address). But what’s more important is how to use this information for better Social Media campaigns.
How to use this information?
It would be a good idea to share information in the morning. In fact, sharing information in the morning is 65% more effective than any time else judging by the flow of shares, likes and comments. Stats aside, sharing information in the morning makes sense because you’d have your information available for a longer time.
Contrary to what someone would expect, Social Media is not so effective during the weekend. It’s quite an irony also because social interactions are deemed to happen during the weekend but apparently not so online.
The most important takeaways are:
Optimize and schedule your posts to go out during the morning for maximum visibility and engagement.
Schedule posts a few minutes before the top of the hour. Most number of people go on Facebook during the 0-15 minutes of each hour so have your content ready for them to share soon before they get on Facebook. It gives a competitive advantage for your business if they see your posts at the top of the updates stack first thing as they log in.
Facebook interaction is fueled by what you offer to your audience to take away. Make your information juicy so the community managers out there share it with their peers. If possible, offer something back to them as tribute for following you. Simple gestures go a long way in customer engagement and customer satisfaction.
Read more of the Vitrue article here.
Social Networks and Forums are two of the major interactive platforms on the web. While both have their strong points and large user bases, the two are vastly different. Forums are more or less evolved bulletin boards. They are meant for discussion of various subjects and subject based interpersonal interaction.
The Forum is structured like a tree. Each is made from many topics or threads and each topic is usually part of a group of topics which fall under a common generic topic. Each thread is made up of posts. A post is whatever an individual user publishes on the forum at that time. Forums are public domains which have administrators and moderators who maintain the site as well and the enforcement of rules and regulations. Rule breaking can result in one being banned from the forum. Repeat offenders are banned for increasing amounts of time till the use of a permanent ban. Forums are very much active with Japan far in the lead with over two million posts per day on 2channel which is their largest forum. China’s Tianya Club also has many millions of posts. Forums present a wealth of information for anyone willing to dig in.