Why integrating social networks into your website is more important than ever
Article by Paul Kirk – www.paulkirkdesign.co.uk
You’ve almost certainly got a website and you’re probably active on one or more social networks but have you taken full advantage of those platforms and why should you bother?
The answer is simple – gone are the days of your website and social media networks being separate entities. While ‘Content is King’ it could be said that being vocal on social is the Queen. Search engines, particularly Google are increasingly using your social presence as an indicator of your authority, relevance in search terms and perceived reputation with your audience. They’re then using this, in conjunction with your website content and other factors, to determine where you will appear in search results. If your website doesn’t integrate social networks in some way then you’re seriously missing out and potentially your website is being ranked lower because of it.
So how can you rectify this situation? All social networks offer a variety of ways to integrate social media on your website, some are more useful than others. Here’s a quick rundown of the most popular.
1. Direct Links
Normally these are just buttons with the social networks logo on which then link directly to your social network page. These are helpful but not necessarily beneficial to improving search rankings. The most they do is tell your visitors that you have social media accounts – the fact they then navigate your visitors away from your website to your social networks is an obvious negative.
2. Recommend buttons
Examples of these are Facebook’s Like’ and Google +1’s ‘Recommend’. These just require a simple click and perhaps a quick comment. The benefit of these is, that in addition to showing new visitors the popularity of your page, post, product or service they don’t take your visitors away from your website. You should use recommendation buttons sparingly though and only add them to key pages.
3. Share buttons
These allow the visitor to comment on our web page, product or service and then share it with friends on their own social network accounts. Share buttons are the most useful in terms of SEO (search engine optimisation) as their sharing will be picked up by search engines both as a form of a ‘backlink’ to your website and as an honest and authoritative opinion.
Its advisable not to place share buttons on every page of your website as this generally doesn’t work – instead use these within news articles, blog posts or specific product/service pages. You can either use share buttons directly from the individual social networks or use a third party service/plugin like http://www.addthis.com to allow you to track shares and get more analytical statistics as to the success of your social media integration.
This option is available from certain social networks, in particular Facebook and Twitter. With a little technical know-how you can directly embed a ‘feed’ panel on a page of your website that allows visitors to see your last few tweets or posts and will automatically update themselves.
In addition to the four social media integrations I’ve mentioned above it’s important to remember that you can use your social networks to promote your news, products and/or services hosted on your website. Adding a shortened URL to your tweet or post encourages people to go to our website and read what you’ve written. Then, if after reading it, they share it with their followers your audience gets bigger and you potentially begin to get more credibility with the search engines.
Using all or even just some of these methods is a great way to improve your website’s profile with the search engines and increases your chances of gaining a respected and trusted reputation with your followers and theirs.
If you need any help with your social media or your website don’t hesitate to get in touch with me at http://paulkirkdesign.co.uk
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