Top 10 Reasons Social Media is Important for Search Engines and Website Traffic



Search engine optimization and ways of driving website traffic have changed dramatically over the last few years.  It used to be all about the algorithms.  Then Google’s all-powerful algorithms were over-ridden by the phenomenon of social search as social media developed, grew and exploded into the collective consciousness.

Google fought back, creating, scrapping, re-creating and refining its own social media platforms and apps to compete with its major competitor, Facebook.  In fact, the two giants are running neck and neck, miles above every other social network.  Facebook holds # 2 ranking – both at home and globally, according to

The emphasis Google has been putting on its own social networks should give us the biggest clue why social media is important for search engine and website traffic.

Namely, it works.

1.    Social Media Keeps Up with – and Enables – Trends

What’s the one consistent fact about internet culture, social platforms and technology nowadays?  It’s always in a state of change.  And one fact that is quickly becoming self-evident:  Whichever social network can adapt to the cultural mindset the quickest draws the biggest audience.

Have you ever seen documentaries that show how certain fish not only school together, but move as one fluid entity, shifting this way and that as if they possess one mind?  Well, social networks in today’s cultural climate operate exactly like that.


These networks go with the flow and are not manipulated by algorithms.  In fact, algorithms are being feverishly adapted to keep up with popular online connection practices and habits.

Both social media developers and Google programmers know this.  Changes in algorithmic practices have resulted in a shift away from rigid formulae to the phenomenon we all know by now as “social search”.  If even Google is rushing to follow social platform leads, that’s a powerful message about the importance of social media.

2.  Social Sharing is the New SEO

What makes Google sit up nowadays is the sharing capacity and performance of a site – not backlinks.  In fact, Google now penalizes backlinks from exact  anchor text, boosting sites in the ranks if their content is fresh, original, authoritative, comprehensive, spam-free – and above all, shared.

Want to rocket up in search rankings the easy way?  Follow the example of top-ranking sites such as Social Media Examiner here and install the Google+ “+1” button, as well as the “g+” follow icon.


And do install share buttons for the other major players – Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and LinkedIn.

3.  Social Networks are where People Spend Their Time

3-mobile-and-handsHanging out on social networks has become as common in this era as watching “I Love Lucy” on TV was in the 1950s. If you aren’t sure what “I Love Lucy” is, at least now that times certainly have changed. It’s what people did, back then, to unwind after their work day.

Nowadays thanks to mobile phones, people don’t have to wait until “after work”:  They can – and do – quickly check Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter feeds any time, day or night.

In fact, Mashable published an infographic in November, 2012, showing that “social media accounts for 18% of time spent online”.  (But did you know that fastest growing segments are “males of all ages and people over 55”?)

People now habitually ask friends for opinions, check in at local businesses, complain about poor service – and visit websites promoted through social ads and social media Business Pages.

4.  Social Networking Improves Your Google Rank

There are two things you must do, to quickly advance in Google’s search rankings.  Number one is purchase a domain in your own name (if that is not already taken).  Next, join the top social networks and optimize your profile within each one.


Let’s take an extremely common name – say, “Ann Johnson” – and type it into Google’s search bar.  We have 243,000,000 results.  And out of that 243,000,000, which results come up in the top four positions?

Let’s take a look…


Top place goes to the Ann Johnson who was lucky enough to secure her namesake domain –

Second, third and fourth results belong to Ann Johnsons who have profiles on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.  That’s a great example of leveraging the power of strong social sites – and the particular Ann Johnsons featured here didn’t just sign up and create any old profile.

They optimized their profiles, right down to the “Twitter” Ann Johnson creating a custom URL, “”.

(It’s more than probable that “” was already taken, so she got creative and used a keyword –i.e. “vote” – relevant to her Twitter goal.

5.  Social Media Arouses Curiosity – and Sharing

If you are wondering how to make sure your content is frequently or virally shared (which can increase the value of your profile to Google over the profile of someone else who has the same name), then it’s time to pause before you press the “post” button.

The million-dollar dollar question to ask yourself is…

  • “Is this content share-able?”


If you don’t know what “share-able” constitutes, take a look at:

  • Posts that reap a storm of comments and shares from your target niche
  • Types of posts that gather more shares in your niche:   A particular website’s?  An incendiary topic?  A frustrating challenge?  Cute kitten photos?  Shabby-chic décor? Your YouTube Videos?  Photographs?  Instagram shares?

And above all, if people like your content, they share links to your site.

Dynamic, interactive and emotion-catching content is definitely one of the top ten reasons social media has become important to your search engine ranking

6. Social “Rich Media” Apps Make Your Content More Share-able

One of the biggest advantages social media endows, when it comes to driving traffic to your website, is in the number of rich media apps they allow you to easily install; as in videos, photos, links and sound clips.

6-twitter-cardsThis brings not only a degree of interactivity to your site – always a good thing when it comes to share appeal – but helps your site stand out and grab attention.

Not only that, but you don’t have to pay for developers or spend hours slaving over code:  The social networks have done all that for you.

Take, for example, Twitter cards.  These go in your website HTML so that when readers tweet or retweet your content, they don’t just tweet the link; they tweet your rich media too, as Adam Burrell shows in our example, left.

Not only does this drive traffic to your site, it gives you complete control on how it is presented.  To install the snippet of code for Twitter cards, visit the Twitter developers link.

Best of all, you can easily add Twitter cards through a dashboard-searchable WordPress plugin.

7.  Social Networks are Developing More Rich Media Resources All the Time

If there’s one thing social networks and developers do brilliantly, it’s creating apps designed to outdo the competition, send people to your website – helping you show up at the top of search results.


For example, not only does Twitter offer Twitter cards for your website, they sweetened your links by incorporating rich media into their own platform so you can instantly add a photo or location to your tweet.

8.  Social Networks are Competitive

And that’s good news for you!  The major players have the big bucks, staff, experts and resources to spy on and analyze each other’s results.  If you see a strategy such as rich media copied from one network by another, you can pretty much bet it’s a viable traffic-generation and engagement strategy – particularly when development competition seems to be fierce.

Another tip:  When people start blogging about a strategy or app and creating SlideShare presentations, you know that one is here to stay.  (Till the next one comes along, that is…)


9.  Social Networks Drive Online Traffic to Local Businesses

This should come as no surprise to anyone, but for local businesses who create online presences (as more and more of your competitors are doing nowadays) social media such as location apps (e.g. Foursquare) can really give an edge.


Apps such as these prompt people to “check in” and announce where they are via mobiles.  And people seem to love to do this!

10.  Reviews Drive Traffic

If you have a local business, social apps and networks are invaluable for providing your customers or clients with the opportunity to easily post reviews – particularly via Google+ Local.


Claim and optimize your Google+ Local space to attract people to your website or business, instead of your competitors’.  And one side effect will be that you attract targeted customers or clients who never would have found you, any other way.

Location, reviews, recommendations, “Likes” and photos or videos of your products or business – and most of all, the opportunity to let a wide market hear your unique “voice” – make social media not only important for driving traffic to your website, but vital to search engine rankings and results.

Getting Trendy With Twitter Promoted Trends


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Promoted Trends is one of Twitter’s methods of advertising that allows you to advertise directly to twitter users’ homepages. Your ad will appear in the “Trending” area, with a “Promoted” box next to it to indicate that your trend is an ad, not an organic listing.

Unlike Promoted Tweets, Promoted Trends allow you to get your advertising message in front of your users without them having to type in a specific search message.

This can result in a massive infusion of impressions, user activity and engagement.

Here we’ll talk about how trends work, how Promoted Trends work, who initial advertisers are and what their results were and finally how much it costs to use Promoted Trends.



Twitter has developed a proprietary algorithm that ranks the most talked about topics and displays them on the front page of all its users.

The algorithm takes into account impressions, retweets and general activity and looks for tweets that are getting more popular at a rapid pace. It also filters out topics that people are likely not to be interested in. For example, if the teenage population suddenly got interested in Justin Beiber’s new album, you may not necessarily hear about it because Twitter will filter it out.

Here’s how the Twitter trending topics normally looks like:

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The trending topics are located just below the “Who to follow” on the right hand side.



Promoted Trends allows you to pay for a placement where the trending topics appear. Your ad will also appear as a Promoted Tweet along the top of the results.

Here’s an example of how your Promoted Trend might look:

 3 - Promoted-trends

Courtesy of Twitter Business



Pixar was the first company to use Promoted Trends to advertise on Twitter. They used it to promote their Toys Story 3 movie release.

Coca Cola was the second company. During the World Cup, Coca Cola advertised #WC2010 as their Promoted Trend.

They got 86 million impressions within that one day. Their estimated ad spend was in the high tens of thousands. For Coca Cola, spending a few tens of thousands to get 86 million impressions was a very successful outcome.

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One of the most powerful things about Promoted Trends is that your advertising is being tied to a current event or a topic that people are interested in.

For example, Coca Cola would have never gotten as much of a response as it did if they hadn’t picked the World Cup as the time to advertise. Twitter users flooded to the site to tweet about the World Cup and Coca Cola took advantage of that brilliantly.

What could you hitch your business on to? What are current events or events happening in the near future that your business could hightail on to with a Promoted Trend?

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In 2010, a day of Promoted Trends was estimated to cost around $70,000 to $80,000. Today the cost is estimated at around $200,000, according to CNET (report here).

While the price is steep for small advertisers, it’s important to remember that your ad will be shown to almost Twitter’s entire database. This kind of exposure is extremely difficult to get anywhere, especially with a brand as trusted as Twitter.

To apply to become a Promoted Trend advertiser, visit:


How to Be a Detective for Hot Topics

find_hot_topicsOne of the best ways you can guarantee profits for your digital book is to make sure it coincides with a hot topic. A hot topic is basically anything that a lot of people are talking about right now.

For example, when Tim Ferris’ “Four Hour Workweek” came out, that started a whole explosion of people who were trying to work virtually. When George Bush announced the war on Iraq, a whole host of books on both sides came out. As social media began to take off, a whole host of books came out about that as well.

What you don’t want to do is write a book after the topic has cooled. For example, playing online poker was a huge topic a few years ago. Today, such a book would have virtually no chance of success.

So how do you find hot topics in your genre? Here are a few tips.


Browse the Amazon Bestseller Lists


Look in your genre in the Amazon bestseller lists and see what kinds of books are selling. Whenever you choose a category in the Kindle or regular Amazon bookstore, you can choose to sort by popularity:


If you’re in the health industry and you see that 12 of the top 30 books are dealing with how to build abs, then you know that that’s currently a hot point for your industry.

If you’re in the graphic design industry and you notice that books on photo editing on iPhones are taking off, you might want to do something on that topic.


Use Google Tools


There are a couple of different Google tools you can use to help find hot topics.

Google Trends: This tool will tell you exactly what the hot trends are on a day to day basis. You can also type in a keyword and see whether it’s on an upward or downward trajectory.

This is great for researching a topic after you’ve already decided you’re interested in it. For example, if you decide you’re interested in iPhone photo editing, you can type a few related words into Google Trends to check to make sure it’s actually trending upwards.


Google Keyword Tool: This tool allows you to get exact traffic numbers for how many times certain words are typed into Google. You can also find related keywords to make a better assessment of the popularity of the topic.

This tool is great for evaluating the maximum amount you could earn from your book. However, it’s not a great tool to evaluate trends. Ideally, you want to get in on a trend in the beginning, when search volume is just beginning to rise, rather than when it’s already high and there are a hundred other competitors.

Watch What Magazines Are Saying


You can really stay on top of industries and trends by reading magazines. Magazines are usually updated monthly, which means you’ll be getting up to date information. Unlike internet sources however, magazines contain content that’s vetted by multiple people. There’s rarely any repeat information; instead real journalists go out into the world to look for a real scoop.

Get in the habit of reading a couple different magazines that focus on your industry or niche. If you notice that a lot more articles are suddenly being written about a certain topic, you can bet that that topic is getting hot.

You might also find that is a great source of finding a variety of magazines in given niches. Most of the magazines have current covers shown on the site, so you can see the hot topics for recent issues. If you click on any magazine cover image, it will open up to a larger size so it’s easier to read.


After finding a magazine at, you can search for the magazine’s official company website to find more in-depth information on the current stories.


Watch Audible’s Sales


Audible is an Amazon subsidiary that sells audiobooks at What’s great about Audible is that its audience tends to be early adopters. Also, in order for books to be adapted to audiobook, it usually already needs to be a success or the publishers feel very confident that the book will be a hit.

Because of these two factors, Audible is a great place to look for the hottest new trends. Look in the bestselling sections and the new releases sections of specific categories.

You can also find “Customer Favorites” in the categories that you browse through.



Doing Your Homework

These are a few different ways you can find hot topics to write digital books about and the key is to continue to do research over time. Finding hot topics is all about watching and understanding trends and as you watch them over time, you come to understand how things work.

While it’s very possible to write a successful book even if you’re not writing about a hot topic; your chances of writing a blockbuster are much greater when you’re talking about things that people are already talking about…so do your homework. It’s worth.