How social signals will affect search rankings in 2014

The significance of social signals in affecting search engine rankings has been widely speculated, and rightly so. Talk hasn’t shifted at the start of 2014.

If anything, gossip surrounding this known ranking factor is not going away. Just how much it affects a site’s search rankings is left open to much debate.

In a recent Search Engine Journal piece, Matt Cutts explains the importance of social media signals on search rankings — and when Head of Google’s Web Spam says something, it’s certainly not to be taken lightly.

There are a lot of people who take what Matt Cutts says with a pinch of salt though too. How much a factor social media alone has is hard to say for sure, with so many other factors including Page Rank, on-site SEO, Hilltops and HITS algorithms – amongst many others – all at play as well.

The social signal experiment

Whilst it is hard to measure the exact impact of social signals alone on Google’s search engine rankings, there have been some healthy experiments carried out drawing attention to its certain impact.

There is an amazing infographic from QuickSprout.com on: How social signals impact search engine rankings.

How Social Signals Impact Search Engine Rankings
Courtesy of: Quick Sprout

Google+ impacts search rankings more

As you can clearly see from the wonderfully animated infographic above, the importance of (surprise, surprise) the Google+ social network appears unquestionable.

The number of followers (or circles in which one’s Google+ profile sits) affected rankings the most. With 100 followers, close to a 15% increase in search engine rankings was found.

After 300 +1s on a post, there was a near 10% increase in search engine rankings reported.

As Google+’s links are do-follow by nature, versus Twitter and Facebook’s no-follow links, the clout given from a link from the Google’s growing social network is undeniable.

With the promise of 2014 (finally) being Google+’s year in the social media stakes, I think it’s important to step-up and take notice now, before you miss the boat.

One thing’s for sure, not adopting a Google+ presence is social and search engine suicide.

Another big thing to note for 2014, is making sure your site is updated with Google’s Schema Markup Language, using rel=author and rel=publisher tags, which coincides with the search engine giant’s tactic to get everyone shifting to its Google+ network (more to follow on this).

Social signals: the future

I’m not saying that Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram (and the rest) are not important. They are. The consensual feel would suggest the greatest impact of social signals comes from more interactions with a post, tweet or status (not the amount of likes or follows a page has).

Personally, I think shares on Facebook, retweets on Twitter and +1s and shares on Google+ (because it’s Google’s own platform) are the biggest drivers in terms of passing rank.

Also, I believe author authority from your social profiles (or Klout in terms of online influence) will affect search rankings further, particularly on Google’s platforms.

My prediction is that the use of Google+’s social platform, increasing your social circles, +1-ing and sharing your content is only going to become more influential in 2014.

What is a copywriter?

Are you wondering: ‘What is a copywriter?’ — well, you’re in luck, as I’m a freelance copywriter myself, so I feel well-versed on the question.

You may have heard the words ‘freelance copywriter’ banded about a lot online, with offers of copywriting jobs sounding too good to be true with the promise of working from home.

A hell of a lot is spam, suggesting you could earn thousands a day sitting at home answering surveys and what not. This is not copywriting.

When travelling last summer, people would ask me what I did, and I’d reply: ‘I’m a freelance copywriter.’

‘What’s that then?,’ they’d often reply. Usually, it was followed by: ‘Is it to do with copyrighting, as in the legal profession?’

So, understandably so, there is a lot of disambiguation surrounding the word and the job.

What is a copywriter?

By Google’s dictionary definition, a copywriter is:

a person who writes the text of advertisements or publicity material.

Whilst kind-of true, this definition is very heavily-weighted towards its advertising and marketing parallels.

See, a copywriter doesn’t just write to advertise or publicise: they write for a number of reasons and purposes.

So, more broadly-speaking, I would define a copywriter as:

someone who crafts words, designed for a desired genre, audience and purpose.

It may sound like I’m nit-picking, but the role of a copywriter is something that is often overlooked in businesses. And, I feel that it’s because their purpose is often misunderstood.

So, what do copywriters do again?

A copywriter is someone who writes copy. In case you were wondering, copy is an archaic phrase from print journalism meaning content.

Not only might a freelance copywriter write content, but they will typically proof-read, re-write copy from another medium (e.g. brochure, existing website) or provide consulting on SEO (search engine optimisation), social media and editorial practice.

Whilst this is not an exhaustive list, as an established freelance copywriter in Manchester, I can provide you with all the above services for a fair price, should you wish to receive a quote.

Whether you’re after copy for: a brochure, leaflet, website, blog or press release; looking to communicate a message to a commercial or corporate audience; or hoping to attract, inform, entertain or persuade, I’m your man.

If you’d like, you could even check out some of my previous copywriting work and testimonials before hiring me.