This article concerns the relationship laid down for the past few years between social networks and search engines.
More often than not, a social network is a software platform too. Some examples of this type are YouTube for videos and Flickr for images. However, this discussion will focus on Social media optimization.
Do social networking sites affect the level of SEO?
Research that I did shows that the answer is “yes.” Since social networking sites affect the level of SEO, the next appropriate question should be “how.” Meaning how do social networks affect websites at the level of SEO?
Knowing the different terminologies will help us understand how things work.
Google is one good example wherein if we promote a website promoting organic, this becomes a possibility. What you need here is time. You also need resources, and of course, you need to have a lot of patience. Promotion involves several factors: Some of these factors should be considered before establishing a website. This includes domain age, and the construction site is “Google-friendly” without requiring any flash technology to be utilized.
Header tags, Meta tags, and HTML Title tags are equally important. The work does not end here. You also have to do Keyword Research via the Google Keyword Tool. Aside from that, it will also help if you use Long’s strategy through travelers, constant tinkering through the pages that have been indexed as well incoming links, tracking of performance, and even traffic using Google Analytics.
Of all the things you are doing, the most important thing is that there should be PPC (Pay Per Click). Pay for keywords such as the more popular keywords. Building campaigns is also essential.
SERP (Search Engine Results Page) or other more friendly words catches people’s interest. The objective here is not only to get the first search results page but to promote the site as well.
Social Media Optimization
Throughout these years, a “younger brother” of SEO has emerged under the guise of SMO or Social Media Optimization. This serves as a channel for something fast yet friendly and effective in promoting a particular site. Google’s formidable algorithm is not exposed here, but giant search engines have noticed that social networks are also growing with engine optimization. The blurring lines between SEO and SMO are more prominent and more critical. To know more about what SMO is all about and its importance, you can further learn more about this through a comment by Shane Snow, founder http://contently.com/:
“Old school SEO pros cover your ears, or be prepared to adapt your craft: Search engines are changing, and social media is a huge part of that change.”
According to Shane, search engines are also changing, and social media plays a big part.
Danny Sullivan, editor of the “Search Engine Land” blog with representatives from Google and Bing in December, served as the reference for the outcome of Facebook and Twitter in search engines. These giants refer to the user’s social identity by checking who follows and those with few followers. The data gathered were refined through search results. 
Together with social networking was the browsing revolution. Even this activity did not escape the eyes of the search giants. This is proven by Google, wherein the contents shared while logged in to a social networking site must be visible enough for search results.
The Google Social Search Tool was launched last October 2009. In January 2010, the search results were placed in search engines.  The contents of these search results were distributed to social networks as they merged with traditional SEO. Unlike before, the positive outcome is that it is not pushed to the bottom of the list. In addition, Google developed an index wherein it is real-time, and the result shows that social networks generated content right after getting the search results. 
Since we are in search of companies or businesses via search engines, it is best that you have links to these businesses, including social networks.
The personal data you get on a Facebook wall page is utilized to find out the person’s identity when he or she posts a link or set of links. On the other hand, the user profile has no effect on the shared links. The user’s identity on Twitter is considered when he or she “tweets.”
Google’s real-time can see comments and even links that have been shared to social networks.
The Case Study of Rand Fishkin
Studies have shown that sharing content on Facebook and Twitter greatly affects the search results. For example, the value of Rand Fishkin from the site SEOmoz.org in July of 2011 underwent multiple examinations to check if social networks affect search results in Google. The study also includes how quickly this affects search engines. 
The experiment was done 2 days before Google Real-Time Search stopped working temporarily.  In this experiment, one URL was created by Fishkin as requested by Buzzasked.
Several hours after the URL was created, it “twitted” more than 300 times. At the same time, the traffic jumped too. On Facebook, it also received a substantial amount of “likes.” There have also been some shares on LinkedIn. It even ranked on the second page of Google; at the end of that day, it already ranked number one.
Logged in as against Logged-out
A distinction has also been made if we are connected by logging in to a Google account during a search. According to Fishkin, if you are looking for a specific value while connected to your Google account, the results are different if you are logged out.
The search results also show that there is a dependency on the location. For instance, those IP addresses reflecting a specific state, such as Boston, and you search for “baseball,” the results will show “Red Sox,” and if the address detects that you are in the “Bronx,” it shall give you “Yankees” or “Yankees Stadium.” Since the search engines know the importance of social environment, thus the connection to SMO.
Google also knows that SEO is important, as seen in Google Analytics.  The use of this tool will reflect the breakdown of sites. It does not have any segmentation between social networks.
Benefits of Social Media Optimization
Social media optimization plays a big part in our industry. It serves as a personal marketing assistant, and at the same time, it works like an emotional marketing partner. Usually, companies look for significant volumes of a publication, page views, unique visitors, and much more. The numbers do not go by the hundreds but come in thousands. With SMO, personal interaction is possible. For instance, the number of members, hits, or even the number of users following you. The numbers are not that big, but in terms of quality, you could expect to get one.
A study made by Alterian in January this year shows that a survey was done on almost 1,500 advertisers. The list also includes PR agencies and marketing questions regarding online trading. One of the questions asked in the study was how advertisers would check on customers’ preferred customer service experience.
The study shows that social networking took the most prominent part, 53%. On the other hand, 75% of respondents expect that their investment in SMOs will increase. 70% of the respondents have difficulty understanding how SMO works and its effect on conversion ratio.
One thing is sure: Social networks are a big reason for bringing traffic to a site. For instance, if I want to bring in traffic to a blog that I have, I can utilize a trailer or teaser. My profile on my social network site could contain only the first paragraph. If the person wants to read more, he or she could click the provided link. Facebook passed Google, and it is because of Facebook wherein traffic to portals like Yahoo and MSN increased.  What is important here is not just any movement; it should be relevant. It should come to the point that it will skyrocket the percentage in terms of conversion rate between visitors and buyers.
Trust is such a huge word. People do have a tendency to distrust more. Anyone could become very suspicious of the formal advertising messages he or she gets to read or receive. Social Media Optimization is based partly on personal relationships, emotional marketing, and bringing in relevant traffic. SEO campaigns are media pushers (the advertiser is chosen when the user sees the ad), while SMO is a media pull (use of exposure from the surfer).
Global and International Marketing
When there are SEO campaigns and PPC, these are usually local in nature. For instance, finding out the CPC or cost per click of a specific word through the Google Keyword Tool is an option if you want to address the global market through Global Monthly Searches or the domestic market via Local Monthly Searches. The market to be chosen should be considered in great detail, and at the same time, you also need to check on relevant keywords. This method is similar to Google Trends and Google Market Finder.
Social networking sites create and upload content without any issues to this. It can even create content on a global scale because it supports more than 70 languages worldwide.
In addition, social networking is responsible for creating natural content; therefore, its contribution is organic.
Based on statistics, Facebook has more than 800 million active users. This figure, however, is quite questionable. This social networking site contains 30 billion bits of information such as Statosim, links, pictures, videos, and more. URL also plays a significant factor here for the content.
Google can index comments, statosim, and links, and these are all related to business. It does not refer to its ranking algorithm. Bing search engine, however, looks at a particular value. Results are generated through friends in Facebook, that “like,” how “like” is valued, and the number of shares. Broadcasting happens when a friend and search engines share content. Like Google, Facebook has advertising links that you can post and implement a pay-per-click scenario.
Facebook also allows you to set or segment your users that can view an ad. You can also get an estimate of the amount of exposure it gets within a certain amount of time. It is also possible to directly link the ad to your fans or to a fan page or through any links outside and determine if you will pay by impressions or by clicks. It is 100% sure that you will be impressed by the statistics that Facebook has on these matters.
Tweet Your Way to SEO
Twitter averaged 140 million visitors per day in March 2011.  25% of those that tweeted had URLs. This means that around 35 million of these tweets contained URLs. Google receives all feeds or social signals from Twitter, which impacts organic search results in Google. Google’s representative admitted that the company uses it as a signal. This prompted the company to mention such when the question was asked on the effect of massive tweets Twitter gets every day.
Twitter is an excellent tool for marketing sites and increasing traffic to a specific published site. It allows the user to enter a link in the message and link the URL directly to the website. This results in more hits and search engines are alerted to these activities.
The Twitter search engine Bing is helpful because it also allows you to look for real-time tweets from a search engine.  You also get to reach important audiences from this tool alone.
Going Back to Rand Fishkin
I mentioned a few paras ago about Mr. Fishkin checking in on the power of Twitter. It contained a link to his squeak “The Beginner’s Guide.” It wasn’t long, and a Google search showed that he is on number four.
Barack Obama, during his campaign, used Twitter a lot based on the graph and pictures from Google Analytics. A picture, indeed, shows a thousand words. It will show the same thing whether it is from Google Israel or under a local IP address.
The search giant Google has also joined the world of SMO. The results that basically crossed Google also include in the social networks when you do a regular search and its effects. Google’s very own social network also appears in search engines.
When logged in to your Google account, the search results from friends also show the same thing.
To achieve search engine success, you need content + links, and to appear in the new Google search, you need to do that critical search + social network. SMO has a world of its own. It should be on the pulse while keeping up with developments and the tools it offers, such as Twitter Analyzer, Open Graph Protocol, and much more.
Build a community and contribute content. A social media campaign is a complementary tool for SEO.