Commentary

The Dark Side Of Social Sharing

Social might present challenges for search marketers, but the signals in consumers' Twitter tweets, and Facebook posts offer a wealth of knowledge to help brands optimize content, search campaigns, and product features and releases.

The RIO SEO white paper--SEO + Social: The Most Effective Advertising Mix -- analyzes how brand marketers can track and tap into social signals to improve organic search results on desktop and mobile. The tactics aim to help marketers achieve greater reach through retweets and reposts, as well as brand lift, and return on investments.

Most marketers know how to quantify retweets and reports on Twitter and Facebook, but the white paper's authors -- Ben Straley, VP of social technologies; and Thomas Kim, product manager;  Rachel Ullstrom, Rio SEO social account director -- also focus on what they call "dark social signals," defined as links shared through email or text messages, or in comment threads, forums, blogs and instant messages.

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The authors believe dark social signals comprise more than 90% of all content shared, and are traditionally difficult to measure. It means marketers tend to ignore this traffic that could positively influence their organic search rankings.

Aside from dark social signals, the two search experts discuss why social signals are the future of SEO, reminding us that organic search remains an important tool for those seeking information. They point us to a 2012 Forrester Research study, which found that 54% of respondents located brand sites through organic search on engines, compared with 32% on social sites.

Since it all comes back to creating share-worthy content types and topics, Straley and Kim created a list that shows how often a specific piece of content might get shared -- interesting stuff.

Here are some tips from the white paper:

1)  Campaigns with five share icons or less increase sharing by up to 30%, meaning less creates more.

2)  Calls-to-share placed on the top right of content increase sharing dramatically.

3)  Calls-to-share above the fold drive sharing by five to seven times more.

4)  Videos create ten times the average share rate.

5)  Infographics create six times the average share rate.

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