Achieve A Better Social Signal By Design

In today’s modern society, one of the more empowering forces is social media. Whether it is keeping friends connected across oceans and continents or driving political change one person at a time, it is making a lasting impact on how we interact with one another and is transforming our lives.

Derek Bickerstaff from Differently.Co talks about how the impact is being felt in the realm of search engine optimization (SEO) as much as it is in any other aspect of our lives. In the world of SEO, a huge rising trend is social signal, and central to getting this right is design.

Why Social Signal Is So Important

Although the algorithms the drive search engine rankings might not be made available to the public, it is very clear that outcomes of social media- your circles, friends, followers, likes and shares- all influence your search engine rankings. Just a couple of years ago, Google practically ignored Facebook. Now the search engine giant takes a large selection of social networking sites into account.

Of course social signal feeds into backlinks, which is one of the most significant SEO factors. If individuals are sharing your link, whether it’s on Facebook, Twitter or other social sites, then that provides your site with more backlinks and therefore helps you achieve a higher ranking.

However, there is also another aspect to this, which is the actual social part of social networks. Having a strong social signal is a sign that you and your customers have a close connection. You are able to be much more responsive to the needs of your customers, and they feel they are able to communicate with you. This is added in with all your links, likes and other things that contribute to your rankings.

Visible Value

If you want to increase your company’s social presence, the best way to go about this is to provide value throughout your entire website, and to make the value clear the instant your pages make their appearance in social media. It can be difficult to achieve this. In terms of what can be visible, a majority of social media sites do have limitations. For example, Twitter has a limit of 140 characters for its tweets. This is why good design is so crucial.

Put careful thought into which images will be appearing on every page of your site, and where they will go on the pages. Which of the images will show up when your website is shared via Pinterest, Twitter or Facebook? What design tricks or images can you use to make your website more appealing in these formats?

Also, think carefully about the amount of text that you place on your pages and where you will locate it. Which piece of text will show on Facebook? What 140 characters will you use on Twitter? Why will people want to learn more? The better page presentation you have on social media, the better and stronger your social signal will be.

Another thing that really matters is what visitors first see when they click on your link. Every day we seen hundreds of links on social media. Out of all the ones we see, we click on just a few of them and then read even fewer of those. If the very tops of your pages grabs the reader’s attention, they will be more likely to keep reading and also to share your page. If not, this weakens your social signal.

Focus On Customers

A pull system is created by social media that enables customers to receive content, rather than a push system that producers drive. Potential customers will skim through various options that are available to them and choose the ones that are the most appealing to them, and not necessarily the one you would like them to read.

Therefore, when you are designing your website, it’s important to stay focused on what your customers want instead of thinking about what you and your business wants. You may want prospects to visit your store and make a purchase. However, unless they’ve already made the decision to buy something from you, that isn’t what you want to have displayed for your social signal. Your pages should be designed to give customers access to content that is interesting and presented in a visually appealing way. Then the prospect will come to you. Directing them to your booking page or store comes after this and not before.

Social Design

Social signal will only continue to grow in importance as more and more individuals grow up having social media as part of their daily lives. Design plays an important role in this, so be sure you design in support of your social signal.

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Amy Rice writes about SEO and social media, when not writing she swimming and playing advenuture golf.

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