31% of search marketers believe that social sharing of content will be a much more important means to improve rank this year than last, and another 49% believe it will be more important, according to results from the BrightEdge “2013 Search Marketer Survey” [download page]. None of the respondents believe social signals will decrease in importance – instead they recognize that understanding the correlation between social sharing of their pages and rank for these pages will only increase in importance, with 80% seeing this as either much more (33%) or more (47%) important this year.
A study released last year by Searchmetrics found that within the US, among 22 ranking factors identified, social signals accounted for 5 of the 6 most highly correlated with Google search results.
That study found that Facebook shares had the highest correlation with Google results, with Facebook comments also a highly-ranked factor. Respondents to the BrightEdge survey indicate that they will turn their attention most to Facebook this year, with 86% saying they will focus on the channel this year. After Facebook, SEOs are more likely to give Google+ a nod (68%) than more established channels such as LinkedIn (43%) and Twitter (41%). Despite about two-thirds of respondents saying that video optimization will be more important this year than last, YouTube will be a focus for only one-quarter of respondents.
Finally, and not surprisingly given the above responses, most SEOs believe that this year it will be more important to identify topics trending in social media in order to drive social sharing for pages relevant to these topics and drive rank.
About the Data: The data is based on “hundreds of [survey] responses across retail, e-commerce, technology, financial services, hospitality, agencies and more.”