Study Finds Majority of People Conduct Research Online

Does your website make a good impression? Let’s hope so, because more and more people are using the Internet to research products and services. Nearly 60% of Americans perform online research before making a purchase decision. And the number two online activity is using a search engine to find information. So it’s likely your website stands a good chance of being a prospect‚ “first impression”. You only get one chance to make a first impression, and you want that impression to be a good one. The other implication of this is clear: businesses need to be found online.

One of the best ways to get visibility online is by getting your website to show up in Google. Google is the undisputed leader in search, accounting for nearly 67% of all U.S. searches. Bing is a distant second at 28%. And Yahoo? Their market share is 15%.

It’s absolutely critical that businesses be found when consumers look online. If your business cannot be found by Google, you are missing out on being found by customers. A good SEO strategy can help boost your rankings in Google and get your business noticed. There are other ways to get your business found online, such as through social media, email marketing, traditional display advertising, and more. But you first need to start with the basics by having a solid SEO strategy.

Social Media Activity Influences Google Rankings

Attention Businesses: Study Finds Majority of People Conduct Research Online – Google uses a complex ranking algorithm when determining how to rank websites across the web. Factors such as inbound links, Meta Tags, Title Tags, anchor links, keywords in body copy, page load speed, and hundreds of other signals influence where a website will rank in Google search results.

Many businesses may not realize that another signal is social data from social networks like Facebook and Twitter SEOMoz released a study this week correlating data from over 10,000 keyword rankings and the factors that influence Google to highly rank a website. The study found that social media activity is well-correlated with higher Google rankings. And Facebook may be more influential that Twitter. Facebook “Shares” is the single highest social media metric correlated with higher Google rankings. The number of Facebook Shares was more indicative of higher rankings than other Facebook features such as ‚ “Likes” and Comments.

The correlation for Twitter‚ data (that is, the number of tweets), on the other hand, is far less than Facebook. This is not to say stop using Twitter and focus on Facebook. And in fact, we can probably expect some unethical SEO’s (the industry term is black hat SEO’s) to try to game the system by spamming with Facebook and Twitter. This won’t work. They’re misinterpreting the correlated data.

In reality, the data in the report reflects best practices for marketing. Create good content, share good content, and engage with fans. If you’re effectively using Facebook and engaging with fans, every time a fan shares one of the links to your website, it will increase the chance of your website ranking higher on Google.

This report is a reminder that businesses ‚ both B2C and B2B ‚ should use social media, not only because it’s good SEO, but because it makes good business sense. Creating a social media presence, actively engaging, following, re-tweeting and re-posting, and becoming part of the conversation will aid your business. While a change won’t be seen overnight in your Google ranking, consistent participation will help your future Google rankings.