If you ever get into a conversation with a search engine optimization professional (aka SEO), they usually bring up the topic of how Google ranks your website and that there are "more than 200 different signals" that Google uses for their ranking algorithm. It's Google's standard message that they are using more than 200 signals, but they've been saying the same thing for more than 10 years now.
Surly they must be using more than 200 signals now, but they'll never admit it.
From time to time, I'm able to measure the effects of certain types of optimization factors and draw some educated guesses of what one or two of those 200 signals might be. But just when I think I have it all figured out, it changes again.
You see, Google doesn't want us to figure out the secrets within their algorithm anymore, so they change it up a lot. In fact, this page on MOZ.com
says that Google changes the "algo" as much as 600 times every year. That's at least 1.5 times a day!
When hiring an SEO, one of the things you need to watch out for is if they have specific tactics that claim to improve specific results. No one knows all the ranking factors, and we can only speculate at the effectiveness of each of the well known tactics.
Some of the well known tactics include:
* writing a brief, yet descriptive page title
* including human-readable, and interesting, content on your website
* use headlines at the top of your page that make sense
Overall, Google's best guidelines now are to simply add content to your website that will legitimately interest people. Your website ranking will increase if you follow that simple guideline.
Be wary of the SEO that offers the same service every month. There are only so many times you can rewrite a web page to meet Google's guidelines, or manage 301 redirects. On the other hand, it might take a few months to tweak your meta descriptions to attract attention, and once you do you might have to tweak them again if your competitor is actively monitoring their SEO.
There are a bunch of SEO companies out there that offer social media services. These social media management services are good when you don't have time to handle your own social accounts, or if you simply don't understand how to build your audience through online social engagements.
Social media management services are only good for building your social profile; those services have nothing to do with increasing the Google ranking of your website.
Let me say that again because it was important... Google claims that they do not use any social signal in their algorithm. Therefore, no matter how hard you try to spin your social media accounts, all that activity has a net zero influence on the ranking of your website.
But don't despair, all that social activity does still have a value, it's just has no value as far as your website ranking. On the other hand, social accounts with a lot of activity have a good chance of appearing in Google's search results on their own. Indeed, there are plenty of times when I see a retail jeweler's Facebook account ranking in the 5th or 6th place on page one of Google, that is, right below the retailer's own website.
If Google used Facebook accounts as ranking factors, then I have to assume that they wouldn't also include Facebook in the SERPs.
So when it comes time for you to hire an SEO agency or a social media management company, take a close look at their list of benefits for their service. You should avoid anyone citing social media as a ranking factor for your website.