If you have a website or blog and are not actively using Facebook to drive traffic or using it (more importantly) to increase interaction with your site, then you are missing out on a great resource. Ever since the Panda update to Google’s algorithm user interaction has become an increasingly important metric for search results.
No one knows exactly how Facebook usage influences search rankings (if you want to read some educated guesses check out this SEOMoz blog post), but Facebook integration is important simply because the social networking site is so ubiquitous—over 700 million unique users. Most of these people share things with their friends every day, which is a unique and effective means of advertising that you could be capitalizing on.
Get on the Facebook Bandwagon
When a Facebook user sees that one of their friends has liked your site, they will be more likely to check it out, use it, and share it themselves, increasing backlinks and boosting your SEO. That is why you should consider implementing some of the following plug-ins into your site. The best part: most of them only take a few minutes to create and require very little coding knowledge.
1) Like Button
This is the most popular plugin and allows users to share content from your site with their friends on Facebook. When the Like button is clicked, a link to your page appears in their activity feed. That way, their friends can see that they liked your site and can, in turn, follow through and visit your site as well. The best part is that when the second friend shows up on your page, the Like button is personalized, showing them which of their friends have already liked your page. Then they like it, and it shows up in their streams, where their friends see it, and on and on . . . you get the point.
2) Send Button
The Send button is similar to the Like button in that it lets a site visitor share your content with their friends. How it differs, though, is that it lets your visitors target friends they want to send it to. They can send your content along with a message to a particular person or a group of friends, rather than all their Facebook friends. While fewer people will use this button (simply because fewer people know about it), the chances that their friend will follow through on the link is higher, because they are targeting specific friends that they feel are already interested in your content.
3) Comments Box
While the Comments Box promotes social interaction, it also verifies the interest of the users. This social plug-in allows users to leave comments on your site after reading your article or blog, and by default those comments are posted back to the user’s Facebook newsfeed for all their friends to see. And recently, Google started crawling Facebook comments, so not only will you get exposure on Facebook when a user leaves a comment, but those comments will be crawled by Google, increasing your chances of showing up in a long-tail search.
4) Like Box
The Like Box doesn’t have an immediate effect on your site traffic, but it can set you up for more traffic in the future. This box allows you to get Likes for a Facebook page directly from your site, so visitors don’t have to click through to Facebook to like your page. The more visible your Facebook page, the more people will see your updates, which will increase your traffic and boost the likelihood of generating more backlinks.
5) Login Button
If your site is a resource in your niche, or has tools that people will return to use again and again, you should consider adding a Login button. As the button says, this allows people to log in to your site, so when one of their friends shows up, they will see that their friend is using the site.
6) Activity Feed
This plug-in displays all the current activity on Facebook related to your site, such as displaying stories that have been shared on Facebook, recent Facebook comments, Likes, and more. You can use this box to generate interest in popular elements of your site, whether your site visitors are logged in to Facebook or not. The increased interaction this box promotes, again, leads to more page views on your site and increased site visibility.
Facebook Is Always On
It may take a little while for you to decide which social plugins will best benefit your site, but the good news is that once you figure it out, your visitors will do the work for you. Once they are able to interact with your site, invite their friends, and share your content, you should see more interaction on site, more unique visitors, and, hopefully, longer average site visit times and a smaller bounce rate. And all these things will help you increase your ranking in the SERPS, making your site more popular and more profitable.
Written by James Ged
James Ged is an internet marketer and SEO strategist at CableTV.com.