The sole purpose and goal of search engines is to provide users with the most relevant content, immediately and hassle-free. Google for example continues to modify their search algorithm to achieve this goal and with these modifications we've seen the impact that social media has had with delivering more immediate, real-time and relevant results. Here's an overview of how social sharing signals are improving content relevance in search, and how you can implement social sharing with your own content for improved search engine optimization.
What You Need to Know About Social Sharing
The truth is for content to be widely embraced and shared in social media through Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, etc., it has to be good! And Google and other search engines know this. As search crawlers index the web for fresh content, and they find a blog article for example that has been tweeted 30 times and shared through LinkedIn 21 times, these social sharing signals have weight on how this piece of content will rank in search results for the particular subject/keyword phrase it pertains to.
Now that social media has become a way of life, the various social media networks are producing a tremendous amount of data everyday on what people perceive as quality content based on how they're sharing it with their friends and followers. According to a recent Mashable article, people share over 30 billion pieces of content on Facebook and over 5 billion tweets — a quarter of which contain links to content — per month. So it makes sense for search engines to pay attention to all this shared content as they continuously work to provide the most relevant search results.
How To Implement Social Sharing Buttons
If you still haven't implemented social sharing buttons on your website, blog or landing pages you need to in order to start leveraging the impact these signals will have on increasing the relevancy and rank of your content in search. Certain blogging platforms such as the HubSpot CMS (like you see here) have built in social sharing buttons and integration. If your website or blog doesn't offer built in social sharing, here's a breakdown of the more widely used social sharing buttons to help jumpstart your social sharing efforts.
General Share Buttons via AddThis
One of the most popular social sharing plugins is AddThis. It offers some various customization styles (see below) and is probably the easiest for most website admins to integrate since it's one code snippet for the most popular social platforms.
If you're strictly looking for Twitter buttons, they offer a helpful page on the Twitter website where you can pick and choose which button you need and then customize it based on your page URL, tweet text and username.
Facebook offers a user-friendly button creator for developers to create a customized Like button, which you can access here.
The news is out that with Google's latest search update "Search, plus Your World", search results are continuing to incorporate Google+ activity from friends and followers, if logged into your Google account. To customize your own +1 button and +snippet go here.
LinkedIn also offers a nice button builder that allows you to customize the orientation and count feature.
As search engines continue to adapt to provide the most relevant content, it only makes sense that they'll continue to leverage signals from social media sharing. Although social sharing buttons make it more convenient for users to share your content it's still up to you to create truly remarkable content that people can't help but share with their own friends and followers.