0-100K Uniques? The Role Social Plays On Search Ranking

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search and social intertwined

Online marketing has dramatically changed over the recent years. Most company’s online sales strategy now include some kind of content marketing to increase visibility. As a business owner myself, I have a team who focus on creating quality content on a daily basis. My main goal is to  publish content that will resonate with the hundreds of thousands of readers who visit WPBeginner  and List25.  Similar to other websites, we started with zero traffic and zero subscribers. Now we attract hundreds of thousands of unique visitors and subscribers by making sure we optimize our sites with sound SEO practices and strategy. But we did not stop there. Implementing an effective social media strategy plays a huge role in helping you maximize your organic positioning in search.

During the time when most businesses were contemplating on using social media as a tool for promoting and building relationships with their potential customers, we were already engaging and building our presence on various different platforms that our audience were active on. The fact that you open your brand to a platform where customers can make a complaint and offer negative feedback caused fear for many companies, but my belief is that you can either be afraid or be proactive.

You will never stop anyone from talking about your brand, so why not engage with them and use social platforms to build relationships and address issues. People often use social media to get your attention when they are not heard. The biggest benefit if you are doing it right is the positive word of mouth and recommendations from happy customers. Word of mouth is by far the most effective form of advertising for our brands. Is there a secret sauce to search ranking success through social? Here are the fundamental principles I follow:

Social Plays A Huge Role On Search Ranking

Marketing your business on Google is becoming more complex since your success in search tends to be intertwined with your presence on social media.  The content on your websites as well as your external links may not be enough. Hitting the publish button when publishing fresh content on a regular basis means nothing if no one is reading it and even worse, if no one is sharing it.  Creating a profile on Facebook, Google+ or Twitter also is not enough. Here are best practices that we have been implementing on List25 to give you an idea of how we have gained success in search ranking.

Search engines (including Google) want content creators to provide relevant and engaging results to their users. Having engagement triggers on your website can make you rank higher than your competitors. List25 has several engagement triggers such as images and more importantly videos. Videos get higher ranking in search thanks to YouTube. List25’s YouTube page  has over 340,000 subscribers with over 40 million views. We were able to translate the popularity of our videos not just to rank high in search traffic, but to gain subscribers and traffic to our main website and other social media channels. How did we do it?

  • We added the website URL and social media channel links prominently on our YouTube Channel Page and within each video description.

List25 Youtube social icons

  • A call to action is made on all our videos to visit the main domain. The key here is to make it easy for our viewers and loyal subscribers to share and check out the photo and copy version of the video on the website.

List25 YouTube Page with Descriptions


Another social platform we use is Tumblr. 2to5  allows us to share fast paced content. The backlinks we generate from other sites linking to our Tumblr page has helped our search ranking on our main domain.

Another tool that had a positive effect on our search ranking is the Yoast WordPress SEO Plugin specially the Video Addon. The plugin incorporates everything from a snippet preview and page analysis functionality that helps you optimize your page content, image titles, meta descriptions and XML sitemaps etc. The video addon (paid) allowed us to rank our articles as videos.

Social Connections Are Valuable

One of the biggest benefits of implementing an effective social strategy is the ability to connects with other content creators and authors. Although we optimize our content for certain keywords or phrases, we also use social media to promote our content. Those who see your content and view it as something relevant to their audience will most likely share it with their communities or mention it in their own blog posts.

I found that Twitter search is a great tool to get tons of great ideas and build connections with people who have the same interests as mine. Through the relationships I have built over the years, we were able to generate not just interest for our brand but backlinks and exposures including mentions in numerous popular sites such as The New York Times, Business Insider, The Huffington Post and Mashable. Social connections also helped land opportunities to speak at many conferences and do interviews that have helped me build my thought leadership and increase visibility of my sites.

Twitter search tool

Invest Your Resources Wisely

In order to achieve any real success, we need to look at how we invest our resources both in creating content and in social sharing. I take pride in building my team. I choose the people I work with to compliment my skills. Hire people who can help you grow. Don’t be afraid to hire or ask for help from people who have demonstrated success implementing effective SEO and social strategies.

Facebook and Twitter are fairly popular, but you also need to invest your time on Google+. By claiming your Google authorship, you can claim ownership of your content. It’s imperative you post your articles on your Google plus page. The biggest advantage of doing this is if people search for a particular topic related to your keywords, your content is properly indexed. When people look up you or your website, your Google+ profile will be displayed including your photos and a brief description of who you are. If people like your content, there is a high probability they will add you to their circles which will allow them to receive updates from you.

Consider investing in social media ads to optimize your messages, but make sure you invest in tools that will help you monitor what resonates to your audience, Check to see which messages are connecting with your audience and be flexible to make necessary changes quickly.


Utilizing social media effectively is a great way to optimize for certain keywords and improve your overall search positioning. Social is also a great way to develop meaningful relationships with your readers, customers and fellow authors in addition to implementing sound SEO practices. Encourage the people in your organization to freely embrace the concept of search and social being intertwined in your overall search optimization strategy. What are you doing to create a balanced approach in your company? Let us know your thoughts by leaving a comment below.

Image Credit: stockphotosforfree

Syed Balkhi
Syed Balkhi is an entrepreneur and a public speaker. His passion revolves around helping businesses succeed. He is known for his creative marketing skills and web development experience. He is the founder of WPBeginner and List25 sites that have been featured on NYTimes, Mashable, Huffington Post, Business Insider and TechCrunch.
Syed Balkhi
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  • http://www.webtrafficroi.com ZK

    You Tube is a great sources of traffic, if you can build a community around video content you ‘ll get high traffic on your site. With a flurry of algo changes in SEO , social media is a super alternative to get traffic.

    • http://www.balkhis.com/ Syed Balkhi

      Entirely agree with you there ZK. We were able to build a strong community around List25 videos which allowed us to get really good traffic.

      Through social shares by users who also read cheezburger network etc, we got tons of mentions/backlinks from their sites.

  • http://stellarseo.org Travis Bliffen

    I agree with ZK. Social media and video are two great alternatives to generate traffic. I like to think of my link building like financial investments. Diversify and keep most money safe with a few high risk high reward investments as well.

    • http://www.balkhis.com/ Syed Balkhi

      Very well said 🙂

  • http://www.krazza.com Kushal Azza

    Yes ! absolutely true. Social media existence is necessary for SEO and good ranking.

  • http://buxneo.us/ Siddhartha Sinha

    Social Media is always a powerful tool and people who could manage it are doing well in the field of not only blogging but also in many other fields.

  • http://www.accurental.com Mason

    Is there any evidence that Google puts greater value on Google+ links / articles than articles posted on other social networking platforms? Specifically, is there any greater link juice derived from Google+? I imagine there is, but I’m curious if that has been definitively proven.

  • http://androidphons.com/ Ankit

    Social Plays a huge role, this is why tools like buzzbundle are becoming extremely popular as it gives you all the resources that you need to engage your online audience. If i had to choose among the link building and social then i will definately choose social.

  • http://omnicoreagency.com Salmaan Aslam

    Thanks for sharing the insights Balkhi. We’ve personally had many clients leveraging Pinterest to get traffic. I suppose everyone needs to find what social network will work best for them. Humor sites leverage Facebook and Cooking & Fashion sites tends to benefit more from Pinterest.

  • http://www.spiderorbit.com/ Deepak Raghav

    Really very nice post and you described well. Social media is the biggest source of traffic on blog or site and you tube is also big part of social media. If we post video with right content, then It can be big source of traffic. I’ll implement these tips for my blog.Thanks dear

  • http://www.webdesignriches.com Syed Danial

    for me Reddit and pinterest are best social site i get lots of traffic from there. i never used tumblr. Will make a short blog on it too

  • http://intreviews.com Adeel Qayum

    Didn’t know that List25 had a YouTube channel till now. By the way I personally feel that Facebook and Twitter are only useful for big budget brands, but when it comes to small businesses, I haven’t seen people getting a lot of conversions. Policy changes keep on affecting their efforts (and mind you it’s not a great ROI).

    But yes, Google+ does give you a good amount of referral traffic.

  • Joe Q

    Social Media Development on your Business will help you to engage with your Customers because they will see you are active in Social Media Sites (Twitter, Facebook, etc). Personally I think that Google Plus is a very good tool not just for Social Media but for Seo overall.