Conductor took a step toward integrating social media metrics into its SEO platform Searchlight after tracking the data for more than a year and acknowledging customers’ desires to better optimize Web sites. The move, although groundbreaking, was expected.
Building the metrics into Searchlight means that brands can analyze and view social data in search rankings similar to search engines, according to Conductor CEO Seth Besmertnik. Through the platform, marketers can find keyword opportunities where social media has come into play by importing social data.
The integration allows brands to determine whether they want to create a program or incentive to drive traffic from keywords to the URLs. It also allows marketers to analyze competitors’ social data and rankings.
The use of social data became apparent after Besmertnik noticed the influence of Google’s +1s and Facebook’s Likes on ranking factors. Higher-ranking sites tend to have a higher social media presence.
Looking at the first page of results from a search query, marketers that compare the first five results with the last five will find twice as many Facebook “likes” on the top half, compared with the bottom. There’s three times as many Google +1s on the top five compared with the bottom. Sites that rank higher on the top half of the first page are 88% more likely to have a Google +1 or Facebook Like.
Gaming the Google +1 platform becomes difficult because the company knows if the user has an account with Gmail, Google Analytics or YouTube. Companies do broker social media services, such as selling Facebook Likes, but when it comes to Google +1, it could become more difficult. Added checks and balances make +1 a more meaningful ranking factor compared with Facebook Likes, Besmertnik said.
Social metrics brought SEO into the boardroom. About 400 of the top 500 retailers now have a full-time SEO person, according to Conductor, which mined LinkedIn data to find the numbers. From April to November of 2010, the number of Internet Retailer 500 companies with at least one SEO professional in-house increased by 24%.
The integration of social into Searchlight comes on the heels of an overhaul to the company user interface, as well as signing on more brands. That brings the company’s customer support to about 500 major brands, including AOL, GE, Sears, Toys R Us and WPP Group.