Why do you Place Social Buttons on a Website?
During a discussion on LinkedIn, a gentleman posed the question about not being able to understand the reason social media buttons are on main business websites. I thought it might be nice to cover some of the main purposes of social media strategies and what can happen from incorporating social media into your main website do’s and don’ts.
The first spot to cover is this. What is the purpose of social media share and follow buttons? The easiest answer is syndicating your web content. Allowing for options is usually a good thing, but there are times when options are not always so great. For instance, you have a web page specifically designed for capturing leads – also known as a landing page. Since this is a specific page for lead capturing, why would you want to make social media buttons available on the page?
Some say having a spiel of share buttons available on a landing page is good. Reason being the share buttons allow for your landing page to be shared with peers and others throughout your networks. While others say landing page design should include no outbound links to other locations, as this can lead to no lead; because you allowed to many options for the visitor.
Although it may seem like a great thought to allow for sharing of your landing page, truthfully; not so hot. The value from sharing a landing page can come later. For example when you page is done and you post it somewhere by sharing. Then you hope for the disbursement of your page on those social networks without the need to have the page full of social sharing buttons, which then always one to two options on the page at best. This is an exact benefit of having a strong social network doing the work for you.
By allowing fewer options on the landing page, your conversion rate for the page can increase in fold if designed properly. As for a main website, people are not being asked to leave your main site because you have placed share buttons to social networking sites on it. Your visitors are being asked to share your content with others as to spread the word about your business. This is the same principal behind the landing page almost, except they have the option to quickly navigate away from your main site.
Why Place Social Share Buttons on a Website?
Well, this one I chalk up to user discretion. Some believe social and follow buttons are great while other find those buttons to be somewhat cluttering. Some also believe that share and follow buttons drive visitors away from your site as other believe they are access for easy web promotion of your site.
Although it is at the site owners discretion to decide, I personally have been playing around with several share and follow button options on single page entities and full scale websites. At this point, my finding’s are still in a testing phase. But believe treating a main site should be more like a landing page. Less options is better.
It was also mentioned by Peep Laja that unless you have a high number of like’s, +1’s or followers, there really is not much benefit or need to display or apply social share buttons. I tend to agree with this assumption. Larger companies showing those large numbers on those buttons have something to show off while the smaller companies usually have such a small number of likes, +1,’s and followers; it almost seems as more of a detour ant to publicize those numbers than that of a benefit. This is more of a social trigger by human nature.
Social Media Marketing Tools
Keep this in mind as well when deciding on whether or not to place share buttons on your pages or web content. Now a day’s there are tons of browser plugins and social sharing options available directly from browsers. Because of these easily installed plugins for web browsers, it may be just as easy not to include sharing buttons on a main website or even a landing page. These buttons allow for easy sharing directly from the web browser plugins, but the final choice is yours. The downside of not placing those share buttons on your web content is relying on someone have those plugins installed on the web browser. Question being, what if they do not have those plugins installed?
Providing Inbound Traffic to the Site
For example, how many times a day do you find yourself on a site like, lets say LinkedIn; and then going to some article somewhere else? I bet it happens more than you realize. These social sites can be full of links to great content to read. As a matter of fact, I usually end up going directly from one of those social sites to a main business site because of some title of interest or a catchy image on the social site. Yes, this social engagement is a great way to better understand your customer base, but is also meant to provide lead options too.
Plus, there is one other thing about going to a main site. You can not capture a lead on all these other sites so easily. The first reason, the visitor can be led a stray elsewhere very quickly on these social networking sites. Secondly, not all social sites have a way to capture a lead from within the site itself. You want to lead the visitors to your main website to capture the lead with no distractions or possibilities of going anywhere else. This would be another reason I lean to less options is better.
Truth of the matter is this thought. If you do not provide quality content and engage user properly on those social networking websites, your efforts can go unnoticed; resulting in much wasted time. If you are not creating this engagement and quality content that keeps the visitors coming back. The likely hood of those visitors going to a main website are even less likely to occur. Thus providing little or not inbound traffic.
If you have decided to place those great share buttons on a website, ask this first. Is the content you are willing to share worth being shared? Meaning is it quality. Does it teach or inform someone something of signification? Does it contribute to something worthwhile? These are some of the main points I feel are of relevance to the topic at hand. So if you can answer these questions as yes, then adding share functionality to your pages is not such a bad ideal. Otherwise consider other aspects and possibilities and chose at your discretion.
“Remember – sharing is great”.
Having the availability to share your content is always a plus, especially if it brings value to the reader. There are other reasons as well. Some will bookmark or share a site for purpose of just liking you or for the option to go back to it at a later time and date. They maybe in the middle of something and do not have enough time to check your site. This bookmarking or sharing will allow them to go back to it. I do this myself at times for the simple fact I may have come across a design ideal or found something I would like to read later.
Sharing Quality Content and Distribution
Good content spreads easier if there is a way to share it. For example your wrote a new blog post and want it to spread to your readers. First, when you publish the post especially through WordPress, the post automatically gets exposure once published if your accounts are connected. WordPress also gives you a kind of bonus once you have written so many post. This immediate view-able content can spread like wildfire the larger the audience. But why not add to this wildfire spreading by having share options on your pages or post.
Giving this option for new visitors or current visitors can generate a lot of traffic and spread your name faster. There is a factor that should be considered as well when thinking about adding sharing buttons to a webpage or website. First of all is your content worth sharing? Are you providing just a product or promotion? Does the content you want your visitors to share provide instructional information and is it bringing worthwhile share status. If your believe your content is good enough quality and should be shared you should definitely have sharing options available.
Another factor that has not be talked about yet is the fact; if you do not have sharing options on your pages it is still an available option for some people to have the same sharing functions on their web browsers. These web browser sharing plugins allow your content to be shared still but you do not have a way of knowing if the visitor is using web browser sharing plugins. The safe bet is to have them on your page’s. That way there is always the option.
Web Design Suggestions for Sharing Placement
The cluttered factor is another one of those decisions that can be made by you or your designer. If it looks cluttered find another solution. Place them at the bottom or on the sides. Most websites have the open space on the left or right to add these sharing options. If not there is always the option to place the sharing options in the footer, high up on the header or an overlay at the bottom of the page.
There are a variety of ways to add these, it will depend on your design and layout structuring to know what is best. Your top resources for sharing are AddThis and ShareThis. Look at LinkedIn for example they have it down to a small few and it takes very little to almost no space to add these sharing options. The amount of code is actually very little when adding these sharing functions and can be relatively easy to implement. If you are not able to access your underlying code (HTML) and (CSS) you should contact your webmaster or consult a web design company to get those sharing functions added.
The Social Rewards
Since the social boom has begun new and exciting changes have been occurring across the web. This increased social media presence on the web has brought about new changes to the search engines and how the search engines rank websites and content. Social indicators have become a proven factor in today’s algorithm’s and is another reason to build a social media marketing presence. Because of these new social indicators it is wise to add those sharing functions on your content and webpages. These social indicators are now able to be tracked through various analytic programs such as Google Analytic and others. Even FaceBook has created their own social data tracking system.
Every social indicator brings value to the table. The search engines are taking into account these indicators. Every time your content or webpage is +1’d or liked it provides a signal to these search engines that your content is meaningful and worthwhile. These indicators can provide better search engine results overall because of it. If you are still trying to decide ask yourself some of these simple questions.
It is definitely recommended to add sharing options to your content. Make an informed decision and decide because not all content is worthy of being shared. Giving an option to share is a tasty delight for your visitors, while providing this option of sharing allows more opportunity for your content to be spread. SHARE – SHARE – SHARE
Google Social Plus Box
The real topic here is Google+ search and the results variations and how they are being generated. I noticed that some people could not seem to understand very well why a page may not show organically anymore when not socially logged in and why it can still show a Google Plus Box for someone whether logged in or not. The simple answer is that if you are out SEO‘d by another page you will not show in the results organically if their page is better optimized than your page whether you’re logged in socially or non-socially. The Google Plus Box can still show as a result, but you may have loosed your organic listing because of that fact. The Plus Box has to be running on a social algorithm instead of the organic algorithm or the algorithm is the same but has some type of filter is in place.
There are also times when the Google Plus Box does not produce any results at all. These algorithmic changes are random and can change on a daily basis so never expect the same results every day. If you are not logged in socially you can still get a result organically with the stats from your Google+ profile page by making use of the rel=author attribute which will be discussed later. But remember that just because there is a profile picture next to the search result does not mean you are logged in socially. You may also notice that at times you can see the number’s associated with the amount of people in the individual’s circle’s. Why Google show’s the numbers is possibly due to the fact that once a certain status is reached Google has the option to show this on the result. All of this wraps around the fact that you’re able to toggle the social/non A social results, but yet it still provides a Google Plus Box at various time’s a long with organic results. Let’s start with the Google +1 button.
As you possibly have already noticed is that if you’re a Google+ user that you do not have the option to create a +1 page for a Google+ Business Profile. It only seems logical that Google should allow you to have a +1 for your Google+ Business Profile and not just your personal profile. I am at the fact that when you +1 something it only get’s listed on your personal profile page and not your business page. I understand that there is no way to split the +1’s into each specific profile page at this time, but it just seems to me that being able to only allow +1’s of my own link’s on my Google+ Business Profile would allow me to only +1 my own content. This would of course be primarily the same thing as bookmarking, which is really what the +1 does on your personal profile page. Now there are other factors of course involved with the +1 and what types of effect’s it has in the search results and it continues to be an ongoing discussion with lot’s of open opportunities for analysis and discussion, but more on that later. Let’s cover the indicators as a whole first.
Plus One – Post – Stream
Okay, the post page allows for posting links of what you choose which remains on the page for an undefined length of time up to this point. This allows for permanent link’s to be built for your content in regard’s to your post which is exactly what the +1 does for a site you +1. So what is the difference between having a post or a +1 is the real question at hand. The +1 is a social indicator to Google that your content is being shared with professionals in your industry and networker’s interested in your content. This also brings to light the fact that you can not share +1’s but you can share post from stream’s and that are created from post’s. Now yes that may seem a tad confusing but that is why you should keep reading. Your stream is a post that can be +1’d which allows for another social indicator to Google that your content is being disbursed. The +1’ing, sharing and posting shows social activity to Google which is an important factor for the social SEO results. You can also gain social activity by re-sharing a post as well. This re-sharing of your post or post created by other Google+ user’s is also another way to generate new follower’s and show more activity to Google because this is too another factor when Google try’s to determine what content should be ranked higher in the SERP’s and the Google Plus Box.
Your stream is constantly feeding content to your profile because you choose to follow certain people in your circles. This is when your content gain’s its’ maximum visibility for your reader’s. If your post catch’s the attention of one of your follower’s then the post has a chance to be re-shared from one person to the next. This is exactly what your want to happen. The more your content is shared the higher your social factor become’s to Google. You can determine your social share activity in several ways but the easiest and most effective way to gain insight on how a post may be performing is by viewing the ripples of your post.
Next, every post which is feed to the stream has the possibility of being +1’d by followers. If one of these posts is +1’d then those post are bookmarked onto the +1’s page for later viewing. This typical use of social bookmarking is a common technique used by SEO professional‘s to generate more traffic and quality links to a website. With that being said, it brings us back to the fact that you can not generate +1’s on your Google+ Business Profile but you can on your personal profile. Now there is the option to delete the +1’s from your personal profile if you are choosing to just +1 your on content, but then you lose the value of being seen on the SERP’s and Google Plus Box for something you +1’d for someone else. That added value give’s you additional exposure to people searching for something socially and organically, but only show’s up in the organic result with your picture if you +1’d someone’s page.
So you may be thinking why would you not want to +1 something you like when you it can bring you more exposure on the search results? Well if you’re like me you do not like all the clutter and let’s face it I am the type of individual who does not like clutter. It seems spam to me sort of to have the huge list of +1’s on a page with no organization or because someone would not let you place a link on their page unless you +1’d their website. Which brings us to the fact that some businesses have found ways to allow you to place a link on their website if you +1 their page. This become’s what is known as reciprocal linking. If you’re a fan of reciprocal linking then you like that option, if not you could consider it link exchanging which has minimal SEO gain now a day’s especially if it is not a relevant site to what your business is about, unless of course you are exchanging links with Google.
Tying it all Together
Now if you have not stopped reading yet, we are going to completely tie this to the Google Plus Box being generated in the SERP’s. First thing’s first, if you have not noticed the Google Plus Box only show’s on the first page of Google when performing the search. The second page and beyond no longer display’s the Google Plus Box from there on. Some have said this is due to the fact that Google could lose out on ad revenue because it requires ad space to be taken up on the page. But honestly, Google has plenty of space to generate ad revenue so this does not seem to be so true in my opinion because the ads are still there and the searcher still see’s the top portion of the ads on the page and only needs to scroll just a little to see all the ads. With that being said, the Google Plus Box does rotate the social profiles if you were to refresh the page for the same search. This rotation can occur because social factor’s are constantly changing by the second and one profile could have gained more social significance than another. Also Google could be trying to play fair in some aspect by showing these on a rotation because your circles contain more than just a few people in each circle. The biggest factor though is how well your profile is optimized which of course can produce better result’s than your competitor.
The Google Plus Box does not show for all searches though when searching socially or non-socially, but still produces social significance in the organic results even if your toggle is set to social or non social. If you will notice though the +1 button option disappears from the organic results once you toggle off the social search. In past post this has been referred to as logging in and logging out or on/off. In order to +1 something you have to be logged in through a G-mail account. Even though you are not producing social results Google still is using social indicators to help produce results organically. Now, I can not say why Google does not always show the Google Plus Box, but for whatever reason I am sure they have one.
Something else that revolves around the social indicator’s and search significance concern’s how the data is collected and displayed by Google in Google Analytic’s. Several post have been written on this topic in the past few month’s about how Google display’s “not provided” data in Google Analytic’s. This loss of data has made the work of an SEO Professional more difficult when determining how people are finding your business in the search results. This ties in because when you are logged in socially the data is collected but listed in Google Analytic’s as “not provided” data. But if you were to log out socially and search the data show’s what keywords and phrases were used to find your business in Google Analytic’s. Now this does not have anything to do with the Google Plus Box of course but it is one of the factor’s correlating to the social indicator’s and how the data is utilized. One last thing that should be mentioned about search results, the authors attribute.
The use of the rel=author is part of Google and how they show results. But keep in mind the rel=author is connected to your Google+ personal profile. If you are not making use of the rel=author attribute then you should think about it, especially if your against people copying your content. The rel=author attribute can be easily connected by placing a link to your Google+ profile on your website and by placing a link on your Google+ profile to the page you placed the Google+ link to your profile on your website. You must have the Google+ portion in the anchor text for the link as well for this to work properly. You can also have a rel=author attribute associated with more than just Google+, this too is another preventive way of protecting your content and helping clean up the spam on the Internet. Article Base is another website that you can post your articles on and establish a rel=author attribute on as well, this same reciprocal linking still applies though. You link Article Base to your Google+ profile and vice verse. The use of the rel=author attribute is another great way to produce stronger social gain’s for your Google+ profile because you are more easily referenced to your Google+ profile.
Thank you for reading and hope this was helpful on your quest to reach the top. If you care to join and receive more information about proper and up to date SEO topic’s then please join me and contribute any advice, questions, doubt’s or responses. You can find a link above to connect or by selecting the graphic. Link Worx Seo tries to provide the most current and available information about how to topic’s and current SEO news. But as any SEO business professional knows it can be difficult at times to keep up with everything in the world of SEO. The coverage in this post was from a four month’s of analysis and first hand experiences of searching, features, trials, testing and compiled information. Got to love it, thank you and hope to talk to you soon. Link Worx Seo
“If you are not on Google+ yet, then create a profile now.”
Way nice, people have been wondering how long it was going to take Google or another company to program a type of sharing button to share from a website. It actually surprises me that ShareAholic, ShareThis or AddThis has not done this yet, if they have no one has seen it thus far. I thought of this when the first Google +1 button was first released by Google. It seemed that the best usage of the +1 would be mostly for favorite website bookmarking instead of a separate button for sharing. Not sure why Google did not implement this in this way to begin with when creating G+.
I have been going through the motions of what Google +1 is capable of doing and have decided that it would seem feasible as well to add a share option on the +1 page of your profile to easily share your +1’d pages with any location or Google circle. Now the next thing to tackle is if your wanting to share a link to another social site or even e-mail it to someone else you are forced to go to that page first and then use share method options which are abundantly available through various addon’s and extensions through browser’s or on websites.
Currently a share button is only available for mobile phones gives the mobile phone a competitive edge over PC and MAC users since a share button for G+ is only available for mobile users to my knowledge at this time and date (11/08/11, 7:17 A.M.), but I am sure it will soon be available for PC and Mac users a like. If Google can implement these kinds of changes it would make Google gain a competitive edge on the competition for sure.
Google has been beat up recently because of all the changes by some, but overall it seems most are happy with the changes Google has been creating. Google not only has created a more stable product for users but they have created a magnitude of jobs for people as well. All of Google’s changes have created enormous amounts of content, inspired programmers and developers to create plugins and even allowed graphic artist to become creative with some of the new logos and icons being introduced. Of course this list of professionals is fairly broad, but overall it has generated a lot of work for people since it all started. I myself am part of all of these changes and productivity just by simply wring a blog, thinking of better way’s to improve Google and sharing my ideals and work.
The problem has been solved by a plugin I use called:
Publish sync for google+ & facebook (Green Edition)1.1.92
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