Integrating Content With Social Platforms

Saturday, 25th February, 2012 by Matthew Barker | Leave Comment

Part of a series of How To articles on using online travel content for effective search engine marketing.

While previous guides have concerned content development strategy, this article will explain best practices for integrating cutting-edge content on your site with your social media profiles.

This is extremely important to optimize in order to enjoy the full benefits from the interactions your site visitors make with your content and ensure they all contribute to improved visibility in personalised social-search results.

There are a number of implementation guidelines for the three major social platforms, Facebook, Google+ and Twitter.

Facebook: Facebook’s integration platform is called the Open Graph Protocol. This is a powerful tool that allows programmers and developers to integrate with Facebook’s data and user base in a vast number of ways. Long gone are the days of sticking a “Like” button on your home page. These days you must consider how to properly integrate your content within the Facebook ecosystem, using the Open Graph Protocol.

The starting point is to think of each page, or even elements within each page as potential objects within the Facebook world. The idea is to find ways of integrating those objects with your visitors’ Facebook profiles as effectively as possible.

Again, this goes way beyond collecting “Likes” on the page. Not all Facebook updates are displayed to all users. Facebook uses an algorithm called Edge Rank to decide which updates should be shown in each user’s News Feed, and which updates should be filtered out. The more interactions an update has, the more change it will be displayed to more users. Improving the number and quality of your interactions increases the Edge Rank of each object:

  • Shares – Facebook shares carry more Edge Rank weight, and are more likely to appear in peoples’ News Feeds. Adding a Share button, (rather than a Like button) makes that interaction more likely.
  • Comments – comments also carry more weight. Integrating Facebook comments onto your own site will allow people to comment on your content, both on your site and on Facebook.

Facebook offers a wealth of guidance and specific coding instructions on the countless ways you can integrate your site. This guide on Building Conversation gives a useful introduction to the possibilities. Once you’ve decided what routes you want to take, have your developer check this page for Facebook plugin code.

Google+: In many ways, Google’s social platform operates along similar lines to Facebook, in that users recommend and share your content via Google+, which then impacts your visibility in personalised search results. However, there is one key difference: clicking +1 on a piece of content does not automatically make you a follower of the site’s Google+ profile. Instead, users will have to actually visit your Google+ profile and choose to put you into one of their circles.

This places even more emphasis on the importance of publishing great travel content, as people will not choose to follow you unless you truly deserve it. You can only interact with people on Google+ if they have added you to one of their circles.

Aside from that, integrating with Google+ is relatively easy. Create a profile if you haven’t already, and then get the simple code you need to place a +1 button on whichever pages you choose. Remember, if you want people to add you to their circles, you will also need another badge linking them to your Google+ profile.

For more control over how your page is integrated with Google+ and how your pages are displayed to other Google+ users, use this advanced coding.

Twitter: Although the impact of Tweets on search rankings is less direct than Google+ and Facebook/Bing, there is absolutely no doubt that they help with faster indexing of content and as a major social signal to the search engines. For this reason you should make sure visitors can easily and effectively share your content to their Twitter followers.

Like the previous two platforms, Twitter offers a number of “out of the box” buttons that are easy to add to any webpage in order to a) share your content and b) amass more Twitter followers for your own profile.

However you can also use this advanced documentation to take more control over the way the buttons are displayed and the way your content appears when shared. As with all platforms, improving the presentation of your content is the second best way to encourage further sharing and interactions. Second to publishing extraordinary travel content in the first place, of course.

Get in touch for more details or assistance with your travel content development strategy.

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