I wrote an article in September on WordPress Plugins worth using. A few days after I wrote that article I started using another plugin which I have been meaning to discuss. It’s called “ShareThis,” and it adds social media sharing buttons to all of your posts.
Google is placing more and more of an emphasis on social media in its search results. The most obvious way this is manifested is in search results where one of your friends has clicked “+1” on a page. Your website may be on page 5 of Google results for “science fiction novel” for just about everyone else in the world, but if your friend Bob has clicked +1, it will probably be displayed on the first page of results for any of his friends, along with a message saying that Bob liked this particular page. You can see what this looks like.
Not only do you get the boost from page 5 to page 1 (which is huge) but you get a personal recommendation from one of your friends to one of their friends. This might not happen too often for your page, but it’s one example of how social media can help you. If two articles on two different sites are similar in almost every way but one has had 20 users tweet it out and the other article has had 0 tweets, then Google will likely assume that the article with 20 tweets is the better article and will place it first in the rankings. SEO is alive and well but it’s getting more intermingled with social media daily.
Google is working through several issues with how to factor in +1 hits to search engine results. They claim only +1 hits from individuals they deem “relevant” will count towards rankings results. This is to combat people trying to inflate their rankings by buying +1 hits from eBay and fiverr.
Now that you’re thoroughly convinced you need people to share your articles with their friends, what should you do about it? Make it as easy as possible.
sharethis.com is a fantastic site which makes adding social media and bookmarking icons like the ones below automatic, easy and free.
For WordPress users it’s as simple as installing the “ShareThis” plugin. For users of other blogging software or other types of sites, you can go to their website for details on how to get it up and running. It has step by step instructions for seven different blogging sites, a normal website and a newsletter. You can even pick how you want to buttons to look. Once I installed the WordPress plugin and added in our social media accounts, I never had to think about it again. Every time I add new content to the site, ShareThis puts the buttons on the bottom of the article. This makes it extremely easy for your readers to share the article they just read with their friends.
There are definitely flashier options out there for adding social media buttons to your site but ShareThis is a quick and easy way to add this functionality.