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With the recent explosion in social networking that has happened over the past few years, it is no surprise that it has had its effects on website marketing. Search engines index some social network posts, but also use most of the larger social networks in their trust ranking algorithm. By using the larger social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and YouTube, you can help your site place better in the search rankings, while also driving some traffic to your site.

One of the first social media moguls was MySpace. There was a time when everyone had a MySpace page and it prospered. But then something happened to MySpace, the membership population that had been growing exponentially had begun to plateau, and people were using their MySpace page less frequently. People had moved on to something better. A new social networking platform that forever changed the way people interacted, Facebook. Facebook gave the people what they wanted and needed out of a social networking platform, and then kept adding value. People could now document their lives through posts, status updates, and online photo albums. They could keep up to date with their friends who were halfway around the world. In the late 2000's the term "Facebook Me" took off, and it almost seemed that people had more social interactions with friends online than they did in person. After Facebook's success, and Mark Zuckerburg's reaching Scrooge McDuck wealth status, it seemed everyone who could write code took a crack at creating the new big social media outlet. From this surge in social networking, we have seen sites like Twitter, YouTube, and Google+ rise to the platform of social media moguls. Each of these sites has something unique to offer their clientele, which is what has allowed them to rise while many others have fallen by the way side.

While there were many social networking sites before it, Facebook is undoubtedly the one that started the boom. Now with over one billion members, it would have the third highest population if it were a country. Let that sink in for a moment - the third highest population, coming in just behind China and India. That is an impressive feat. So what does this mean for your business and search engine marketing? Many companies have business accounts on Facebook and spend quite a lot of time resources updating the page. But when it comes down to how it will affect your website organic placement, Facebook comes up short. Keep in mind that when you are managing the connection with your social network pages and your business' webpage, you should always spend more resources gathering traffic to your webpage, not just your Facebook page. Facebook is only good a medium to corral people into viewing your website. Despite being the number #2 most viewed site in the world (behind Google), bringing people to your homepage and boosting your traffic is the main way that Facebook can help your site's organic placement in search engines.

As just mentioned, Google is the number #1 ranked site by Alexa, meaning it has the most page views per day on average. It comes as no shock then to say that Google owns two of the largest social media networks, their direct competition to Facebook, Google+, and their video sharing website YouTube. Google+ was introduced in early 2011 under an invite only beta testing. It was released to the full public later on in the year and became the fastest growing social networking site to date. It was designed to be the next "Big One", the site that would finally be able to remove Facebook from its pedestal. Although it did become a huge success in social networking, it fell short of knocking Facebook down to second best. Although the user base is not as vast as Facebook, Google+ did something which Facebook did not. Because of its ownership by Google, it is fully integrated into Google's searches, and provides boosts in website organic placement that Facebook cannot offer its users. By installing the Google+ badge on your website and having it link with your Google+ page. Your website will gather "votes" that can help its organic placement. The help your website will get in the trust algorithm is also beneficial. Overall, Google+ is essential from an SEO stand point in social networking, surpassing Facebook in its usefulness.

YouTube is Google's other social media baby. Completely dominating the video sharing marketplace, YouTube has over half of a billion unique video uploads, totalling over 500,000 hours of videos. That's over 57 years' worth of videos. In this 57 years' worth of video, there are tutorials, how to's, demonstrations, movies, music videos, unique member content, and so much more. This sites ranks number 3 for page views per day ... just behind Facebook and Google. With the absurd amount of traffic and affiliation with Google, YouTube is also a must for social marketing from an SEO perspective. By ensuring that your video has proper tags, it can show up in main Google searches as well as the video search platform. When you link your video to your site, this gives people another high placing outlet for finding your website on search results, providing you with more traffic, and overall, more business.

Twitter has made a name for itself as one of the more fast paced social networks. Providing only 140 character length status updates and a quick upload photo album, users update at a near constant rate. It is used by many businesses and celebrities as a PR outlet, using it for breaking news and updating followers on their latest events, activities and product releases, among other news. But Twitter is somewhat like Facebook when looked at from the eyes of a SEO marketer; it only provides traffic through hot linked updates. The "Tweets" are not always indexed. To make the most out of Twitter for online marketing, use industry related hash tags in your posts, and always provide links to direct people to your website.

There are many overlapping functions within the major social networks, but they also all offer unique attributes which have allowed them to succeed in a very competitive market. The popularity of social media cannot be ignored in today's online business market. Business' need to have presence in the online social world, but that presence needs to be kept in perspective. You should not be wasting resources constantly updating social networks. Optimize your updating time by syncing social media accounts, this will allow you more time to focus on organic placement with your site, which is the online marketing that truly brings in targeted business.

Toronto is one of the most wired cities in terms of social media use. It's hard to find someone that isn't Tweeting, Facebooking or Plusing. Use it to your advantage for your business marketing as it relates to establishing trust and driving in another source of traffic BUT keep it in perspective as about 5% of your overall site marketing efforts and accordingly, the time spent to do it.
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