The number of Facebook shares, Tweets, Pinterest pins and other social media mentions can influence SEO rank.

Installing social sharing buttons on your website not only makes it easy for users to share your content, and thereby improve user experience, it can also help you rank higher on searches.

Social sharing also helps drive purchasing behavior: Nearly 4 in 10 Facebook users report they have gone from liking, sharing or commenting on an item to actually buying it, while 43% of social media users have purchased a product after sharing or liking it on Pinterest, Facebook or Twitter.

In this case study, a pest control company boosted organic traffic by 15% in just 2 weeks after running a campaign aimed to increase social sharing.

Peep Laja managed to get over 40,000 unique visits to his site in month number one, having most of the traffic generated through social media sharing.

To get you started, here are a few social share button plug-ins to try:

  • SumoMe
  • Shareaholic
  • WP Social Sharing

Resolving the conflict between usability and SEO “best practice”

In most cases, elements that contribute to good usability also increase SEO ranking. However, there are instances when conflict my occur:

  • Many content creators “stuff” keywords onto a page to get SEO juice, but that could undermine the readability and user experience of the content.
  • The attempt to get keywords into an article can affect the vocabulary choice of the writer, sometimes making content hard to comprehend.
  • Outbound links can be good for SEO, but too many of them can be distracting and if they are not directly related to the topic at hand, it can impact the reader’s experience.
  • Overloading footers that contain every single page on the site may help with SEO, but it also creates confusion when a visitor is trying to look for certain key pages.
  • Sometimes, particularly in the short term, you may have to make a trade-off between more traffic from SEO and optimal user experience.

Don’t get lured into just comparing numbers – such as visitor numbers and page views. Traffic from SEO may give you higher numbers in the short term, but better user experience can often result in higher conversions.

In the long run, with an eye on conversion and ultimately revenue, it’s often a smart move to prioritize user experience instead of milking every last SEO trick.