Data from Twitter, Facebook and YouTube all needs to be considered by businesses looking to ascertain the impact social media has on search engine optimisation (SEO).

This is the view of Gareth Owen, in an article for Search Engine Watch, who explained there are a number of metrics companies could analyse to gather evidence on the extent to which such websites influence SEO.

The number of followers a brand has on Twitter is a sign of how "authoritative" the firm is on the micro-blogging site, he observed, while the number of retweets that occur is another factor that can be used to measure popularity.

Firms that upload videos to YouTube should look at view counts and the number of times users comment on their content, Mr Owen continued, adding fans on Facebook pages – and the number of 'likes' from users – are also an important metric to consider.

Experian Hitwise data recently revealed social media has eclipsed entertainment websites to become responsible for the biggest portion of online activity in the UK.

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