First things first. Social media is NOT an element of SEO (search engine optimisation) ranking.
But, having said that, it does have a link to SEO through social signals (we’ll talk about those later).
However, if you ask Google, it will tell you that social media isn’t a ranking factor. But studies indicate that social media can help your site rank better.
Confused? Well, this is what Searchmetrics had to say in their 2016 Rebooting Ranking Factors Whitepaper:
“The correlation between social signals and ranking position is extremely high, and the number of social signals per landing page has remained constant when compared with the values from last year’s whitepaper. … The top-ranked websites in Google’s rankings display vastly more social signals than all other pages…. This is primarily due to the overlap between brand websites performing strongly in social networks and being allocated top positions by Google.”
How social media impacts your SEO
We’ve already said social media doesn’t directly influence your SEO, but it does have an indirect effect. The links you share across your social channels increase brand exposure and, therefore awareness, impacting your SEO in five ways:
- Content distribution – getting your blogs and articles under more noses
- Post longevity – linking to older articles can give them a new lease of life
- Visibility – greater awareness can lead to better online visibility and more organic traffic
- Brand recognition – the more people that see your posts will get to love and recognise your brand
- Brand reputation – linking out to great information will help boost trust
That doesn’t mean you should rush out and spam your social channels with loads of links to articles or your website. As we mentioned earlier, shares have no direct influence on your rankings. However, they generate social signals (told you we’d come back to those), which are things like Facebook and LinkedIn likes, and Twitter followers.
The more high-quality and useful information you share across social media, the more your audience will share your posts with their family, friends, and networks.
The more sharing happens, the more potential visits for your website or blog, which could boost your SEO ranking because Google values quality links.
Make your followers advocates of your brand
When your followers engage with your content, they become brand advocates. The simple act of reading, liking and sharing amplifies the voice of your brand. When their followers take a peek and love your content, too, they will also like and share. Can you see where we’re going with this?
The more people that like your content (whether blog posts, videos, infographics, or podcasts) and share it, the wider your audience becomes.
These are the social signals that tell Google your content is amazing, indirectly improving your search rankings.
The final word on SEO and social media
Social media may not be a direct Google ranking factor, but without a doubt, it is one of the best ways to promote your content and be found online.
Remember, this only works if you post helpful information. Flooding your social channels with coffee break announcements, pictures of your lunch, or constant references to your products won’t work.
Your audience is looking for valuable information that they can use to help improve their life, skills, business, or whatever is important to them. They want to learn from you (you are, after all, an expert in your field), so give them high-quality, useful information.
It’s the links from your social media activities that can help Google index your blogs and articles, leading to more search traffic and improved rankings.
So, now you know what to do.
Start sharing useful, high-quality content that engages your audience. And don’t forget to make it easy for them to share your posts by including social sharing buttons on your website and blog.
Sally Ormond, a professional copywriter, cyclist, gym addict and dog lover.