As social media has become a significant part of people’s lives across virtually all demographics, it is easy to assume it directly correlates to SEO. Even though the two share a connection, there is not a direct correlation.
Part of the confusion surrounding social media’s impact on SEO goes back over a decade. In 2010, Google’s Matt Cutts said social signals were a ranking factor. However, in 2014, Cutts contradicted his previous statement saying that Google does not look at social signals when ranking websites.
The bottom line in this back and forth is that whether Google formally looks at social media factors or not, social media is a powerful force in the digital world. Remember, if you offer a service or sell a product, there is a 99% chance potential customers are searching for it on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter, YouTube and many other social media platforms.
In this post you’ll learn why social media doesn’t directly impact SEO, but should still be used for the additional benefits it can provide for your business.
How does social media impact my SEO?
Although Google disavows any specific impacts on the SERPs from your social media, an excellent social media presence can help your business in the following ways.
1. Social profiles can rank for search terms
Not everyone thinks about the fact that their social media profiles can rank as search terms. The caveat is this happens when searchers find your business because they are looking for a branded search term.
2. Your social profile can build trust
Think about the last time you scanned a business’ social media accounts. Did you come away with a higher opinion than when you began? Your customers and potential customers see you and your business in a different light. That is the power of building trust through social media.
For example: A sanctuary specialising in the care of senior dogs had a small, fairly local support base. When a volunteer created a Facebook page, their support tripled in about six weeks. Adding an Instagram account that gives the option of seeing a live feed of the dogs at any time drove followers and donations through the roof. In the span of a few years, the sanctuary went from caring for a dozen or so local dogs to being the touchpoint for dozens of similar shelters, changing the lives of hundreds and hundreds of senior dogs.
In the example, the most significant factor that attributed to growth was supporters having the ability to get to know the sanctuary, the dogs, and the volunteers. All of this links directly to the effective use of social media.
Additionally, the absence of social media accounts may be a cause of mistrust for some searchers.
3. Improve the performance of your content
Having helpful, informative, and dynamic content on your website is excellent and necessary. However, if you are not sharing this content on your social channels, you are putting yourself at a disadvantage.
Your content has a much greater chance of interaction when you share it on social media. You may have the hottest new nail art tutorials, but if they are on your website and not on YouTube, you are missing out on a treasure trove of followers and customers. Remember that social media is the biggest source for distributing online content.
When your content gains many affirmative interactions, these positive signals can indirectly improve your search rankings.
4. Your chances of getting backlinks improve
It is no secret that backlinks are essential for SEO. They prove that others find your content helpful, and valuable content gets better rankings.
By using your content on social media, you significantly increase the chances of gaining backlinks. If you have expended the effort creating quality content, share it with as many eyes as possible.
If one or two viewers link back to you, there is no telling how far your content may go.
5. You are bringing in the human element
At the end of the day, your business is about more than keyword ranking, SERPs, and how many backlinks you have. It is about you, a person, offering something to other people to the best of your ability.
Social media brings you in contact with these people. You can (and should) engage with them, answer questions, and learn what your target group wants and needs from you. Social media allows your customers to see you differently, and at the same time, you can gain valuable insights about your customers.
By understanding consumer’s needs you can create better content, increase conversions, and lower your bounce rate.
Why does Google ignore social signals?
Even though Google bots index pages from social media, just as they do other pages, the search engine made a point of telling the world they do not pay attention to social signals. This begs the question, why?
Social signals (shares, likes, comments and general visibility) are notoriously easy to fake, which is why the search engine giant would avoid assigning weight to them.
Can social media act as a search engine?
The idea of social media functioning as a search engine may seem to many as out of the box thinking. In the digital marketing world, SEO and Google’s SERPs are tightly bound together. This link seems natural given the fact that the analytics and algorithms that make-or-break businesses come from the search engine behemoth.
Lost in this assumption is the idea that a searcher is every bit as likely to go to Facebook or Twitter and look up a brand or a product as they are to do a Google or Duck Duck Go search.
The biggest reason social media does not get recognition as another search engine is that when you search a social media site, you access the company’s social page and not their website.
What are best practices for social media SEO?
To get the most out of your social media accounts, remember that you will only get out what you put in; make it count.
- Be easy to find – You want to stand out from your competition and improving your searchability is an excellent way to achieve this goal. One way to do this is to embed hashtags and keywords in your content. However, remember to avoid keyword stuffing.
- Be consistent – It may take a bit of time, but you will figure out the best time to post as well as the best number of posts to drive engagements. Once you have this information, stick with what works. Changing things up for the sake of change is a terrible idea in the world of social media.
- Optimize all social media accounts – Run regular audits of your content. Check for consistent imagery and tone across all platforms. Keep all of your information current and update content regularly to keep your followers interested.
Use social media to your advantage
Even though the lines connecting SEO and social media are a bit fuzzy, it is still an essential piece of your company’s online presence. Making your social media pages and posts as beneficial as possible is a big part of staying ahead of the competition.
If you feel you do not have time to work on this (or any other) aspect of your digital marketing, you may want to think about teaming up with experienced experts. Digital Hitmen’s team of professionals has a decade and a half of experience creating winning campaigns that boost our clients’ rankings and, in turn, their profits. Contact us for a quote or more information today.