It all began when people started believing that social media influences search engine rankings. Though it was stated otherwise, the debate on whether social media actually does impact SEO efforts is still discussed all over the internet by SEO experts.
Most SEO companies offer services that can be complemented with sufficient social media marketing for optimal results. So clearly, social media somewhat has a key role when it comes to search engine optimization.
So how does it impact SEO efforts?
For starters, it’s not a ranking factor. It doesn’t help SEO in a lot of ways like people think. But there is a connection.
Social media doesn’t influence rankings
Search engine optimization is all about Google now. Websites compete to rise up in Google rankings, but with no idea of how their algorithm actually works. They work with the information and guidelines they get from Google itself. Google also stated that social media is not a direct ranking factor. But there have been cases that proved that it influences rankings to some extent.
So was Google lying?
Search Engine Land’s Danny Sullivan posted an article which stated that Google confirmed that the links shared on popular social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter are used as ranking signals. This was later confirmed by Matt Cutts, the former head of Google’s webspam team.
However, last year Gary Illyes, a Google Webmaster Trends Analyst, again was asked the same question – does Google take social media into account for SEO. The answer was a no.
But with other studies proving that there’s a correlation between the two, the best approach is to keep creating good content that will be accepted in social media channels, and linked by viewers who like it. These links, in turn, boost rankings.
Have you ever noticed that high ranked websites have higher numbers of social signals?
Exploring the ‘correlation’
Though it doesn’t directly influence ranking, here are a few ways how it complements your SEO efforts.
- Link building: Social media is where people go for peer reviews. So if someone likes something and shares it, other people would check it out as well. The more shares you get for your content, the more people will like it subsequently giving you links in the process. With good content creation and social media promotion, your website may shot up the rankings for competitive keywords.
- Building an audience: With social media, you can let the world know that you have a unique product or solution that can help people or businesses for that matter. Social media can be leveraged to establish a solid web presence that will consequently impact click-through rates (CTR) when people click on content from your website that impressed them in social media channels. CTR in turn influences rankings.
- Promotion: Social media isn’t all about Facebook and Twitter. YouTube is the second most searched search engine. For businesses, YouTube can turn tides.
Many researches indicate that over 40% of YouTube users want to see more video content from marketers.
According to HubSpot’s reports, 48% of marketers plan to add YouTube to their content strategy next year.
Though the search queries on YouTube don’t have high commercial intent, the platform can still influence SEO performance if you can create good videos to promote your brand or your content. The videos may also rank organically in search engine result pages in addition to increasing the likelihood of getting more links.
These are but a few ways to leverage social media to complement your SEO efforts. The point is that social media does indeed impact SEO performance albeit indirectly. The key is in leveraging it. But it requires you to invest on both social media and SEO, and then utilize them both with sound strategies that align to your business goals. You may also hire a reputed SEO consultant to handle it for you, along with the technicalities.