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Does social media impact SEO? 8 ways socials help search rankings

Impact of Social Media on SEO

Does social media activity impact SEO?

The simple answer is yes, social media activity impacts SEO. But perhaps not how you might expect.

Social media and its impact on SEO is a much-debated topic online. 

See, most SEO’s and marketers understand the value of quality backlinks to their website.   Backlinks increase domain authority which in turn improves search engine rankings.  Unfortunately, Google doesn’t count social media links as backlinks to your website.

So how does social media impact SEO efforts then?

Social media can improve your visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs)

To understand the correlation between social media and SEO it’s important to understand search engines. For instance, social media activity is included in Google algorithms, just perhaps not as you might think. Social Media impacts your overall digital marketing footprint, as well as, drives exposure to your content and traffic to your website.

Let’s take a look at how your branded activity on social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Linked In, Twitter and more can improve your search engine rankings.

8 Ways social media impacts SEO efforts and search rankings;

Social media is a great way to engage your audiences and have conversations with them online.   As well as this, and because of this, social media can impact SEO.  That’s why more and more businesses are using social as part of their comprehensive SEO strategies.

It’s important to note here again that social media does not create backlinks to your website. Therefore, links will not affect your website’s SEO in that way. However, having an active social presence can still improve how high you appear in SERPs. The impact on SEO is just a little more indirect.

It does this in the following 8 ways.

1) Social media drives traffic to your website which in turn helps SEO

If you want to improve your search engine rankings, one of the best ways is to drive as much traffic as possible to your website.   It sounds a bit like the chicken before the egg scenario, but it is true.  One of the major ranking factors Google uses is website traffic.

Traffic can come from a variety of online media, not just search engines.  This includes email marketing, advertising, guest blogs, and more.   One of the easiest ways to drive traffic is through social media marketing.

Social media is a great way to attract your target audience and direct them to your website.  This can be via branded content, engaging posts or pure social media advertising.  Google counts all users that are directed to your website as traffic, even those via social media link clicks. The data is then used to index your website.

2) Social media improves your content reach, so you’re discovered by more people

Social media can improve your content reach meaning more people discover your site.

While search engines like Google deliver content to users based on their search enquiries, social media has some additional benefits.  That is, users can receive content via social media that they didn’t necessarily search for.  This can be organic via other user activities with similar interests. It can also be part of deliberately targeted content delivered directly to the user by businesses via paid advertising campaigns.

Recommendations drive conversions online and on social media. This encourages users to click to read more and/or buy.  Therefore, using social media correctly can lead to traffic that engages with your content. Engaged uses lead to content shares, which can drive even more targeted traffic online.

Social media advertising is also an extremely cost-effective, targeted approach to deliver your content to thousands of people online. Advertising campaigns can drive traffic directly to your website, in turn, helping your SEO. Ads can also direct customers to buy in social marketplaces.  Either way, there is a direct benefit to the business.

3) Engagement with your social media content can help your rankings

We’ve already mentioned engagement with your content above but, given how important it is to your entire marketing efforts including SEO, it’s important to mention here on its own.

Firstly, and most simply, social accounts show Google that you are engaged with your audience—and engagement is one of Google’s top-ranking factors.  If your content is worth reading it’s worth ranking

In this way, social shares (and tweets) can improve the search rankings of your social media profiles, and so of your website too.   This is similar to how traditional links are being counted by Google as direct signals to Google that people think your content is worth reading.

Additionally, by engaging with your audience via social media channels you can ultimately better align yourself with their interests.  You can do this with the content that you write and share, through guest blogs, newsletter signups and lots of other ways that help your business connect with them. 

4) Social media can help improve link diversity

Search engines look at many factors when determining rankings, including link and domain diversity.  

For years, one strategy has been buying backlinks from different domains to boost domain diversity which results in higher rankings.  It might seem that this is an easy way to fix domain diversity issues. While SEO’s commonly used this tactic in the past, it adds no real user value. As such, Google views it as ‘SPAMMY’. That’s because, these links are often from unrelated, thin, or poorly constructed content.   Sometimes they are from websites created deliberately to generate backlinks. d so their content fails to be relevant, engaging, or informative.  These are all key criteria Google looks for in their ranking methods.  

Recent algorithm updates by Google attempt to weed out Blackhat SEO behaviour and link building like this. Instead, search engines favour websites that add value to online user experiences. 

So how can brands build ‘link diversity’?   Social media adds variety to your backlink profile (i.e., links to your site from different sources). 

Google likes a mixture of both follow and no follow links on any given website. Search engines want to see these links coming from different domains. Too many of one or the other will look unnatural. Google or other search engines will flag and penalise your website if links look unnatural.

To assess links, Google uses PageRank that calculates link points, or ‘Google juice’.  Social media is a great way to generate more diversity in your Google link juice.

5) Social media profiles often rank higher than websites

It’s not only your website content that can rank in search results.  Social media profiles often rank high in SERPS for branded content and particular keywords.  In some instances, search results can return a social media profile higher in their results pages than the company website for some keywords or search terms.  This is often seen, for example, with Pinterest, which has typically always generated high search rankings, as well as LinkedIn profiles and YouTube videos.  

YouTube, in particular, regularly ranks higher than company websites.  That’s because Google, like other search engines, dedicates a specific section at the top of its results pages specifically for video content.  

The reason social media profiles rank high in search engine results is because of one of the main ranking factors that controls which website or social profile links shows first for a particular search query.  That factor is what is referred to as ‘link authority’.   The web page or social media profile with greater link authority or page rank gets listed first in search results.  Social media typically has an extremely high authority score.

6) Social Media Platforms are Search Engines so does impact SEO

If we think of Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn as search engines – rather than social media platforms – then their purpose is just as clear: they’re all about finding people with whom you might want to do business.

Each serves a different niche. But if you want to be found online, it’s not enough for your website to exist; people must be able to find it via social media platforms as well.

Social media search engines make it easier to find information on certain topics. They make it easier to find new information every day. New posts on your social network pages show up in Google’s search results before links from an external site backlink page do!

7) Social media can help you understand your customers better

By improving your understanding of your customers via their online habits, likes, dislikes, location, etc. social media gives you insight into what people are looking for when it comes to brands just like yours.  The more you can understand your customers, their needs, their wants, and what they share on social media, the better you can serve their needs with both content as well as product and service offerings.   

Does your audience tweet about topics not mentioned by other businesses? Use that insight to create a custom hashtag on Instagram posts.  What questions are users asking via Reddit?  Write some informative content that answers those queries and share your response there.  

As people share information on Facebook or Pinterest or Twitter or another network about your business or product, study what they say. If a lot of people are complaining about a certain issue with your product or service, consider changing it.   That’s going to help you get higher search engine rankings in a way that social media links never will!  You’ll show off a deeper understanding of your customers which builds trust and improves your ability to engage with your audience online.

8) Social media helps geo targeting for local SEO

If you’re targeting customers in a specific geographic area — say, if you run a restaurant — you’ll want to reach those customers searching for restaurants in that area.   To do that, you want to make sure that any posts or pages associated with your business include accurate geo-targeting information.  This is an important ranking factor for Google, particularly for locality-based searches.

The most important geo-targeting information for Google is your Name, Address and Phone Number (NAP).  

Google looks for a business’ NAP and, where this is consistent with that on your Google business listing and throughout your website, Google will consider your business more credible.  The more instances of your NAP mentioned online, the more instances Google associates with your business for your geographical location.  This has a direct impact on how Google indexes and ranks your website for local search queries.

Additionally, some social media platforms allow geo-tagging of stories and posts. This is a great way to gain more visibility among a local audience, helping you expand your reach.

For ways, Found Online can help your local SEO to improve you for local search engine queries, get in contact with our local SEO experts.

Social Media does more for your business than just SEO

While social media is incredibly important for SEO, it is also beneficial to your business growth for more than just that.

Social media sites connect users by allowing everyone to see each other’s actions. This makes people feel connected, both online and IRL (in real life), which leads to even more sharing between members.  There are also connections between social media sites themselves. Eg, You can mention someone on Twitter and automatically post it onto Facebook.

Social media makes word-of-mouth advertising easier.   People like talking about products and services they love. They want their friends to use them. They want others to know how amazing something was.    Tapping into this, social media can help grow your company. It’s important to engage the right audience and build a community of online advocates.

This ‘social proof’ is far more powerful than any advertising a business can do.  Most people are more likely to trust the product and/or services recommendations that come from friends, family or those they view as experts online.  This is what makes social media so powerful for business.

In Conclusion:

The bottom line is that maintaining an active social presence can help improve search engine rankings.  But regardless of social media’s impact on SEO, there are many more reasons businesses should focus on using social tools as part of their marketing strategy.

Improving your rankings is a powerful benefit of social sharing, but getting actual traffic, engaging with customers, and creating ‘social proof’ that drive sales, is much more important for building your business.

Found Online provide social media marketing that get you found online

We’re a team of SEO specialists with a local Sydney based team of social media managers, content creators and advertising experts.   The team at Found Online improve search We provide Holistic SEO, social media management, website performance and more.

Get in touch with our Sydney team on 02 7906 8405 or send us a website enquiry.