How Your Social Media Presence Is Impacting Your SEO


While major search engines like Google maintain that social media activity has little or no effect on SEO, there are some indirect benefits of social media that can give your rankings a boost says, Tom Desmond, CEO, ApricotLaw

For many businesses, social media and search engine optimization (SEO) are simply two boxes to check in their digital marketing plans. But the relationship between SEO and social media goes deeper than that.

Despite repeated claims by Google execs that social media activity has no bearing on SEO, a strong social media presence provides some indirect SEO benefits that are impossible to ignore.

In fact, there are a number of ways social media can impact your SEO. High social engagement provides an alternative way to drive traffic to your site. Aside from the fact that site traffic is a ranking factor, exposing your content to a larger audience can get it noticed. That means content creators are more likely to link to your content — a powerful backlinking opportunity.

With billions of social media users across the globe, ignoring social media and its potential to bolster your SEO efforts will amount to nothing more than a missed opportunity in your digital marketing strategy.

Social Media Profiles and SERPs

This is perhaps one of the most obvious benefits of having an active social media presence for your business: Your social media profiles can show up in search engine results pages (SERPs).

Try it for yourself: Open an incognito or private browsing window in your Internet browser and search for, say, Pfizer. What do you see? Within the top five results, you’re likely to see Pfizer’s primary website, its Twitter profile, and its Facebook profile.

That’s an easy and simple way to dominate the top few results on SERPs related to branded searches of your business. Instead of occupying only one spot with your main website, you can occupy three or more spots if you have complete and active social media profiles.

But simply creating social media profiles and leaving them to gather dust won’t do the trick. Just like you would optimize the content on your website, you need to optimize your social media profiles for branded searches of your business. Include your name and content relevant to your business in your social media profile description to rank in top spots for branded searches.

Using Social Media to Target an Engaged Audience

Simply having a dedicated Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Instagram, LinkedIn, or Pinterest profile isn’t enough to have any sort of impact on your website’s SEO. You need to engage with your audience and provide original content that will pique your followers’ interest.

Social media users who see your profiles posting links to your website content won’t click on those links unless they have good reason to. That means they’ll be engaged and interested in your content before they ever get to your site. And once they do get there, they’re more likely to stay on your site for a longer amount of time.

This feature of social media can provide two SEO benefits:

  • Your bounce rate — the number of people who view only one page on your site before leaving it — is likely to decrease. This is a ranking factor for Google.
  • A highly engaging social media post on an active social media profile can easily double or triple your average daily website traffic. There is some debate about the effect of site traffic on SEO, but social media ultimately provides another way to attract visitors to your site, which can’t hurt your SEO efforts.

     

How Social Media Can Lead to High-Quality Backlinks

Getting high-quality backlinks to your website remains a critically important Google ranking factor. What many people don’t know, however, is that a great social media strategy can lead to excellent backlinks — and you don’t even have to ask for them.

Here’s how it works: You post engaging content on social media with links back to your website content. One of the millions of content creators, bloggers, or journalists on social media comes across your active social media profile. Your posts and content interest the content creator, and he or she creates content on his or her website that mentions and links back to your site.

As more backlinks like this pour in, you’ll see your Google rankings improve.

Google Plus and Your Rankings

While it’s not even close to the most popular social media platform, Google Plus may hold special significance for SEO. Users who are logged in to their Google Plus accounts may get personalized search results.

This personalization is based on the +1 activity of people in your network (circles). If your content is heavily interacted with on Google Plus, you may see a boost in rankings personalized to individual Google Plus users. Unconfirmed but heavily studied rumors suggest that posting new website content on Google Plus will get the page indexed more quickly (within hours, according to reports).

Lesser Used Search Engine

Although Bing, Yahoo, and other less popular search engines may not seem as important to your SEO success as Google, other search engines do hold a portion of the search engine market, and they shouldn’t be discounted.

Bing officials even confirmed to Search Engine Land that Bing’s algorithm does examine the “social authority” of users and that this metric does have an effect on search results.

Google has steadily maintained that social media has no direct effect on rankings, but other search engines haven’t made that quite as clear, which means there may be some opportunity to gain SEO traction on other search engines through social media.

Takeaways

According to current research, social media’s effect on SEO is correlation — not causation. However, your business’ social media use can impact some important Google ranking factors, providing an indirect benefit to your SEO efforts.

When a difference of even one spot on a SERP can decide whether you get a lead for your business, no potential SEO booster should be ignored.

Algolia Reports

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