Can social media improve SEO for your website? Well, yes. But not in the direct way that you might be thinking.
Back in the old days, as in pre-2010, online marketers would have sworn that social signals like social shares were a direct ranking factor for SEO.
But that idea got turned on its head in 2014 when Mike Cutts, then of Google made a video saying that social signals like Twitter followers and Facebook likes do not affect search rankings.
Basically, there are too many problems that would crop up if Google decided to adopt these parameters as ranking signals.
They may be prevented from accessing pages, for example.
And also, with the rate at which information changes (24 hours nonstop) on social media sites it may be difficult for crawlers to keep up.
But this does not mean that social signals are completely irrelevant when it comes to SEO.
The Correlation Between Social Signals and SEO
There may not be a direct correlation between social signals and SEO, but there are ways in which social signals does influence your SEO.
For example, a study carried out by Hootsuite in 2018 that tested the SEO results of articles without social promotion revealed that articles with lots of social shares received about 22% SEO boost during the experiment’s run.
Another study by optinmonster in 2019 corroborated the results of the Hootsuite study: social popularity does help search engine rankings. And this is true even if search engines like Google do not consider social signals a ranking factor.
A simple way to understand this would be to consider the impact of strong social media engagement on a website’s traffic and authority over time.
Imagine that you create a barrage of inspiring and valuable content that solves readers’ problems, and that these pieces of content get massive shares and love on social media.
Your social media profiles then gain a huge following as a result, and your website would gain loads of traffic. The surge in traffic on your website and across social media would grow a community around your brand, and this would in turn lead to a rise in your authority.
The rise in your authority would undoubtedly lead search engines indexing your pages higher, and this would lead to higher rankings and more organic traffic. And the cycle would continue.
Six Ways in Which Social Signals Can Improve Your SEO
There are other ways in which social signals across multiple platforms could impact your SEO for the better. Here are six ways in which sharing links to your article can influence factors that impact SEO:
- Social Signals and Content Distribution: Having lots of shares and likes and retweets will lead to massive distribution of your content. Social media makes it easy for your content to go viral, leading to more people seeing it. And this leads to more traffic on your website.
- Longer Lifespan of Your Content: Content that is actively being shared across social media is bound to keep attracting traffic for much longer than content that never left your website.
- Improved Brand Recognition: Social media is one of the most effective ways to meet an interested audience. And the more your content gets attention, the more this audience becomes aware of your brand.
- Improved Visibility and Organic Traffic: As your content enjoys love on social media, this will increase the awareness about your brand and this in turn can lead to increased rankings and organic traffic.
- Enhanced Brand Reputation: Most times an active social media presence lends more credibility than a website. This increased credibility leads to improved brand reputation in the long run.
- Boosts Local Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Having a social page that is fully optimized for local search makes it easy for people in your locality to search your business out. This increased local intent translates into better local SEO over time.
In the end, while social signals may not be a ranking factor for now, there is no doubt that they are indicator of how useful your content is to your target audience. This makes them important, and thus worth paying attention to.