Research shows that most websites and businesses believe a good social media presence bolsters their SEO strategy. While that is true, is it because the two go hand in hand, or are the two types of marketing both positive but unrelated? Let’s unpack the links between social media and SEO marketing. Here are four important things you need to know:
- Social Media Profiles Do Rank in Search Engines
While it’s true that numbers of shares on social media don’t always directly impact a web page’s position in Google’s page ranking, the social profiles themselves most certainly impact the search results – particularly in regard to content. Social media profiles are often in the top few results when you search for a brand name.
Ads and actual websites take the first couple of spots, but after that you will likely see a company’s Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram in the search results. This is due to the content of social media pages, as well as how often they are visited. Because Google bases site crawls on mobile more than desktop, it makes sense that social pages get a lot of hits, particularly for individuals who prefer their phone’s browser to an app.
Social media platforms can feel more personal and informative than traditional websites. You can see what a company, brand, or individual is doing or thinking now, rather than wading through a website to find general information. For this reason, many clients, consumers, and followers are just as likely to click on a social media profile as they are a website – sometimes more likely. It gives an immediate sense of the personality of the brand or individual.
- Social Links May Boost Your Search Rank
The question is – “Does Google consider the links published only on social accounts credible as backlinks?” No one can agree on the answer. Some social media marketing experts believe that inbound links from your social media profiles do, over time, have a significant impact on your site’s rankings. This is because of the thinking that links are mainly achieved by the creation of original content. That’s certainly what social media is, right? Therefore, it’s commonly believed that credible links from social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn all bolster your organic content and links, and in turn further legitimize your site and brand in the eyes of search engines. Additionally, the links from social platforms show search engines what you should be ranked for, by naturally providing keywords.
By that reasoning, the number of times a link is shared on social media directly impacts the ranking – even if other users are sharing it, rather than your own social media profiles. That’s an interesting concept, because it means that the credibility of your followers directly impacts your credibility – and in turn your ranking.
Though Google claims that social signals are not included in the algorithm that creates ranks, the crawlers see your social sites just like any other site. So, while they don’t impact rank as you may have originally thought, they may impact rank eventually anyway. In the simplest of terms, social accounts don’t directly impact rank, but it is reasonable to believe that links shared within them legitimize your presence and, in turn, improve rankings.
- Social Media Platforms Are Search Engines
When Google is king, it’s easy to forget that there is a search engine result hierarchy within every social application itself. If you’re interested in something, it’s now possible to look it up using the app you’re already scrolling through. This is true for viral videos, new brands, global news, local news, trends, and popular products. Some marketing authorities say, for this very reason, that social media marketing is becoming the new SEO/SEM. By that logic, we have to consider that part of any brand’s overall ranking will include how often they are searched, tagged, or linked to within a social media platform.
Just as you want to build the perfect website with perfect aesthetics, all the right keywords, no error pages, all the right re-directs, and healthy inbound links – it’s also imperative to approach your social outlets with this same diligence. For example, brands that offer especially aesthetic products may benefit from coming up in search options on Pinterest, where they will continue to be shared and legitimized by other users. In the same way, a construction company may want to have a lot of likes and positive reviews on Facebook. A voice instructor benefits from highly viewed and shared tutorials on Instagram Live. The examples are endless, but the theory remains the same – social media statistics matter, whether they directly impact page rank or not.
- Everything Changes
The digital world moves so quickly that keeping up with SEO strategies can feel like a full-time job. Algorithms change, social strategies change, and popular searches change every day. Strategies, applications, and theories age quickly, and it’s imperative to stay relevant to succeed. With that in mind, it’s important to remember that, while social signals aren’t currently being used by Google to officially determine rank, that could change fast. As sources like guest-blogging and other inbound links become less reliable for determining the credibility of a site, the algorithms will need to adapt to look elsewhere. Will that “elsewhere” be social media? Some say so.
At the end of the day, the most important goal of a web presence is building and fostering quality connections with clients, peers, and followers. There are so many ways to achieve that goal that it can feel overwhelming. To do your utmost to guarantee that your entire web presence is a successful one, it’s important to follow best SEO practices, while also nurturing your social media presence. Even if you don’t personally believe the two directly correlate, they are both working together for the legitimacy of your site and your business.
If you have questions about SEO best practices, or about SEO and social media, contact us today. We are happy to help.