Does social media help with SEO? This is a common question asked by people trying to undertake SEO. The short answer is, yes social media does help with SEO, though it should be noted that it helps indirectly.
Social Media is not considered a ranking factor in the Google algorithm. Google has repeatedly told us that social signals are not a ranking factor. Why would it be when Facebook and other social platforms are Googles biggest competitors for attention.
Matt Cutts, the former head of Google’s webspam team said that Google treats Facebook and Twitter pages like any other web page for search, but not as a ranking factor.
However, just because search algorithms don’t consider social signals as a ranking factor, doesn’t mean it wont impact on your websites ranking. According to Searchmetrics’ 2016 Rebooting Ranking Factors White Paper:
“The correlation between social signals and ranking position is extremely high, and the number of social signals per landing page has remained constant when compared to with the values from last year’s whitepaper. … The top-ranked websites in Google’s rankings displays vastly more social signals than all other pages…. This is primarily due to the overlap between brand websites performing strongly in social networks and being allocated top positions by Google.”
The key here is that there is a correlation between social signals and ranking, but it is not a causation. For example, links are considered a strong ranking factor, and social media shares don’t count as an individual link. However, if you create and share quality content, chances are it will be liked and shared on social media by people that are likely to link their websites to it – which will boast your website rankings.
How Social Media affects Website Rankings
As mention above, social media isn’t considered a ranking factor, however it does indirectly affect website rankings. Here are four ways social media can indirectly help a website ranking.
Link Building Opportunities
The more popular a website article is on social media, the higher the chance the right people will see it and link their website to it.
Creating high quality, original content that gets shared a lot will dramatically increase the chances of people linking to that content. Social media is a great platform to get your website content promoted online. If your website isn’t ranking organically it will be difficult for people to find, but with social media it can be promoted to a larger audience of current followers.
Social media is a great way to build an audience for your blog or website. With more than 2 billion people using Facebook and the easy ability to share content, building your audience can really start with social media.
In addition to building an audience it can dramatically improve your websites click-through-rate which has be proven to improve your SEO. People are more likely to visit a website they trust, so during searches, if people recognise your website from Facebook they will be more incline to visit the page if they see it in the search results.
The more recognised your brand is, the higher the chance your consumers will trust it and therefore get more clicks in search results. Social media can be a great and efficient way to help you build your brand and get in front of people who wouldn’t have otherwise found you.
When a consumer searches you brand with other keywords it can help with ranking for those keywords. For example, if there are large numbers of people searching ‘Rhythm Web Design’ and visiting the website, this will improve the chances of ranking the website for such search phrases as ‘Web Design Newcastle’. This is because Google can understand the relationship between the search phrase and the content.
For example, FashionNova rose from naught to 88,000 keywords over the period of a year. We discovered that the only positive SEO ranking factors it had over everyone else were that its bounce rate was lower than other sites, and they had 6.3 million Instagram followers. What happened was thousands of consumers were searching Google for things like “Fashion Nova Jeans” and other related keyword phrases. This allowed Google to comprehend more of what customers desired when they searched phrases.
Most people think of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and linked in when they think of Social Media. YouTube however is a social media platform which is also the second largest search engine on the planet. YouTube search queries however have a lower commercial intent that those of Google, which is more likely to bring in the paying customers.
When you create videos, they can include links to your website to pages about that topic. In addition to this the videos you create can be found in Google search engine results page, which might even get your website found indirectly if a visitors watches your video they found through Google, the visits your website from a link they found in the YouTube description.
It is unknown if Google will ever include social media signals as a ranking factor for websites. However, it is still important to grow your social media accounts as it will most definitely have a positive impact on your websites SEO and traffic.
It can be easy to get caught up in the SEO grind and forget why we do it, which is generally more website traffic, to make more money. Social media can help us achieve that end goal, so we would encourage people to go ahead and start using social media.