How Does Social Media Impact SEO?
The question of whether or not social media affects search engine optimization has been talked about for a long time. The short answer has always been yes, social media DOES have an impact on SEO. How much of an impact is not clear. Fortunately, we’re learning more about this relationship from SEO experts who have studied the data, researched the evidence and shared their personal insight.
Correlation vs Causation
First off, it’s unlikely that we’ll ever know for certain how social media affects SEO because we don’t know what’s in Google’s algorithms. The only data that can be collected is from Google employees and the case studies/data from our own experiences.
For example, Matt Cutts, the former head of Google’s webspam team, verified that Google uses links from Facebook and Twitter as ranking signals. Since then, however, Cutts has said that Google treats Facebook and Twitter pages like any other web pages. Social media is not a ranking factor.
Because we don’t know what’s in the algorithms, we have to take comments from Google employees for fact. Yet just because social media isn’t a ranking factor doesn’t mean that it doesn’t influence rankings. Perhaps this is why Cutts talks about “correlation” rather than “causation.”
How Social Media Helps SEO
Links are a top ranking factor for Google, but Google has said that social media shares do not count as individual links. But there is probably a correlation because good quality content is more likely to be posted on social media. When people see the content on their news feeds, they’re more likely to like it and link to it, boosting rankings.
Let’s take a closer look at the ways that social media impacts SEO.
The more shares your content has on social media, the more opportunities for people to see it. This increases the likelihood that your content will get links. It doesn’t matter which social channel you post your content on – Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest. Good content gains traction, and that’s what matters.
Build an Audience
No matter how great your product or service is, people aren’t going to find it on their own. You need to get your product into the right hands. The way to do this is by building an audience. Where can you find your audience? On social media. By building brand awareness, you increase the likelihood that people will click on your content. Click-through rates are also boosted, and we know that CTRs can impact SEO.
YouTube is the second most-searched search engine. By creating videos to promote your content or brand, you can increase the chance for links. Your videos may also show up in the search listings. To make video content work for your brand, take a lighthearted approach. People like to watch videos that are funny and entertaining.
We may never know exactly how much or in what way social media affects SEO. What we do know is that having a strong presence on social media is beneficial and supports a long-term SEO strategy.