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SEO 101: The impact of social media on your SEO efforts

One of the most common questions around social media marketing is how it’s connected to SEO. The relationship between search and social is important to understand because while there isn’t a direct connection, the two processes are definitely aligned. Therefore, being active on social media can help your SEO efforts in terms of visibility and brand awareness. Here’s some of the main benefits of utilising social media to help boost ranking signals that we know the search engines care about.

The relationship between social media and SEO

Social media and SEO: It’s complicated. While search and social are often thrown into the same ‘digital marketing’ basket, the relationship between the two is not exactly direct. With an increasing amount of people conducting more and more of their daily interactions on social media platforms, search still remains a key driver of traffic for most websites.

So, does social media affect Google rankings? Google has repeatedly stated in the past that social doesn’t directly affect rankings. However, this doesn’t mean it can’t impact ranking. In fact, if we look at the potential of social media’s influence on the search engine rankings, the story tells us that there is a correlation between the two.

Think about it this way: When deciding which websites best match each user query, Google assesses hundreds of factors in order to determine the most likely match, such as backlinks and page content. But with that being the case, the connection between social signals and ranking position is extremely high and there are a few SEO metric-specific boosters that social media can provide.

How to make social work for you

Social media marketing helps engage your followers, build your brand and boost your SEO, which in turn increases the likelihood that people will click on your brand’s content in the Google search results. So when it comes to SEO, here’s some of the social signals to look out for:

1. Social media profiles rank in search engines

There’s no doubt about it: Your social profiles influence the content of your search results. If you do a search on a business, odds are one or more of their social media accounts will come up. In fact, social media accounts are often amongst the top results in search listings for brand names. For example, when you type “Bang Digital Australia” in Google, our LinkedIn company profile appears 2nd in the listings:

Admittedly, while the majority of social links within the SERPs appear for branded search terms, this shouldn’t be discounted. If a social account shows up at the top of the search results, people will be just as likely to click on it as they would be to click on your website. Therefore a few active social channels can make the experience of getting to know your brand online more fun, engaging and personal – which is a win for your business.

2. Social media channels act as their own search engine

While Google may be an industry leader, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and other social platforms are all used as search engines on a daily basis. In fact, nowadays, people don’t just go to Google to look stuff up; they also use social media channels to find what they’re looking for. Therefore, companies need to understand that if they want to build an audience, they’ll have to expand their concept of SEO to include not just traditional search engines, but also these social search engines.

A great example is Facebook. In 2016, Facebook saw 2 billion searches per day of it’s 2.5 trillion posts. It’s clear that if someone wants to check out your company, they’re likely to open Facebook and do a quick search to see what kind of presence you have. So in order to build an audience on this platform, companies need to be proactive and reach people where they are. And with 71% of internet users reported to be social network users in 2017 and with an estimated 2.77 billion social network users by 2019, it’s clear that this is where the masses are.

So how does this affect your SEO? With the number of people on social ever-increasing, it’s worldwide reach and its ease of sharing, social media offers a great and efficient way to build your web presence and get in front of people who wouldn’t have otherwise found you. And by capitalising on Google’s strongest ranking factors like backlinks and content pages, you can make sure you’re getting the most out of your social media activity.

3. Social media plays an important role in content sharing and link earning

We’ve already mentioned the important role content dissemination plays in SEO. However, did you know the how social platforms can promote this content dissemination? Social platforms enable you to share your content to a wider audience, which helps generate more exposure to your pages, which then impacts your search rank by increasing the activity and backlinks to your pages.

So in itself, sharing content and generating engagement on social won’t help your content rank on Google, but more traffic and backlinks definitely will, which social can facilitate. The more shares on social media you have, the more opportunities people have to see your content and link to it. So if you create high-quality content, it’s going to be popular on social media, people are going to like it and websites are going to link back to it, which ultimately boosts your rankings.

Social media also increases the chances of people outside your direct network seeing your content. The great thing about social media in 2018 is that almost everyone has a profile, most likely with hundreds of connections. For example, if you have people engage with your post via a platform such as LinkedIn, you can bet that the quality of those engagements are pretty high. If done correctly, those views of your content on social media will result in other content creators citing you in their articles. Your content has just earned you links which has a direct impact on search rankings.

So, what’s the verdict?

As you can see, while the connection between search and social isn’t direct, being active on social will definitely help your SEO efforts – though not necessarily in the way you might expect. We think KISSMetrics sum it up perfectly when they say:

“Ultimately, the web is all about building relationships, fostering audiences, expressing identity and sharing ideas – it’s inherently social, and there’s no reason that SEO best practices would go against the grain, especially since the rules that govern SEO are ultimately meant to make the web a more enjoyable and useful place.”

So in order to boost our rankings, we need to take into account the myriad of ways people find content on the web, including social. We need to think about the positive effects that increased traffic from social can potentially have on search rankings and use social media and SEO together for the best results.

Do you need help getting the most out of your digital marketing strategy? Our team are experts in all things digital including social media and search engine optimisation. Get in touch today.