Does Social Media Help SEO?

Whether or not social media impacts SEO has been one of the most popular subjects within the search industry. So does social media help SEO efforts?To answer the question directly, yes, social media presence and SEO have a correlation, but it’s much more complicated than that. In fact, social media doesn’t help SEO in the way many people believe or would assume.

Do Social Signals Matter to SEO?

Probably what you’re really wondering is, does the amount of likes, comments, etc. on social accounts impact Google ranking? The answer to this is no. Since Google sometimes cannot crawl these specific kinds of pages (profiles of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram), Google has no way of assigning it a ranking. Often times Google is forbidden or blocked from crawling these sites. In fact, according to Stone Temple, Google still indexes less than 4% of all tweets.

That being said, going out and trying to buy a bunch of followers (mass follows using different kinds of software programs) won’t help you, Google has no way of rating the quality of these followers or likers or knowing if they were bought or genuine.

If Likes and Comments Don’t Matter, What Does?

  1. Links That Create Traffic

 What impacts SEO with regards to social media is the value of your content and its ability for people to link to it, or get links from other websites. This is something that Google is able to see. For an example, if a video goes viral, the link is spread, Google is able to recognize this and will boost the ranking because of the links associated with the website.

As I have already stated, social signals (likes, comments, etc) isn’t a ranking factor, even though it does seem like top ranking websites tend to have incredible social presence. This is a result of correlation of companies who use SEO and social media, and do it well or affectively, as opposed to causation. The best way of explaining it is through this quote by Searchmetrics,

“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.”

This being said, social posts and sharing of posts, which results in the sharing of links, is what  will drive traffic to your website, and is what matters, not the amount signals your profiles have.

  1. Social Media Profiles Rankings

It’s important that your social media profiles ranking high (preferably right under your website) on search engines. It helps beat out competitors (or at least distract) with regards to visibility. Making sure all social accounts are active and regularly updated help insure your social profile is the next runner up. This will be beneficial for both social media and SEO purposes.

  1. Social Media Acts as a Search Engine

Maybe a little bit more off topic, but how often do you find yourself looking up a company via Facebook or Instagram to see what kind of presence they have within social media?  A user is a lot more likely to engage with your company if you’re actively posting, as rather than a dead account.  Actively using social media as a marketing strategy will be beneficial in the long run for your social media and SEO marketing strategy.

To Sum It Up…

While SEO and social media marketing are important marketing channels, it’s not really possible to integrate the two. Who knows, maybe one day Google will be able to make SEO and social media work on an integrated level in the future, and in my opinion, it’s only a matter of time.

-Alaina Fister


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