Does Social Media Really Boost Your SEO?



That’s it. Really.


Ok, you probably want a little more information than that. So if you want a longer answer, you should probably read the rest of the post.

You see, the impact of social media on SEO has been a bit of a hot topic for a while now. After all, unlike on page changes, you can’t always see direct results from social media right away, which makes it tricky to measure. This usually leads to a resounding shrug when asked if increased social media activity has affected SEO at all. However, if we do some digging into the data behind social media and SEO, and have a look at the evidence from Google, we get a very conclusive answer.

Is Social Media A Ranking Factor?


If we’re completely honest here, we’re never going to be able to answer this for sure. Google likes to play its cards close to its chest when it comes to ranking factors, and it has never come out and said that social media is classified as a ranking factor in their algorithm. Instead, we’re left to guess based on what Google employees have said, and what we have in terms of data. Let’s start with this article by Search Engine Land’s Danny Sullivan (the go-to know-it-all when it comes to Google’s inner workings). In this article, Google confirmed that they use social media as a ranking signal ‘a bit’. In other words, they use the social data to inform rankings, not to define them. This was confirmed by Matt Curtis, head of Googles webspam team, who spoke about it in this video. Of course, this all came out in 2010, which in Google algorithm terms is positively ancient. And if you fast forward to 2014, another member of the Google Team, this time a Google Webmaster Trends Analyst called Gary Illyes, he contradicted the previous statement. When asked if Google rakes social into account for SEO, he answered ‘the short version is, no, we don’t’.


 But just because Google has said that social isn’t a ranking factor doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have an impact on your website rankings. If we fast forward again to 2016, Searchmetrics 2016 Rebooting Ranking Factors White Paper states that:


“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 takeaway here is the word ‘correlation’. In other words, while ‘Google doesn’t use social as a direct ranking factor (that we know of), social media does still have a significant impact on your SEO rankings.


So How Does Social Media Help SEO?


Confused yet? Don’t worry, we’ve got some other great reasons social media will help your SEO.


Potential For Links: The more you and your followers are sharing and spreading your content the more opportunities people will have to see it and link to it. And as we know, backlinks are a ranking factor. In fact, there was one company who saw their website shoot to page 1 on google after achieving 130,000 Facebook shares of a single piece of content.


Build An Audience: You could be offering the best product or service in the world, but if no-one knows about it, you might as well not bother. ‘Build it and they will come’ isn’t enough in today’s fast-paced, short attention spanned society. You need to go out and communicate with people where they are. And where are they? Social media. Facebook has over 2.2 billion active users, Twitter 327 million, and Instagram has 800 million. There is no better way to build an audience for your business.


Helps Promotion: One platform we haven’t talked about much in this article is YouTube – so let’s fix that. After all, it’s now the world’s second most used search engine. But YouTube focuses more on information, with a low commercial intent to the searches, while Google will focus on bringing in converting customers. But since YouTube is owned by Google, your presence on YouTube will have a huge impact on the overall SEO for your brand. So creating content to promote your brand, products and services and then sharing it via social media will significantly increase your chances of being found online.


At Pickle Marketing, we specialise in helping business owners just like you make the most of your social media. Whether it’s engaging more with your audience, learning how to use the different platforms correctly or even how to include social media in your SEO strategy, our Pickle experts are here to help. If you want to know more about the world of social, please get in touch with us!

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