A few weeks ago, we received a very interesting question in our comments section. A reader asked us about the relationship between social media and SEO? And is “Social Media for SEO” actually a thing?
Now we decided to dedicate a blog post to this question because it’s actually a very interesting topic.
SEO is such a factor that has no rulebook of its own. Even Google won’t tell you what EXACTLY would make your website rank to the top of the SERPs. All it takes is trial and error to figure out what strategies work and what don’t.
Among the variety of factors that have an impact on the SEO of your site, social media is one of the most debatable ones. On one hand, where sites claim that social media doesn’t have any impact on the overall SEO of your site, certain guides claim that it does.
Back in 2018, Hootsuite produced a report on the SEO results of a blog post with and without social promotion. As a result, the pieces with the top social shares received an average boost of about 22% during the experimentation.
So, does this mean SEO is a ranking signal?
Short answer, no!
But does it have an impact on the SEO of your site?
Well, let’s talk about it.
Is Social Media a ranking factor?
A lot of bloggers and marketers believe that social media is a ranking factor. Now while it might have been true at one point, it certainly isn’t now.
In short, the links you post on your Facebook might get more reach and interactions, but they never contribute to impacting your search rankings.
Even Matt Cutts, the former head of Google’s Webspam team confirmed that they treat social media sites the same way as every other website and don’t consider it as a ranking factor. Here’s the video:
If you head over to Google Analytics of your site, you already have a column that counts your social media referrals.
Social media is considered a source of traffic just like Organic Search, Direct Search, and Referrals.
But at the same time, Google claims that these visits have no impact on the rankings of your site. They are just to tell you the sources of your traffic.
Possibly the most convincing part that social media isn’t a ranking factor for your sites is that all the links on social media sites are “nofollow”. This means they won’t have any impact on the search rankings of your website.
Why doesn’t Google consider social signals?
Social signals do add up to your site. If a link is directed to your website, your Analytics makes sure to count it.
However, why it doesn’t cause any impact on your search rankings is because search engines are essentially a free space, where everybody is allowed to post links.
Now in the world of SEO, if these links were ever to be considered, you’d be receiving “dofollow” links from top-tier websites like Facebook, which isn’t possible. These links are “nofollow” as we talked about earlier.
It’d be easy to cheat the system and get your website ranked at the top of the search results.
What could be determined from this is that there’s at least a correlation between social media and SEO.
Social media is a great alternative to build brand awareness and get traffic as well. But it won’t help you with search engine rankings.
Overall, social media has a great and positive impact on the SEO of your site. And here’s how:
1. Social profiles get indexed by Google
Social media profiles don’t have any kind of effect on the ranking of your content whatsoever. However, it still influences the content on your website and contributes a lot to content marketing.
When a user searches for a brand, they are usually displayed with search results that include the social media profiles as well.
When you search “Represent” (The clothing brand) in Google the first result leads you to the official website and the second one displays their Facebook profile.
The reason I said these social profiles contribute to content marketing is that these profiles give a lot of insights about the personality of the brand.
When a user searches for a particular brand, they get more idea about their products from their social media profiles than their website itself.
The reason for this is brands follow a very specific tone of content production on their social media profiles, which is easy to determine than that of the one on their websites.
Another advantage of this indexing is that social media helps you get your content indexed faster.
Because of how search engines treat this content.
If your content gets enough attention on social media profiles, it can get indexed a lot sooner. The crawling bot can find such content easily because of the social factor. So, the next time your post gets viral on social media, chances are that it will be indexed by Google a lot sooner than your other posts.
2. Social media has its own, HUGE reach
It doesn’t matter if social media contributes to SEO or not, because it has a potential market of its own.
As per a report by Hootsuite, 3.96 billion people are active on social media. This potentially is a huge market to target.
When a blog/website is exclusive and informative, people tend to share it. The more shares it receives, the more traffic you receive from social channels.
But that’s not all.
When a blog gets more reach on social media, there’s a chance that companies and similar organizations might notice it. That means there’s a higher chance of getting links from similar niches and brands, something which usually takes time through other methods like outreaching.
Here’s an example of a case study that Brian Dean, one of the most popular bloggers of our time recently shared on his Twitter.
If your content is good, it’s bound to be noticed.
It really doesn’t matter if it’s Twitter, Pinterest, or Facebook, the more quality your content displays, the more traffic and shares it’s likely to receive from these social channels.
3. Social Media builds your brand identity
People hang out more on social media than on search engines.
The more active you are on social media, the more people are going to notice you.
When you have a distinct online presence with exclusive content, people start sharing your content and noticing you more. The more exposure you get, the more people trust your brand. The more people trust your brand, the more they are going to pick it over other brands.
Here’s an example.
Let’s say you are searching for “How to embed youtube videos on facebook”.
Now out of these results, if you know about one of the brands or have heard of them in the past (usually through social media), you are most likely going to click on them. If you have heard about or interacted with Dothacks on social media before and like their content, you are most likely going to prefer reading their content than the rest of the results in the search results.
When a person is familiar with a brand, they prefer picking it more than any other brand.
Ask yourself, would you want to buy your next laptop from Best Buy or somelaptopsite.com?
The more consumers trust your brand, the more clicks you receive on Google. In this regard, social media is a great way to help you build your brand and reach out to those people who hadn’t even heard of you before.
As you receive more clicks, the higher Google ranks your website.
4. Social media ‘Can’ become a ranking factor
For now, we are sure that social media isn’t a ranking factor at all!
But that doesn’t mean this fact could change.
Do you know why we think so?
Because social media has been a ranking factor in 2010 for Google. Here’s a video of Matt Cutts confirming the same back in 2010.
By the sound of it, social media is expected to double its users in a span of a few years. And why not? After all, it’s open for everybody, people as well as businesses.
So, if you are a brand and want to ensure you stay in the loop of getting good rankings in the search results, don’t give up on your social media. There’s a lot of potential there.
OVER TO YOU
There are a lot of theories surrounding social media and seo that leave us begging for more questions as to if social media for seo would actually be a thing or not, down the line.
Social media might or might not work as a ranking factor after a few years. But what’s evident is that social media can definitely help you get more visitors and help your SEO efforts.
So, you might want to continue posting that awesome content on your social media.