When it comes to understanding how social media helps SEO, things aren’t exactly clear-cut. Some time in 2010, the former head of web spam at Google, Matt Cutts, made a video confirming that Facebook and Twitter links were factored into the ranking of webpages. However, around 2014, he said that social links are not factored into ranking. The reason for this is because Google can’t really “crawl” through the countless social media posts made per day. In addition to that, it’s difficult to discern the credibility and identity of each poster, making social media a little unreliable for ranking content.
This of course has caused a bit confusion among marketers who made great efforts to sell and market content and increase rankings using social media and social signals (likes, retweets, interactions etc.). Now, there still isn’t a clear answer; You will notice this by doing a simple Google search on the relationship between social media and SEO and seeing the sources popping up with varying information and advice.
However, while it’s been confirmed that social sharing does not directly improve content ranking, research done by the well-known social media management platform, HootSuite, found that articles with social media promotion saw a significant increase in engagement. So, social media links and signals can indirectly improve your ranking, meaning that social media is still a really important factor in digital marketing. If you want to learn exactly how social media helps your pages’ SEO, keep reading this guide by the pros at VitalStorm!
1. Increased Backlinks Through Socials Can Drive Traffic
While social signals can’t directly improve ranking, having backlinks can. Backlinks are essentially just links from one website to another. For example, someone on what Google considers a reliable website or page publishes a blog regarding a certain topic. They link your webpage or content into this blog—that link is considered a backlink and in this scenario it is a “high-quality” backlink, due to the reliability of that page that linked your content. These types of backlinks can raise your site or content’s ranking and makes your material more visible in search engine results.
While there are many ways you can create backlinks to your website, one way you can do it is by efficiently using your social media. Even if backlinks to your site on your Facebook profiles, your Twitter bio or in the LinkedIn “about” section don’t improve ranking, they certainly bring traffic to your page and content. In addition to simply linking your site on social profiles, be sure to create creative, informative, reliable and shareable content (how-to posts, guides, blogs etc.) and share the links on your socials.
Build a relationship with certain reputable sites and businesses within your niche and work with them to generate backlinks to your site by writing guest posts and guides and sharing them on your socials and having those sites share them as well. Lastly, make sure your website is linkable—if you have a clean-cut site with reliable information including data, infographics and well-written blogs, chances are other sites will be more likely to link them in their social media, websites and blogs.
Building backlinks takes time and patience. While there is great emphasis placed on website-to-website linking (as there should be since these backlinks greatly improve ranking) you should not forget the role of social media in this process. Backlinks on socials drive traffic and allow for greater content promotion. If you ignore social media, you will be ignoring a large portion of reachable clientele.
2. Social Boosts Can Index Your Pages Faster
You might have heard of Google index before, but we understand if it is a little confusing a first. Google Index is essentially a massive database or digital library that includes all the pages Google knows about. Google visits your site and pages through the process of “crawling”—crawlers look through your webpages, visit links on these pages and bring back data to Google’s servers. Crawling follows these links to discover any new pages while indexing is the process of storing new web pages into Google’s index. Getting Google to index your site is important because otherwise you’re pretty much invisible. You’re not getting any engagement, interactions or organic traffic at all.
There are many ways you can get Google to index your page, one of them being using social media. As we mentioned before, the relationship between social media and content ranking is on the unclear side, however it never hurts to set up social channels to promote your site. In addition to that, social signals and interactions can signal search engines to crawl and index your webpages. This way, social signals might play a role in indirectly increasing your website’s ranking. So, if you ever update a page, be sure to share it on your socials as this will lead to Google adding your pages to its index faster.
3. Engagement = Increased Time on Pages = Higher Ranking
Real engagement with your community takes more effort and even depends on your business’s needs, but if you want your social media to be more than just a page to post a few links on, then you should try it out. Use your social media to engage with people, community members and businesses in your niche. In addition, use this as an opportunity to share your expertise! Make videos answering FAQs, answer questions on Quora and share links to your site, share data regarding your industry, and maintain relationships with local journalists so if they ever need answers on a topic that you can likely address, they will come to you first. All of these can build traction for your site and indirectly impact your SEO.
As we mentioned before, you will see benefits from this later, but building an engaging social media not only increases backlinks but it showcases your reliability and understanding of the community. Plus, the more engaging your content is, the more people will read it, increasing the time users spend on your page, which is vital information that search engines will quickly pick up on. Lastly, if you really want to make your content engaging, using targeted ads on Facebook to gain targeted traffic will improve your ranking while improving your follower count. You can’t lose using these techniques!
Want More Tips on Improving Your SEO? Contact VitalStorm!
SEO and social media’s relationship is highly debated, but one thing is for sure; ignoring social media only does more harm than good. It cuts out a great chunk of the population that could find value in your services. Instead of ignoring social media, you just have to know the right social strategies that can provide a significant reward. If you need more advice on the specific ways social media helps SEO, get in touch with VitalStorm by calling us today at 877-311-5695.