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Does Social Media boost SEO?

There has been a long-standing debate on the influence of social media on search rankings.

In 2018, Hootsuite researched the SEO results of articles with and without social promotion. They found out that articles with top social shares enjoyed a 22% boost on SEO.

The findings of research by Optimonster in the following year concurred with this. That social popularity indeed did help with Google rankings.

Here’s what Google Engineers have stated on the impact of social media on SEO

Back in 2014, Google’s Matt Cutt’s stated that,

“Facebook and Twitter pages are treated like any other pages in our web index, and so if something occurs on Twitter or occurs on Facebook and we’re able to crawl it then we can return that in our search results”.

Then in 2017, Google’s Gary Illyes at a keynote discussion at Pubcon Pro with SEO Consultant Eric Enge stated

“The context in which you engage online, and how people talk about you online, actually can impact what you rank for”.

What have marketing authorities said on the impact of socials on SEO?

However, according to SEM Rush, our shares across social media do not affect our SEO rankings.

According to Neil Patel, even though a social account’s authority doesn’t impact search rank, links published on social media could be marked as credible backlinks. This would influence a page’s rank on search results.

A Ubersuggest Top Pages search will show you your socials’ strength and how they have contributed to your website’s traffic.

Cognitive SEO analyzed 23 million social media shares on selected platforms and found an equivocal link between social shares and SEO.

The shares, likes and comments on your posts were signals Google considered when ranking websites.

However, even though the links are helpful, Google doesn’t count them the same way they would a link from authority sites.

On the other hand, life marketing notes that even though social media doesn’t directly affect SEO, it does have an indirect influence on search rankings.

What can be derived from these statements?

While there is a level of ambiguity as to whether social shares affect a web page’s search rankings, social profiles, on the other hand, definitely have an impact on search rankings. A simple Google search on a company would have its social profiles usually popping up on the 1st page of the SERP.

For example, when you search for “Nike” on Google, its Facebook profile appears on the 1st page of the Search Engine Results.

Social channels are very popular amongst users as they tend to be more personal than web pages. As a result, customers end up visiting their social profiles to research a brand.

So when a company’s social profile comes at the top of the search results, the chances of the clicking on them are quite high.

This means companies should ensure that their socials are up-to-date with their latest information and have engaging content that would enhance the users’ experience when visiting the site.

Even though Google hasn’t made it very clear as to whether social signals impact SEO rankings, Bing on the other hand has made its policy on this very clear.

In their very own webmaster guidelines, Bing states:

“Social media plays a role in today’s effort to rank well in search results. Positive signals can have an impact on how you rank organically in the long run.”

The links you share across social media platforms have an impact on SEO rankings. They help with extensive content distribution, lengthen your posts’ lifespan, enhance brand recognition and improve online visibility & organic traffic.

What should you do?

From the above pieces of information, it is quite clear that social media influences your SEO rankings. However, it is also clear that Google is not interested in vanity metrics. And so shouldn’t you.

Social media is important since it indirectly influences the factors that impact search rankings. It helps drive quality traffic to your site as well.

Social media channels are excellent platforms to distribute your valuable pieces of content for your audience to see.

When you share your posts on social media, and your audience shares it on their channels, your content gets further amplified in the process (Virality). Once again contributing to increased visibility, improved traffic and more backlinks.

These social signals indicate to Google that your content is beneficial for its users and helps improve your search rankings.

So what social media platforms should you pay close attention for your SEO rankings?

According to SEM Rush, the social media platforms you should focus on the most for SEO rankings are in the following order

  1. LinkedIn
  2. Medium
  3. Facebook
  4. Twitter
  5. Pinterest
  6. Quora

Final note

Just because Google says that social signals don’t currently impact search rankings doesn’t mean they never will.

Social media platforms keep rising from strength to strength and show no signs of slowing down. Therefore taking social media should be taken into consideration when formulating the SEO strategy for your brand.

Digital Marketing Sri Lanka & Australia | Team | Ladder Global

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