Even some of the best SEO companies are unsure about the relationship between social media and search engine rankings. The truth is, social media can help improve search engine rankings, but not in the way that many people think.
No one – except for some Google employees – knows exactly what is in Google’s algorithm, but we do know what some Google experts have said in the past. Matt Cutts, the former head of Google’s webspam team, once said that Google uses links from social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter as a ranking signal.
However, Google has since said that social media isn’t a direct ranking factor. Does this mean that social signals don’t affect search engine rankings? No, not exactly.
Social SignalsAccording to some studies, the top-ranked websites in Google’s search engine results pages display many more social signals than other pages. So there is some correlation between social media activity and high search engine rankings. So what’s going on?
How Social Media Helps SEO
- Links: Links are definitely a ranking factor, and even though social media shares don’t directly affect search engine rankings, there is a connection between links and shares. The more popular your content is, the more shares you’ll get, which should result in more links. And these links do boost your search engine rankings. Whether you use Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or YouTube, if you create good content on social media, you’re likely to get more links.
- Online Presence: Social media is a great way to increase awareness of your brand and grow your following. The bigger the following you have on social media, the more web traffic you’re likely to receive. Click-through rates from search engines can also impact search engine rankings. So if people are already aware of your business from social media, they’re more likely to click on your link if they see it in search results pages.
- Keywords: When people type keywords into search engines, you can show up higher in search results if your social media content includes similar keywords. By having your social media profiles optimized for keyword phrases, you’re more likely to get found by potential customers looking for a business like yours.
For example, VSF Marketing has a Facebook page that is optimized for keyword phrases such as “Tampa website designer” and “Tampa SEO expert.”