I’m sure you’ve heard by now, but if not, I hate to be the bearer of bad news. No, social media is not a direct ranking factor for Google. However, that doesn’t mean social media can’t still indirectly impact rankings. According to Searchmetrics’ 2016 Rebooting Ranking Factors White Paper:
“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 white paper. … The top-ranked websites in Google’s rankings display 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.”
So, if you thought maintaining a well-rounded social media presence was a waste of time as an SEO professional, you were mistaken. It’s 2018, so if your business doesn’t have a solid social media strategy by now, you should start implementing one pronto. Here are just a few of the ways social can boost your SEO.
Building Brand Awareness
First of all, social media is one of the easiest, and arguably most effective, tools for building brand awareness. Most consumers will vet a business through their social media channels before visiting their website, and 95 percent of adults age 18-34 are most likely going to follow a brand via social networking. Since this is the first stop for so many potential customers, you want to make sure you are present on all major channels, and all profiles on those channels are optimized. Sharing insightful content, engaging with your followers, and responding to reviews are all ways social can help build brand awareness, thus driving more traffic to your site.
Social media opens up a door to a whole new world of opportunities. Facebook alone has over 2 billion users, so it is imperative to start building up that audience. Even if you have the greatest product in your industry, no one is going to buy it if they don’t trust your brand.
Simply being present on Facebook or Twitter is not enough to make an impact. Sharing valuable links that will drive an audience back to your website is the most effective strategy for boosting SEO. Posting industry-relevant, worthwhile blogs on your company’s website and sharing them via social media is one of the best ways to engage with your audience. Regular blogs keep followers informed about your industry, turn you into an authoritative, trustworthy source and drive traffic to your site.
Internal linking is another SEO benefit of blogging. When you link to pages of your website within the blog, Google ranks these pages higher. Word count, target audience and quality content are other factors to consider when drafting your next blog. Producing numerous, 500-word blogs filled with fluffy, throw-away content is not the way to get on page one of Google. Creating 800-2,000 insightful words that your target audience can actually learn from is much more advantageous.
Connecting with Influencers
Social media channels like Facebook or Twitter, are the perfect platforms for connecting with and building relationships with influencers in your industry. Sharing links to their site and tagging them, or retweeting content they have shared are both solid strategies for grabbing their attention. Linking to their site in a blog post is another option for establishing a relationship, because they may return the favor. Instagram is also a great channel for connecting with influencers (it actually has the highest engagement rate out of any social media platform), but the link-sharing capabilities aren’t quite there yet.
Maintaining influencer relationships is extremely beneficial for SEO, not just in terms of link-building, but for basic brand awareness as well. When an influencer starts to see you as an authoritative source in their industry, it can lead to exclusive interviews, guest posting connections, social media mentions, and other opportunities for backlinks. Influencer marketing tools such as BuzzSumo or NinjaOutreach can help you find influencers who are significant in your industry.
Whether you’re a small business owner, an SEO firm, or a full-service digital marketing agency, don’t hesitate to contact us if you have questions about your social media presence. We’re here to help.