How Social Media Can Help in Your SEO

There has been a long-standing debate on whether social media can boost rankings on search engines or not. While experts recommend combining social media marketing with SEO, many might have told you that they don’t see a direct impact on their website rankings at all. So, why should one include social media in their SEO strategy?

In this blog, we will shed light on how social media can help in your SEO. If you are on the fence about including social media in your SEO plan or not getting why you are not seeing expected SEO results through social media, this guide will clear all such doubts in less than ten minutes.

Do social media influence SEO? If yes, then how?

Google has been sending ambiguous signals about the role of social media in SEO rankings. In a 2010 video posted by Google Search Central, Matt Cutts, the (former) head of search quality at Google, confirmed that they use Twitter and Facebook links in their organic and news rankings. On the other hand, he gave conflicting information that social signals don’t affect search rankings in a video posted in 2014.

Social media wasn’t that phenomenal back then as it is now. It’s growing big every year. No matter how many people promise to go on social media detox, they cannot avoid it completely for long. So, multiple studies have been conducted since then. The recent research by CognitiveSEO has made some interesting revelations on social media’s impact on SEO after analyzing 23 million shares.

We won’t bore you with intricate details. Here is the summary of what CognitiveSEO shared in its research findings:

  • A strong presence on social media correlates with better rankings. The smaller the rank number, the higher the chances the site’s presence on social media is larger. Hence, strong social media is linked with a higher site ranking on search engines.
  • The correlation of social media with higher search rankings holds true for all social network channels, especially Facebook and Google+.
  • Overall, the top 3 ranking positions on search engines have significantly more Facebook activity than the rest. For Likes, the pattern breaks right from the second rank. However, for Shares and Comments, the pattern continues for up to the first 7 and 6 ranks, respectively.
  • A higher number of shares on Pinterest don’t correlate with higher rankings at all. However, the correlation between LinkedIn and search ranking is not clear.

Note: The mentioned research did not include Twitter when analyzing the impact of social media on SEO.

The most important thing you need to recognize here is that correlation does not mean causation. Meaning, while social media don’t cause your ranking to go up, a strong social media presence plays a role in sending signals that your content is useful and engaging the audience.  

Note that a Facebook share is not equivalent to a backlink from an authority site for Google.

Though social media is not a ranking factor, it still influences SEO in a variety of indirect ways, which include:

  1. Allow your content to reach more people
  2. Your content remains visible for a longer time
  3. Provides opportunities to increase organic traffic
  4. Can strengthen your local presence and hence, improve local SEO
  5. Boost the visibility of your brand and hence, increase brand awareness and reputation

Now, it’s easy to understand why experts recommend combining social media with your SEO and why sharing social media posts might not be causing your search ranking to go higher. Let’s take a look at how you can use social media for SEO benefit.

How to Use Social Media to Support and Benefit SEO

Since social media indirectly impact your search rankings, you must leverage different social media channels. After all, sharing your content on social media still has the potential to drive organic website traffic.

  1. Share Content on Social Media That Your Followers Find Valuable

When you regularly create and publish quality content that your followers find interesting or helpful, many of them will become your advocate even without asking. It’s because quality material when combined with consistency automatically build trust among your audience.

When your followers believe in you, they will read/watch your content and share it with their friends and followers. If their followers also find the content worth investing their time in, they will do the same.

You can create content in any format – video, text, or graphics. Just make sure that it is engaging and compelling. These days, videos, infographics, and podcasts along with blog posts are becoming more popular.

If you already have high-performing content, update and re-circulate it to get the most out of it. So, don’t hesitate when it comes to getting creative with your content.

Also, make it effortless for people to share your content and comment on it. Asking to subscribe or create an account on your site can discourage them, at least until you become a giant brand that people want to connect with.

  • Establish Relationship with Your Social Media Friends and Followers

Nothing looks more pathetic than asking to share or comment on your content if you don’t interact with them regularly.

Imagine people who make cold calls and you cancel their call without waiting for a second. The same thing happens if you ask for favors without knowing and interacting with them. People do such things only for the ones they interact with and care for.

Keep in mind that social media channels have been created in the first place for connecting with more people and foster better relationships regardless of geographical distance. Thus, if you are on social media, you need to work on building relationships with your followers.

Only a meaningful relationship can later be transformed into a potential and then solid partnership.

Social media relationships open the door to otherwise unavailable opportunities. So, create a list of social media accounts with whom you should target for relationship building. Keep this list up to date and pay regular attention to each account.

Instead of pushing the Like button over and over again, engage with targeted accounts. Post comments and answer questions. You can also provide your insights or suggestions if appropriate.

  • Build Authority as a Subject Matter Expert on Social Media

Even on social media, people like to ask questions or ask for help to clear their doubts. If you regularly publish high-quality content, it allows you to establish your presence as a subject matter expert.

When people who follow you read your content that is useful to them, they may find you as someone they can trust. They will look up to you whenever they need help in your area of expertise. What’s more, they can even refer you to people who can benefit from your consultation, advice, or service.

That’s a good signal because Google factors in expertise, authority, and trustworthiness (E-A-T) in its search rankings. So, when you create helpful, informative content that addresses your audience’s pain points, needs, and expectations, use your social media as a blowhorn to broaden the overall reach of that content and let people learn its existence.

People may not read it instantly on social media (most people like scrolling and seeing more posts) but if they find the heading, message, or caption interesting or worth investigating, they might save it in their account. This act of ‘save post’ or ‘watch it later’ will create a chance that they will engage or share with your content.  

Key Takeaways

  • Social Media is not a ranking factor but it correlates with higher search rankings.
  • Sharing quality content on social media will boost its discoverability and reach.
  • Posting engaging and compelling social media content will increase its lifespan as people are more likely to share it.
  • Leverage the opportunity by updating and re-sharing old high-performing content.
  • Rather than treating SEO, content marketing, and social media as separate concepts, consider them as a whole and create a strategy that aligns each of them in harmony.

We hope this guide has helped you develop a better understanding of why social media is necessary for your digital marketing strategy and how social media can help in your SEO. For any assistance with SEO and social media marketing, please feel free to get in touch with us.

Vijaya Tyagi

Vijaya Raj Laxmi Tyagi has been an avid content writer for over five years with a keen interest in writing SEO articles and blogs. She also finds great enthusiasm in writing about a vast variety of topics, including gardening, interior designing, health & wellness, and tourism. Her educational background in Computer Science and Engineering has given her an edge to write about technologies that tend to mark a great impression on daily lifestyle and behaviour, while her intrigue towards Mother Nature drives her to discuss green topics.