In recent weeks many clients have been asking the same questions, “does social media have an impact on my SEO?” and if the answer is no, then “what is the point in using social media for my business?” We’ve compiled our answers into one simplified blog post so you can understand the full picture in more detail.
There is a general misunderstanding happening across the board in terms of how social media and SEO work together. The starting point in getting to grips with it is in the knowledge that SEO, content marketing and social media are ultimately in place to achieve the same digital marketing goals – they shouldn’t be viewed in silo.
When these elements work in sync through providing great user experiences and relevant value-adding content that is being promoted to the right target audiences, we find ourselves working to the same objectives with each piece of activity, namely:
Having said that, it’s not a straightforward relationship between social media and SEO. Here’s why…
Although Google doesn’t directly factor social signals within its algorithm, it does have an impact to some degree. Google treats social media posts (updates, re-shares, pins, tweets etc) from the likes of Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and so on, just like any other web page in search.
However, what is important to know is that Google doesn’t index all of these social media posts and therefore only a few posts will make it into SERPs and rank in Google. This is why you may see some of your social media posts at the top of certain search results for your brand, but cannot guarantee every post you produce will rank in the same way.
Interestingly, in 2015 Twitter and Google did form a partnership, further intertwining the relationship between search and social. This partnership means that it is more likely for tweets for appear in SERPs, allowing Google to capture in-the-moment data from the live data feed.
At the beginning of the year we saw We Are Social report that there were 2.307 billion active social media users globally. If you consider the amount of content that each of those users produce per day on each platform that are active upon, which is a huge amount of content!
On Twitter alone, there are around 6,000 tweets sent out per second, which equates to 200 billion tweets per year according to Internet Live Stats. It would never be possible for Google to crawl all of these social media posts on every platform and understand the value being added for each, so it now makes perfect sense that only a few are indexed.
Equally, it’s worth noting that Google doesn’t pay any attention to social media follower figures due to the volatile following, un-following and blocking nature of the platforms.
As Google doesn’t fully crawl social media sites in the first instance, it is missing a lot of data, which means it cannot fully understand the relationships, value adding content and correct identities of the profiles per platform. So instead, it does not take this into consideration at all.
Although social media won’t ever be a causal factor of SEO, it will always correlate to some degree. This is through the links and shares gained, which will ultimately drive increased traffic to your site and display your content to a wider audience.
Ultimately it is hoped that social media will eventually deliver more backlinks to site if your content is delivered to the right audience who find it valuable, whether it is entertaining, educational or emotive and use as a reference on their own websites. Through producing this type of content we hope to improve the authority of your site, not just through increased backlinks but also through other important SEO measurements like increasing time on site, lower bounce rates and increased internal click-throughs on the website.
We can all dream of that viral content piece now! Here is one of our favourites…
Ultimately social media should be thought of as the heartbeat of your brand. The beauty is that it can really help to build your brand and tell a story that connects you on a deeper level with your target audience.
Our advice to you is to ensure you are being authentic and true to your brand overall, believe in what you stand for and tell that story. Don’t follow the crowd and be like everyone else – you aren’t going to get anywhere by being a copycat!
Focus on understanding your audience’s needs and creating great, consistent content and conversations that will increase your brand’s visibility, whilst avoiding the common pitfalls of being over-salesy or creating the same content for each platform. Most importantly, ensure you align all marketing activity and amplify posts through social media where relevant to your channels.
This way, not only will you build the right audience that engages with you but you’ll also start to increase your reputation which in turn will build trusted links to your site over time.
If you can takeaway 3 points from this article, we’d say…