Written by Sujain Thomas
The search industry never stops talking about SEO and social media strategies. These two topics are so intertwined that the mention of one brings forth the other as well. Social media has always had a tremendous impact on SEO, and it will continue to do so in the near future. With the new Google algorithm updates that uphold good link building strategies and designate social signals as ranking factors. Google has always insisted up until a couple of months ago that social media shares and mentions do not count as ranking factors. However, several SEO experts and bloggers like Danny Sullivan, Brian Dean and Neil Patel have mentioned in the recent few months that Google is taking social media mentions into account as significant ranking parameters.
What do the experts have to say?
Very recently, Matt Cutts, the ex-head of Google WebSpam Team, stated that Google uses links from Twitter, Facebook, and Google + as ranking signals. The logic these experts use here is simple – when you search the profile of a person or a brand, you will find several Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and Twitter URLs in the first few positions. For example – when you look for Rand Fishkin on Google, you will find links to his Facebook Page, LinkedIn page, SlideShare profile and Medium profiles among the top 7 results on the first page of Google search results. The links to the Forbes articles on Fishkin and URLs to his Search Engine Journal articles follow his social media links. Each URL from his social media profiles contributes to the visibility of a person, business, brand or product.
Myth or Fact: Social media mention might not contribute to Google rankings
Gary Illyes, the leading Google Webmaster Trends Analyst, stated that Google does not use social media mentions as ranking factors, but that was in 2014. Since then a lot has changed in the Google Algorithm space. The analysts, SEO experts, and trend analysts guard their algorithm updates very strictly. Therefore, there is no other option than to take the words of the Google Spokespersons at face value. The changing versions, of course, make it a little difficult to decipher the real message behind the recurring updates, rumors and algorithm changes. That is one of the reasons every entrepreneur with a dream of making it big in the digital world needs affordable internet marketing online advertising packages to have their back. Having a team of experts to update your SEO campaigns as per the algorithm updates always ensures that your business is visible in the relevant search engine results.
What’s the relationship between social media links and SEO?
Up until 2017, Google representatives have never stated that social signals contribute to ranking. They have rather stated that they have a strong correlation. Sharing a relationship is not the same as being a causative factor. This is where all the confusion has been hiding up until the 2016 Rebooting Ranking Factors White Paper from Searchmetrics. Good content, especially impressive images, photographs with high aesthetic value and video content find high visibility on social media. People usually love original content that has high quality accompanying media, which also means they are more likely to share them with their friends and other social groups. Linking to your brand content will boost rankings, even though the experts repetitively mention the inability of social media to help search engine optimization of a site.
Each social media share can become a potential link
Your social media content and marketing strategy can become a significant part of your company off-page SEO. Having good quality original content on social media helps to attract potential links. This is true for Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter and LinkedIn posts at all times. You increase your chances of getting links from other websites when you promote your content on social media channels.
Expose your brand to a new audience
Did you know? Facebook recently crossed the threshold of 2 billion users per month. Even with the Cambridge Analytica debacle, Facebook is one of the most popular social networking sites today. Every social media channel gives you an opportunity to reach out to a new audience and a new market. Almost 580 new websites are coming online each minute. To establish your brand reputation and your niche market you will need to do more than your competitors are doing right now. Strengthening your social media game is one of the most cost-effective ways to become prominent and create a dent in the digital market.
Google ranks can improve for branded search results
When people start searching for specific products your brand sells, Google automatically assumes that you should also rank for the keywords only. For example – if a bunch of your customers and potential customers are searching for “your brand name” + gardening tools on a regular basis. Google thinks that your brand should also rank better for the keywords “gardening tools” and other related phrases like “gardening supplies” and “outdoor landscaping.” Sharing website content including these keywords and key phrases always helps the search engines understand what your brand is all about and present the potential groups of customers with your brand URL.
Use social media channels as specialized search engines
Several social media channels moonlight as niche search engines. YouTube and Pinterest are the most popular among all social media platform cum search engines. Both these channels have dedicated user groups, who can find your videos, photos, images, illustrations, and posts by searching for the relevant keywords. They provide significant conversion rates as compared to sponsored posts and paid advertisements. Posting on these social media platforms costs lesser than PPC and CPC campaigns, but optimizing your posts for better visibility is often much easier there.
B2B companies are experiencing higher sales and higher levels of profit upon the adoption of video marketing strategies. Sharing your website links on YouTube and Vimeo right under your video posts ensures higher follow through rates. Several business websites have turned to video content from their video blogs only to create interesting and interactive sites.
The idea behind every social media marketing strategy and SEO campaign is to boost engagement. Unless your search engine optimization strategy returns a high profit to your brand and business, there is no point investing in one. The induction of social media into the domain of SEO has helped several businesses cut down on promotional and marketing costs, and improve their CTRs within a short span of time. Social media mentions may not cause better Google ranking, but there definitely is a relationship between them that keeps social media links pertinent to SEO.