How Social Media Affects SEO
So much of what you read when you are researching SEO is the importance of placing links, using keywords and improving the speed of your website — but in truth, there are hundreds of factors that influence how your website ranks within search engine results. One of the most overlooked factors is your social media, which can have a significant impact on the effectiveness of your SEO strategy.
Whether you have neglected your social media to focus on content and website development, or whether you want to redirect your social media marketing strategy to better influence your search rank, here’s a guide to how social media affects SEO.
The Correlation Between SEO and Social Media
The most significant misunderstanding about SEO is that your efforts are improving Google’s ranking of your entire website. In truth, you are optimizing individual pages of your website, not necessarily the site as a whole. When you are building backlinks, you most often build to content or product pages, which give your audience a straightforward way to further engage with your business. Similarly, when you use keywords, modify the metadata or optimize images, you are doing so for a page, not the site as a whole. Fortunately, when you optimize certain important webpages, your entire site sees a benefit. You enjoy increased traffic across your website, which raises your site authority and assists in your SEO efforts.
This indirect boost is similar to how social media affects your SEO. In truth, how your business’s social media performs isn’t a direct boost to the performance of your website, but that doesn’t mean the two are entirely disconnected. On the contrary, there is a high correlation between business social accounts that have a large number of shares and business websites that earn high rankings. The truth is that the social activity itself isn’t boosting your website’s search ranking, but what happens as a result of that activity — more online visibility, more audience engagement, greater brand awareness, more traffic driven to your site, etc. — is definitely helping your SEO.
Some search engines make it clear that social media has an impact on their rankings. Google is notoriously secretive about how its algorithm works, especially how it weighs social interactions, but Bing is graciously straightforward in explaining how a good social presence can positively influence your SEO. Within their Webmaster Guidelines, Bing states, “If you are a social influencer, your followers tend to share your information widely, which in turn results in Bing seeing these positive signals. These positive signals can have an impact on how your site ranks organically in the long run.” Thus, you need to participate in social media, for the sake of successful SEO.
Tips for Improving SEO Through Social Media
Juggling SEO and social media isn’t easy; in fact, SEO and social media marketing are relatively technical fields that require experience and skill. Ideally, you will work with an SEO agency comfortable with leveraging social media for SEO success, so you can focus on managing other aspects of your business. Even so, it doesn’t hurt to know the right tactics for driving SEO through social media. Here are some top tips worth considering for your business:
Create Content Worth Sharing
People share links to content that is engaging in some way — funny, informative, frightful or otherwise moving. People also tend to share links to high-quality content, which is easy and enjoyable to consume. Instead of posting just any old content to your site, you should put effort into your content, making it especially well-produced and notably lacking in sleazy sales pitches.
Don’t Build Links
Social media sites tend to be authoritative, but that doesn’t mean links placed on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are inherently beneficial. First, most social media links are no-follow links, meaning they don’t enhance your search ranking; secondly, individual account pages aren’t themselves authoritative, so they could harm rather than hurt your SEO. Social media is more about community than about links.
Pay Attention to Your Following
A larger social media following is a good thing, but instead of doing anything to attract more followers, you should invest energy into the following you already have. You should develop relationships with individual followers, especially if they have influence over a sizable audience. You should also be willing to share your followers’ content, which demonstrates that you pay attention and appreciate your audience. Over time, your conscientious behavior will attract attention and improve your SEO.
It’s safe to assume that everything you do online impacts your SEO — social media included. By devoting time to developing a social media presence, you can achieve your SEO goals and so much more.