Ranking The Ways That Social Media Affects Search
By Paul Krellwitz
The most official concrete proof we have that social media does not directly impact SEO is then-prominent Googler Matt Cutts’ quote in a January 2014 YouTube video on the topic.
So if social doesn’t impact the ranking algorithm, then why bother trying to amass such things as Likes, Shares and Tweets?
The key to Matt’s statement is the word “directly.” We can accept that the number of Likes, Shares, Tweets, etc. that any given social media post receives doesn’t impact the ranking algorithm. However, we need to recognize several other elements.
• Social signals are factors that correlate strongly to better rankings
• High-ranked URLs have more social cues than those sites farther down the SERPs
• A high number of positive social signals implies that the site is a brand or regularly adds new content
• Social Signals do play a role in direct traffic, brand awareness and overall online performance of a domain
Additionally, there are some other elements that bear consideration.
Social Media Profiles DO Rank In Search Engines
This means that your social media profile pages have the potential to bolster your branded keyword phrases by taking up Search Engine Results Page (SERP) spots, thereby preventing competitors or non-relevant sites from ranking there.
Now Doesn’t Mean Never
Just because social media signals don’t impact rankings directly at the moment, doesn’t mean that they won’t further down the road. It’s best to be well positioned in case that day comes.
Social Media Builds Links
So it’s true that 10,000 Shares, Tweets and Likes won’t automatically vault you to the top of the SERPs for your top non-branded KW phrases. But 10,000 Shares, Tweets and Likes greatly increase the probability that you’re URLs will garner external links from blogs, media and other credible online sources. Those links can have a direct impact on your rankings and ultimately, which is why social media is important to SEO.
- Publish High Quality Content – Just as in SEO, in social media content is king. Produce compelling content that your audience will want to share with friends, associates and everyone in their network.
- Make Social Sharing Easy – Include social share buttons on your website pages to make it simple for users to pass information along.
- Don’t Underestimate Imagery and Profile Appearance – While content is king, recognize that a customized visually appealing social media profile is more likely to hold your audience.
- Use The Keywords That Matter – Be sure that the content in your posts uses the critical non-branded language that supports your products or services. The language in those posts won’t provide anchor text links. But it will educate your users on the language that’s important to you and it will influence how they talk about you. This will increase the likelihood that they will use that language in their posts.
Searchmetrics 2015 Ranking Factors Whitepaper
Paul is the Direcor of SEO. In this role he leads a team of SEO Managers and Analysts across a broad spectrum of accounts. His primary role is to oversee the development and execution of SEO strategies ensuring those strategies align both with SEO best practices as well as the client’s business needs and goals.
Paul has worked in the SEO industry in a variety of ever expanding roles for over eleven years and counting! Prior to working at Acronym, Paul spent the last 4 years at Tiny Prints, Inc building and managing the Search Engine Optimization team. His role there was to lead the team responsible for researching, developing recommendations and implementing strategies designed to positively influence keyword rankings, thereby increasing organic traffic and conversion.