Social Media: How Does it Affect SEO?

June 17, 2019
Talk Agency
If there’s one most asked question in the search industry, it would be this one: Does social media impact your SEO efforts?

This is because for every player in the social media space (that means almost all of us), a high SEO ranking is the Holy Grail.

So, say you do manage to get a ton of shares, retweets and likes for your post, will that actually help with boosting the page in SERPs?

The answer should be an obvious ‘yes’, right?

After all, Matt Cutts, the former head of Google’s webspam team, in a 2010 video, confirmed that Google used links from Facebook and Twitter as ranking signal.

Social Media Today

But that was then, this is now.

Or should we say, that was yes, this is no, because Matt Cutts, in another video in 2014, pointed out that:

“It’s correlation, not causation.”

He explained that Google treats Facebook and Twitter pages like any other web page for search, but not as a ranking factor.Phew!

But Matt’s not a lone authority on this, because available research, like this one by HootSuite, buttresses this theory.

There is indeed a connection between social media influence and higher search engine rankings.

You might have observed that yourself. Often, content that ranks high on Google also tends to have plenty of shares, likes and retweets.

In other words, viral content often rank well in SEO.

So what’s happening there? Why is it that the posts that get the most shares also tend to be ones that rank higher?

Is it a chicken and the egg situation? or is it a clear case of one being consequent of upon the other?

As AJ Kohn puts it, “It’s not the actual social activity that matters, but what happens as a result of that activity.

If you create good content, it will most likely be popular on social media, and people are probably going to like it and link it to their personal posts and websites:

Which will boost your rankings in search. Thus, we now arrive at what we really want to say here:

How can you leverage on the power of social media to give your content the ranking you dream of?

#1: Content, Content, Content.

As we already said, if you put good content out, there is a high likelihood of engagement.

And when people engage with content that they like, they often link to it from their site.

But if your site is lacking content worthy of the description, why should anyone- other than your significant other perhaps-care to engage with it?

Would you engage with crappy content or content that doesn’t help with your search?

Sometimes, you may actually have some decent content on your site.

Problem is, all it amounts to are decent sales pitches:

Pages and posts that advertise your products or services, or those that provides readers with company.

All of that is fine if it is on your ‘About us’ page.

But always remember… nobody wants to know about you until you have something they are interested in.

In light of that, what should your approach be?

“Engage rather than sell … Work as a co-creator, not a marketer.”

Tom H. C. Anderson.

Rather than churning out self-promotional content. Focus on helpful, informative content.

Useful tips, how-to tutorials, a catchy infographic, are all things that people can’t help but engage with and share with others:

Mainly because it also casts them in good light.

How many times have you read something or watched something that you felt compelled to share?

Not just because of its informative value… But because of how ‘enlightened’ it would make you appear to your followers, or perhaps a particular follower of interest.

That’s the type of content you should create:

Because content… that kind of content… is king.

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#2: Stop trying to build links on social media

“If content is king, then conversion is queen.” – John Munsell

So you have some content that you believe can change the world.

… If only the world could see it, right?

So, to get the ‘world’ to see it, you set out to do a bit of link building on social media to ensure your SEO efforts are at their best.

Well… that’s the wrong turn to take. If you take it, soon your poster be up everywhere as a ‘missing person’… in the SEO space.

Why, you ask?

Because while sites like Twitter, ,and LinkedIn are authoritative themselves. Links from individual accounts on those sites tend not to be.

For starters, a lot of links from such individual accounts are no-follow links.

Meaning that when it comes to SEO, they do absolutely nothing for you as opposed to a do-follow link.

And in the event that you get a do-follow link, it would probably be from the individual user (e.g Emily) rather than the actual Social Media site (e.g LinkedIn.)

Unless the person was, say, Theresa May, or someone else infamous or famous, it would be worth very little to you.

Furthermore, social media links often get lost in an RSS feed almost instantly.

They don’t have the visibility or power that links on business and personal websites do.

Therefore, think of Social Media as a clout building platform rather than the place for link building.

Use social media to build a following.

Remember what we said about the correlation between social media influence and SEO ranking?

However, you have to be strategic about building your following.

#3: Cultivate the Best  Social Media Followers

‘Quality is more important than quantity. -’ Steve Jobs

So, rather than focusing on the sheer number of people following you, aim for high-quality followers.

You could have just 80 followers.

But if six of them are some of the biggest names in your industry who post content regularly, you’d be a lot better off than having 500 followers who are totally disconnected from your content.

So how do you get those that really matter to follow you?

  • Don’t just like their content, share it and really engage with it. Don’t just share or retweet it: lend a voice to it. Craft an insightful tweet or post of your own where you highlight how helpful their piece was and why everyone should read it. This will get the influencer’s attention the way a retweet never will and make them curious to know you.
  • Be someone worth Knowing. Having done the above, the influencer will likely start to look into who you are and what you are about. They might check out your blog or take a deeper look at your social media account. Will they meet content that shows you off as an expert, or will all they meet be tweets and posts ranting about the last season of Game of Thrones?
  • Help the influencer with their own link building.
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Final Thought

In conclusion, to harness what chances there are of social media helping your SEO efforts, you first need to create the right type of content.

Then to make sure you build the right following, you need to make sure the right people notice you.

This is where a little bit of demographic research comes into play. |Spend some time working out who it is that you deem worthy to your brand and than target your content toward them.

Focus on share-worthy tidbits that answer common industry question. Give them reviews. And don’t be afraid to use flattery.

Ultimately… and this may not be what you want to hear… Social media is not great for SEO!

But don’t dismiss it as being useless. It may not have much of an impact on your search engine rankings. But the power it holds for creating brand identity, visibility, and connection is unparalleled.

Combine social media with your everyday SEO efforts for a multi-faceted approach that can help you gain more followers, site visitors, and most importantly, conversions.

If you want to know more about leveraging social media to your advantage, check out the Talk Agency blog today!

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